Shrimp Fiesta


Shrimp fiesta is an example of a casserole recipe that uses canned soup as a base for the sauce. The recipe combines cooked shrimp with a can of soup and other ingredients. Biscuit dough spread with pimento and cheese is rolled up and cut into slices that are baked on top of the casserole. It is quick to put together and bakes in about 25 minutes.

The recipe comes from a booklet titled “For Variety Cook with Soup”. It was published by the H. J. Heinz Company sometime around the late 1950s to early 1960s. There is no date on the booklet. It comes from some that Mom collected and kept in her big Betty Crocker cookbook.

Condensed canned soup was developed in 1897 by a chemist who worked for the Campbell Company. Companies that produced canned condensed soups frequently published booklets containing recipes featuring their products and those could be found in the soup aisles at grocery stores from the 1940s on. New recipes were developed frequently and some of the most memorable classic recipes from the 1950s use condensed soup. Think green bean casserole.

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The recipe will serve 6.

Shrimp Fiesta

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 cans Heinz Condensed Cream of Mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 3 tablespoons of milk
  • 3/4 lb. cooked shrimp, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimiento
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups of biscuit mix (follow directions on package for rolled biscuits)
  • 1/3 cup chopped pimiento
  • 1/2 cup grated process American cheese

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 2 quart casserole dish.

Saute the onion and green pepper in the butter until tender. Add the soup and the next 4 ingredients. Pour into the casserole. Roll the biscuit dough into a 12″x7″x1/4″ rectangle. Spread the dough with the cheese and pimento. Roll the dough up, beginning with the long side. Cut into 1 inch slices and place those on top of the shrimp mixture in the casserole. Bake 25 minutes.

Notes

The biscuits are placed cut side down on top of the casserole. The soup, shrimp and other ingredients are put together in a sauce pan.

Other cooked seafood or fish can be used in the recipe.

The pimento can be left out.

For variation other condensed cream soups could be used such as cheese or mushroom with garlic.

Instead of biscuit mix you can use your own recipe for homemade biscuits. Bake the extras from a 2 cup of flour recipe in another pan.

Canned biscuits could be used, if you must. Pat the biscuit dough out into a rectangle.

Less seafood or fish could be used if you make up the difference with cooked vegetables such as peas and carrots.

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No Peel Potato Salad


No peel potato salad is made from mashed potato flakes instead of cooked potatoes. It tastes the same as traditional recipes but takes far less time to prepare. It can be served either hot or cold. It is a nice side dish to have on hand for quick meals of hamburgers, hot dogs or various sandwiches. Add salmon or tuna and it is a one dish meal.

My Mother would have liked this version of potato salad. Watching her peel steaming hot potatoes was scary. Cooking the potatoes and eggs really heated up her small galley kitchen in summer. Dad loved potato salad although she didn’t make it the same as his grandmother. Dad said his grandmother had always put in bacon and dressed it with a bacon dripping and vinegar dressing. Mom always used mayonnaise and never would have considered adding bacon.

Potatoes were introduced to Europe from the New World in the 16th. century by returning Spanish explorers. Recipes for various ways to serve potatoes were developed throughout Europe. Each country and region had their own recipes. European immigrants brought those recipes with them to the Americas. Potato salad was a thrifty way to use up leftover cooked potatoes.

Potato salad became very popular in the United States in the second half of the 19th. century. It was served at home and in most restaurants. German style potato salad is served warm and contains bacon, onion, mustard and has a vinegar dressing. Other types of the salad are served cold. Until the 1940s most recipes for potato salad found in cookbooks called for French dressing. Now a majority of potato salad recipes use a mayonnaise based dressing.

potato sa;ad

The salad will serve 4.

No Peel Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup plus potato flakes or buds (enough to make a stiff batch of potatoes)
  • 1/3 cup of diced onion
  • 1/3 cup of mayonnaise, more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon of prepared mustard, heaping
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet pickle relish, drained
  • 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced

Directions

Cook and peel the eggs. Dice the onion.

Put the water and salt in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the stove. Add the onions (stir in later for less intense flavor). Stir in the potato flakes. Let stand a minute and add a few more tablespoons of flakes at a time until the mixture is stiff.

Add the mayonnaise, mustard, pickle relish and black pepper to the potatoes. Stir well. Stir in the sliced eggs but keep some slices to garnish the salad.

Serve at once or cover and refrigerate until needed. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Notes

Your favorite seasonings can be added. Paprika, red pepper flakes, horseradish, dry mustard or garlic. Parsley, tarragon, and other herbs can be used.

On a hot day the water and salt can be heated in the microwave.

Crisp crumbled bacon can be added to the salad or used to garnish it. The pickle relish should be left out if you do. You can cook the onions in the bacon fat until tender for added flavor. Drain well before adding the onions to the salad.

Diced celery, cucumbers or sliced radishes can be added.

If you have some leftover cooked vegetables they can be added, about 1/4 cup or so.

Well drained canned salmon or tuna can be mixed into the salad.

Potato salad is nice served on tomato wedges or slices. It can also be served on crisp lettuce leaves.

A few tablespoons of sour cream can be mixed in with the dressing.

Cubes or shredded cheese can be added to the salad or on top of it.

A French version would include a vinaigrette containing Dijon mustard and tarragon.

A German version would include bacon, mustard and onion. There would be a small amount of bacon drippings in the dressing.

Diced red and green bell peppers can be added. Diced tomatoes can also be added. Sliced black olives can be mixed into the salad.

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German Baked Pancakes


A baked German pancake is often called a Dutch baby. They are usually served for breakfast or brunch. Some filled versions can be served for lunch, dinner or dessert. The pancake can be sweet or savory. This is much easier and quicker to prepare than standard griddle pancakes.

A baked pancake is like a popover but the ingredient proportions are different. The egg batter is poured into hot butter in an oven proof frying or pie pan and baked until puffy and golden brown. The pancake is then cut into wedges and sprinkled with powdered sugar and lemon juice from sliced lemons is squeezed over. The wedges can be spread with butter and jam, have stewed fruit spooned over them or cheese can be melted over the top.

The baked pancake comes from the German pfannkuchen. The recipe for baked pancakes has been long known in the Americas thanks to German and other immigrants from Northern Europe. Pancakes in all forms are ancient.

Plain baked pancake

Plain baked pancake

 

Baked pancake with butter and apricot jam

Baked pancake with butter and apricot jam

One baked pancake will serve 2 to 4. Each pancake is cut into  4 wedges.

German Baked Pancake

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, equal to 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt or less
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar, for a slightly sweet pancake
  • 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 for the pan, 1 for the batter

Directions

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10 inch cast iron or stainless steel frying pan. Any frying pan with a metal handle can be used. You can use a pie pan.

Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and beat with a wire whisk until well blended. Add the milk, flour, the sugar and the salt. Beat well until smooth.

Heat the pan and 1 tablespoon of butter in the oven or on the stove. Make sure you swirl the pan to coat the sides with melted butter.

Pour in the egg batter and bake the pancake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, it will be golden brown and puffy. The cake will fall and flatten after a few minutes. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and lemon juice or serve with butter, jam, jelly, syrup or stewed fruit. Cut the pancake into four wedges.

 

Savory Baked Pancake

This version is good for lunch or a quick light dinner. It will use up vegetable or meat leftovers.  The pancake will serve 2 to 4. A salad can be served with it. A cheese sauce is nice drizzled over the wedges.

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 for the pan, 1 for the batter
  • 1 cooked chicken thigh and some cooked vegetables or leftover stew or chili
  • Cheese, shredded or crumbled

Directions

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Prepare the filling. Shred or dice the chicken thigh or other cooked meat or fish. Have some cooked vegetables ready. If you want to add onion or mushrooms they should be cooked until tender in butter. Have the cheese ready and at room temperature. If you use leftover stew or chili have it ready. Any cooked meat can be added including bacon, sausage, hamburger, shredded pork or fish. Any cooked vegetable can be used.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter for the batter in the microwave. Cool.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a 12 inch metal handled frying pan on the stove. Or in a pie pan in the oven

Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and beat well with a wire whisk. Add the milk, salt, melted butter and flour. Beat well until the batter is smooth.

Put the filling ingredients in the bottom of the pan in the melted butter. Pour the batter over the filling ingredients and the hot butter in the pan. You can cover the batter with cheese if you want.

Bake the pancake in the oven until it is golden brown and puffed. The egg batter will swell up around and over the filling. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes. Check at 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle cheese over the top. Return to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes until the cheese melts.

This recipe can be changed however you want depending on the ingredients you have on hand. Any cream or cheese sauce is nice served over the wedges.

 

Baked Apple Pancake

For breakfast, brunch or dessert. Sprinkle the top with sugar and cinnamon or powdered sugar.

Serves 2 to 4.

Ingredients

  • 2 apples, cored, peeled and sliced thin
  • Lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

Directions

Heat the oven to 425 degree F.

Prepare the apples. Peel and core the apples. Cut into thin slices. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and cook the apples in the butter until they are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside and prepare the egg batter.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a 12 inch frying pan that has a metal handle. Heat on the stove or in the oven.

Break the eggs into a mixing bowl. Beat well and add the milk, melted butter, sugar, salt and flour. Beat until smooth.

Arrange the apple slices over the butter in the bottom of the heated pan. Pour the egg batter over the apple slices.

Bake the pancake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Sprinkle powdered sugar or sugar and cinnamon over the top. Return to the oven for 1 minute.

Cut into 4 wedges. Serve with lemon juice or plain.

 

Notes

Shredded or grated cheese can be sprinkled over the egg batter in the pan after pouring in the egg batter for a plain cheese pancake. Sliced green onions can be added along with the cheese.

The batter can be baked in a 6 cup muffin pan. A couple tablespoons of filling is added to the center of each half filled cup and they are baked until puffed and golden brown. Cheese, cooked vegetables, cooked meats or fish can be used as a filling. Canned fruit pie filling can be used for sweet puffs. The muffin pan is buttered and heated about 5 minutes in the oven before adding the batter and filling. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. The batter bakes over and around the filling. Sit the muffin pan on a sheet pan for ease in handling.

Some cooks add vanilla and cinnamon to the batter for a sweet pancake.

Some recipes call for 1/3 cup each of flour and liquid per egg.

A small amount of nutmeg is often added to the batter.

Some cooks return the pancake to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes after sprinkling the top with powdered sugar.

Pancakes in the 1600s often had nutmeg, cloves, mace and cinnamon mixed into the batter.

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Raisin Cinnamon Coffee Cake


Raisin cinnamon coffee cake is a basic butter cake with raisins folded into the batter. It is topped with sugar, cinnamon, butter and then drizzled with a powder sugar glaze. It is quick to make because it uses baking powder instead of yeast.

Mom usually had a coffee cake of some type around the house. Often they were store bought but on occasion she would make a baking powdered based cake topped with fruit. Dad said his grandmother and aunt always had coffee bread or coffee cake to serve guests. Those were usually yeast based.

We have European immigrants to thank for the tradition of sweet breads and cakes served along with coffee. Coffee cake as we now know it can be traced back to ancient European honey cakes. Those were actually breads that were sweetened with honey and often contained spices, dried fruits and nuts. Eating sweet cakes and sweet breads while drinking coffee became a custom in Northern Europe in the 17th. century. The Dutch, German and Scandinavian immigrants introduced their recipes to the Americas. Serving coffee when guests drop in has became a real part of American culture.

Coffee cakes have become a part of weekend breakfasts and brunches. This one can be varied depending on the ingredients you have handy. The recipe can be easily doubled to make a larger cake.

The photo does not show the cake very well.

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This small round cake will serve 6 to 8 depending on how it is cut.

Raisin Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 cup of cold milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of raisins, plumped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons of cold butter
  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • Drop of vanilla
  • Water

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. and butter or spray a 10 inch round cake pan. Make the cinnamon, sugar and butter topping in a bowl by mixing it together with a fork or pastry blender until crumbs form. Set the topping aside.

Plump the raisins by putting them in a microwave safe bowl, covering with water and microwaving them for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and set aside to cool. Drain well before adding to the cake.

Begin making the cake batter by mixing  3 tablespoons of soft butter and 1/2 cup of sugar together with a whisk in a medium sized mixing bowl. Beat until the sugar is incorporated into the butter. Add the egg and the vanilla and beat with the whisk until well blended.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in another bowl. Add the combined dry ingredients into the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla mixture alternately with the cold milk. Blend then beat with the whisk or a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth. Fold in the plumped and drained raisins.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Smooth the top. Sprinkle the cinnamon, sugar and butter crumb topping over the cake. Make the powdered sugar glaze while the cake bakes.

Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the center tests done. As soon as it is removed from the oven drizzle the glaze over the top. Allow the cake to cool before slicing.

Notes

The glaze can be omitted.

Chopped or ground nuts can be added to the topping.

Any dried fruit can be used.

Nuts can be used instead of fruit in the cake.

Other extracts can be used such as lemon or rum. If you use lemon add some zest and a pinch of nutmeg to the cake batter.

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Baked Tuns and Noodles


Baked tuna and noodles is a casserole recipe that was published in a mayonnaise advertisement in the 1970s. It is a good basic recipe that can be varied easily. It is excellent to serve for dinner in cold weather. Because all of the ingredients are those you probably have on hand it is useful for winter days when running to the store isn’t an option. The recipe can be put together quickly and does not spend a long time in the oven. Put the casserole together the night before and bake it when you get home from work. It is a tasty casserole that your entire family will enjoy.

Tuna was first commercially canned in 1903. The producers had to convince housewives that the canned product was as good as other sources of protein. They created recipes using canned tuna and gave those out in leaflets available in grocery stores that sold the product. Cookbooks began including recipes using canned tuna. Food historians say that canned tuna was not really accepted by the American public until the 1950s although recipes using it can be found from far earlier dates. Two of the most popular uses of canned tuna is tuna salad and tuna casserole.

Recipes for modern style casseroles can be found in cookbooks from the late 1800s into the early 1900s. Those usually called for a homemade cream sauce to bind the ingredients. Casseroles gained popularity during the Great Depression because they were economical and casseroles have remained popular ever since because they not only save money, they are gosh darn easy and quick to make. Any recipe that could put a one pot meal on the table quickly is sure to remain popular.

This recipe for tuna noodle casserole does not make use of canned soup as most recipes do, instead it uses mayonnaise for the creamy sauce to hold the ingredients together and add flavor. It really is one of the best tasting tuna casserole recipes I’ve tried through the years. You can easily add your own touches to the recipe.

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The recipe will serve 6. Round out the meal with hot bread, a green salad and a light dessert.

Baked Tuna and Noodles

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of margarine
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped green pepper
  • 1 can (4 oz.) of mushrooms, drained or 8 oz. fresh mushrooms sliced
  • 2 cans (7 oz.) of tuna, drained and flaked
  • 1 medium tomato, peeled, chopped and drained
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 package (8 oz.) noodles, cooked
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. and grease, butter or spray a 2 qt. casserole. Cook the noodles according to directions on the package. Drain well, mix a teaspoon of margarine with the hot noodles to keep them from sticking together and set aside.

Melt the tablespoon of margarine in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, green pepper and the mushrooms. Stir and cook about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the next 6 ingredients. Stir in the cooked noodles and mix well. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish and sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until completely heated and the cheese on top has melted.

Notes

Any type of mayonnaise or mayonnaise style salad dressing can be used such as MW. I never use ‘real’ mayonnaise because I don’t like the taste as well. Mom never used it either.

A half can of stewed tomatoes drained and chopped can be used instead of the fresh tomato. Save the rest of the can and the liquid for soup or other uses.

Instead of noodles you can use any shape of pasta you have on hand.

You can use a combination of leftover cheeses for the topping. While you can use other toppings the cheese adds the right touch to this casserole.

5 to 8 tablespoons of crushed corn flakes or bread crumbs can be used as a topping. Mix with a tablespoon or so of melted butter.

You can use canned salmon in the recipe. Drain, remove all skin and bones, flake well and use the same as the tuna.

The mushrooms and green pepper can be left out and other vegetables added in their place. Sliced black olives are very good in this recipe.

Other meats can be used in place of tuna such as lobster, chicken or turkey. Leftover roast pork could be used instead of the tuna.

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Smothered Steak


Smothered steak is another winter comfort meal. The cube or minute steaks are coated in seasoned flour, browned in oil and baked in gravy until fork tender. The steaks can be served with mashed or boiled potatoes or with buttered noodles. It is an easy meal to prepare and leftovers are easily reheated the following day or frozen.

Cube or minute steaks are tougher cuts of beef and beef scraps that have been run through a tenderizing process that cuts through the tough connective fibers. Cube refers to the tenderizing process, not to a cut of beef. The tenderizing machines produce a square or cube pattern on the meat. According to an advertisement for a cubing machine the result of the process is a piece of beef that is improved in flavor, has a larger surface area and takes less time to cook.

Cube steak was first mentioned in print during the 1920s. Butchers often combined beef scrapes during the process which pounded or ‘knitted’ the pieces together into one piece of meat. Some butchers added extra fat during the tenderizing. Today cube steaks are usually made from tougher pieces of chuck or round cuts.

Cube or minute steaks became popular during the Great Depression. Many of the best known recipes using cube steak are from that time period. Cube steaks are used in many iconic recipes such as chicken fried steak, smothered steak, Swiss steak and many types of steak sandwiches. Some cooks fry and serve the steaks with eggs for breakfast instead of bacon. A regular menu item seen at truck stops across the United States is a chicken fried steak with eggs, hash browns and toast.

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The recipe will make 4 servings. Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes, the gravy the steak was cooked in and a vegetable such as buttered carrots.

Smothered Steak

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • 4 cube or minute steaks
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

Directions

Allow the meat to sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes to take the chill off. Put the cooking oil into a large deep oven proof pan over medium high heat.

Using a fork mix the flour, onion salt, garlic salt, poultry seasoning, paprika, dry mustard and black pepper together in a shallow dish. Pat or pound the seasoned flour into both sides of each steak.

Cook the steaks in the hot oil. Cook only two at a time. Brown well on each side but do not completely cook, the steaks will finish cooking in the oven. Set the steaks aside on a plate while you make the gravy.

Turn the oven on and heat to 350 degrees F.

Remove the pan from the stove and use as much of the seasoned flour as will absorb the oil and fat left in the pan. I usually add it all. Using a wire whisk blend the seasoned flour into the fat in the pan to form a roux. Make sure to scrap up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Put the pan back on the stove and stir and cook a couple of minutes over medium high heat. Slowly whisk in the water, chicken bouillon

and the Worcestershire sauce. Stir until smooth and cook a few more minutes. It will be thin and will finish thickening in the oven. Turn off the heat.

Put the browned steaks into the pan of gravy one at a time. Turn each steak so both sides are coated with the gravy. Cover the pan with the lid or with foil and bake the steaks and gravy in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit about 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

Thinly sliced onion can be cooked in the oil and then removed before browning the steaks. Add the onion back before baking.

The seasonings used in the flour can be almost anything you like. The most used or traditional seasoning is simply salt, black pepper and sage or poultry seasoning.

If you dip the steaks in flour, then in egg beaten with milk and back in flour it is a chicken fried steak. Smothered steak doesn’t use egg or milk.

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Sausage, sauerkraut and potatoes


Sausage, sauerkraut and potatoes is a wonderful example of winter comfort food. The meal does not take all day to cook. It can be ready to set on the table in a little over an hour. This is a traditional meal that came to the Americas with immigrants from Northern and Eastern Europe. This is one meal my Mom made often in winter during the 1940s and later.

The sausage and  sauerkraut are cooked together and served alongside mashed or boiled potatoes. Many people top the mashed potatoes with the sauerkraut. Any smoked sausage can be used in this recipe. Franks or hot dogs are also good in it. The sauerkraut I used is the type that contains caraway seeds and is slightly sweeter than regular sauerkraut.

Historians believe the method for making sauerkraut came to Europe with Genghis Khan after he had invaded China. This method of preserving cabbage was very important before the days of refrigeration because sauerkraut provided a good source of nutrients during the cold months when fresh vegetables were seldom found and if they were the cost was high. Making sauerkraut gave people a way to preserve the cabbages they had grown in ther gardens during the summer so they could be used during the winter months.

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The recipe will serve 2 to 4.

Sausage, Sauerkraut and Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 package of smoked sausage or 1 package of franks or 1 package of hot dogs
  • 1 to 2 cans of sauerkraut (about 1 can per 1 package of meat)
  • 1 can of water for each can of sauerkraut
  • Mashed potatoes, about 5 to 6 potatoes (or use instant mashed potatoes)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Butter
  • Milk

Directions

Empty the can or cans of sauerkraut into a large deep pan. Add 1 can of water per can of sauerkraut. Stir to break up the lumps of kraut. Put the sausage, franks or hot dogs on top of the kraut. Cover with the pan lid and cook over medium heat for 45 to 55 minutes. Check once in a while and add more water if needed. It usually isn’t.

Peel the potatoes, chop into fourths and put them into a large sauce pan. Cover with water at least 1 inch above the potatoes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until a fork will easily pierce the potato. As soon as the potatoes are done drain them well and put the potatoes back into the hot pan. Shake over the hot burner for a few minutes to dry the potatoes. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Mash the potatoes using an old fashioned potato masher. Add whole or canned milk a bit at a time while whisking. Use a wire whisk or the metal potato masher to do this. Do NOT use a blender stick. You want mashed potatoes not soupy mush.

If you cooked a large smoked sausage cut it into four pieces before serving. Rye bread goes well with this meal.

Notes

Many good dishes use sauerkraut. You can put sauerkraut into a large roasting pan and mix in pork chops, pork ribs, sausages or any other cut of pork you want. Chunks of peeled raw potato can also be added or you can serve this with mashed or boiled potatoes. Some people put slices of bacon on top. Cover the pan and bake in a 350 degree F. oven for about 1 1/2 hours. Serve with slices of rye bread. If you did not add potatoes and don’t have mashed or boiled potatoes to serve with this you can serve it with dumplings.

If you use regular sauerkraut you can add thin slices of onion to it.

Sauerkraut can be mixed with mashed potatoes, onion and chopped cooked meat and used as a stuffing for pocket sandwiches.

Instant potatoes are wonderful to have on hand. They save money, they keep well, they take up less room, they are lighter to carry up stairs if you live in an apartment and they are almost as good as fresh. The best advice I can give is to ignore the directions on the package. For 2 servings use 1 3/4 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of salt and a pinch or 2 of black pepper. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 1/4 cup of milk. Bring to a full boil. Remove the pan from the stove and add 1 cup of instant potatoes. Stir well, then pour a little more into the pan, stirring the entire time. Let it sit a couple minutes, stir and if it still is not thick enough add some more. In my opinion potatoes should be thick. You can greatly improve instant potatoes by adding a leftover bakes or boiled potato. Mash it and mix it into the prepared instant potatoes. You can also dress up plain mashed potatoes by adding any of the following; minced garlic, minced onions, sour cream, creamy salad dressing, fresh or dried herbs, sliced green onions, or chives. Some people mix sauerkraut into the mashed potatoes. You can also use instant mashed potatoes to make a quick creamy emergency potato soup.

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