Windus Macaroni Casserole

grandma-windus-reciep

Lisa’s modified version of Windus Macaroni Casserole made with white rice angel hair pasta. *A short style pasta – on the bottom layer – is the optimal way to prepare this hearty one dish meal.

1 lb ground beef

1 whole onion – chopped

1 – bulb garlic – cloves peeled & chopped

3 tblsp. Italian herbs

2 –  16 oz cans chopped tomatoes (*drained or with liquid – see notes below)

4 – 6 cups cups macaroni (partially cooked) – enough to fill whatever sized baking dish you have

Pour macaroni into greased / sprayed casserole dish. Top with remaining ingredients and back uncovered at 350 degrees 30-45 minutes.

 

Lisa’s additions:

2 fresh zucchinis thinly sliced

one bunch of fresh, chopped parsley

juice from one lemon

pinch of salt

Notes: For the version that I prepared (photographed above), I used an entire 8.8 oz package of white rice angel hair pasta. (This is what I had on hand.)  It worked, but with the added zucchini, a short pasta would have been better to soak up the extra juice. Pasta on the bottom, as the recipe instructs, is the right way to go. short-pasta

*Include the juice from the chopped tomatoes or drain it depending on how much liquid you need to make this dish moist.

 

Upon receipt of the recipe, I noticed several things. There was only an ingredients list – no measurement amounts, and like the other family recipe collections that I’ve studied, casserole cooking used to be popular.  The lack of measurements told me that Virginia was a cook, like my Grandma, who could get the proportions right by ‘feel’ or eyeballing it. She had a lot of mouths to feed and casseroles were an economical way to satisfy it.

Casseroles in the US became popular after World War II, when the Campbell’s Soup Company distributed a booklet entitled Helps for the Hostess, published in 1916. Recipes from this book became staple meals in Baby Boomer homes. Click on this link to learn more about the history of condensed soup and its impact on American culture.

 

 

margaret-windus

 

This recipe is from the Adrian (Bud) Schmidt collection. (Betty Wrysinski’s younger brother.) It was passed down through the family from Margaret Windus, maternal grandmother to Mary Schmidt Schwaller. Margaret was a neighbor to Betty’s mother, Lillian Schmidt.

 

 

Soup in American Food Culture – MIT Grad does a Taste Test Roadshow

Fortunately for John T. Dorrance, his uncle was the president of  the Joseph Campbell Company (Campbell’s Soup) in 1897.  Just out of at MIT, with a degree in science, John was hired as a chemist. He earned $7.50 per week and had to use his own laboratory equipment. John was about to make a contribution that would contribute to the companies long-running success.

John formulated a method to remove water soup. He was able to reduce the volume from thirty-two ounce can to less than half of that. Soup that sold for .34¢ per unit could now be reduced to .10¢!  His good work merited a two dollar a week raise.

Not long after his revolutionary product development, John went on the road offering taste tests. He hoped he could convince housewives to use canned soup. Most home cooks made it from scratch. Soup wasn’t the only thing that would be reduced. Women immediately understood the time spent over a hot stove would be minimized as well.

The Joseph Campbell Company gained international recognition at the Paris Exposition in 1900 when it won the Gold Medallion for excellence.  That medallion has been a featured element on their labels for at least one hundred and fifteen years.

gold-medal

index

 

John assumed the presidency of the company at the age of forty-one. Two years later, he published, Helps for the Hostess, a complimentary booklet with comfort food recipes, made with condensed soup. Many of those recipes are ones that we still enjoy today.

The recipe for Green Bean Casserole (one of their most popular) was developed by Campell home economists in 1955.

Product Timeline:

1895 – Tomato Soup

1895 – 1897  Consumé, Vegetable, Chicken & Oxtail

1904 – Pork and Beans

1913 – Chicken with Rice & Cream of Celery

1918 – Vegetable Beef Soup (response to feeding soldiers in WW I)

1934 – Cream of Mushroom Soup

1947 – Cream of Chicken Soup

1960’s Cream of Mushroom Soup commercial.

A few favorite recipes.

November 10, 2015 Campbell’s revamps its products to meet consumer demand for all natural ingredients.

Poking Fun at American Casseroles.

As you can see in this last video, casseroles can be laughed at or loved. It’s just a matter of taste, what you’re used to, and the food you loved while growing up.

(Some foul language, bleeped, except for the very end.)

Sauce Series – Taste Testing – 1 of 5

Learn the skill of sauce making.

To begin this process, start with an exercise program…taste testing. By exposing your taste buds to a variety of seasonings, you’ll increase your flavor recall and you will know what to add to develop the flavors that you desire.

(Start with items that you have on-hand in your cupboard or pantry.)

Set up a side-by-side comparisons to discover the subtle differences between varieties of sweeteners, salty flavors, and vinegars.

Sweet flavors – maple syrup, honey, agave syrup, molasses, etc.

Salty flavors  – soy sauce, tamarind sauce, liquid aminos, Worcestshire sauce, etc.

Vinegarsfruit vinegars, balsamic, white wine, rice, red wine, white, etc.

Arrange the tasting items from mildest to strongest; taste them in this order.

*If you begin to loose sensation in either your taste buds or in your sense of smell, take a break. Drink some water or milk, eat a few plain crackers, bits of bread, or sniff coffee grounds to clear your pallet.

The Sauce Series is organized into three basic sauce categories; red, brown, and white. Each blog post contains recipes for several simple sauces to make and taste.  Number three in the series includes in-depth tutorials about working with thickening agents. Finally, the series is wrapped up with a humorous cooking challenge modelled after one of my favorite cooking shows, ‘Chopped‘.

Sauce Series #1 – taste bud training

Sauce Series #2 – red sauces

Sauce Series #3 – brown sauces & thickening agents

Sauce Series #4 – white sauces

Mock ‘Chopped’ #5 – group cooking challenge how-to

 

 

 

 

 

Sauce Series – Red Sauces – 2 of 5

Red sauces (tomato based) are some of the easiest sauces to start learning to make. Typically, they don’t require thickening agents and can be ready in minutes.

 

Quick Tomato Sauce

1 can condensed tomato soup

½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/8 tsp. salt

Pinch of pepper

¼ tsp. sugar

Combine ingredients and heat to boiling.

Makes 1 /4 cups

 

Quick Red Pasta Sauce

2-4 tbslp. Olive oil

6 cloves to and entire head of fresh garlic, crushed and chopped

1 can chopped tomatoes

Salt as needed

Italian spices

Sauté garlic in olive oil till just brown around the edges. Add the other ingredients and heat till bubbling. Server immediately over pasta

 

BBQ Sauce

1 can tomato paste

2 tsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. Caro Syrup, Molasses or Honey

2 tblsp. Vinegar

¼ tsp. salt

Pinch of pepper

Dash of red pepper

¼ tsp. paprika

¼ tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. mustard

¼ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Dash tabasco scauce

Clove of garlic chopped.

 

Dip meats in sauce before broiling, use as baste during roasting or BBQ on the grill.

 

Ketchup

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Check out the other videos in this Sauce Series

Sauce Series #1 – taste bud training

Sauce Series #2 – red sauces

Sauce Series #3 – brown sauces & thickening agents

Sauce Series #4 – white sauces

Mock ‘Chopped’ #5 – group cooking challenge how-to

Sauce Series – Brown Sauces & Thickeners – 3 of 5

Meat based liquids with thickening agents. Start with simple pan sauces or gravy and extend it into soups and stews.

 

Basic Brown Sauce

2 tblsp. Butter

3 tbslp. Flour

1 cup beef stock

½ tsp salt

Pinch of pepper

 

Melt butter in pan. Stir in flour and cook until browned, stirring continuously.

Little by little, add beef stock. Stir until it boils and thickens, continue to cool three more minutes.

Add any desired seasonings.

 

Pan Gravy

Approximate the amount of flour needed to thicken the volume of meat drippings available. Place flour in a dressing / gravy shaker or whisk with cool water and shake or blend till smooth.

To meat drippings (fat) [from a turkey, chicken, bacon, or roast] in a deep pan over medium heat, slowly add flour and water mixture. Stir continuously. After the mixture has thickened, continue cooking for a few more minutes to make sure that the raw flour taste has been dispelled.

 

Peanut Sauce

¾ cup organic creamy peanut butter

¼ cup + 2 tblsp. Water

½ tsp. Hoisin sauce

2 tblsp. Freshly squeezed lime juice (approx. 1 ½ medium limes)

4 ½ tsp. soy sauce

3 tblsp. Maple syrup

1 ¼ tsp. chile-garlic paste

1 med. Clove garlic, mashed to paste

½ tsp. toasted sesame oil

Blend, whisk or stir all ingredients together till smooth. Store in refrigerator, but let warm to room temperature before using.

Can be used a dipping sauce, over noodles, as a salad dressing or in spring rolls.

 

Cilantro Sauce (It’s green)

 

THICKENERS

Flour  – velvety texture – opaque

(can be stirred directly into fat – butter, meat drippings, etc.  If mixing with water first, it must be cooked for a while to eliminate the raw, starchy taste)

Instant Blending Flour – Wondra or Shake & Blend

Can add to liquids without lumps

Kneaded Butter (Beurre Manie) – equal parts butter and flour – kneaded till smooth and rolled into teaspoon sized balls (can be frozen for storage). Drop a ball or two into sauce when needed.

Cornstarch – smooth – glossy – clear

Mix starch with equal parts water, then add to warm liquid

Arrowroot flour | tapioca flour, rice flour

Gums – Xanthum gum, agar agar, pectin, and guar gum

Egg Yolks – velvety – smooth

Add to heated liquids (no hotter than 190 degrees) slowly and stir constantly – or scrambled eggs will be the result

High fat cream / yogurt – thick – smooth

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Additional Resources

WikiHow – thickeners

A Life of Geekery – guide to thickening sauces, soups, and stews

Youtube Videos

French Cooking Acacemy – What is a Roux – white, blond & brown

Beurre Maniékneaded butter

French Cooking Academy –  Hollandaise sauce tutorial for beginners (w/o double broiler)

Julia Child – The Hollandaise Family

Harvard University – Science in Cooking class – Working with Modern Thickeners

 

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Check out the other videos in this Sauce Series

Sauce Series #1 – taste bud training

Sauce Series #2 – red sauces

Sauce Series #3 – brown sauces & thickening agents

Sauce Series #4 – white sauces

Mock ‘Chopped’ #5 – group cooking challenge how-to

 

 

Sauce Series – White Sauces – 4 of 5

White sauces are made with milk, buttermilk, yogurt, coconut milk, butter, other white liquids and thickening agents.

 

Basic White Sauce

2 tblsp. Butter

2 tblsp. Flour

1 cup milk

½ tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

Melt butter and stir in flour. Gradually add milk and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Cook an additional 3 minutes.

Use on seafood, vegetables, fish, or meat.

Additions to white sauce:

Chopped parsley 2 – 4 tblsp.

Mustard – 2 tsp.

Cheese – ½ – 1 cup grated cheese

 

Horseradish Cream Sauce

½ cup heavy whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks.

4 -6 tblsp. horseradish

½ tps. Salt

Pinch of pepper

Serve with ham, beef or fish.

 

Makes ¾ cup sauce.

 

Lemon Roux

 

Pan Gravy

Approximate the amount of flour needed to thicken the volume of meat drippings available. Place flour in a dressing / gravy shaker or whisk with cool water and shake or blend till smooth.

To meat drippings (fat) [from a turkey, chicken, bacon, or roast] in a deep pan over medium heat, slowly add flour and water mixture. Stir continuously. After the mixture has thickened, continue cooking for a few more minutes to make sure that the raw flour taste has been dispelled.

 

Hollandaise Sauce

2/4 cup butter

1 ½ tblsp. Lemon juice

3 egg yolks, well beaten with dash of salt

Cayenne pepper

 

Divide butter in the three parts. Place one piece in top of a small double broiler, add lemon juice and egg yolks. Place over hot water (not boiling) and cook slowly, whisk constantly.

When butter is melted, add second piece. Keep whisking. As mixture thickens, add the final piece of butter.

Once the mixture is about as thick as gravy, remove from heat, add salt and serve immediately.

Can be used over vegetables (asparagus), fish, shellfish and poached eggs.

Lightly finish with cayenne pepper.

 

Makes: ¾ cup
Trouble shooting: If sauce is curdling, dilute by the teaspoon with hot water while constantly whisking.

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Check out the other videos in this Sauce Series

Sauce Series #1 – taste bud training

Sauce Series #2 – red sauces

Sauce Series #3 – brown sauces & thickening agents

 

Mock ‘Chopped’ #5 – group cooking challenge how-to

 

 

Group Cooking Challenge – Mock ‘Chopped’

Here’s how to organize a group cooking challenge in your kitchen. (Roughly based on the TV show ‘Chopped.’)

Goal: Create a social experience, experiment, learn something new, and have fun!

Mystery Items:

Each participant brings 3-5 strange, unusual, foreign, untried, or previously unknown food items.

At the beginning, the challenge master collects these, groups them, and distributes them evenly among the chefs.

‘Rule’ Guidelines:

We decided not to attempt timed rounds. (Too much pressure!)

As a group, open and taste all the ingredients.

Everything in the kitchen pantry, spice cupboards, and refrigerator / freezer is available for use. (Or clearly define off-limits areas.)

If someone is stumped about what to prepare, everyone helps to brainstorm until they have a direction.

At the conclusion, everyone shares the meal.

Judging (if desired) can be accomplished by an individual, with a panel, or as group.

 

Ideas for Group Kitchen Challenge Themes:

All organic

Appetizers

Breakfast foods

Egg based

Ethnic cooking

Foodie specialists

Foods of color – purple, orange, green, etc.

For people around the age of ten (scrambles, healthy snacks, smoothies)

For people over twenty-one (food and beverage / wine pairings)

Movie / game night foods

Pasta & toppings

Picnic fare

Salads

Soups – freezer container portioned for make-ahead meals

Vegetarian

Wraps

 

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French Onion Soup

blog graphic

15-20 small to medium onions – sliced
(both red and yellow)

Water for broth (as much as desired) with enough bouillon added to taste.
( 1 1/2 tblsp. beef bouillon + 2 tsp. chicken bouillon)

Saute onions in a generous amount of olive oil until translucent and slightly browned.

3/4 – 1/2 cup brown sugar

Add flour – 2 – 4 tblsp. blended to smooth paste with water

Mix into stock pot – add other spices as necessary.

Additions:

*Liquid Aminos, Port,  herbs of choice

Croutons:

Cut bread of choice into 1/2 inch cubes. (Sourdough)

Spread out into single layer on baking sheet.

Liberally coat with olive oil.

Generously sprinkle with italian herbs and a pinch or two of salt.

Place in 350 degree – 400 degree, preheated oven.

Watch closely – flip bread crumbs once browned on one side.

Immediately upon removal from the oven, sprinkle bread crumbs with your favorite grated cheese.

cache_240_240_0_0_80_16777215_KerrygoldDubliner
boulion

 

Here’s another good crouton variation.

Boiled & Spiced Citrus Chicken (or Pork)

It takes time and patience to prepare chicken this way, but it is so worth it!

6 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs OR about a 4 lb bone-in pork shoulder – chunked into quarters

Rinse, pat dry and place meat into a large food-safe plastic bag

Add to the bag;

1 tblsp. cumin powder
1 tblsp. sea salt
1 tblsp. garlic powder
1 tblsp. oregano
1 tblsp. cayenne pepper (reduce to half or less if you don’t like spicy food)

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lime juice

If you remember Shake-n-Bake …do that. If that reference is meaningless, then shake everything inside the bag until the chicken is evenly coated with the spices.

Place the spiced chicken and citrus juice in a pot. Fill it with water – just until the chicken is covered. On the stovetop (uncovered), cook on high until the chicken begins to boil, reduce heat, but still keep it bubbling.

This where the patience comes in. Keep an eye on the pot as the liquid boils. This can take anywhere between 2 and 3 hours. Once the liquid is almost gone, let the meat brown – turn it so it cooks evenly – but not so much that it burns.

Liquid almost all-the-way boiled down.

 

The chicken meat can be shredded, chunked or eaten off the bone. Use it in salads, soups, on tostadas or in tacos…and the list could go on and on!

Next time I make it, I will double this recipe so that leftovers will linger longer.

boiled and spicked chicken

 

Kamara’s Dirty Chai Coffee

Kamara’s Dirty Chai Coffeedirty_chai_coffee

1 tsp. ghee
1 tsp. coconut oil
add enough hot coffee / espresso to melt the oils
add Spices | 1 or two shakes or 1/8 tsp:
cardamom
cinnamon
powdered ginger

To Taste:

add half and half and / or chocolate silk

 

Kamara