Dining In

Souped Up But Simple

By Nancy Finch, Food Columnist   

Nostalgia commenced when my husband complained about his lunchtime “Sloppy Joe” that had been so sloppy he’d had to eat it with a knife and fork.

Sloppy Joes — I hadn’t thought of them for a long time. And that set me to thinking about “spoonburgers.” In my high school years, any time we needed supper for a crowd, whether it was the church youth group or the after-prom party, spoonburgers were a regular in Radford, Va., where I grew up. I have made them for my children, but it had been years. I knew a can of soup was required, but I couldn’t remember which kind.

As well-known as spoonburgers were in Radford, I guessed that the Radford cookbook I’ve had since 1972 would have the recipe in it. Sure enough, there it was, contributed by Diane Grayson, who grew up around the corner from me. The cookbook provided a trip down memory lane as I flipped through the pages and saw friends and acquaintances from years back. Likewise, many of the recipes were, like spoonburgers, well known around our little town. It made me miss living where folks all know each other and who is famous for which recipe.

Yes, spoonburgers use a can of chicken gumbo soup — sounds strange, but they are good, easy and kids used to gobble them up. They probably still will.

To admit using canned soup in a recipe is definitely a “no-no,” I’m sure, with serious cooks. However, the spoonburger search sent me looking for our son’s favorite scalloped potatoes recipe. I often made it for him for special occasions. Happily, I found the recipe clipped from the mushroom soup can and taped on an index card. Kelly loved these potatoes.

Having recalled these favorites made with soup, I was inspired to try a Campbell’s prizewinner of several years back, “Polynesian pork chops.” Easy and good. What better criteria? A recipe remembered for nearly 50 years as with the spoonburgers must have something going for it. I don’t think I’ll be recalling the pork chops 50 years hence, but they were pretty darned good!

Kelly’s Favorite Potatoes

Ingredients:

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1 can cream of mushroom soup

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1⁄2 cup milk

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Dash pepper

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4 cups thinly sliced potatoes (about 4 potatoes)

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1 medium onion, thinly sliced

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1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

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Dash paprika

Directions: Stir soup with milk until smooth. Add pepper. In buttered 11⁄2-quart casserole, alternate layers of potatoes, onion, sauce and cheese. End with cheese and sprinkle with paprika. Bake covered at 375˚ for one hour. Uncover to brown, about 15 minutes. Serves 6.

Polynesian Pork Chops

Ingredients:

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4 boneless pork chops, 3⁄4-inch thick

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1 t garlic powder

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1 T vegetable oil

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1 medium onion, chopped

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1 can golden mushroom soup

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8-oz. can pineapple chunks

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1⁄4 cup water

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3 T soy sauce

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1 T honey

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Sliced green onions

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Cooked rice

Directions: Spread chops with garlic powder. Heat oil in skillet. Add chops and cook until browned. Add onion. Remove chops when done and set aside. To skillet, add soup, pineapple with juice, water, soy and honey. Cook mixture over medium heat until thickened. Return chops to mixture to heat through. To serve, top chops with sliced green onion. Serve with rice. Serves 4.

Spoonburgers

Ingredients:

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1 1⁄2 lbs. ground beef

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1 large onion, chopped

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1⁄2 green pepper, chopped

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1⁄4 cup catsup

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1 T prepared mustard

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1 can condensed chicken gumbo soup

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Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Brown ground beef in Dutch oven. Add onion and green pepper and cook until onions are soft. Add remaining ingredients. Cook over moderate heat for about an hour or until liquid has cooked out and mixture is thick. Remove fat. Serve on buns. Makes about 10 spoonburgers. 

 

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