As a young mother during the 1980s, I joined a recipe card club. I wanted to expand my food knowledge and try new and exciting meals.
The cards were printed in Holland, Norway and West Germany, no less, and were stored in a large smoky brown plastic case. The first order to begin the collection was 100 or so cards, and each month another packet of 20 to 30 cards would arrive to add to the box.
It WAS the 80s, and the recipes are full of meats, cheeses and sauces. To be honest, there are some recipes in the box I was wary of trying then — even more so today!
My older sister, Connie, who lived next door to me, was the Ethel to my Lucy. Whenever a new package of potential culinary experimentation arrived, we excitedly analyzed each one.
About once a month, we would each pick a card or two, go to our respective kitchens and hours later have a joint family meal. Granted, a few of these experiments raised a few eyebrows from the husbands and skeptical side-eyes from the kids, but that didn’t damper our enthusiasm.
We would hit the jackpot with our choices every now and then, and the recipes would evolve into family favorites. Sadly, my beloved sister passed away in 1995, and, as happens with families, the small children around our dinner tables grew up and now have children of their own.
The plastic case, still filled to the brim, has a permanent spot on the top of my refrigerator. I have fond, everlasting memories of my sister and I choosing cards at random and cooking dinner for our unsuspecting families.
So — guess what? I decided to do the same thing with you, my column readers! I’ve chosen three recipes at random for all of us to try.
Who knows? One (or all!) of these may become some of your family’s favorites!
Who doesn’t love tacos? Who doesn’t like the ease of making Sloppy Joes? Introducing the perfect combination of the two!
As a timesaver during the week, you can prepare the sandwich filling in advance, refrigerate and reheat before serving. This recipe will make four servings, but is easily doubled.
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) tomatoes
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
4 large hamburger buns, split and buttered
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
Garnishes: diced tomatoes, black olives, taco sauce, sour cream
In a skillet, sauté beef, onion and garlic until meat is no longer pink and onion is tender.
Stir in tomatoes, ketchup, chili powder to taste, salt and mustard. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Spoon meat mixture into hamburger buns. Top with shredded cheese and lettuce. Sprinkle with diced tomatoes. Serve immediately.
GLAZED BLUE CHEESE MEATBALLS
This recipe is for those who love the combination of blue cheese and beef. Serve as an entree with rice or mashed potatoes, or make them a smaller size and keep them warm in a crockpot as an appetizer at your next party.
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon sliced green onions
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
Combine beef with blue cheese, onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt and seasoned salt. Shape into 12 meatballs.
Melt butter in a skillet. Add meatballs and brown on all sides. Cover skillet. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove meatballs with a slotted spoon and put them in a serving dish. Add cream to drippings. Cook over medium to high heat, stirring, for about 2 minutes or until sauce is satiny. Spoon glaze over meatballs and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.
WILD RICE WITH MUSHROOMS
Sweet Harold was excited when he learned of this random choice for us to try as he loves wild rice AND mushrooms. Serve as a side dish for roasts or broiled salmon. Halve the recipe ingredients for two servings, or double the ingredients for eight servings.
2/3 cup uncooked wild rice
2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 tablespoon minced green bell pepper
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of nutmeg
Wash wild rice in four changes of water; drain. Add rice to boiling water. Cook, covered, at a simmer for 45 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Set aside.
Melt the butter. Add the onion, parsley, chives and green pepper. Cook over low heat for 3 minutes, stirring. Add whole mushrooms and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes, frequently stirring. Combine cooked wild rice and the vegetable mixture. Add salt, pepper and a dash of nutmeg. Toss lightly to blend.
Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table decor ideas and advice for fellow foodies and novices on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com for more than eight years. She won the Duke Mayonnaise 100th Anniversary nationwide recipe contest for her Alabama White BBQ Sauce. You can contact her at facebook.com/fleurde.lolly.5, on Instagram and [email protected]