Back in the 1950s, it was hooray for meals that were semi-homemade — that is, meals made with some ingredients from a can or package and some fresh. It may have started with food shortages from the Depression and War decades when some fresh ingredients were hard to come by. The pre-packaged foods were convenient and shortened preparation time. Adding your own ingredients assuaged any guilt about not cooking it all yourself, plus it made the food taste better. Magazines, including those such as Good Housekeeping and cookbooks, such as those by Betty Crocker championed the semi-homemade. Campbell’s soups were a staple part of many a covered dish or casserole. Minute Rice was popular as well. Here’s one casserole with a little Asian flair, which was about as exotic as it got in some regions of the country.
1 lb. ground beef
½ onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can chicken with rice soup
½ to 1 soup can of water
3 Tbs soy sauce
Salt and Pepper
1 cup Minute Rice
1 pkg. crunchy Chow Mein Noodles, crushed by hand
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a casserole dish. In a skillet, brown the ground beef. Add the onion and celery to the pan and cook until softened (about 5-6 minutes). Stir in the soups and water. Add the soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the Minute Rice. Put all ingredients into the casserole dish and top with the Chow Mein noodles. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.
Serves 6 and goes well with some steamed broccoli.
*Note: Ideas about nutrition have changed over the years. Also, nutritional needs change throughout one’s life. Retro recipes are presented for historical interest, and, if they fit your needs, consider giving them a try.