I have a very large collection of vintage cookbooks. I just can't resist them, especially ones from Better Homes and Gardens from the 1950s and 60s. While they may not exactly be current and hip for the foodie in me, I love the basic ingredients and easy preparations. And usually, for a weeknight meal, that's all I want in a recipe!
It doesn't hurt that some of the recipes are just fun/weird to look at and imagine- many of these books were the source for James Lilek's Gallery of Regrettable Food. But there are definitely gems in there if you can get past the aspic. This recipe is from BH&G's Hamburger and Ground Meats Cookbook from the early 1960s.
Of course, just about everyone has ground beef in their freezer and rice in their pantry, so I found this recipe that uses those ingredients. It was OK- came together quickly, didn't require anything fancy- but if I make it again, I will alter it slightly to add some more depth of flavor.
I thought it was a good opportunity to get out some of the Pyrex casserole dishes, especially since the ones I used were approximately from the same year as the cookbook!
Cheesy Beef-Rice Bake
1 lb. ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c. uncooked rice
2 T. butter
3 c. water
1 c. shredded carrot
2 t. beef bouillion
1 t. parsley (dried or fresh, chopped)
1/2 t. onion flakes or powder
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 c. shredded cheese
In large skillet, brown ground beef. Drain fat, remove from pan and set aside.
In same skillet, melt butter and brown uncooked rice, stirring frequently until golden brown. As an aside, this is one of my favorite preparations, and a big reason I chose this recipe- the rice gets a nice nutty flavor before cooking.
Stir in water, bouillion, carrot and spices. I do not like dried bouillion cubes, so I used concentrated stock. You could also use 2 c. regular liquid beef stock or broth, just eliminate an equal amount of water. At this point, to improve the flavor, I would also add a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles and eliminate another 2/3 cup water.
Bring to boiling, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Stir in browned meat.
Get your Pyrex ready!
The recipe specifically calls for a 1 1/2 qt. casserole, so I thought that my 1 1/2 qt. Butterprint fridgie would be perfect. Wrong. I filled it with about 2/3 of the mixture, so I had to get out a second casserole dish. My 2 qt. turquoise Starburst promo dish was begging for the job, and probably would have been big enough for the whole lot, but I divided it between the two dishes so no one's feelings were hurt.
Cover and bake in a 325 degree oven for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with shredded cheese (I used a mixture of jack and cheddar) and bake, uncovered, about 5 more minutes.
The verdict- everything tastes better in Pyrex, and even more so in a rarely used promotional piece! Thank goodness, because this dish was bland, bland, bland. I was kind of hoping it would be more like a cheeseburger casserole, but it wasn't. I would definitely add a can of diced tomatoes/green chiles to the mix to give it a bit more zing. I think with that addition it would be pretty good. But it was easy and required only the one frying pan, so that wasn't bad!
For more photos and step by step pictures, visit my blog!