Comfort Food for a Vintage Menu Madness

Wednesday 1 November 2023


Swiss Steak

Here I am with another Vintage Menu Madness Post.  Once a week I like to cook and share a full menu from one of my Vintage Cookbooks.  This weeks menu is true Comfort Food and something which I remember my mother making us on occasion when I was growing up!

The star of the menu is Swiss Steak. Tender and delicious with a lush tomato and onion gravy.  So tender it melts in the mouth. We were always really happy when Swiss Steak appeared on our dinner table and it was something I used to make for my own family as well!

Betty Crockers Picture Cook Book

The recipes for this week's menu come from the Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book.  Sadly it is not an original print of the book which was first published in 1950, but it is a reprint. My budget doesn't quite run to an original copy but this one is supposed to be exactly the same as the original one. 

I bought my copy on Amazon. And it is brand new. 

Betty Crocker Through the Years

Betty Crocker has never been a real person, but rather a fictional character developed by the Washburn Crosby Milling Company back in 1921, supposedly a home economist who answered cooling questions and shared recipes.  She has had many makeovers through the years, presenting the public with the ideal physical image of a valued Home Maker.  A brunette and always dressed in red and white it seems!

I have had a number of Betty Crocker Cookbooks through the years and have always found the recipes to be entirely reliable and trustworthy.  These recipes and products have always kept my family very happy! 

Swiss Steak Menu

Todays menu was a Comfort Food Menu in keeping with the cooling autumnal temperatures. All of the recipes used came from the pages of this cookbook and consisted of:

(not shown)
(the thick type)

Swiss Steak Menu

This was a menu that really appealed to my nostalgic comfort food loving soul.  I picked the recipe for the main dish first and then chose the accompaniments to go with it, as I said, all recipes coming from this cookbook.

All of the recipes were chosen with easy and comfort in mind. My oven also had stopped working (burnt out element) and so they also were recipes that I could easily cook on the top of the stove.  

Swiss Steak

Swiss steak has always been a real favorite with me and mine. It uses a cheaper cut of meat.  I did take the luxury of cutting the recipe in two for myself so I was not left with a whole lot of leftovers, but I am giving the full amounts as written in the original recipe.

What you have here is a cheaper cut of meat which is pounded, seasoned, floured and browned and then simmered until it falls apart in a tasty tomato and onion gravy.  You can add other seasonings and herbs as you with, but at its very basic, this has always been one very delicious meat dish.

Yield: 4 - 6907g people (generously)
Author: Marie Rayner
Swiss Steak

Swiss Steak

Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 2 H & 30 MTotal time: 2 H & 45 M
Tender melt in the mouth pieces of beef in a tasty tomato and onion gravy.


  • 1 (2 pound/907g) round or flank steak, cut 1 1/2 inch thick
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 TBS plain all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (450g) tinned stewed tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk of celery, trimmed, washed and diced
  • a bit of butter or oil to fry


  1. Cut your beef steak into serving sized pieces. Season to taste with salt and pepper and dust generously with flour. Pound the flour into the meat using the dull edge of a heavy knife until the steak cannot absorb any more flour.
  2. Heat a bit of oil or butter in a heavy bottomed skillet over moderate heat until hot. Add the pieces of steak (you may need to work in batches). Brown the meat generously on both sides in the hot fat.
  3. Scatter the onion slices and celery over top of the browned meat and then pour the tomatoes over all.
  4. Cover tightly and cook over low heat for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until the meat is very tender. Uncover during the last half hour of cooking to reduce the gravy and thicken it. Serve hot.
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Fluffy Mashed Potatoes 

You could of course serve something other than potatoes as a side dish to the steak, but in my family this meal was always accompanied with a hot fluffy pile of mash.  Rice would also go very well as would noodles.

We are mashed potato lovers in my family. When the children were growing up I used to have to make a huge pot of them every time we were having them. With three hungry boys (not so much the girls) and a hungry husband that was a LOT of potatoes.  Each of my boys would vie to wear the crown of the "Mashed Potato King" and outdo the others in their consumption of them. I guess I must have made good mash!  Betty Crocker does too!  

Yield: 4 servings
Author: Marie Rayner
Fluffy Mashed Potatoes

Fluffy Mashed Potatoes

Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 25 Min
Check out the notes to see some handy tips for mashed potatoes!


  • 8 medium to large sized floury/mealy type of potatoes (a Russet, Yukon Gold. Albert Bartlett or Maris Piper, King Edward)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) warm milk
  • 1/4 cup (60g) butter


  1. Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut into quarters and then place into a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water to cover.
  2. Keep the water boiling and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, but not mushy. (about 15 to 20 minutes.) Drain well and then return to the pan. Shake the pan over the residual heat of the burner to dry them out a bit.
  3. Mash the potatoes thoroughly using a potato masher. Season with salt and black (or white) pepper to taste.
  4. Beat in the butter and the milk until nice and fluffy. Serve hot.


Pare the potatoes just prior to cooking. Do not soak if you can help it as valuable minerals and vitamins escape in soaking. Keep your water boiling the whole time they are cooking.

To keep Mashed potatoes hot: Cover and place the pan in a skillet of hot water. To keep fluffy add a pinch of baking powder.

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Peas and Carrots

I chose to serve buttered peas and carrots on the side.    I love this timeless combination and it does add a nice spark of color to the plate.

To prepare the carrots peel and then cut them into 2 1/2 inch lengths. I would plan on one largish carrot for every two people. Cut the lengths into quarters and then place the carrots into a pan of water to which you have added 1/2 tsp of sugar. 

Bring to the boil and then cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until crispy tender.  Add 1 cup (142g) of frozen baby peas, bring just back to the boil and then drain well. (This keeps the peas from over cooking and preserves their color.)

Toss together with a knob of butter and season lightly with some salt and black pepper.

Swiss Steak and Potatoes

For a larger family I would serve a nice whole wheat bread with some softened butter on the side and of course, I always like to serve pickles of some sort with a meal like this as my mother did before me.

Here in Canada you can get lovely sweet mixed pickles, or if you are lucky enough you can serve some nice homemade pickles.  Today I served Pickled Mustard Beans.  As there is only me, I did skip the bread and butter.

Thick Apple Sauce

As this was quite a hearty meal I wanted to serve a light-ish dessert. I had picked up some delicious apples at the local farm market one day when I was there with my sister. 

Sweet Tart Apples

They were called sweet tart apples and when cut open revealed a beautiful pink flesh inside. I though these would make the prettiest apple sauce and I was right.

These were nice and tart to the taste and worked beautifully as apple sauce. You need a nice tart apple for cooking.  They also broke down really well in the cooking process. 

Apple Sauce

The end result was one of the most beautiful apple sauces I have ever seen or made.  It also tasted beautiful.  I am in love with these apples!

Apple Sauce

I served the apple sauce well chilled with a cheeky dollop of whipped cream on top for the win!  I did make a bit pot so that I could freeze some to enjoy later on in the year.

This recipe is attributed to Mrs. Peter Larson of Webster, Wisconsin in the cookbook.  I am not sure if she is still alive but I can tell you, she made very good apple sauce! 

Yield: 4
Author: Marie Rayner
Apple Sauce (the thick type)

Apple Sauce (the thick type)

This is a delicious apple sauce with a beautiful thick texture. Delicious served cold with whipped cream or a cheeky scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 16 MinTotal time: 26 Min


  • 8 tart cooking apples
  • 1 cup (240ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated
  • dash salt
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon or nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp of finely grated lemon rind (optional, I left this out)


  1. Wash, pare, core and slice the apples into eights.
  2. Place into the saucepan along with the water, lemon juice, and sugar. Bring to the boil and then simmer over medium low heat until the apples are very tender. (About 15 minutes.)
  3. Stir in the salt and nutmeg or cinnamon and lemon zest if using. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. (Some apples are more tart than others.) Cook for a minute longer.
  4. Beat with a fork until nice and fluffy. Serve cold, topped with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.
Did you make this recipe?
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Swiss Steak Vintage Menu

And there you have it. My Vintage Menu for this week and shared with you on the first day of November. Happy November. We have so much deliciousness to look forward to this month! Our November taste adventure is just beginning!  I do hope that you are enjoying these Vintage Menus and Recipes as much as I am! 

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