Lamb Conquistador (adapted from the Smart Shopper’s Cookbook, 1972)

Lamb Conquistador is an easy weeknight chili-with-beans from Smart Shopper’s Cookbook (1972) by former Betty Crocker executive Loyta Wooding.   Like many recipes in Smart Shopper’s Cookbook it treats lamb shoulder and lamb chops as a budget friendly item – a cost-friendly alternative to beef.  This may have been true in the 1970s but it’s hardly……

Spanish Chinese Fried Rice (New Jersey, 1995, adapted)

Spanish Chinese Fried Rice is a nifty little recipe that I found in Buen Provecho, a community cookbook compiled by HISPA, then a professional development group for Hispanic AT&T employees.  This cookbook was put together to raise money for the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund as part of HISPA’s larger efforts in the community.  Shortly after Buen……

Ramen Salad (Indiana, 2009, adapted)

Instant noodles fuel America.  In 2019, Americans consumed around four and a half billion servings of instant noodles, which works out to about one serving per person per month.  This number is probably appreciably higher among college students and parents of small children.  But ramen is more than just a cheap meal.  Nissin’s Top Ramen……

Ranch Oyster Crackers with Sumac (Wisconsin, 1980s, adapted)

Cool Ranch Doritos were introduced to an unsuspecting American public in 1986 and have been a best seller ever since (in spite of those awful Jay Leno commercials).   Thirty-odd years later there you can find ranch-flavored anything.  There’s a local company that sells ranch-flavored crickets, so I really do mean everything.  But in the……

Meat Balls in Dill Sauce (Tennessee, 1978, adapted)

Meat Balls in Dill Sauce is a hearty meal unto itself, delivering a one-two-punch of meat and potatoes.  There are plenty of ground beef and condensed soup dishes out there, but the dill lends enough character to make this one feel almost fancy.  It pairs well with egg noodles, rice, or hot buttered rolls and a leafy green vegetable.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Wisconsin, 1988, adapted)

Cottage cheese is a common ingredient in many of my vintage cookbooks, usually as a proxy for ricotta or some sort of farmer’s cheese.   I suspect that a mid-century home cook didn’t have access to the embarrassing variety of cheeses we have available today.  Even my local discount grocer reliably stocks a decent Edam and……