My first time…. making an omelet.

Finally getting back on track with the cooking-through challenge, I decided to try my hand at an omelet.  Not just any omelet but a french omelet aux fines herbes found on page 259 of the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

I never attempted making an omelet before because it holds a bit of an intimidation factor for me.  I was amazed to find out it is not complicated at all!

This is how my first omelet ever turned out.

I  toasted  some Brioche on the side.

Not bad for a first try.  Now the recipe for “aux fines herbes” I was drawn to as I love anything french.  It seemed quite glamorous, even for an omelet.

I honestly did not quite care for the taste.  It was a big too “herby” for my liking, if there is such a thing.  I even admit to adding barbecue sauce to it.  (blushing)

The good thing is that I tried something new.  Won’t Happily Mr. be surprised when I whip up a ham and cheese omelet for him this weekend!

Keep or Toss?:  I will definitely keep making omelets from now on.  In fact the picture instructions for the french omelet key recipe were easy to follow.  I can’t believe I was so scared to make them before!! As for the Aux Fines Herbes part? Sadly, I must toss.  It just wasn’t to my liking.  Maybe if I added a bit of cheese to it, it would have been better. Next time!

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One basic white sauce for a variety of recipes and creamy sauces.

This key recipe I learned before the arrival of my precious Betty Crocker cookbook.  White sauce, roux, whatever you call it can be the basis for so many recipes.  My mom taught me how to make macaroni and cheese using this white sauce, which surprisingly takes about the same amount of time as opening a box of Kraft.  Here in germany where the “cream of” variety of condensed soups are not sold, I found I needed to use the white sauce in order to re-create many of my American recipes, like hamburger stroganoff, a chicken and rice casserole and my favorite cheesy potatoes.  I also use this as the basis for my southern gravy and alfredo sauce.

Since I have been cooking-through my cookbook, I find now that it was used in so many recipes during the fifties and that I can even make a short cut to white sauce and keep it on hand in the refrigerator.

This is how I make my white sauce, which also seems to be the same recipe in the cookbook.  Makes sense I guess, since I learned it from my Mom who used this cookbook too when it first came out in the fifties.

Let’s get started.

First, melt the butter over low heat.

Next, blend in the flour and seasonings cooking over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly.

Remove from heat to stir in milk.  Then bring to a boil for about one minute.  Here, you have to stir constantly.

Sometimes, I switch to using a whisk if there happen to be any lumps in the sauce.  When the sauce is your desired consistency, it is done.

The recipe states for the best flavor to cook for 10 minutes.  I never knew that.  It also states to use a wooden spoon, so next time I will try as Betty suggests.

The measurements for a medium sauce is 3 tbsp. butter, 3 tbsp. flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper and 1 cup milk.

For the shortcut to always have the basic roux (butter paste)  on hand says to blend to a smooth paste equal amounts of soft butter and flour.  Keep in jar in the refrigerator.  I will be trying this too, it will save a lot of time for me.  When ready to use, heat to scalding the milk, stock or other liquid and seasonings. Stir constantly until mixture boils for 1 minute.  Remove from heat.

I thought it was time to share this method today, as throughout this month I will be trying out a few new recipes that require this white sauce and sharing a few of my own in the near future.

I can’t tell you how many times this basic, simple, little white sauce has saved my dinners!

If you are curious about learning more about this basic white sauce, you can find all the little hints and techniques in the sauces section of the original Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

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Betty Crocker’s potato salad & what we ate for dinner

There are hundreds of different variations to potato salad but today I’ll be sharing one specifically from my Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook; part of the cooking-through challenge.

Interestingly enough, the French Dressing I just happened to try a few weeks ago, so it was quite easy to whip up a batch.

Potato salad is such an easy make ahead dish and a great accompaniment to those summer barbeques.

As you know, I am trying to stay true to the ways things were done in that decade, so I went to my number one source, my Mom who was married in 1950, to find out if I am supposed to peel the potatoes after boiling or before.  I had vague memories of her peeling them after.  She confirmed that is how she did it, but it was no big deal to peel them before.

Potatoes are a much softer, floury consistency and the skins are quite thin here in Germany, I found it was easier to peel them before boiling.

Here is a picture of the potatoes  after mixing in the French Dressing.  I then let them chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours, like the recipe states.  They really don’t look “cubed” to me, I probably could have done a better job there but I was in a bit of a hurry.

I then added the salad dressing and eggs just before serving and of course garnished it with some parsley.

This particular evening I needed a quick dinner so I just served it up with some mini würtschen(frankfurters) and this is what our light, evening meal looked like.

Keep or Toss? Happily Mr. said definitely a keeper.

My Thoughts?  It had a nice creamy texture and the taste was very mild which is a switch from the vinegar taste of many potato salads in our region.

Thats it for this week!  Be sure to pop back in next week as I am going to attempt one of the more difficult salads in this cookbook.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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The perfect salad topper – It’s as simple as French Dressing!

Last week, for the cooking-through challenge, I shared Betty’s version of the basic green salad.

Of course every salad needs a dressing and as I was looking through this section of the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook (my book for the challenge), I thought, why not try the recipe on page 335 for French Dressing.  Typically, I am not a fan of it but… I felt like trying it this time.

My guess as to why I like it now, because it is a basic key recipe.  Nothing extra added to tweak it and most likely I don’t care for the taste of those “tweaks”?  I don’t know, I am making this up as I go along and it sounds right to me.

Anyways, on with the ingredients needed.

Sugar, salt, paprika, mustard, pepper, lemon juice, salad oil and onion juice.  I have a glass jar that I always use for dressings.  Funny thing, a creamy french dressing came in it and we didnt’ care for it, but I liked the jar.

Mix everything together and shake and voila!

You have a really tasty salad dressing!

Keep or Toss?  Another keeper!

My Thoughts?  I  definitely could have found a better way to photograph the dressing for you, now that I think about it!

Be sure to stop by Mary’s blog to see what recipes she is cooking up during this month.  She is using the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. 

 

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Basic Green Salad – “There can always be a salad!”

As I am cooking my way through the “Salads” category this month, I thought why not go back to the basics.  Today I am preparing a  green salad just as Betty Crocker suggests.  Although she states, “There can always be a salad”, meaning just by glancing in your refrigerator, cupboard, or garden, will convince you that you will always have the available ingredients.  Of course she is very considerate and gives the housewife a general plan on how to use what you happen to have on hand.

For this salad though, I took the amounts suggested for 3 people and used only the ingredients mentioned in the Amounts for Green Salads section, found on page 339 of the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

Since I am trying to stay true to the recipes for this challenge, I used romaine and a little spinach.  Those were on the list of  “A Variety of Salad Greens gives interest to salads” list, found on page 337.

Before I show you my result, can I just add, I thought it was interesting that onion was not mentioned in the vegetable amounts for green salads and have never added celery before either.   I am learning so much  this month, even the proper way to wash and prepare lettuce, add the dressing and so much more.  Yes, I did say we will be discussing salad etiquette and don’t worry, we will as manners and etiquette are a favorite subject of mine.  Okay… I know, I can get chatty when I talk about something I enjoy.

Here is my very basic, Green Salad.

I chose to make French dressing to go on it and I will happily be sharing that adventure with you next week!

Funny thing, I can’t find my salad tongs anywhere!

I’m curious… Do you put onion in your green salad?  Or celery for that matter?

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My first recipe in the Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge! (Fancy Chicken Salad)

I am thrilled to share my first recipe in Mary’s Chaotic Cooking-Through Challenge!  If you aren’t quite sure what I am talking about, you can read all about it here.  Basically, she choose’s a category each month and we have to cook or bake recipes from that category for the entire month.  The amount we choose to make is up to the participant.  I plan on sharing a recipe weekly.  Oh, I almost forgot!   The category for this month is Salads &  Salad Dressings. I knew you would want to know!

To refresh your memory, I chose to cook from the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook (1950).

As soon as I found out what the category was, I started reading the section on salads.  Did you know there is even “Salad Etiquette” according to Mrs. Crocker?  Who would have known!  I will share many of the extras I have been learning throughout May as well.

Okay, enough chatter!   On to the recipe I chose to cook today.  From page 316 of the cookbook, Chicken Salad.  Also considered “An All-American favorite.”

I absolutely love chicken salad in the summer but never made it from a recipe before.  So let’s get started… it seems easy enough.

My ingredients, ready to mix.

Next, I decided to be as authentic as I could to serving the chicken salad as the recipe suggests.

Yes, I actually served this for my husbands lunch!  He loved it by the way.  I have to admit, I wasn’t sure about making the tomato flower but it worked and I even had fun “playing with food” creating a nice presentation.

Here is a closer look at the chicken salad.

Keep or Toss?  Definitely a keeper.  I’ll be adding this recipe for chicken salad to my regulars, although, I can’t say I will display as such every time.

My Thoughts?  I think this would be a great recipe to serve at a ladies luncheon in the summertime.  You can make it up a few hours ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to serve.

See you next week with a new recipe from the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.


Anyone can join the cooking-through challenge!  You don’t have to have a blog, you can follow along at home.  Please feel free to link your recipe or share your cooking experience in the comments and don’t forget to head over to see what Mary is up to, the original source for this fun challenge!

If you would like, you can also follow along on Twitter @Happily_Mrs #chaoticcookthrough.

 

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