Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Beef and Noodle Medley

In pursuit of completing my commitment (to myself) to spend a year cooking from Farm Journal cookbooks, I have been adding to my collection. Thank you Amazon used book sellers. The range of prices is mind boggling. I purchased one for $00.12, yet some are priced at close to $200! Crazy. You won't catch me paying that for a cookbook. Granted, the 12 cent one is a bit musty smelling, but, hey, the recipes still work, right?

This latest book is Farm Journal's Country Cookbook revised enlarged edition. It was first published in 1959 and reprinted in 1972, and it is a hoot. The running commentary through the book is so standard '50s speak. For example, this little paragraph from the intro.

     "Appetizers and snacks have become important. Many a country hostess now serves a beverage as first course in the living room---often tomato or fruit juice, cocktails or wine, with crisp chips or vegetables and dips or dunks. This affords informal visiting for her husband and guests;meanwhile, the hostess puts final touches on the company meal. Smart country cooks tell us this sidetracks well-meaning friends who want to "help," but who often delay dinner instead. So in this edition full chapters are devoted to recipes for appetizers and snacks, and beverages."

Who knew we were supposed to distract our guests? Personally, I can take all the help I can get in the kitchen. We've come a long way, baby!

There are also quite a few recipes I won't be sharing out of this book...things that have to do with parts of animals I don't deal with, and some things I just flat have never heard of. Does anyone know what "salsify" is? It apparently has nothing to do with salsa. I think it is some sort of plant. If you know...share.

On to the recipe. I am really big on one dish meals...dishes that only need a salad and bread. This one is like hamburger helper without the box. It's quick and tasty and heats well in the microwave for lunch the next day. I am all about versatility. (This recipe is from Family Favorites from Country Kitchens, published in 1973.)

"A fast-fix skillet dinner that's served often on a Montana ranch."


1 TBS. olive oil
1 TBS. butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
2 cloves grated garlic
8 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms
1 lb. ground beef
2 cup wide egg noodles (the Country Pasta works great here)
1 15 oz. can kidney beans
2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a large skillet (my 12 inch saute pan works great for this) saute onion, celery, red pepper, garlic, and mushrooms in butter and oil until veggies are very tender. Then add ground beef and brown. Drain excess juices. Add uncooked noodles, undrained kidney beans, tomatoes and sauce, and spices. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover. Simmer 20 minutes or until noodles are tender. 

Notes:This is so fast and easy to fix. It tastes good and is filling. Works great on those crazy week nights when kids have soccer, piano, homework, and cupcakes to be made for the school carnival the next day. LOOVVEE these kinds of dishes!  Enjoy!

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