Tag Archives: cheese

Vintage Gold Rush Meat Balls

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I found this antique in my box of recipes, hand-typed on a yellowing, partially disintegrated index card. My great-grandmother developed this recipe, and it is no doubt the origin of the Gold Rush Meat Balls that my mom used to make. The original version was quite different from my mother’s recipe, however. Mamaw used pickles as well as cheese in her meat balls, and her gravy was made with evaporated milk and bouillon.

I did make one small alteration to the vintage version of this recipe: I reduced the amount of ground beef used per meat ball. The directions as written would have yielded 8 servings of 1 meat ball each, using about 1/4 pound of beef per meat ball. This is a bit much for me. :) I was able to get about 8 smaller meatballs out of 1 pound of ground beef, which made two fairly hearty servings. I’ve written the recipe below to serve 4.

I chose to serve this with vegetables, rather than following the original suggestion of cooked noodles. The low-carb eating plan is working well, and I’m happy to stick with it for now.


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 16 (1-inch) cubes sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 16 (1/2-inch) cubes dill pickle
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Divide the beef into 16 equal portions.


Place 1 cheese cube and 1 pickle cube in the center of each portion, and mold the beef around them into a meat ball.


Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and pan-fry the meatballs until evenly browned.

Remove the meat balls, and pour off all but 1/4 cup of the residual fat.


Add the chopped onion to the skillet, and sauté until clear.


Add the flour, and whisk until combined.


Add the evaporated milk and bouillon cubes, reduce the heat to low, and whisk until the sauce has thickened.


Salt and pepper the meat balls lightly, and return them to the sauce.


Cover, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.


Serves 4.

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Savory Baked Spinach


Hooray, another Dr. Matthews recipe! The man who contributed recipes for Salisbury Steak and Sherried Beef is back with a baked spinach dish that will knock your socks off – which isn’t easy to do with frozen spinach. It’s one of the least glamorous ingredients imaginable, in the same class with creamed corn and tinned fruit cocktail. There just isn’t anything good to do with frozen spinach… or so I thought.

This recipe is AMAZING. Seriously. SO GOOD. I try to avoid excessive use of capitalized words, as it is far too easy to overuse their emphasis, but this is an exceptional case. I have never had such good spinach in my entire life. The dish is something like a quiche, but without the “jiggly” texture. The seasonings, cheese, and spinach all combine to create an absolutely scrumptious flavor that neither I nor my SO could get enough of. If you make this, expect to hear cries of “More spinach, please!”. It may be a first. :)

I replaced the rice in this recipe with cauliflower rice, to continue the low-carb trend. Absolutely delicious, I don’t feel that it hurts the finished product at all. The “finished” picture is shown served with Josie’s Crockpot Apple Pork Tenderloin from Clean Eatz, which was super tasty! Full credit to this cool lady for a great recipe.


  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups cauliflower rice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


Combine all ingredients in an 8” x 8” x 2” Pyrex baking dish.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Slice into squares, and serve.


Serves 6.

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Fettuccine Alfredo


We’ve had this recipe in the family for as long as I can remember. I think it’s a safe guess that, since the ingredients feature the Skinner brand of pasta, my mother probably clipped the recipe from a box of their product. I have used this “pattern” as the basis for nearly every white pasta sauce that I make; I simply modify the ingredients to suit whatever I’m cooking (and have on hand).

There is nothing terribly complicated about this dish. The key is to use fresh parsley, rather than dried, for the best depth of flavor. In addition, if you can use real fresh grated Parmesan, rather than the powdered kind one puts on top of pizza, the results will be much better. :) Refrigerated leftovers do not heat up terribly well, so I recommend halving the recipe when necessary to ensure that all the delicious creamy cheesy goodness is consumed when fresh.


  • 1 (12-ounce) package fettuccine noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced



In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.


Gradually stir in the Parmesan cheese, then add the cream and stir until well blended.

Heat the sauce just to the boiling point, stirring constantly.


Remove sauce from heat, and stir in the parsley and garlic.

Toss the sauce with the pasta.


Serves 4-6.

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Company Casserole


I deeply sympathize with all recipe writers, past and present, who have had to find a way to fit complex sets of ingredients and instructions onto a 3” x 5” index card. The compression methods I have seen range from the merely illegible to the truly Byzantine, and are often meant to be deciphered only by the author, or to serve as a set of memory cues. I had never encountered today’s recipe before, and I read through the instructions four times before I was certain that I understood what my mother had intended. There is no Rosetta Stone for these things.

The casserole, despite its translation issues, is excellent. I particularly enjoy the way that the flavor of the green onions permeates all of the layers. While the recipe is another variation on “what to do with ground beef”, it is a tasty and satisfying one which I plan to repeat.


  • 8 ounces medium pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


In a large skillet, melt the butter and sauté the ground beef over medium heat until browned.


Add the tomato sauce, salt, and garlic powder, and simmer for 5 minutes.


In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, cottage cheese, sour cream, green onions, and pepper.


In a 2-quart casserole dish, alternate layers of the noodle mixture,


and meat sauce.


Top with the grated Cheddar.

Bake for 30 minutes.


Serves 4.

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Chuck Wagon Casserole


Success at last! Today’s recipe is a rework of the Chuck Wagon Skillet that I posted about a month ago. Regular readers may remember that recipe as one of my rare failures. I wrote a few notes on modifications I planned to make in order to improve the end result, and I am pleased to say that they work as expected.

I changed the procedure significantly from the original recipe, and I also modified a few of the ingredients and quantities. The pasta is cooked in advance, the beef and onions are cooked together, and everything is layered together in a 13” x 9” Pyrex casserole dish. I substituted diced tomatoes for stewed tomatoes, as they are easier to spread in an even layer. Half of the cheese goes in the middle, and the other half goes on top to help “glue” everything together. The only change I might make in the future would be to add a thin layer of sour cream somewhere in the dish: I put a dollop on top of some leftover casserole that I heated up, and it was really good!


  • 8 ounces pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the onion until tender.


Add the ground beef, salt, and pepper, and cook until the beef is browned.


In a 13” x 9” Pyrex baking dish, layer the pasta,


meat mixture,


tomatoes, half of the cheese,




black olives,


and remaining half of the cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and casserole is heated through.


Serves 6.

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Shrimp Diavolo Alfredo

Up until about two years ago, I was a serious wimp when it came to spicy food. Even a few pickled jalapenos would send me running for a glass of milk with which to cool the agony. After meeting my current SO, things began to change. He had a taste for spicy food, and I wanted to find out what was so great about eating something which I found painful. I gradually began to expand my palate, and as a result, I found my tolerance increasing. After a short while, I was able to eat dishes with spicy ingredients and actually taste them, rather than simply feeling the burn. I discovered that I really enjoyed the flavor of certain peppers and spices, and I have been experimenting with great success.

This is a recipe I developed myself, as a result of having a bag of shrimp around and craving something spicy. Before this, I hadn’t spent much time making sauces with crushed red pepper: normally, if I want to kick something up a few notches, I add a bit of habanero sauce and allow any dairy components to balance out the flavor. Crushed red pepper does not “dilute” in the same way as habanero sauce, and adds a completely different type of spice. As a result, this recipe turned out to be far more intense than I had anticipated… but the flavor is so good that I’ve kept on making it!

A warning to the faint of stomach: the “spicy factor” in this dish is not to be underestimated. My SO eats the most mouth-blistering of Indian delicacies with nary an eyeblink, and even he was impressed with how spicy this was. I have made this recipe with up to 1/4 cup of crushed red pepper, but this is not a modification I recommend to the unprepared. Unless you are really ready for it, stick to 1/8 cup. I promise that it will still blow your socks off.


  • 1 pound penne pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/8 cup crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound shrimp



In a large pot, heat the butter and olive oil over low heat until the butter is melted.


Add the flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.


Stir in the milk, red pepper, paprika,  garlic powder, and dill weed, and raise the heat to medium.


Add the cream cheese, Parmesan, and shrimp, and cook, stirring, until the cheeses melt and the sauce is heated through.


Add the pasta, and stir to coat.


Serves 6.

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Onion Brunch Bread


So what do you do with creamed corn, anyway? Many people do not like it. The texture is a turn-off. The last time I donated canned goods to a food pantry, there was a sign up requesting “please, no creamed corn”. I have never had a good answer to this question before today.

This recipe for Onion Brunch Bread has been sitting in my pile for several weeks now. I kept meaning to make and photograph it, but I continued to put it off because doing so would require me to purchase a can of creamed corn. I finally gave in and made the bread, and I’m glad that I did. It is far, far better than any other creamed-corn-containing dish that I have ever tried… primarily because the creamed corn is no longer creamy. :)

I am not sure that I would strictly classify this as bread: while there is a bread substrate at the bottom, a fork is required as the onion and sour cream layer is still quite soft after baking. It’s more like a topped cornbread. That said, the flavor is really quite good: the creamed corn lends sweetness to the mix without overpowering it, and dill brings out the delicious dairy notes on top.


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream
  • 1/ 4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 (8 1/2-ounce) package corn muffin mix
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 (8 3/4-ounce) can creamed corn
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.


In a large skillet, sauté the onion in the butter until tender.


In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, salt, dill weed, prepared mustard, and 1/2 cup of the Cheddar cheese with the cooked onions, and mix well.


In a separate bowl, combine the corn muffin mix, egg, milk, creamed corn, and hot sauce.


Spoon the corn muffin mixture into an 8” x 8” x 2” baking dish.


Gently spread the onion mixture over the batter, and sprinkle the top with the remaining 3/4 cup of Cheddar cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until firm in the center.


Serves 6.

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Chicken Divan


According to the top of the clipping, this recipe is from 1956. Food has changed a lot in the last 58 years: people are encouraged to eat “heart-healthy”, to “get their 5”, and to substitute, substitute, substitute. Fad diets have taken over the horizon, and many people now define themselves not by who they are, but by what they do not eat. To quote Jesse, the little boy from the Simpsons episode “Lisa the Tree-Hugger”: “I’m a level 5 vegan – I won’t eat anything that casts a shadow.” For the times, they are a-changin’.

This old but good recipe would probably chill some modern health activists to the bone. 1/4 cup of butter? 1/2 cup of heavy cream?! Heresy! Chaos! Run for your well-toned carefully balanced lives!!! I’ve been reading this interesting webpage on the Illustrated History of Heart Disease. While I feel that some of the information presented has been carefully curated to support the author’s point of view, I did learn a few things about the background of modern eating practices that I wasn’t aware of. Check out the link and form your own opinion; as for me and my house, we shall eat butter (specifically, delicious grass-fed Kerrygold Irish butter), and enjoy our lives.


  • 1 large bunch of broccoli, trimmed and cut into 4-inch spears
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled and whipped until it holds stiff peaks
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • Lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, divided
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and sliced thin


Preheat the broiler.


In a large pot, cook the broccoli in boiling salted water for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender, and drain.


In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat.


Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.


Add the chicken broth, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.


Fold in the well-whipped cream, sherry, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.


In a 2-quart dish, arrange the broccoli and pour half of the sauce over it.


Layer the chicken on top of the broccoli.


Stir 1/4 cup of the Parmesan into the remaining sauce, and pour it over the chicken.


Top the casserole with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan.

Place the casserole in the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.


Serves 6.

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Mac and Cheese Casserole

I learned this recipe at my mother’s knee, quite literally. The teaching was entirely oral: as far as I am aware, she never wrote down the recipe. By the time I was 9 years old, I could successfully make mac and cheese casserole for the family dinner, and only have to bother my mother once or twice for instructional reminders (“How much milk is it again? Ok, thanks!”). I felt proud of the accomplishment, of being able to help my parents by taking on the responsibility for dinner, and of being able to make something that tasted “just like Mom’s”.

Over the years, I have tried many different variations on this casserole. I have made it with ham, ground beef, bacon, bratwurst (which is particularly delicious), no meat whatsoever, mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, habanero sauce… the alterations are as numerous as one could wish. My mother always made the casserole with cooked ham, so that is the version I cooked for this blog post. However, as with all good recipes, please feel free to modify it and make it your own. Home cooking should be an expression of creativity and love, not simply an exercise in rote memorization.


  • 8 ounces pasta shapes of your choice (rotini, fusilli, shells, elbows, etc), cooked and drained
  • 8 ounces cooked ham, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, cubed


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.


Place the cooked pasta and chopped ham in a 13” x 9” casserole dish.


In a medium cooking pot, sauté the onion in the butter over medium heat until clear.


Add the pepper and flour, and mix well.


Add the milk and cheese, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted and sauce is thickened.


Pour the sauce over the pasta and ham, and mix well.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through.


Serves 4.

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Potato Gratin


Sometimes, I will do a little background research to see if I can identify a recipe author. I found this recipe syndicated in a few newspapers, but no source was ever given. To the anonymous chef, whoever he or she may have been: well done! This is a wonderfully put together side dish, and easier to make than I had ever anticipated. My previous experience with any sort of potato gratin was limited to Betty Crocker box potatoes. This was a venture into uncharted territory.

I was very pleased with the result. The potatoes were very tender, and thoroughly infused with delicious cream. I chose to add the optional Gruyere cheese in between the potato layers and on top, because cheese is one of those good things that one cannot ever have too much of. Omitting the Gruyere would certainly lower the calorie count, but as regular readers of this blog will know, I am less concerned with calories and more concerned with flavor. Go ahead – add the cheese. :)


  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 8 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


Use the garlic to thoroughly rub the inside of a 13” x 9” baking dish, and butter the dish.


In a medium cooking pot, cover the sliced potatoes with salted water and bring to a boil.

Cook the potatoes for 1 minute, and drain.


In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with salt and pepper.


In a small bowl, mix together the half-and-half and milk.


Layer half of the potatoes in the prepared baking dish.


Cover the potatoes with half of the liquid.


Layer half of the grated cheese on top of the potatoes.

Repeat with the remaining potatoes, liquid, and cheese.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and golden on top.


Serves 8.

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