Wartime Menu Challenge: April - Creamed Cooked Meat & Soya Cornbread

It's already April 9th, and I'm just now trying the first of April's menus! I decided rather last minute to make one for last night's dinner. That's not really a good thing, because I really need to plan ahead for meals. Luckily, I had everything on hand for one of the menus: Creamed Cooked Meat on Soya Cornbread. Here's the official menu:

Creamed Cooked Meat  (called for ground beef, but I only had ground pork on hand) Soya Cornbread Butter or Fortified Margarine Buttered Broccoli Grated Carrot Salad w/ French Dressing Stewed Rhubarb
As you can see, I did really well with this menu! I didn't have time to make dessert. Besides, my rhubarb just started sprouting up in the garden last week, so it's nowhere near harvesting, and I don't think my family would've eaten it... unless it was over vanilla ice cream or something.

The final verdict: My husband thought the meal was "okay", my son ate it without too much complaint, and my daughter at…

Wartime Menu Challenge: April's Menus are Here!

For those of you that followed along for March - thank you! There were a lot of possible menus to try for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. The recipes provided were sparse, so I had to look up quite a few supplemental recipes. Something I learned about myself is that following a menu every single day was extremely difficult for me. I think I averaged two menus a week. I guess that's what happens when you and your family are set in your ways! Especially for breakfast. My kids ran straight for the cereal every morning. Some days that was nice because it was easy, but that undermined any ration menu intentions I had planned! Besides for some time I've been wanting to get back to more homemade and less processed foods. So, I decided to do something about it....

I've given my kids fair warning, and I've stopped buying cereal. Whatever Cheerios we have left I'm saving for our baby-turning-toddler. Unless the breakfast menu says ready-made cereal, we're sticking wit…

Wartime Menu Challenge: March - Lima Bean, Cheese, & Spiced Pork Casserole

I am so glad I had the ingredients for this wartime menu, because I had no clue what to make for dinner today!

With all the ration recipes I've tried, I have never once tried SPAM. I actually feel pretty silly about that. I've had this can of SPAM for a long time in anticipation of using it for one of my recipes, but always forgot about it. So, when I saw that this menu called for "spiced pork", my interpretation of that was SPAM, though I'm not sure if they were using it this early in the war for when the menu is from (1942).

For a first time trying it, I think this recipe was a good one. But first up, let me show you what today's menu was:

Lima Bean, Cheese, & Spiced Pork SPAM Casserole Cooked Greens Green Beans Baked Bananas Banana Drop Cookies Coffee/Tea or Milk
I was really skeptical when I was browning the SPAM to heat it up and maybe cook off some of the fat. It smelled funny - like the tuna fish of the ham world. There wasn't a recipe for this …

Wartime Menu Challenge: March - Stuffed Green Peppers & More!

I tried one of the last menus I'll be making from March's set of menus. I made a lunch menu and once again served it for supper. I served it with my son's herb garlic bread to supplement it. It was a simple meal, and a couple children revolted (the baby ate it. ha!), but it was filling and healthy. It was a great way of stretching meat.

Here's the official menu:

Baked Green Peppers stuffed w/ Bacon, Onion, & Rice Plum Kiss Pie Tea/Cocoa
And the menu with some modifications: Baked Green Peppers stuffed w/ Sausage, Onion, & Rice Strawberry Kiss Pie Water
I had a bunch of sausage patties no one was eating, so instead of going out and buying bacon, I used the sausage instead. The filling was quite tasty! I added some salt and pepper, but that was it. My husband later added some Asian sauce to some of the leftovers and he said it was really good that way too. haha! I'll be honest. For some reason, I don't do well with stuffed vegetables. It takes a lot for …

Vintage Recipe: Cran-Ban

In the crazy midst of preparing for a very involved ration dinner for my challenge, I realized the dessert the menu suggested wasn't something I could make - I was totally out of flour which hasn't happened in a long time! Scrambling to figure something out, I turned to my 1940 Cape Cod's Famous Cranberry Recipes booklet.

I could wax poetical about this book all day! Just look at that color! And the recipes inside are some of the most interesting, innovative ones I've seen for a long time.

Well, finally one recipe caught my eye because I happened to have all the ingredients. Or at least I thought I did... 
Cranberry sauce, almonds, mashed banana, lemon rind - check! I didn't have whipping cream, but I did have a package of Dream Whip that I've had sitting around. That could work.  And I didn't think I had marshmallows. But I did have Korean marshmallows a friend gave me! Better yet they were in different colors and were swirly. Cool! 

I threw it all togethe…

Wartime Menu Challenge: March Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinners

Well, a couple weeks have gone by and I've managed to try breakfast, lunch, & dinner menus!

Let's dive right in!

For breakfast this was the original menu:

Grapefruit Cooked Cereal Fluffy Omelet Whole Wheat Toast Coffee/Malted Milk
I kept it mostly the same with only a few changes due to what we had on hand:
Orange slices Cooked 10-grain cereal Fluffy Omelet Bread w/ a bit of butter Coffee substitute (Teaccino)
Yum! It was a nice breakfast, especially since it wasn't just cold cereal. To make the fluffy omelet, I didn't follow a recipe. I just added some milk to the scrambled eggs which makes it fluffy as it slowly cooks. And I sprinkled a bit of cheese on top. 

The lunch menu was quite lovely! We actually had it for a light supper. 
Cream of Mushroom Soup Berry Patch Salad Toasted Muffins Tea/Milk
I stuck to this menu, and used a recipe for the soup from one of my wartime cookbooks. It used a mixture of milk and evaporated milk. I used up some light …

Wartime Menu Challenge: March Dinner - Corned Beef

I'm so thrilled with myself that I actually got it together to make this whole menu! When I said this was a menu challenge, I wasn't kidding. It's going to be a huge challenge for myself to actually follow a menu. Most of the time I wing it, which means that most of the time I'm figuring out last minute what we're going to have. Not always the best approach to dinner time. I'm hoping I'll be learning a lot throughout this challenge about how nice having a menu can be, not only for sanity's sake, but for the budget as well. 
The first day's dinner menu was supposed to be this: Corned Beef Mustard Sauce Diced Beets Green Cabbage Salad Cherry Upside-Down Cake Coffee/Malt-Cocoa
In all the menus I've read about in my resources, they say that adaptation of the menu is to be expected, but that if you are going to change the menu, make sure you replace like with like to maintain the nutritional elements. Because of this, I took a little liberty in adap…

Wartime Rationing Menu Challenge: MARCH

It's here!!! The Wartime Rationing Menu Challenge has finally arrived!
Are you as thrilled as I am? I've been working steadily on this project for two months - trying out test recipes, choosing menus for the next six months, typing everything up, formatting and getting it ready to share. It's been a lot of work, but I'm so excited to share these recipes with you all. It's been hard not to get cooking already!
So, are you ready?

First up, I want to put in a disclaimer. I'm starting this ration menu challenge, and I'm going to follow it the best I can, but I'm just like you - busy with life and all the little moments of chaos that come up when they're the least expected. This isn't a hardcore challenge. Remember that it's for fun, for learning about a cool era of historical cooking in America, and to get yourself into your kitchen trying out some new recipes! If you find some fabulous new favorites, even better.

A few little details:
1) I dec…

Wartime Menu Challenge: Trial - Day 3

There's nothing fancy about the third menu I tried - Sauerkraut, "Wieners", O'Brien Potatoes, and a Shredded Carrot Salad with homemade French Dressing. Simple, American food. (Does French Dressing count as American? haha!) And it was awesome! This is one of my favorite menus so far. It was easy, and totally delicious. The dessert was a Dutch Pear Cake, which I wasn't able to make, but hope to soon.

The original menu wanted me to make a potato casserole, but I couldn't find the recipe for it in the cookbook, and I don't know what they meant by a casserole, so I found another potato recipe in the cookbook. O'Brien Potatoes consists of cooking cubed potatoes, green peppers, and onions in a skillet with some fat and letting it sit there without much stirring - kind of like hash browns. You season it with salt, pepper, and some parsley, and that's it. It was really good! My family requested it be served again in the future if that says anything.

Wartime Menu Challenge: The Trial - Day 2

Today, I tried a few more of the ration menu recipes. I was working off Monday's recipes even though it's Tuesday, because we were still eating leftovers from Sunday's menu recipe trial. It's looking like every 2-3 days is what will naturally flow for us and these menus. It just makes a lot of food, and even with using some of it for my husband's lunch, there's still enough for us to eat later! (I can't say that for the desserts, though. Those have disappeared pretty quickly!)
Breakfast was just whatever, but for lunch I had leftover Cream Cheese sandwich filling with chopped celery and it was nice and refreshing!

Pictured below is today's dinner. Here's what we had: Vegetable Meatloaf, Cole Slaw, Brown Bread + Butter, and I forgot to serve the Molded Cranberry Sauce! (though I did have some for lunch and we had some yesterday. I finally went out and bought the dang orange gelatin I forgot to get so I could make it Sunday!) Dessert was the wowsers A…