Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vintage Recipe: Chicken Caruso

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was looking through my cookbooks looking for new recipe inspiration, and I found it in Betty Crocker's New Dinner for Two Cookbook:

I turn to the Betty Crocker cookbooks for straightforward, basic American recipes that tend to turn out well every time, though I usually need to embellish with a few more spices because I like my food well-seasoned. 

I decided to try out the Chicken Caruso recipe as-is because I figured that the combination of ingredients would be pretty flavorful, perhaps even worthy of an aria as the dish is named after legendary tenor Enrico Caruso.  And how can you go wrong with a dish that includes both bacon and cheese? Here's the scanned page from the book (it includes a few other recipes too):

The only change I made was that I used egg noodles instead of macaroni because that is what I had in my pantry.

Here's the final result:

Unfortunately, this dish turned out to be just so-so.  I really wanted this to be good (I love bacon!  I love cheese!) but I found the ingredients to be too tame or too greasy.  First of all, it was a pea-fest -- the one cup of peas really dominated the flavor of the dish, and even though I like peas a cup was way too many.

This dish could benefit from the addition of more spices; I think a pinch of red pepper flakes when sauteing the onion and green pepper would really boost the flavor.

I'm also not surprised that Americans have such a high rate of heart disease given dishes like this one -- bacon grease and the fat from cheddar cheese made this a fat bomb -- you can see from the photo how slick the noodles are.  And both the cheese and the bacon really weren't that noticeable because of the peas!

Still, I'm not ready to give up on this cookbook yet.  Dear readers, if any of you have made successful recipes from this book I'd like to hear about it!


  1. Her cookbooks never failed me in the past when I cooked. I imagine they are still one of the most popular ones around.

  2. LV -- perhaps the "failure" was due to my cooking skills then!

  3. I agree that the recipe looks to over pea'ed! I didn't care for peas as a child, i like them now as long as they aren't over powering. I love the vintage cookbook. I have a few of those that I enjoy, but I always have to alter the recipes a little because I have more modern tastes as far as the fat content goes. :)

    Thanks fro stopping by The Chronicles of Nani. No shame in promoting you Swedish Weaving tutorial. You should have left a link! I did find the tutorial and it looks similar enough to counted cross stitch that I just might feel confident enough to give it a try.

  4. What fun, the recipe and then your review! It looks so mid century!! Happy VTT!

  5. Your end result looks like it could be a photo in the original book! Very pretty! Too bad it wasn't as good as it looked. :)
    I love cooking from vintage recipes but I don't have this particular book in my collection.
    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! Happy cooking! :)

  6. Lost me at peas - yuck. But it does look pretty!

  7. Might I suggest that you increase the amounts of the onions, green peppers, pimientoes, and decrease the amount of cheese? I find, that in many of these old recipes, the amount of fresh produce is way too small, especially for my modern taste. Also, what other veggies do YOU like? I always add mushrooms, since I love them and I adore celery. Check out a recipe, see if you like the "bones" of it and then add what YOU like, and I bet, you will enjoy these older recipes more.

  8. Well thanks for the nice compliments about the photo! I always envy the beautiful photos in the food blogs out there.

    As for adaptability, you're right suzieQ, this recipe could take a lot in the way of experimentation. I love mushrooms too so that would be a good addition -- but only after the peas were reduced by at least half!


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