Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cooking For Two

In 1964, the cooking half of a pair of newly-weds or empty-nesters might have purchased a copy of Betty Crocker’s New Dinner for Two Cookbook, if only to benefit from Betty’s menu planning advice. The first chapter is titled “Seven-Day Sampler” and gives a complete menu for every day of the week, paying attention to American culinary traditions like Sunday dinner (oven-fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, a fruit relish and a dessert) and something thrifty for Thursday night (the day before pay-day).

I envy women who can plan out an entire week’s worth of meals; there are a lot of them out on the Internet, full of sound advice on budget and/or healthy menus, and if the spousal unit and I had kids, I’d probably take a more rational approach. As it is, the extent of my fore-sightedness is putting my hand in the freezer and fishing out the first thing that pops to the surface (for days when I forget to go to the freezer, well, that’s why God invented Kraft Macaroni and Cheese).

Betty’s menu for a pre-payday meal was not bad and took advantage of cheap canned food and leftover vegetables. I think I’d probably throw in some diced ham, if I had any, or cut-up hot dogs. All recipes serve two.

Speedy Baked Beans

2 strips bacon, diced
1 small onion, minced
1 can (1 lb) baked beans with pork
½ t. prepared mustard
2 T. chili sauce

Heat oven to 350°. Sauté bacon and onion until bacon is crisp and onion yellow. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into greased 1 quart baking dish. Bake uncovered 45 min., until beans are brown and bubbling. Serve hot.

Mixed Vegetable Salad

1 cup torn chilled salad greens
1 cup chopped vegetables (raw or chilled cooked)
Oil & vinegar dressing

Toss greens and vegetables together with just enough dressing to coat greens.

Dark Date Nut Bread

½ cup boiling water
½ cup mixed light and dark raisins
½ cup chopped dates
1 ½ t. butter
¾ t. soda
¾ cup plus 2 T Gold Medal Four
½ cup sugar
¼ t. salt
1 egg
½ t. vanilla
¼ cup chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350°. Pour boiling water over raisins, dates, butter, and soda; let stand. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting. Mix flour, sugar and salt well; add fruit mixture and remaining ingredients. Beat well; pour into greased and floured 1-lb. coffee can. Bake 60 to 70 minutes.

Baked Apples

Heat oven to 350°. Wash and core apples. Either pare upper half of apples or pare one strip around center. Place in baking dish; fill center of each apple with 1-2 t. granulated or brown sugar, 1 t. butter, and 1/8 t. cinnamon. Cover bottom of pan with water about ¼” deep. Bake uncovered 45 to 60 min., or until tender when pierced with fork (time varies). Baste occasionally. Serve plain or with cream.


Packrat said...

Somehow I missed this post. Is this cookbook blue with a spiral type wire binding?

I used to plan out meals. It started back in the days when we were really poor. I had to know exactly what I needed to buy. Somewhere along the way, I quit worrying about it. Maybe it was when we were "wealthy" enough to buy the freezer and then the microwave.

Shay said...

Yes it is. Has candles on the cover.

Anonymous said...

When we were married (25 years ago) my husband's master chief gave us a "cooking for two" cookbook. Now that it is just the two of us, again, it's still a great go-to book for making the right portions.We do plan the menus for the week, and it seems to be helping with the budget.