Hello, all!!! Happy Thanksgiving a day early!  And to get us all in the holiday spirit (or something) I decided to resurrected this horror of a holiday meal out of the Mid-Century Menu archive.  It’s festive.  It’s cheezy. It tastes like cigarette butts. Sounds like a winning combo to me!

This post was previous run on September 16, 2009. Enjoy!!!

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.