Throwback Recipes…

We’re officially empty-nesters. My husband and I moved our daughter into her apartment in New York, New York. This theme of empty-nesting will probably show up in subsequent posts, because it does change things. The permanence of this “moving in” felt very different from the college “drop off.” Our daughter has no plans to return home, and that’s fine. I think she was born to live in NYC. She’s wanted to be there for quite a while now, and the only reason I left her new place with some composure, was because it felt right for her. We could tell that she was a little scared, but happy.

This post is about food, and some of the recipes I sent with Emma to the City. I originally planned on a binder or notebook to collect recipes, but my husband suggested that it be better to save them digitally, thinking she would prefer a more modern approach. I asked her about what she would like, and she said a binder! Yay! I really wanted to hand her a binder.

We often make our recipes a bit healthier. We replace butter with Smart Balance, white flour with whole wheat, and use skim milk and low fat cheese where possible. This applies to these throwbacks as well.

While Emma is a foodie and has chosen to pursue a master’s degree in food, she still loves some of the recipes we’ve been using since she was a kid. I’m not talking about “The Old Country” Hungarian food here. I’m talking about everyday dinner kind-of-food. 


Emma’s recipe collection would not be complete without a couple of selections from one of our all-time favorite cookbooks, Alpha-Bakery Children’s Cookbook by Gold Medal Flour. So loved, our copy is held together with packing tape. We had hours of great family fun trying many of the recipes. I recently searched the internet to buy a new cookbook for Emma but it looks like it’s been out of print for a while. The good news is that many online retailers are willing to sell you this $2.00 (original cost) paper booklet for prices up to $40! I\’m just going to pass on our tattered copy to Em later.

By far, our top pick from Alpha-Bakery is Quick Cheeseburger Pie. I’ll admit the idea of making a pie crust intimidated me at first. But it was simple as pie! (Sorry.) It was the easiest crust I’ve ever made. The pickle juice in the filling really adds a great flavor. Emma and I eat it with yellow mustard on the side.

Another go-to from the Alpha Bakery is the Strawberry Shortcake recipe. The biscuit dough is easy and quite tasty. This dessert is a must during strawberry season. We indulge with full-fat whipped cream on these.

We have had a breakfast staple in our household for years. With four eggs, Cottage Cakes became a great source of protein for Emma as a swimmer. There is only ½ cup of flour in the recipe, and sometimes I swap in whole wheat flour. This recipe came from The Manchester Inn in Manchester, Vermont. It’s a beautiful place, and I highly recommend it if you ever head New England way.  We use low fat cottage cheese and Smart Balance or other butter substitute most of the time. The tricky thing is the consistency of the batter. You don’t want it thick, but you can’t have it running all over the frying pan either. After the ½ cup of flour, you can add more in small increments.  When you want a treat, make them with full fat everything, and serve with your favorite jam or jelly.  Yum!

*Cottage Cakes*

Manchester Inn, Manchester, Vermont

Makes about 10 cakes

1 cup cottage cheese

4 eggs, beaten

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup flour

pinch of salt

  1. Beat eggs. 
  2. Whisk in butter and cottage cheese.
  3. Fold in flour.
  4. Cook on medium heat.

Batter should not be too runny.  Add flour by the tablespoon if you need to tighten it up.

Every family has a standard mac and cheese recipe, right?  Ours has been Betty Crocker’s Macaroni and Cheese from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, Third Printing, 1980. The recipe is simple, yet the sauce makes it creamy and special. It\’s similar to what my Mom made during lent.  She used a swiss or other white cheese.  We use yellow Cheddar, but the recipe says you can use any other cheese, depending on your preference.  The book suggests add-ins like veggies, ham, olives, hot dogs, tomato or tuna. Frankly, we like it plain, maybe adding some hot pepper occasionally. 

*Betty Crocker’s Macaroni and Cheese*

1 to 1 ½ cups uncooked elbow macaroni, rigatoni or spinach egg noodles (about 6 ounces)

1/4 cup butter

1 small onion, chopped (about ¼ cup)

¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 ¾ cups milk

2 cups shredded or cubed sharp Cheddar cheese (8 ounces)


  1. Heat oven to 375°F. 

  2. Cook and drain macaroni as directed on package.

  3. While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in onion, salt and pepper.  Cook until onion is slightly tender.  

  4. Blend in flour.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute.

  5. Stir in cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted.
    Place macaroni in ungreased 1 ½ quart casserole.  Stir cheese sauce into macaroni.  Cook uncovered 30 minutes.  5 Servings.

I\’m not sure how often Emma will make these recipes, but it warms my heart to know she has them–in her cute, colorful binder…with tabs…and protective sleeves…