Cowboy Casserole

Posted on Mar 25 2009 - 1:25pm by RetroRuth

So, Hubs and I had an idea the other day.  I have a TON of vintage cookbooks that I have collected over the years, and I love to dig through them and try recipes.  I was talking to Hubs about featuring a recipe every week on the blog from one of my cookbooks and calling it, The Mid-Century Menu.  But then he went one further.

“Why don’t we make it?”  he said.

“What, you mean make the recipe for dinner?”

“Sure, it’ll be fun.”  (Hubs will try anything once!)

So, I am sure it isn’t a totally original idea, but I think it is a cute one. So, here we go. Every…what day is it? Oh yeah, Weds. Every Wednesday we will post a mid-century recipe that we have tested and eaten, no matter how terrible it is.

This week’s recipe: Cowboy Casserole. It comes from a great cookbook that has some hilarious products in it. The book is:cookout-champion001How To Become A Cookout Champion, by the Kaiser Foil Corporation. Printed in 1959.  The book itself is actually covered with metallic paper that is supposed to look like tinfoil, which I think is a cute touch.  As a side note, I love the BBQ chef’s blue shoes! We paged through the book, looking at the adds for Squirt and some sort of lighter fluid foam that dispensed from a Redi-Whip type can (seriously!) until we found our recipe. cookout-champion003aFound, of course, on the chili powder page.  We picked it mostly because, 50 years later, you can still walk into almost any grocery store and pick up a can of Campbell’s Pork and Beans.

cookout-champion003“Do we really need to add two tablespoons of chili powder?’  I asked. “That is almost more than I add to a whole pot of chili.”  My husbands reply, “Oh yeah, Baby. This is going to be great!”

cowboy-beans-002Here are the ingredients, prepped and ready.  Sorry for the dark photos, but we didn’t make dinner until pretty late last night. 

The black cup contains all of the considerable spices for the dish, including the aformentioned chili powder.  My question is, do you really need to add all this stuff to Pork and Beans, which already has meat in it AND tons of corn syurp?  cowboy-beans-003

The culinary victim…I mean…classic. Good ‘ole Pork and Beans.cowboy-beans-004Ready for the oven. Notice the fire-engine  red color. cowboy-beans-006Straight out of the oven.  The considerable sugars have all caramelized.


Being enjoyed by my cowboy.  The verdict: Good. Not fantastic, but definitely edible.  The chili powder didn’t end up being overwhelming, thanks to tons of molasses, but the cheese could have been left out. With all the strong spices, you barely even tasted it. Hubs had seconds and I think is looking forward to eating the leftovers tonight for dinner, so all and all, a pretty good first try!

This post was submitted to Food on Fridays at Ann Kroeker’s Blog. First time linking there, and I am excited!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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6 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. kate March 26, 2009 at 11:06 am - Reply

    These are great! Thanks so much Ruth including my glasses. Your blog is so fun to look at, keep them coming!

  2. 50s Pam March 26, 2009 at 11:47 am - Reply


  3. Ann Kroeker March 27, 2009 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    I love the photos of that old book, the blue shoes, the tin foil-esque cover. And I love that you tried it and included the kitchen banter.

    After all that, it’s too bad it wasn’t really amazing!

    (Oh, and the cowboy hat’s a great touch)

  4. Lorelei October 15, 2016 at 9:57 am - Reply

    So, I have officially read through your entire blog! The only one I’ve ever completely read before! Thanks for the enjoyable stories!

    • RetroRuth October 15, 2016 at 10:44 am - Reply

      Oh my goodness!!! Thank you for your dedication, and glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

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