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February 10, 2010

Mid-Century Menu – ABC Jiffy Cookery Noodle Hash Casserole and Tomato Pizzas

To the Reader

If you are working by day
And cooking by night,
Or your chores you would keep,
both easy and light,
If you like to eat well
But cook in a hurry,
If you want to relax
Without bother or worry,
If you yearn to play bridge
Or the weather’s too hot;
Or you simply don’t want,
To bend over a pot,
  You’ll find that this book
With occasional rhyme
Will make cooking pleasant,
And  help you save time!


So begins the adorable, pocket-sized cookbook The ABC of Jiffy Cookery that was published in 1961 by Peter Pauper Press, which is still in business today publishing journals and gift books.

This particular cookbook is special because, not only does it have fun rhymes in it, but it was sent to me by frequent blog commentor Annie recently.  I love it Annie!  Thanks so much!

In any case, this is a relatively short book is based on two things; the alphabet and quick cooking.  All the recipes are arranged alphabetically by title, and each letter section has a cute, 4 stanza rhyme that accompanies it.  There was a lot of interesting things to choose from for the Menu, but I finally narrowed it down to two things:

Noodle and Hash Casserole and Tomato-Cheese Pizza.

We also picked ice cream for dessert, but since the book only gave suggestions for ice cream toppings, I don’t know if that actually counts as a Menu item.

Anyway, here are the recipes we picked:

The Noodle and Hash Casserole was chosen because the idea of potatoes and noodles in the same casserole was intriguing to me. The Pizzas were chosen because English muffin pizzas are very retro, and the anchovies give it the disgusting touch that you can only find in the Mid-Century Menu.  And we picked the ice cream because…well…its ice cream!

So let’s get started.

First up – Noodle and Hash Casserole.

And you can’t cook without the rhyme! 

Peamilk. Seriously!  A mix of the canned pea juice topped off with enough milk to make it 1.5 cups.

Since I make white sauce so much on this blog, I decided to skip ahead to the part where I add the cheese.  Oh, and I didn’t have any tabasco on hand, and since it was snowing like mad I had to make do with cayenne pepper.

The finished cheese sauce, which looks pretty good.

Now, the other reason I picked this recipe, besides the noodle/potato thing, is that I got to layer it and add a ring of canned hash around the outside of the casserole. I love to layer.  It went noodles, peas, hash, sauce, repeat.





Finished!  Like the hash ring?  I think it turned out pretty well.

I stuck the casserole in the oven, and while that baked Tom and I worked on the Tomato-Cheese Pizzas.

By this time, Tom was home from work.  “Here,” I handed him the camera, “Take pictures of me making these.”

“You take pictures, I wanna make them this time.”

I wasn’t going to argue with that, so here is Tom, making the pizzas!

Toasted English Muffins.

Laying out the first tomato layer.

Putting on the anchovies.

“What do these taste like?’  he asked me, “have you ever eaten one?”

“Nope.  I imagine they are pretty gross, though.”

“Let’s see.”

“Ah!  Yuck! Don’t!”  But it was too late, he was already chewing.

“So salty! Uh! Salt!”  His digusted faces were pretty funny, but I didn’t get a good picture. Rats!

After he ran out of faces, it was back to business as usual.

The Rosemary Fairy.

Second layer of tomatoes.

And finally, mozzerella cheese.

“Okay, pop them in the oven!”

Brown and bubbly, and fresh from the oven.

“How are they?”

He shrugged. “Not bad.  The anchovies just taste like salt on the pizza.”

I took a bite.  The anchovy was strong.  I only ate one. Tom ate all the rest.

In the meantime, the Hash Casserole had come out of the oven, all bubbly and browned.

Tom scooped some out, and took the first bite.

“It looks kinda gross,” I said, “what do you think?”

“It’s good.”  His mouth was full, so he swallowed and said, “It tastes really unhealthy.”

I took my first bite.  It did taste really unhealthy, but it also wasn’t that bad.  I could have done without the canned peas, but overall edible.

The Verdict:

Tomato-Cheese Pizzas:  Straight up anchovies are gross. What more can I say?  If I would make this again, I would use fresh basil and oregano instead of rosemary and make a paste with the anchovies and spread that over the english muffin. Taking a bite of anchovy was just too shocking.

Noodle Hash Casserole: Good, but not great.  The potatoes and noodles were a little too much, and I hated the canned peas.  This would need some fixing up, but I would ditch the noodles and just layer the hash with fresh veggies and pour cheese sauce over the whole thing.

Ice Cream with Animal Cookies:  Excellent!


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8 Responses to Mid-Century Menu – ABC Jiffy Cookery Noodle Hash Casserole and Tomato Pizzas

  1. Sara in AZ Reply

    February 10, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Ahhhh, yes the old English Muffin pizzas! It reminds me of the good old days. 🙂 I love Tom’s comment, “It tastes really unhealthy.” That is the best!

  2. sablemable Reply

    February 10, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Pizza burgers ala jr. and sr. high school cafeteria slop!

    Ruth, try mashing the anchovies and saute them a bit. They mellow out considerably and don’t taste fishy. Really, on those little pizzas, one or two mashed would be enough.

    The hash casserole didn’t look appealing to me. Somehow noodles and CBH just don’t sound good together.

    Yippee for Tom-Tom fixing the pizzas!

    What? No mincemeat topping for the ice cream! Ugh. Better you guys had the liquors.

  3. Dianne Reply

    February 10, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Boy you worked hard on this great post….my dad always made the Englsi Muffin Pizza, one of my favorites…

    I added you to my Blog Roll feed today….check your email for more stuff…about all that stuff.

    Come visit,


  4. Annie B. Reply

    February 10, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    That colorful menagerie of animal cookies marching through the “snow” is the cutest thing I’ve seen in ages! Glad you had fun with the cookbook!

  5. Barbara Reply

    February 10, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    I do not understand anchovy hate!! They’re just salty, not fishy!! Yum! But you’re right, I would have mashed them up too.

    The hash casserole looks interesting – I’m with sablemable – hash and noodles just sounds wrong..

  6. Paulette Reply

    February 10, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Love the little rhymes. I had the same thought as Sablemama–no warmed mincemeat?

    Like the hash ring? LOL, I think I just had a flashback to my college days circa 1978.

    Never had an anchovy. Glad to know what it tastes like. Nice to see Tom helping. Wow, he moves fast with the tomatoes! 🙂

    I seriously want to know what kind of casserole dish that is. The green and tan is too cute.

  7. Barbara Reply

    February 11, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Looks like I got caught in the spam filter again…

  8. RetroRuth Reply

    February 11, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks for the comments, everyone!

    Paulette – I was wondering if anyone else was going to have “flashbacks” about that! 🙂 The casserole dish is Le Creuset and is only a year or two old. I use it all the time.

    Sorry Barb – The spam filter just hates you or something! 🙂 I think it is the blog link in the post. I will keep an eye out for any more that slip through.

    Sable – I tried to convince Tom to do mincemeat topping, but he wanted the animal cookies. No sense of adventure in that guy. 🙂 Kidding! Kidding!

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