250 Cookbooks: Hamburger & Ground Meats Recipes

Cookbook #51: Hamburger & Ground Meats Recipes. Better Homes and Gardens, Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa, 1980.

Hamburgers and Ground Meats RecipesHamburger ideas: More! This is the second hamburger-recipe cookbook I’ve covered in this blog. Ground meats are a mainstay in my freezer, great for easy and tasty mid-week meals. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes to try, even if I only cook the recipe once. “Variety is the spice of life.”

I’m going to keep this cookbook. Sure, it’s over 30 years old, but people ate well back then, too. I want to try the Crepe-Style Manicotti, Swedish Burgers, Greek-Style Crepes, and Sausage Quiche. I found a recipe for “main dish crepes” that I had been looking for for years. I was surprised to find recipes that incorporate feta cheese – I didn’t discover feta cheese until about ten years ago. I also found a recipe for “oven meatballs” that I think I used to make a lot. Baked meatballs can be low-fat, and meatballs freeze well, great for quick thawing to pop into a spaghetti sauce.

For this blog, I chose “Hearty Mexican Casserole”.

Hearty Mexican Casserole RecipeIt wasn’t until I was halfway through cooking this dish that I realized it was a lot like the “Wyoming-Mexican Casserole” that I have been making for years. Sure enough, it is exactly the same recipe that I typed it onto an index card in the 1970s. I probably clipped it from a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I remember it being touted as “John Wayne’s favorite casserole”. When I google that phrase today I come up with a different recipe, one with chiles and eggs and evaporated milk. I guess I was wrong about John Wayne.

I’m killing two birds with one stone with this blog entry, sharing a favorite recipe and covering one of my 250 cookbooks.

Hearty Mexican Casserole
or, “Wyoming-Mexican Casserole”
serves about 4

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion (I used more like a half cup)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped ham
  • 1/4 cup taco sauce (I used a bottled, chunky salsa)
  • 1 1/4-ounce envelope taco seasoning mix OR use 1 teaspoon each: cumin, chile powder, and oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
  • salt to taste
  • 10 ounces spinach, cooked (can use frozen spinach)
  • cooking oil
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup grated jack cheese

Cook the onion in a little olive oil, then remove them from the pan and set aside. Brown the ground beef (drain off fat if necessary), then add back in the onions along with the ham, taco sauce, and seasonings. Add the spinach and some water (about a half cup) and simmer 5-10 minutes.

Cook the tortillas in hot oil until just limp. Alternatively, you can steam or microwave the tortillas to soften them.

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture on each tortilla; roll up. Place the filled tortillas, seam side down, in a greased baking dish (13×9-inch). Cover and bake at 350˚ for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Uncover; spread sour cream over tortillas. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes more, until the cheese is melted.


These are actually enchiladas. And they are good! Here is the mixture before it was rolled into the tortillas:

Hearty Mexican CasseroleI made a half recipe and baked them in a 7×11-inch pan. I like these scrunched up next to each other. Here they are, ready for their first phase of baking:

Hearty Mexican CasseroleAnd here they are, sour cream and cheese on top and baked, ready to be plated next to avocado-tomato-queso-fresco salads:

Hearty Mexican CasseroleTime to enjoy a great meal!

250 Cookbooks: 1989 Best-Recipes Yearbook

Cookbook #50: 1989 Best-Recipes Yearbook. Better Homes and Gardens, Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa, 1989.

1989 Best Recipes YearbookAdmissions of a recovering recipe clipper . . .

I bought this cookbook in 1989. Back then I loved to buy women’s magazines and pore over the recipes. But I could not just let the magazines go straight to the recycling bin, I held onto old issues until I first clipped recipes to try. Eventually it got done. Eventually I read each clipped recipe and entered its information into a database. Eventually the cut up magazine went into the recycling bin. The clipped recipe went into a file folder. I still have these file folders and the database. That project is now finished.

Tired of my compulsive recipe-clipping addiction, I vowed never again to buy a women’s magazine. That was in about the early 1990s. I have stayed true to my vow. But, as a leftover, I have this book of Better Homes and Gardens magazine recipes.

I will now recycle this book. In the whole dang book, not a single recipe is marked by me. Although I did have a post-it with a seafood dinner plan on it, tucked on a page with a recipe for shrimp in a tarragon, garlic, sun-dried tomato vinaigrette recipe. I now have a much better version of a shrimp vinaigrette in my repertoire, so I can let this go.

The layout of this book glares at me like the glossy magazines I used to pore over. Promises of great food shown in fancy dining layouts with happy people. But the recipes in this book are mediocre. Today I saved only a couple recipes, one for a sweet-potato-chocolate swirled quick bread, and one for a seasoned ground meat mixture over home-cooked polenta.

And what did I decide to cook from the pages of this soon-to-be-discarded cookbook? “Orange Streusel Muffins”. I’m always up for another muffin recipe. Muffins are part of my daily eating plan! And these are a tiny bit unusual, with a jammy surprise inside.Orange Streusel MuffinsThe above version says to make 12 muffins. As I was filling the muffin cups, I felt that I needed to fill them a little fuller, so I only made 8 muffins. My new 12-muffin tin from King Arthur Flour is great – it does not require any grease or paper liners and does not complain when I leave a few of the muffin cups unfilled. Next time, I’ll add more marmalade, so I incorporated this, too, into my version, below.

Orange Streusel Muffins
makes 8 muffins


  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup (or more) orange marmalade

Streusel topping

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Beat together the egg, milk, and oil. Combine wet and dry mixtures, stirring just until moistened.

Spoon a generous tablespoon of the batter into 8 muffin cups, then put a generous teaspoon of marmalade on top of each. Next, spoon another generous tablespoon of the batter atop the marmalade in each cup. Finally, sprinkle with Streusel topping.

Bake at 400˚ for 20-22 minutes or until golden. Cool in the pan a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Orange Streusel MuffinsYes, these are good. My dining partner loved the built-in jam. I liked warming them briefly in the microwave so the marmalade was warm. We both wanted: More marmalade!

My breakfast, awaiting only eggs and coffee:

Orange Streusel MuffinsThese satisfied my New Year’s resolution: Everyday, I should eat something that makes me say “wow, I just have to have another bite!”

My kitty helping me to set up the shot:

Tori and the muffins

Hey, this is my 50th cookbook! I’m 20% of my way through this project!