>> Cathy Callahan is a crafter and window dresser who draws
inspiration from vintage crafts. She blogs about 60s and 70s
The Craft of Casseroles
Casseroles were a staple when I was
growing up in suburban Southern California
during the 60s and 70s. They were touted
in recipe books and women’s magazines as an easy
and economical way to make dinner for your family.
My mom would always rather craft than cook, so
making casseroles was a way she could use her
crafty skills to whip up a quick dinner.
There is a basic formula
to making a casserole
that you can rework in
In my mom’s 1971 Betty Crocker’s Recipe Card
Library (housed in a beautiful avocado and lime-green
box) are 27 casserole recipes for such delights as
Hamburger Pie, Garden Supper Casserole, Dinner in
a Dish, Frank-Bean Bake, and Zippy Beef Casserole.
There is a basic formula to making a casserole
that you can rework in countless combinations.
Most recipes call for some type of meat combined
with noodles, rice, or vegetables, which can be
compared to your favorite craft supplies such as
felt, pompoms, rickrack, etc. You’ll need some kind
of “glue” to hold it all together, like soup, ketchup,
or sour cream. I like to think of the crunchy top
(like bread crumbs, crispy onions, or chow mein
noodles) as the glitter.
I felt drawn to the Zippy Beef Casserole recipe
because it’s made from many of the same ingredients my mom liked to use: ground beef, elbow
macaroni, cream of mushroom soup, ketchup,
cheddar cheese, green pepper, instant minced onion,
and crushed potato chips. But I updated the recipe
with healthier ingredients (well, except the corn
chips). And just as you might do while following the
directions for a craft project, feel free to increase
or decrease ingredients to suit your taste, or add
whatever else you think sounds good. ×
1lb Soyrizo, crumbled and browned
8oz cooked organic macaroni
Two 15oz cans organic tomato sauce
½c chopped red onion
½c chopped bell pepper
1c shredded soy cheese
1c crushed corn chips
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix all ingredients
(except corn chips) in an ungreased 2-quart
casserole dish. Cover and bake for 40 minutes.
Uncover, sprinkle with corn chips, and bake
5 minutes longer. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Make sure to save some leftovers for lunch
the next day so you’ll have even more time
Photograph by Cathy Callahan