Cheezy Beans and Onions Casserole

Posted on Sep 16 2009 - 1:27pm by RetroRuth

Timesaver001Welcome to this week’s Mid-Century Menu!  Since we are doing Mid-Century Christmas here at the blog, I decided to do a holiday meal to fit in with the theme and get everyone into the spirit!   Hubs was pretty excited when he found out that I would be making pumpkin pie.  So much so that I don’t think he really listened to what else was going to be on the menu.  Poor guy.

So, I picked the menu from the Pillsbury Time Saver Cookbook, which was published in 1967.  As the title indicates, this book was formulated with time in mind, so the recipes are somewhat shortcut, and they have specific timing for pretty much everything.  For example, in the meal I picked, it tells you which dishes should be made in advance and when they should be put into the oven with the “turkey” roast. The timing actually worked out great, and everything was finished at exactly the same time.  Which is something, I guess.

There were several dishes that I could pick from for this menu. Of course, I scaled the menu down to be more appropriate for two people, because I am pretty sure the original menu is supposed to feed at least 6, more like 8.  Anyway, here is the original menu.


From the dishes above, I picked the Turkey, Jiffy Quick Dressing, Snappy Sweet Potatoes, Cheezy Beans and Onions and, of course, the Creamy Pumpkin Pie.  If I would have skipped that, I think Tom would have died of disappointment.

The dish that I picked for the spotlight was the Cheezy Beans and Onions because, well….it looked like this. Timesaver006

Wow.  Really?  Really?  The olives are a great touch, don’t you think?

Anyway, here is the recipe.


Canned onions??  Canned.  Sigh.  Man, Tom and I really can pick them.

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Not many ingredients in this one. In the end, I couldn’t find canned onions, so I had to use pickled.  Idecided I would rinse them off really well before I added them to the casserole, and hope for the best.

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The frozen beans, happily cooking over the stove.

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The water, flour, milk, salt and pepper.  The weird thing is that the milk and flour are just dumped together without adding any fat or cooking the flour, basically without making a roux.  This started to set alarms off in my brain, because then the sauce would have an uncooked flour taste and probably lumpy.  Ah well, not my recipe, I guess!

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The cheese is added, even though you can’t see it.  It immediately sank to the bottom and burbled there for a while.

I had to make another ingredient sub at this point, although you probably noticed it in the picture.  They were out of jarred cheese, so I had to add regular block pasteurized processed cheese instead.  It was sticky enough that I hoped it wouldn’t really make a difference in the end.

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Surprizingly, as the cheese melted and became less sticky, a really smooth pretty sauce came out.  I was shocked.

Too bad it smelled terrible!

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And it only got worse once I added the onions and beans.  Or worse after I added the onions, anyway.

“What is that?”  Tom was wrinkling his nose, “It smells like cigarrette butts!”

“Just breathe through your mouth.”

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I held my breathe as I sprinkled it with sliced green olives. 

It looked, in a word, terrible.

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I was laughing as I took it out of the oven.  A 25 minute stay in the “hot-box” hadn’t improved the odor, but it at least looked edible.

And when you put it next to all the rest of the pretty questionable meal, it didn’t look bad at all.

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“What is this?”  Tom sat down and started sawing on the “turkey roast”. “Looks like institution food.”

“It’s supposed to be a holiday meal.”

“Uh. Lucky I had a beer left downstairs.”

And then it was the time you have all been waiting for. Tom’s first bite.

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“So, how is it?”

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“It tastes like cigarette butts.”

He was right.  While not completely awful (the casserole had retained some of the green bean flavor) it was very bad. Not the worst thing we had ever eaten, but it wasn’t good. The pickled onions tasted awful, I don’t think the rinsing had helped at all. And the green olives were nasty with it. 

Uh.  At least we still had the pie.

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That, at least, was really good.

“Did I ever tell you how much I love pumpkin pie?” Tom said, taking his second piece.  “It is my favorite of all pies.”

The Verdict: Nasty

“Turkey Roast” – Listen, this is just a little bit of advice, but don’t ever, EVER buy anything that isn’t just straight up turkey.  Just don’t do it.

Snappy Sweet Potatoes – Tasteless, except for the pineapple chunks, which tasted like pineapple.  Would have been better with fresh sweet potatoes.

Cheezy Beans and Onions – Disgusting, tasted like cigarette butts.

Jiffy Quick Dressing – Gluey and chewy.  Tom said it just tasted like dressing to him, but I didn’t enjoy it very much at all.

Creamy Pumpkin Pie – Good.  Not as good as the one on the back of the Libby’s can, but using ice cream in a pie was fun.




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

  1. Sara in AZ September 16, 2009 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    OMG!!! That is amazing that you can get a recipe to both smell and taste like cigarette butts!!! LOL! Just looking at the pic and seeing those small creepy onions makes my stomach churn. It reminds me of that horrid meal I made (that I mentioned a while back) with those type of onions and mustard – among other things. YUUUUUCK!!! Glad the pie was good though.

  2. Amy September 16, 2009 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    OMG I have to agree that recipe did look disgusting, I wonder if it would have made a difference if the recipe had said to cut up the olives and onions into small pieces? maybe less strong?
    But yeah pumpkin pie – wow we don’t normally have it here in NZ but when my brother in law from new york moved over here he made it for us and it’s divine!

    • RetroRuth September 17, 2009 at 3:12 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the pity, Sara. The onions were creepy, and I am NEVER going to eat another pickled onion again. Never.

      Hi Amy – I don’t know if it would have helped to cut them up. I think using fresh onions instead of canned would have helped. I would have rather left the green olives off, honestly. Or maybe I just shouldn’t have made it at all! 🙂

      Sable – He did drink that beer quickly! And I think he was sad it was the last one in the house…and what are pikelets? 🙂

      Thanks, Heather! Despite all the bad food, it is my favorite feature, too! 🙂

      Hi Maggie! It was a fake turkey roast that came in a box. You can kind of see it on the green platter. The menu said to get a boned, rolled turkey roast, which I have never seen before and we couldn’t find. I wanted to sub a turkey breast, but Tom insisted on the instiution-style roast that came in a metal bread pan and tasted like Spam. You had to put the pan in the oven and cook it for 2 hours. It was terrible. But he thought it would be more authentic!

      Girls – Its always Miller time on Mid-Century Menu night!

  3. sablemable September 16, 2009 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    LOL, Tom had his hand on the PBR can, ready to wash down the bean casserole!!!!!!!!!

    Beers to you, Tom! Priceless photo!

    Gidday, Amy! I have a good mate there in NZ! She lives in Dannevirke and makes pikelets for tea almost every day. When she first told me that, I thought, fish cakes for a tea? LOL, it was not what I thought it was!!!!!

  4. sablemable September 16, 2009 at 11:59 pm - Reply

    Geez, I just looked at Tom’s tee shirt. Sara, he’s wearing a Miller Hi-Life tee! Yippee skippee for MHL!!!!!!

  5. Heather September 17, 2009 at 9:12 am - Reply

    This is my very favorite regular blog feature and I look forward to it every week. Thanks!

  6. Maggie September 17, 2009 at 10:17 am - Reply

    I don’t get it — what was the terrible faux “turkey” roast? Can’t see any recipe or reference to it above, apart from your admonition to just not do it.

    Was it something canned?

  7. Sara in AZ September 17, 2009 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Hooray for Miller High Life! It’s Miller time Sable!!! 🙂

  8. sablemable September 20, 2009 at 12:17 am - Reply

    Pikelets, as best I can describe them, are like little fluffy pancakes and are served at tea. I’ve never made them, but my mate, Ethne (neat name, eh?) makes them a lot and sometimes puts fruit in them.

    Another interesting fact from NZ-fruit cake is called Christmas cake and is baked in a wooden box. Yes, you read correctly, a box! Ethne sent me one a couple of years ago and that’s all I use for my fruitcakes. Ethne also frosts her fruitcakes.

    Speaking of Miller Time, I had a High-Life this afternoon and it sure went smooth as silk, girls! LOL!

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