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Having a Ball

31 May

Want a terrific dessert to wow your guests at your summer picnic? A sweet treat that will stir the taste buds as well as the conversation is what’s needed. And in the June 1961 issue of Family Circle, I found the answer to your problem – the Beach Ball Cake.


ball (2)

I know what you’re thinking – this is magnificent, but how do I make it? You only need to get out your bowls, spoons and boxed mix (this is from the 60’s after all) and follow the directions below…


Beach Ball Cake

Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes

Prepare 1 package of your favorite flavor angel-food cake mix, following label directions; pour batter into ungreased 12-cup ovenproof mixing bowl. Bake in a slow oven (325 degrees) 55 minutes, or until top is golden and a long, thin metal skewer  inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn cake upside down to cool, resting edge of bowl on three cans or glasses; cool completely. When cake has cooled, make Fluffy Frosting (recipe below). Loosen  cake around edge of bowl with a knife; turn out, rounded side up, on a wire rack. Mark cake into 6 wedge shaped sections with the sharp point of a knife; frost sections with alternating white and yellow Fluff Frosting. Tint  1-1/3 cups flaked coconut yellow by shaking with 1/4 tsp of water and a few drops of yellow food coloring in a jar with tight fitting cover; sprinkle over yellow sections. Sprinkle 1-1/3 cups plain flaked coconut over white sections. Decorate top with candy peppermint patty “button” fastened with a  dot of frosting. Makes 12 servings.

Fluffy Frosting

Combine 2 unbeaten egg whites and 1/4 tsp cream of tartar in medium sized bowl; beat with rotary beater or electric mixer until egg whites stand in firm peaks. Combine two tablespoons  light corn syrup, 2-1/2 tablespoons water, and 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla in a cup; add alternately with 4 cups (1 pound) sifted 10X (confectioners’ powdered) sugar to egg white mixture, beating well after each addition, until frosting is creamy stiff. Spoon half into second bowl and tint yellow with a few drops of yellow food coloring; leaving remaining half white. Makes enough to frost 1 twelve-cup-bowl cake.


It’s bound to be a hit!


And from the same magazine, a contest from Orange Crush to make animal lovers cringe…


Yes any orange soda lover, regardless of mental stability, can have a chance to win a live, cuddly cocker spaniel puppy! (I can’t begin to fathom how they sent out the top prizes) Let’s hope a greater force had bestowed upon the undeserving the third prize – the greatest hits of Tony Bennett album. (“a $3.98 value” the ad exclaims. Or in today’s market – 50 cents at Goodwill)



Double Dog Delightful – Retro Dog Dinner

7 Feb


It’s hard to imagine someone as thrilled as I to have a meal made from all those inglorious cookbooks from the 60’s and 70’s. And yet at Hot Diggity, the happening hot dog restaurant on South Street in the great city of Philly,  they made not only a meal from these recipes, but a stellar banquet of hot dog laden retro delights.

Appetizers to start…

1. Hot Doggities – tempting pieces of hot dog enrobed in cornflakes


2. Hot Dog Olives – olives stuffed with a cream cheese and hot dog mix

3. Glazed Hot Dogs – your favorite salad dressing (French, Ranch or Honey Mustard) on a hot dog


4. Cuke and Hot Dog Spread

IMG_2392 (tres magnifique!)

Salads followed…

1. In the Pink  Potato Salad – potato salad colored naturally with red beet juice

IMG_2394 (2)

2. Apple and Hot Dog Salad -a macaroni salad with…well the name says it all

3. PERFECTION SALAD – this was a work of retro recipe art – a medley of salad vegetables encased in a beautiful work of Jell-o.

You’ll need two photos to really feel like you’ve seen it properly

IMG_2397 (one of the top dogs explaining about this dream of a salad)

IMG_2398 (2) (up close and tempting – notice the attractive radish garnishes)

And now, the Entree….

Oriental Hot Dog Casserole – back in the 70’s Chinese food was all the rage for experimental housewives looking to add some foreign flavor to their meals. (this mostly meant adding water chestnuts and little those little corn cobs to your recipes) That this is also a casserole meant it was both easy to make and exotic!

IMG_2400 (2)(even the serving dish is retro!)

Specialty of the House…

Of course you want to spoil your guests when you’re having them over for dinner and the staff at Hot Diggity was no exception. This main dish was a wonder to behold…

Hot Dogs in Fruited Brandy Sauce (so impressive!)

IMG_2399 (2)  A luscious dish gorgeously presented.

And when you think you can’t eat any more, there’s always room for…


Berry and lime Jell-o Mold


Want some hot dog fun of your very own? Hot Diggity does more with hot dogs than you could ever imagine. See their website for more…

or go to their facebook page to check out their latest events…

Hot Diggity

20 Jan

Just a quickie…

You love the 70’s. You really love the 70’s cookbooks. And you super really love those wild 70’s recipes that use hotdogs. Then this is for you…


Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 at 8 pm

630 South St, Phila., PA


Can you resist such a stellar menu? …

First Course:
Glazed hot dogs
Hot “diggities”
Cuke and hot dog spread
Hot dog olives

Second Course:
Asian Hot Dog Casserole
Hot dogs in fruited brandy sauce

Third Course:
“In the pink” potato and hot dog salad
Hot dog apple salad

Fourth Course:
Citrus and berry Jello mold


More info and details for making reservations on these sites….

Bon Voyage Professor

20 Jan

russell (photo from the Improbable Research website)

I first learned of the death of actor Russell Johnson from the Improbable Research website. They recounted a moving story of how Mr Johnson, better known as the Professor on Gilligan’s Island, made an appearance at the Ig Nobel prize ceremony, then held at MIT, back in 1993. The article states, “Mr Johnson told us he was fearful that people in the audience would think badly of him for pretending (in the TV series) that he was a scientist. We all assured him that, to the contrary, people were thrilled at the chance to be in the same room as him.” And true to the author, Marc Abrahams’ words, “When I introduced him on stage, the audience-many of whom were MIT and Harvard students, faculty and staff- went utterly wild with joy and tears.”

(read the full story at

The story was touching and sweet. And I thought it was fitting to do A Haunted Fondue Farewell to such a lovely man. And in the Haunted Fondue style, I present recipes from “Mary Ann’s Gilligan’s Island Cookbook“, by Dawn Wells, the actress who played that beloved girl-next-door. The following three recipes were give to her by Russell Johnson and his wife Connie.



Professor’s Miracle Rescue Slaw

1 small head green cabbage, diced into 1/4-inch dice (about 4 to 5 cups)

3 or 4 green onions, including tops, chopped into 1/4-inch dice

1/2 cup cucumber, finely diced

6 radishes, finely chopped

1 small carrot, finely chopped

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1 cup salad dressing


In a large bowl combine the cabbage, onions, cucumber, radishes, carrot, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl thin the salad dressing with a little milk. Toss the dressing into the salad. Chill for a couple of hours. Makes 8 t0 10 servings.


Roy Hinkley’s Spanish Rice (how many of you remember the Professor’s name on the show was Roy Hinkley? No, me neither)

2 cups brown Basmati rice

4 cups chicken broth

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1 bunch green onions including tops, chopped

1 cup chopped parsely

1 green bell pepper, chopped

4 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 cup chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

1 16-ounce can tomatoes, crushed

2 7-ounce cans diced green chiles

In a large pot bring the rice and broth to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and saute the green onions, parsley, green bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and diced green chilies. Mix well and transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with green salad. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Professor’s Apples Archimedes

6 to 8 tart apples (Granny Smith or Pippin), peeled and sliced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 cup raisins

Hot water

2 cups any bran cereal or shredded wheat

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup orange juice


In a large bowl combine the sliced apples, lemon juice, brown sugar and cinnamon. In a small bowl soak the raisins until plump in hot water to cover. Drain and discard the water. Add raisins and bran cereal to the apple mixture. Add the melted butter and mix. Pour the mixture into a buttered, shallow  baking dish, and pour the orange juice over all. Dot with butter. Cover the pan with foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until brown on top, about 15 minutes. Makes 6 servings.







Merry cheXmas, part 3

24 Dec


(photo taken from Chex, The Partymakers)

Chex for dessert?! What a surprise! That’s what your guests will squeal with unbridled delight. When they thought there couldn’t possibly be anything else you could do with Chex, you surprise them with some sweet afters.

So let’s not keep them waiting. Here’s the recipes….

Christmas Chex Crispies

3 tablespoons of Blue Bonnet margaarine

36 regular OR 3-1/2 cps miniature marshmallows (the recipe was very specific about capitalizing the “or”. Don’t you dare go adding both!)

6 cups Rice Chex cereal crushed to 4 cups

1/3 cup chopped red and green glace cherries

1/3 cup chopped nuts (optional) – but only a fool would opt out

In a large saucepan, melt margarine and marshmallows over low heat. Stir constantly until marshmallows are melted and mixture is well blended. Remove from heat.

Stir in Chex, cherries and nuts (don’t say you don’t want them). Mix to coat all pieces well. With spoon, press into greased 13x9x2 inch pan, or form into Christmas Crispies:

*Press into greased Christmas tree pan. Let set. Remove from pan and decorate.

*Form 1/4 cup mixture into:

-small wreaths. Decorate with red/green glace cherries.

-small balls. Roll in coconut.

*Form into two wreaths. Decorate with small gumdrops.

(From Chex, The Partymakers)


Gingerbread Cupcakes

1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened

2 teaspoons frozen orange juice

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/4 cup molasses

1/2 cup water

1-1/2 cups Bran Chex (substitute how you wish)

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1-1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use paper baking cups or grease twelve muffin cups.

Thoroughly combine cream cheese and orange juice concentrate. Set aside.

Combine eggs, molasses and water. Stir in Bran Chex. Let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix butter and sugar until creamy. Stir together dry ingredients. Add to creamed mixture alternately with Chex mixture. Stir just until moistened.

Fill muffin cups 1/3 full. Divide cream cheese. mixture among muffins. Top with remaining batter, sealing cheese in center.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.

(From The Bran Chex plan for good cooking)


Enjoy! Merry cheXmas everyone!