I love cooking a full-course Thanksgiving dinner, even though it’s a lot of work. So much food to prepare in so little time. I have, however, figured out one quick little shortcut that helps save time, and confusion, in the kitchen.
I first discovered baked sweet potatoes at a buffet restaurant. The friend I was dining with pointed them out to me and raved about how delicious they were. While not a huge sweet potato fan myself, I noticed what an easy side dish it would be to prepare. Simply take a sweet potato, or a yam, quarter it, wrap it in foil, and bake it like a regular potato.
I tried it myself a couple of Thanksgivings ago, and it was a big hit. Much less prep time and less hassle than candied yams, with no added sugars or preservatives, no casserole dish to wash, and fewer calories to boot. Best of all, my guests loved them.
Sometimes I spend so much time worrying about the main course that I forget about the side dishes. This timeless, historic recipe is quick and easy, and would compliment any meal.
- 1½ cups cut cabbage
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- ½ cup chopped onions
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup boiling water
Combine and cook until tender. (20 minutes.) Makes 4 servings.
Modern adaptation: Omit salt and use ½ cup of chicken stock instead of ½ cup of water.
I think every family has favorite recipes that may or may not have ever been actually written down as they were passed down generation to generation. One of ours was my grandmother’s green beans. She prepared it for years, as did my mother, and it was always a family favorite. I’ve played with it a little over the years myself, but not too much. It’s an oldie but a goody, and there are probably a lot of other grandmothers out there who made this dish as well. Here is my interpretation. Please consider this recipe as a guide as I never make it the quite the same way twice. (And I don’t think Grandma ever did either.)
GRANDMA’S HOMEMADE GREEN BEANS
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
- 3 or 4 red potatoes
- 3 or 4 slices of bacon
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
Wash green beans, snap off ends, snap into two or three bite-sized pieces and drop into a large mixing bowl. Scrub and dice the potatoes and add them to the beans. Cut bacon slices into small pieces and brown in a small stockpot. Once bacon is browned dump in the green beans and potatoes. Add chicken broth, stir, and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for approximately 30 to 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and cooked all the way through. Stir occasionally, and, if necessary, add small amounts of water or chicken broth to prevent the beans from scorching. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve as a side dish with pork roast, pork chops or fried chicken.
This recipe is such a classic, and it’s so simple, that I’m surprised that neither my mother, nor any of my grandmothers, ever prepared it. It’s included in Rosie’s Riveting Recipes, and it’s probably one of the easiest recipes in the entire book. The results are delicious. The pudding has a rich, buttery flavor, making it the perfect, flavorful side dish. Enjoy.
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups fresh or canned corn
- 2 tablespoons melted margarine
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups milk
Beat the eggs. Add all the other ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a greased baking dish, place in a pan of hot water, and bake in a moderate oven for about 1 hour or until set in the center. Yields 6 servings.
Note: A 15.5 ounce can of corn works nicely for this recipe.
Along with writing Rosie’s Riveting Recipes, I also write romance novels, under the name Marina Martindale. Writing is a job I truly love, and so far in each novel I’ve included a scene in which one of my characters cooks something wonderful. I’ll also include the recipe at the back of the book. The following recipe is from my first romance novel The Reunion. I love Italian wedding soup, so one of my characters, a seventeen-year-old aspiring chef, prepares it. The recipe is my own creation, and it comes from a combination of several different Italian wedding soup recipes.
Or, should I say, MM?
ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP
For the meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey
- OR ½ pound ground meat with ½ pound ground pork
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 egg
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and knead together like a meatloaf. Roll into small meatballs, about ½ to 1 inch in diameter. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until brown. Set aside.
For the soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ medium sized yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced (optional)
- 2 stalks celery, sliced (optional)
- 10 cups, (2 ½ quarts) chicken stock
- ½ cup dry white wine (such as Chardonnay)
- 1 egg, well beaten
- 1 cup small pasta (such as stars or small sea shells)
- 2 teaspoons salt (if desired)
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon dill
- 12 ounces fresh spinach, washed and trimmed
- OR 1 can of spinach or 1 package of frozen spinach (defrosted)
While the meatballs are baking sauté onion, garlic, carrots and celery, (if desired) in olive oil in a stockpot for approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Add chicken stock and white wine and bring to a boil. Once soup mixture is boiling beat egg in a small mixing bowl with a whisk until slightly frothy. Pour egg slowly and incrementally into soup mixture, whisking the soup mixture continuously until all of the egg has been added. Add pasta, salt, (if desired) and pepper and allow mixture to simmer for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until pasta is soft. Add meatballs and dill. Cover and simmer on low for another 10 minutes. Add spinach and simmer for another 1 to 2 minutes before serving. Once soup is ladled into bowls top with grated Parmesan cheese.
There is nothing better than a bowl of hot, home-made soup on a cold winter day, and this recipe is probably the easiest one I know. The ingredients are also very inexpensive, so it is also one of my most economical recipes too. This soup makes a great side dish, or it can be served on its own. Enjoy.
FIFTEEN BEAN SOUP
1 package dried fifteen beans or mixed beans
1 can beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes with green chili
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon black pepper
seasoning packet (if included with the beans)
1 – 2 tablespoons salt (optional)
1 cup cubed ham (optional)
Soak beans overnight in a bowl of cold water. The following morning pour beans into a colander and rinse thoroughly, removing any loose skins. Pour beans into a large stockpot, add enough water to completely submerge the beans, and remove any loose skins that may float to the top. Place on stove and heat to boiling over medium heat.
If the water appears “foamy” after it begins to boil turn off heat and pour beans back into colander. Rinse thoroughly again, and again remove any loose skins. Pour beans back into stockpot, add enough water to submerge the beans, remove any loose skins, and again heat to boiling over medium heat. If the water appears “foamy” again, pour into colander and repeat.
Once water is boiling, and it appears less foamy, add remaining ingredients, cover and simmer on low for approximately six hours or until beans are soft and tender. This soup goes well as a side dish with steaks, or serve with cornbread.
There’s nothing quite like a bowl of hot soup on a cold winter night. This classic dish comes from Rosie’s Riveting Recipes, and I’m sure many of you may have your own versions in your own family cookbooks. It’s the perfect soup for a cold winter day. Enjoy.
- 2 cups raw potatoes
- 2 tablespoons margarine
- 1 tablespoon chopped onion
- 1 quart milk
- 1½ teaspoons salt
Chop potatoes fine or grate them. Add potatoes, margarine, and onion to the milk. Cook the mixture over low heat until the potatoes are tender, stirring regularly. By that time the starch from the potatoes will have thickened the milk slightly. Add salt and pepper.
Modern Variation: To give this soup some extra zing try adding bacon, ham, or corn. Butter or olive oil may be used instead of margarine.
With the holiday season coming up there’s no need to buy canned cranberry sauce with its high fructose corn syrup and other additives that you may not want when it’s so easy to make it yourself, just like Rosie used to do. You can also make it the day before and allow it to chill overnight.
TRADITIONAL CRANBERRY SAUCE
- 3 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
Place cranberries in a colander or strainer and wash thoroughly, removing any damaged cranberries. Set aside.
Pour water into a 2 quart saucepan and place over medium high heat. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil, and add cranberries. Reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally until cranberry skins begin to pop. Keep stirring for several minutes. If a smoother sauce is desired, keep stirring until most of the skins have popped. Remove from heat and set aside. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Refrigerate sauce once it reaches room temperature.
Fall is in the air, and there’s nothing like a cup of hot, homemade soup on a cool fall day. This recipe comes from Rosie’s Riveting Recipes, and it’s just as delicious today as it was in her time. It’s also incredibly simple, and a great way to use up any leftover vegetables that may be lurking in the fridge.
CREAM OF VEGETABLE SOUP
- 2 tablespoons fat
- 4 tablespoons flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup cooked vegetable pulp*
Melt fat. Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Stir in milk. Add vegetable pulp. Cook 10 minutes. Makes 6 servings.
* Pureed cooked vegetables (of your choice)
Modern adaptation: Cooking oil or olive oil may be used instead of “fat.” If you don’t have a blender or food processor simply chop the vegetables into tiny pieces. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, to help keep the milk from scorching. Once soup begins to boil, reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for 10 minutes, as directed. For more zing, try lemon pepper or season salt instead of salt and pepper.
Here is another fabulous historic recipe courtesy of Rosie’s Riveting Recipes. This soup is easy to prepare, easy on your wallet, and best of all, it’s delicious. Enjoy.
CORN CHOWDER WITH BACON
4 strips bacon
2 cups cream style corn
2 cups evaporated milk, undiluted
1 onion, chopped
Seasoning of salt and pepper
Cut the potatoes in cubes and cook in 2 cups of boiling salted water until tender. Add the corn and milk. Cut the bacon in small pieces and fry until crisp with the onion. Add to the chowder, season to taste, and serve with crackers. 4 servings.