Recipe 1: Betty Crocker’s Green Beans Caesar (1974)

I have to admit…I was a little (ok, VERY) nervous to try this. My first trip back in time! Eek! Thankfully, after several episodes of self-doubt and worrying about how weird this seems, my husband convinced me to just go for it. It isn’t like anyone will see this anyway…

For my first recipe, my husband and I flipped through my mother’s 1974 copy of Betty Crocker’s Cookbook and decided to go with something easy and not completely disgusting (I DARE you to try the “Party Sandwich Loaf”). We went with Green Beans Caesar, which neither of us has eaten. We deemed it 70’s enough for our first trip back in time (although a quick Google search will reveal that this is still a recipe in fairly frequent use).

From Mom

The recipe is as follows:

  • 1½ pounds fresh green beans or 2 packages (9oz each) frozen cut green beansm cooked and drained
  • 2 tablespoons salad oil*
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon instant minced onions
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons dry grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
  • Paprika

If using fresh beans, prepare and cook beans and cut into 1 inch pieces. Heat oven to 350°F. Toss beans with salad oil, vinegar, onion, salt, garlic and pepper. Pour into ungreased 1-quart casserole. Stir together bread crumbs, cheese and butter; sprinkle over beans. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.

*I didn’t know what salad oil was so I had to Google it (FYI- it is any light-tasting vegetable oil). I discovered that there was a great Salad Oil Scandal of 1963, a corporate scandal involving the Allied Crude Vegetable Oil Company that nearly crippled the New York Stock Exchange and cost millions of dollars in losses to American Express and other companies. My terrible attempts at cooking old recipes actually DID teach me something.

Ingredients (sans garlic…oops)

We followed the above directions using green beans from my mother and father-in-law (home grown in the garden)! The only mishap we had was when we got excited with the Parmesan and sprinkled it directly onto the casserole. The final product looked like this:

Green Bean Goodness-Note Giant Parmesan Chunks in Center

We set the oven timer and baked the casserole for 15 to 20 minutes until it was crispy on top. I anxiously danced around the kitchen waiting for the food to cook and fretted that four people had liked my original Instagram post about the green beans (that’s more people than have EVER liked one of my Instagram posts). We pulled the finished product out of the oven and…

No Filter Needed for This Masterpiece!

…tada! It seemed to be edible, which is more than I can say about my last bean experiment (no one TOLD me that strings have to be REMOVED from string beans before cooking…ugh). We plated it with our Thanksgiving leftovers and found that it was actually good! The husband, who says that green bean casserole is “vile” and “the side dish for the laziest family member at a reunion to make” said that this was actually very good. The Caesar flavor was subtle and there was a nice crunch to it with the Parmesan and breadcrumbs on top. I think we will make it again.

The Perfect Accompaniment to Thanksgiving Tofurky

Time Travel Experience: This felt a little retro but we were not completely transported to a time of bell-bottoms and shag carpeting. My husband really liked this though…perhaps because he was a child in the 1970’s and it brought back memories?

Overall Verdict: 9/10 This is probably somewhat inflated because of the newness of it all but we had a lot of fun.

8 thoughts on “Recipe 1: Betty Crocker’s Green Beans Caesar (1974)

  1. I agree with your husband about that horrible green bean casserole. I don’t know a single person in our family who likes it, which is great since the person who used to make it is now divorced from the family…..a reason? Not sure. However, this dish looks really interesting, and the crumb topping delicious!


  2. Fun seeing someone else exploring older recipes — though my exploration tends to date back a bit further (mostly 1800s). But it’s always fun to learn how other people ate — though it is also important to remember that sometimes it wasn’t so much a choice as it was making the most of what was available. Things were much different “back then” — even as recently as the 1970s. Have fun exploring the past.


    1. This was the first post that I did and I have learned so much from other cooks and history bloggers since then. I have no background in either field (cooking or history) and this blog has been QUITE educational for me. It amazes me that some of these dishes are not currently more popular…I have made many that are actually very good! I love doing this and have had so much fun. I am excited to see what you are doing. Perhaps I will be brave enough to try some of the older recipes from the 1800s one day myself (my one or two forays beyond 1900 had very mixed results)! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, if you’re interested, my book, Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland, has several very good recipes from the 1800s — tested and updated for modern kitchens. Your library might have the book, if you just want to see the recipes.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow! I am so impressed! I just purchased my own copy (I’m not just saying that, it will arrive next week). I am learning so much doing this and feel like such an amateur. I can’t wait to read it and try some of the recipes.

        Liked by 1 person

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