Yesterday's Menus

Cooking up retro menus from vintage cookbooks

1965 Betty Makes Pizza and I question my life choices


Pizza Potatoes

olive tree

lettuce, cucumber and radish salad with vinegar and oil

I dipped back into the fascinating volume of Betty Crocker’s Dinner in a Dish for tonight’s menu.

Dinner in a Dish

This wasn’t really a menu per se, but I’m reading Betty’s suggestion loud and clear in this picture:

pizza potatoes

The pizza potato recipe was fairly straight-forward.  Just a few ingredients:


Note the proud “20% MORE” exclamation on Betty’s package of potatoes.  Stupid supersizing messing with my retro recipes!

On to the olive tree.  Since this wasn’t an actual recipe, I had to use my limited crafting skills.  I started off by cutting of the bottom and top of a carrot and nuked it for a couple of minutes so it would be soft enough to shove toothpicks through.


This is where I started to have concerns about my sanity.  Also, my son was doing this while I was voodoo-dolling the carrot:


I think he was trying to get my attention.  Sadly for him, I just took a picture and moved on to this:

IMG_3237 (2)

Edible garnish or cry for help?  You decide.

To the results!


At this point, the olive tree had a decided lean and I had to prop it up with additional toothpicks.  This is it’s “good” side.

It any case, the pizza potatoes were pretty delish.  They tasted quite convincingly of pizza.  I don’t want to guess at the saturated fat/sodium levels on this thing but it has tons of inner (and outer) kid appeal.  The salad and olives rounded out the meal nicely.  I did make my son a dish of his favorite veggie, peas, to go with his because he puts up with his wacky mother.

Are you in good health?  Blood pressure levels within normal parameters?  Then go ahead and try this!

Pizza Potatoes

1 pkg. of our scalloped potatoes

1 can (1 lb.) tomatoes

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 tsp. crushed oregano

1 pkg. (4 oz.) sliced pepperoni

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Empty potato slices and seasoned sauce mix into baking dish, 9x9x2″.  Heat tomatoes, water, and oregano to boiling.  Pour over potatoes, stir until well mixed.  Arrange pepperoni on top and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake uncovered 30 to 35 min.  Garnish with hot peppers, if desired. 4 servings.  (Note:  due to the larger box of potatoes and the slightly less than 1 lb. can of tomatoes, I upped the water to 2 cups and it worked fine).

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1965 Betty’s Dinner Fiesta


Sombrero Pie

Avocado-Orange Salad

Ripe and Green Olives

Scoops of Assorted Fruit Sherberts

Chocolate Sauce     Coffee

Dinner in a Dish

This “internationally inspired” menu comes from the 1965 Betty Crocker’s Dinner in a Dish.  From the cover of this cookbook, I assumed there would be some sort of chafing dish required, but no.  This book has dinners in any old type of dish.  Despite the lack of real theme, this one is full of easy retro dishes.

I selected Sombrero Pie for the name alone.  I mean, Sombrero Pie?  Betty, you’re clever and you can cook.  Also, you don’t exist.

Betty’s version:


Without further ado, the results:


My rating? Total home-run.  This is a great combination of easy and family friendly.  Even for the pastry-challenged (ahem, me), this cornmeal pastry was super easy to work with and had an excellent, corn-y texture.  The salad and olives matched well with the dish.

I did skip the chocolate sauce and coffee but had some mango sorbet for dessert which was nice and light after a heavier main dish.  Quite a successful meal in my opinion.  Brava Betty!

Sombrero Pie

1/2 lb. ground beef

1/2 lb. ground fresh pork

1 large onion, sliced

1 can (1 lb. 4 oz) tomato juice

1 can (12 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained, or 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen corn

1 to 2 TBSP chili powder

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Cook and stir meat and onion in large skillet until onion is tender and meat is browned.  Stir in tomato juice, corn, and seasonings.  Simmer 10 min.  Pour bubbly hot meat mixture into oblong baking dish, 11 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 1 1/2″.  Cover with pastry.  Bake 30 to 35 min.  4 to 6 servings. 

Cornmeal Pastry:

1 1/4 c. Gold Medal Flour (regular or Wondra)

1/2 c. cornmeal

1 tsp. salt

1/2 c. salad oil

3 TBSP. cold water

Mix flour, cornmeal, and salt.  Mix in oil until mixture looks like fine crumbs.  Sprinkle with water and mix with fork.  Press firmly into a ball.  If too dry to form ball, work in 1 to 2 TBSP. more oil.  Roll pastry between two sheets of waxed paper into a rectangle, 12 x 7″.  Peel off top paper and invert pastry on meat mixture.  Peel off second piece of waxed paper; cut 3 or 4 slits near center of pastry.

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