Cookbook recipes for brand-name junkies

February 20, 1991|By Gerald Etter | Gerald Etter,Knight-Ridder Newspapers

Take a half-cup of nostalgia, mix with an equal portion of kitchen pragmatism and you've got "The Back of the Box Gourmet" (Simon & Schuster, $14.95), a collection of more than 75 recipes, from Lipton California Dip to Toll-House Cookies.

This book is a treat for anyone who ever took a bite of a Fluffernutter or who watched helplessly as the sauce from sweet-and-sour meatballs made with Heinz Chili Sauce dripped onto clothing. It's a compendium of recipes formulated with brand-name products in mind.

"For major food conglomerates," says Michael McLaughlin, the book's author, "developing such product recipes is now a

full-time industry. Their test kitchens, staffed by diligent home economists and registered dietitians, turn out hundreds, sometimes thousands, of recipes yearly."

This recipe for meatloaf appeared on Quaker Oats boxes for years.

Prize-Winning Meat Loaf

1 cup tomato juice

3/4 cup Quaker Oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)

1 egg, beaten (optional)

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except ground beef; mix well. Add ground beef; mix lightly but thoroughly. Press into eight-by-four-inch loaf pan; bake one hour. Let stand five minutes before slicing. Makes eight servings.

For those who enjoy rice pudding, here's a back-of-the-box recipe that uses Minute Rice and Jell-O.

Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding

4 cups cold milk

1 cup Minute Rice

1 package (4-servings size) Jell-O Vanilla or Coconut Cream Flavor Pudding and Pie Filling

1/4 cup raisins (optional)

1 egg, well beatgen

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine milk, rice, pudding mix, raisins and egg in medium saucepan. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Cool five minutes, stirring twice. Pour into individual dessert dishes or serving bowl. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg; serve warm. (For chilled pudding, place plastic wrap directly on hot pudding. Cool slightly; chill about one hour. Stir before serving; sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.) Makes ten servings.

Whenever this recipe for macaroni salad is missing from the Hellmann's mayonnaise jar, consumers send letters of complaint.

Easy Macaroni Salad

1 cup Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise or Light Reduced Calorie Mayonnaise

2 tablespoons vinegar

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

8 ounces Mueller's Elbow Macaroni, cooked and drained

1 cup sliced celery

1 cup chopped green or sweet red pepper

1/4 cup chopped onion

In a large bowl, stir mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper until smooth. Add macaroni, celery, green pepper and onion; toss to coat well. Cover; refrigerate at least two hours to blend flavors. Makes five cups.

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