Merry Christmas!

Christmas Pix 22

No matter what you celebrate, I wish you the happiest of days, with wishes for many happy hours of baking, cooking and creating to come in the new year!

If you enjoy vintage ephemera and photos, you might like my other site Who Were They? I have a huge collection of antique and vintage photographs, many well over 100 years old.

Missouri (Diane Bolberchak)


Is it Missouri or Messouri? It sure looks like an E to me. Anyway, Missouri Casserole is a dish of layered potatoes, ground beef and onions. There are versions that include sliced peppers, green beans, and picante sauce in place of tomatoes or tomato sauce. Most of the recipes indicate that the potatoes should be sliced thin, as should the onions. While the method as written is a little incomplete, it does seem simple – layer beginning with potatoes, then meat, then onions, repeat for a second layer, the final layer being the tomatoes. I imagine the salt & pepper could be sprinkled on the potato or hamburger layers, as you prefer.

I tried this recipe with my family, so  here are some pictures and notes.


Here I have layered the sliced potatoes, ground beef and onions. I used Idaho gold potatoes, so no peeling. Lacking any direction, I didn’t brown the ground beef. It turned out fine, so you don’t have to do that, but there was a bit of fat in the dish that I siphoned off before serving. I also added on top of this layer some cheese. It seemed to enhance the flavor nicely.


It looks basically the same as when you put it in the oven! The tomatoes roasted nicely on top and added a sweet, rich flavor. I think if I make this again I might use tomato sauce. I forgot to add the salt & pepper before cooking but it really didn’t seem to matter. My family consensus is that it is a true “meat & potatoes” dish but wasn’t something spectacular. It was flavorful and filling, as well as easy to prepare.


Peel & slice 7 medium potatoes

3 large onions

1 1/2 lb hamburg

1 large can tomatoes

salt & pepper

Lay half potatoes in baking dish. Place 1/2 of meat & layer. Half of onions until all ingredients are used. With tomatoes make another layer. Keep lid on for 1 hour, the next half hour without lid.

Bake 350º 1 1/2 hour

Serves 6

Beef Casserole (Deluxe)

Beef Casserole Beef Casserole Back

Not just beef casserole, but a deluxe beef casserole…whee! I’m not sure on this one. The beef part sounds fine, but adding cottage and cream cheese just goes in the wrong direction for me.

Beef Casserole (Deluxe) – 350º 30 min

1 lb lean ground beef

1 15 oz can tomatoes

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp minced garlic [I think she means garlic powder]

1 c creamy cottage cheese

1 T chopped parsley

2 T chopped onions

2 T chopped green pepper

1 1/2 c water

1 12 c instant rice

1 3 oz pkg cream cheese

3/4 c shredded cheddar cheese

Brown beef, drain fat. Add tomatoes, 1 tsp salt, garlic, onion & green pepper. Simmer about 2 min. Remove from heat. Bring water to a boil, add rice & remaining salt. Cover, set aside for 5 minutes. Blend cottage cheese into softened cream cheese. Add parsley. In a 2 quart casserole layer rice, cheese, then meat/sauce. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake 30 min 350º oven.

Sheppards Pie (Shepherds Pie)

Shepperds Pie Shepperds Pie Back

Here where I live, it is finally getting cold enough to make some of the wonderful comfort foods & casseroles that sustain us through the long winter (if you consider a high of 65º cold lol! We have thin skins here haha) Shepherds Pie is a favorite in my family, and I made it recently. In my opinion, you can’t have too many mashed potatoes. :-) There are many different recipes available, but for the most part, they all include a meat base with vegetables baked under a layer of mashed potatoes. I love that it’s really a one-dish meal, even though you often have to cook everything in a skillet before transferring to a casserole dish.

IMG_2965 IMG_2966

This is my Shepherds Pie, made in a deep dish pie pan. Depending on the volume of ingredients you have, you may need to make it in a 13×9 pan. The most important aspect of a successful Shepherds Pie is a really rich flavored meat base. You can accomplish that with bullion, soup, Worcestershire sauce, and the like. Use whatever veggies you like in your dish. I use a standard mixed veg.

This particular recipe doesn’t actually call for many veggies, just some mushrooms. And in all honesty, it seems a bit like a meatloaf with the mashed potato layer on top. It still sounds yummy, and really, how can you go wrong with bacon?

Sheppards Pie – 350º 25 min

1 lb ground beef

1 c mushroom soup (don’t dilute)

1 egg slightly beaten

2-3 T chopped parsley

6 pieces bacon

1/2 c shredded mild cheese

1 sm can mushrooms chopped

1/4 c chopped onions

1/4 c bread crumbs or cracker meal

salt, pepper & garlic salt to taste

2 c mashed potatoes

Mix thoroughly 1/2 c soup, beef, onions, egg, bread crumbs, parsley & seasoning. Press firmly into 9″ pie plate. Bake. Spoon off extra fat. Frost with potatoes & remaining soup, cheese. Bake 10 min more or brown in broiler. [Where does the bacon go???]

Vegetable Pasta Salad

Veg Pasta Salad

Written on a note pad from the Hotel Du Pont in Wilmington, DE is this recipe for Vegetable Pasta Salad. It seems like a fairly straight forward pasta salad side dish, although I personally would not use any of these veggies. I’d probably make it with fresh veggies, no beans, chopped red onion, and sliced green olives. You can adapt this as you choose for your enjoyment!

Vegetable Pasta Salad

1 1/2  kidney beans (drained)

2 c pasta (cooked & drained)

2 c frozen peas & carrots (thawed & drained)

1/2 c celery

1/4 c Italian salad dressing

1/4 c mayo

2 T parsley flakes

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

In a bowl mix together all ingredients. Refrigerate until served.

Spiced Apple Rings

Spiced Apple Rings 2 Spiced Apple Rings

Two for the price of one! These are virtually identical, with just a bit of added detail on the second card. They sound yummy and perfect for fall canning.

Spiced Apple Rings

2 tsp cloves

1 cinnamon stick or 2 tsp ground

4 c sugar

4 c water

Bring to a boil – add red food coloring

Core and cut apples into rings. Pack rings in a jar. Pour over the hot mixture. Process 15 minutes in a hot water bath.

Potato Sausage (kishkie)

Potato Sausage

Whether you call them kishke, keeshka, or kishkie, these are all variations of the name kishka, which describes an Eastern European type of sausage. In the traditional sense, sausages were made by stuffing a mixed of meat, filler and spices into an animal intestine. I have been ever thankful that isn’t the case any longer! If you wish to try to make these potato sausages, you might check Amazon of all places for the sausage casings. They have several varieties, including organic and vegan. You will also want a sausage stuffer, available by KitchenAid and others.

Potato Sausage (kishkie)

1/4 lb beef casing

3 lb potatoes

2 eggs

1/2 lb bacon

1 medium onion

1 c flour

salt & pepper

Grate potatoes, cut & fry bacon in small pieces. When bacon is half done add onions & fry until bacon is crisp. Add flour, eggs, salt, pepper and mix well.

I’m reminded of a snarky and slightly non-PC song my Gram taught me as a kid, all about Donderbeck the butcher and his sausage making enterprise. The song possibly dates from the late 19th century, but was recorded during the WPA Project in the 1930s. This was the time when Alan Lomax went around the country with his recording machine and had local folk singers perform their songs for the Library of Congress. Two versions at least are in the LoC recorded in 1938. Like many tunes at the time, the song could be adapted to the version preferred by the singer. In Gram’s case, it was set to the tune of the Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech. One line goes like this:

Oh, Donderbeck, Oh Donderbeck

How could you be so mean?

I’m sorry you invented

Your sausage meat machine!

For all the rats and pussy-cats

Shall never more be seen,

They’ve all been ground to sausage meat

In Donderbeck’s machine!

What can we say…it was the Great Depression.