Monthly Archives: December 2018

Frederick Family Foods: A Roundup

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)
3 breakfasts
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)

John’s Favorites:

1. City Chicken
2. Chicken A La King
3. Stroganoff (which is pretty similar to Swiss Steak)
4. Fondue
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.


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Dad’s Spare Ribs (For Posterity)

So as you can see from the photo below, I burned these spare ribs beyond recognition when I tried to make them for the challenge. I’m still logging the recipe Dad gave me for the record, though.

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Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

Notice how I saved the meals I don’t like as much for the end of the challenge?

I hated ham as a kid (now, it’s…fine) but the consolation prize was that we often served it with scalloped potatoes, which I liked and learned how to make at an early age.


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Sloppy Joes

I didn’t love these as a kid, though I was kind of psyched out by how much ketchup they involved. I still don’t love ketchup, but we liked these well enough when we made them for the challenge.


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Fettucine Alfredo

This was one of my sister’s favorites growing up, though I didn’t care for it much. My parents didn’t remember what brand they used for jarred sauce, so I just picked up one from Wegmans.


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Frederick Chicken Sandwiches

These were a staple of family gatherings growing up. I struggled to find canned chicken around these parts, and ultimately had to buy it online at Shoutout to my Aunt Kathy to providing us the recipe. We didn’t really care for this dish, though I didn’t think it turned out as well as when other family members make it.


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Basic Grilled Cheeseburgers

I made these early in the challenge (I can’t remember if we did them at home or at Mandy’s house) but forgot to note them because they’re barely a recipe.

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