So excited to have wrapped up the Frederick Family Foods challenge. To recap, my goal was to make as many dinners as I remembered from childhood as possible (though I threw in a few dishes that we probably had more often for lunch). For fun, I also made a few nostalgic packaged items, and some standard family sides, breakfasts, and appetizers. Find all recipes here.
By the numbers, I made:
53 Frederick lunches/dinners
5 sides (involving cooking beyond like, heating up peas)
5 random packaged items
My favorite recipes that I hadn’t made since childhood:
1. Swiss Steaks: John and I generally are suckers for anything involving canned cream of mushroom soup, so it probably wasn’t surprising that this was a hit. But I can see myself making this semi-regularly (maybe not TOO regularly since it isn’t particularly healthy).
2. Tire Patches: I’m not sure how sold John was on these, but I really liked these basic veal cutlets, and these were especially fun because we don’t make veal that often.
3. Fondue: A favorite as a kid, so not surprising that we liked it now. Logistical hurdles probably won’t make this one a frequent repeat (finding the right marinade brand, having to deep fry) but I still enjoyed it.
4. Mom’s Meatloaf: I’m pretty into meatloaf in general (though as a kid I wasn’t a fan), and this was a really solid version.
5. Fried Fish: Made both of Dad’s methods for this. Probably slightly preferred the walleye’s batter, but both were great.
6. Shish Kabobs (turns out I made these once in 2008 but still counting the recipe since I hadn’t remembered doing so). These are so good and just really easy, too.
7. Dad’s Chicken Biscuits: Not much to this recipe, but we enjoyed it for being something out of the routine.
8. Pot Roast: This was super easy, and I just generally love pot roast.
9. Dad’s Stew: I don’t think either of us expected to like this as much as we did.
10. Flip Steak: Not really a favorite growing up, but here it reminded us of cheesesteaks.
Honorable Mention: Crab Legs (barely a recipe and something I had made before and rarely make on account of cost…but still delicious).
Favorite Dishes That I Already Make Pretty Regularly
1. Pepper Steak: I crave this practically more than every meal. Recipe is similar to beef broccoli, which we also made for the challenge and is just about as good.
2. Chow Mein: This is probably the Frederick Family Meal I make the most often (and the first thing I learned how to cook), but objectively I think pepper steak is a better dish.
3. City Chicken: This has become a house staple since we discovered a butcher that carries it (I even wrote a story about it).
4. Chicken picatta: I make this very regularly, and it’s randomly the dinner I always like to make before I run a race because it’s easy on my stomach.
5. Stuffed Peppers: I love stuffed peppers, and often make them as freezer meals for friends. My recipe for them has evolved slightly over the years, so it was nice to go back to Mom’s version.
6. Veal/Chicken Marsala: Another dish I’ve been making forever that’s always a hit with friends, too. Mandy’s first thing she learned to cook.
7. Dragon Stew: I remember making this for John in his apartment when we first started dating. We really enjoy this, and in fact I have some in the oven right now.
8. Ground Meat Mixture: John and I both grew up eating versions of this, so it’s not unusual for each of us to make it when we’re throwing together a quick dinner.
9. Chicken A La King: I only started making this a couple of years ago, but it’s always a hit during colder months.
10. Tetrazzini: A tradition post-Thanksgiving or when I have leftover cooked turkey. I also like making Cooking Light’s lighter version these days.
Honorable mentions: London Broil (not sure why we don’t make this more), Ringo chicken (crave it when I’m sick), Mom’s Waffles (love ’em but don’t make them often because I don’t have a waffle iron), meat stuffing (only a once-a-year thing)
1. City Chicken
2. Chicken A La King
3. Stroganoff (which is pretty similar to Swiss Steak)
5. Dad’s Stew
6. Pot Roast/Chicken and Biscuits/Stuffed Peppers (tie)
9. Flip Steak/Sloppy Joes/Cacciatore/Swiss Steak
My Least Favorites
*Frederick Chicken Sandwiches: Turns out canned chicken is…not so great. Also John’s least favorite.
*Ham: I think John was fine with this dinner, but I’ll just never really be into ham.
*Cube steak: Just not an appealing cut of meat to me when prepared this way, though honestly these were fine.
*Dad’s Grilled Chicken #2: We generally had issues with the marinades not permeating the meat as much as we wanted with Dad’s various chicken recipes, but this one was the least exciting.
*Spare Ribs: Maybe they would have been good if I hadn’t destroyed ’em.
Dinners I Couldn’t Make
*Chicken Tonight. A simmer sauce that was first bought out and then basically went out of print. Mandy and I vaguely remember sort of a pineapple chicken one, and another creamy one.
*Grandma’s Potato Soup: Seems like no one on my mom’s side saved her recipe.
*Chef Boyardee Lasagna Kit: I was not sad to find out this no longer exists
Other Things I Made In the Spirit of the Challenge
*TV Dinner Night: I remembered Healthy Choice Beef and Broccoli (it’s now a teriyaki) and Stouffer’s French Bread pizzas being frequent ones we had with babysitters. I also made a Stouffer’s lasagna to make up for the lasagna kit being discontinued.
*Packaged Potato Pancakes: We kind of loved these.
*Hot Pockets: The chicken broccoli version did not live up to my memories of it, hehe
*Cheese Chips. My favorite junk food, which is American cheese melted over BBQ chips
*”Golden Sautee” Rice: Technically this brand no longer exists, but Lipton’s chicken rice blend is pretty similar, so I made that.