Vintage Menu Madness

Monday 25 September 2023


Vintage Menu Madness

Hello all and welcome to my final Vintage Menu Madness for September!  I have had a lot of fun doing these weekly Vintage Recipe posts and I think you have all enjoyed them as well, so it is a practice I plan on continuing.

For those of you who are just joining me, I am a person who loves vintage cookbooks and vintage recipes. I believe that they hold a lot of value for us and are filled with lovely recipes that we can all still enjoy.

Admittedly we no longer cook vegetables as long as they did in the old days, but that is something which easily remedied without any problem. For the most part they are very sound recipes.

Vintage Menu Madness 

My goal is to, once a week, cook an entire menu (plus recipes) from one of my Vintage Cook Books.  It could be one that they themselves have suggested, or it could be one that I have made up myself.  In any case, I hope that it will be a delicious glimpse into our culinary history as a culture.

After all, what is the point of having these books, if I never use them!

Vintage Menu Madness

The menu I am sharing this week comes from the Betty Crockery Good and Easy Cook Book, which was published in 1954.  My book is a reprint of the original which I purchased on Amazon.

When I was a child I can remember thinking that Betty Crocker was a real person.  She actually was and is not, but instead she is a figure head invented by the company to represent women in general.  

Betty Crocker

Her image has been adapted and changed through the years to present a newer and more modern woman with every rebirth.  

Originally created in 1921, her image has been changed and updated a total of eight times, with the latest being in 1996. One thing which hasn't changed however is "her" reputation for presenting us with quality recipes and products.


My Menu for this week came from the Dinner Chapter, for an oven dinner with the main dish focus being on Ground Beef. There were actually 3 separate Ground Beef recipes to choose from. I chose to do meatballs instead of meat loaf. Here is the menu I cooked.



Lazy Daisy Meatballs

The menu really appealed to me. I really enjoy meatballs and I also enjoy scalloped potatoes.  Coleslaw is one of my favorite salads and beetroot is one of my absolute favorite vegetables. 

Scalloped Potatoes

I started the scalloped potatoes first as I knew that they would take a lot longer to cook than anything else. Of course you could go the easy route and simply use a boxed mix for the potatoes, but I like to do things from scratch.

I did post a really simple recipe for Easy Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes a week or so ago, but for authenticity I went for one from the book.  After all, this is all about the Vintage Recipes.  I did vary the recipe slightly by adding some flour to the layers.  This was as my mother had always done and if my mother wasn't a vintage cook, I don't know who was!

Author: Marie Rayner
Irene's Scalloped Potatoes

Irene's Scalloped Potatoes

Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 1 H & 15 MTotal time: 1 H & 30 M
A very simple and basic scalloped potato.


  • 3 to 4 cups (about 5 medium potatoes) thinly sliced or coarsely grated peeled potatoes
  • 1 TBS minced onion
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 to 4 TBS butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) whole milk, heated


  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F/180*C/ gas mark 4. Arrange the potatoes in layers in a buttered 1 1/2 qt/1 1/2 liter baking dish. Sprinkle each layer with salt and pepper and dot with butter.
  2. Pour the hot milk over top. Bake uncovered for about 1 1/4 hour until golden brown and the potatoes test tender with the tip of a sharp knife.


My mother did her scalloped potatoes this exact same way, except she added a sprinkle of flour between each layer. I did as my mother did. This helps to thicken the sauce. I also probably ended up using a bit more butter than the recipe called for.

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Who doesn't like a dish of meatballs and gravy?  These were really easy to make as well.  It basically involved mixing together some ground beef and a few ingredients and shaping them into balls.

You can use gravy browning to give the gravy more color.   This is called Kitchen Bouquet.  It does give the gravy a nice color without altering the flavor.

browning off meatballs

The balls were them browned in a small quantity of oil in a skillet and a mix of mushroom soup, water and some gravy coloring was poured over top. They were then left to simmer to tender perfection.

These were really delicious!  I normally bake my meatballs in the oven, like these Italian Square Meatballs,  so this made a bit of a change from the regular.

Yield: 6
Author: Marie Rayner
Lazy Daisy Meat Balls

Lazy Daisy Meat Balls

Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 45 Min
Tender and flavor filled meat balls in a rich and creamy gravy.


  • 1 pound (453g) extra lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp salt ( I use kosher)
  • 1/8 tsp each pepper, celery salt, garlic salt, nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (60g) dry bread or cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
  • 2 TBS grated onion
  • flour to roll
  • fat to fry in (about 1 TBS)
  • 1 (10 1/2 oz/298g) condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 soup can of water (about 3 ounces/85ml)
  • gravy coloring, if desired


  1. Gently mix together the ground meat, bread crumbs, water, seasonings, onion, and water to combine. Using your hands, divide and shape the mixture into 2 small balls. Roll the balls in flour.
  2. Heat the fat in a heavy bottomed skillet large enough to hold the balls in one layer. Brown the balls all over in the hot fat. (I used light olive oil.)
  3. Whisk the soup, water and gravy browning (if using) together until thoroughly combined. Pour over the meat balls.
  4. Cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
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Vintage Menu Madness 

For the beetroot, I opened a can of sliced beetroot and drained it really well. I heated a tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan and added the drained beets.  I gently heated then through in the butter until hot and then lightly seasoned with a bit of salt and black pepper.

Pineapple Slaw

They did not give an exact recipe for the Pineapple Slaw.  So I just made their regular recipe for coleslaw and then stirred in a couple of tablespoons of well drained crushed pineapple.

This worked really well. Fruit adds a lovely element to coleslaw. I often add chopped raisins or dates to mine. You can also add chopped or slivered  green pepper, grated carrot, or even coconut, all with delicious results.

Yield: 6 servings
Author: Marie Rayner
Cole Slaw

Cole Slaw

Crispy, crunchy and delicious.


  • 1/2 a medium heat of white cabbage (hard cabbage)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 TBS white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (30g) dairy sour cream
  • 1/4 cup (55g) salad dressing (mayonnaise)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • paprika to sprinkle on top
  • 2 heaped TBS of well drained crushed pineapple (for the pineapple slaw)


  1. Shred the cabbage very thin; place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to crisp. (I did this the night before.)
  2. When you are ready to make your slaw, put the cabbage in a bowl and combine with the onion and vinegar. Stir in the pineapple if using.
  3. Whisk together the sour cream and the mayonnaise. Stir in the seasonings. Pour this over top of the cabbage and toss to coat. Sprinkle with paprika to serve.
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I did start the coleslaw the night before by shredding the cabbage and chilling it in the refrigerator overnight. This makes for a lovely crisp coleslaw.

Lemon Surprise Cake

The final element of this menu was the dessert.  Lemon Surprise Cake.  This was a white cake baked with a lemon filling on the bottom.  Mixes were used for both elements  of the dessert making it very easy to do.

You need an "quick" lemon pudding and pie filling mix.  I was a bit unsure as to what they meant by this.  I did not think they meant the cooked one as that would not have been quick. Instead I used an instant lemon pudding mix, and that did work out fine.

I did cut the recipe in half baking it in a 9 inch square baking dish rather than a 9 1/2 by 13 inch dish.  I weighed out half the pudding mix and whisked it together with 1 cup of cold milk.  I then weighed out half of the cake mix and beat it together with half measures of each ingredient called for on the box.  

What follows is the recipe for the full amount.

Yield: one 13 X 9 1/2 X 2 inch cake
Author: Marie Rayner
Lemon Surprise Cake

Lemon Surprise Cake

Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 50 Min
White cake baked with a lemon filling beneath.


  • 1 (2 layer size) packaged white cake mix, plus ingredients required on the box for the cake
  • 1 package (4 serving size) quick lemon pudding mix, plus 2 cups cold milk (480ml)
  • confectioner's sugar to sprinkle (icing sugar)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F/180*C/ gas mark 4. Prepare your pudding mix and spread it over the bottom of a 9 X 13 1/2 X 2 inch baking dish. Let stand while you beat the cake mix together.
  2. Prepare the cake mix as per the instructions on the box.
  3. Pour the cake batter evenly over the pudding in the pan, covering it completely. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched.
  4. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar and serve warm.
Did you make this recipe?
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Vintage Menu Madness

And that was it. My vintage dinner menu for this week.  Every thing tasted really good. Even at half the recipe, however, the pudding in the dessert overflowed into the oven a bit, so do be sure to put a pan underneath the dish when you are baking it. 

I  enjoyed one portion of this meal myself and then sent the remainder over to my daughter's for she and her husband to enjoy.  She was really looking forward to it!

Next week I am pondering cooking a menu from the cookbook I got from my mother when I was much younger than what I am now. It is the Money Saving Cook Book by Ida Allen and was a part of a six volume household encyclopedia.   It is the book that started me on my love for vintage menus and recipes!

Be sure to check in next week and see what I came up with!

Vintage Menu Madness

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  1. I love vintage recipes!
    I am sure your husband considers himself blessed :)
    I was wondering if you can use cooked pudding in the Lemon Surprise?

    1. If I had a husband I am sure he would! lol I can't see why you shouldn't be able to use the cooked pudding. I think it might even be better! xo


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