A Retro 50’s Dinner Menu – The Way To A Man’s Heart

Good evening, dear friends 😀

I simply love my “Asian Food Channel” which airs all types of cooking show and just now, I was enjoying watching an episode of “Cookworks”, which is hosted by Chef Donna Dooher and the theme for that show was “Retro – The Way To A Man’s Heart.” In those days, women were mainly the stay-at-home types, taking care of their household and family. Wow, even Chef Donna and her students had their hair coiffured and hair-sprayed like the 50’s hairstyles, and their dressing reflected that era, too. Remember the housewives in the movie, “The Stepford Wives?” Well, you get the idea of their look… 😆

Anyway, Chef Donna was teaching her students how to prepare a very typical 50’s meal and some basic techniques of cooking, and on the menu were –

Shrimp Cocktail
Caesar’s Salad
Beef Stroganoff
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

I am putting together the recipes here because I would like to create this classic dinner for my family one weekend, and we will call it a “Retro 50’s Night!” As I am typing this and describing the menu to my husband, he is already getting impatient and is asking me to cook this ASAP! Well, like the popular saying – “The Way To A Man’s Heart Is Through His Stomach.” So, ladies, do cook up a storm and have your man drooling with delight!! 😆

(Recipes courtesy of The Cookworks)

Shrimp Cocktail


1 lemon, halved
1 onion, quartered
2 tablespoons salt
1 bay leaf
10 black peppercorns
1 pound shrimp, unpeeled

Cocktail Sauce:

1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons grated fresh horseradish
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

For the shrimp:

In a medium pot filled with water squeeze the lemon and drop in along with the onion, salt, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat, simmer for 5 minutes to develop the flavors.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the shrimp. Gently cook until the shrimp turn pink and opaque. Strain, cool, and peel the shrimp. Refrigerate to chill through, about 30 minutes.

For the sauce: In a small pot combine the ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Warm over medium low heat to develop the flavors, about 5 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, about 30 minutes. Stir in the parsley just before serving.

Caesar Salad

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup bread, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
3 hearts romaine lettuce
1/2 cup Caesar Dressing, recipe follows
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and bread cubes, tossing well to coat with oil. Toast in the skillet for 7 minutes until golden.

Or in a large mixing bowl, pour the olive oil and minced garlic first before putting in the pieces of bread, mix thoroughly before toasting them in the oven until they are golden brown.

Tear the romaine hearts into bite size pieces. Toss with the Caesar Dressing making sure to coat all the leaves generously. Garnish with shaved Parmesan and the garlic croutons.

Caesar Dressing:

3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped capers
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 egg yolk*
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy cream

In a medium bowl mix together the anchovy fillets, capers, mustard, egg yolk, and garlic. While whisking vigorously add the vegetable oil in a slow, steady stream. Whisk in the red wine vinegar and lemon juice. Stir in the heavy cream and season, to taste, with the salt.

Will keep for several days stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Yield: 1 cup

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Beef Stroganoff

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons clarified butter
1 cup sliced fresh button mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 cups demi-glace or stock
1 1/4 cups sour cream

Serving suggestion: egg noodles or fettucine, cooked

In a large pot heat the oil over high heat. Season the beef with the salt and pepper and saute until browned. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside, pour off any excess fat in the pot.

Melt the clarified butter in the pot and saute the mushrooms and onions. Add the white wine and simmer until reduced by 1/2. Stir in the tomato paste and mustard and cook for 2 minutes. Add the demi-glace and beef, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and adjust the seasoning. Serve on a bed of warm egg noodles.

Carrot Cake

Cake –

1 cup unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon for cake pan
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups grated carrot
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons for cake pan
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup hot water
10 ounces finely chopped fresh pineapple, or tinned (well drained)

Icing –

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 pound cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups icing sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Special equipment: an electric mixer and 2 (9-inch) cake pans

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In an electric mixer cream together 1 cup butter, sugar, and cinnamon until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Fold in the grated carrot. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix 1/2 of the flour into the butter mixture, then add 1/2 the water, mix well. Mix in the remaining flour and water. Fold in the pineapple.

Grease 2 (9-inch) cake pans with the remaining butter and dust with the remaining flour.

Divide the batter evenly between the 2 cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove from the pan and cool completely.

For the icing: Cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.Whip in the icing sugar and lemon juice.

Slice both cooled cakes into 2 layers. Spread the icing in between the layers as you stack them up. Ice the top and sides of the cake to finish.

Frosting tip – Spread a thin layer of icing onto the cake and chill it first. This step will make the cake crumbs stay in place and not mess up the frosting process. Then, spread a thicker layer of icing onto the cake. 😉

Happy Cooking! 😀


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    sweetrosie said,

    How wonderful! I could gobble all of those things up right now! I love a Caeser salad, and I just made a carrot cake this weekend (no frosting though 😦 – it’s for lunchboxes during the week )

    I bet your husband is impatient- I would be too if you told me that was on the menu sometime soon!

    If I was a stay-at-home mum we’d all be really, really fat 🙂

    Have a lovely week dear 🙂 xx


  2. 2

    happyhomemaker88 said,

    Wow, what a coincidence, dear sweetrosie – I just made a carrot cake over the weekend, too! I was having a craving for cake aroung 10pm on Saturday and I thought carrot cake was easier to do. Only problem was, my cream cheese frosting was too runny but I like the cake which was made with wholemeal flour. 😆

    My husband loves Caesar Salad but I didn’t know how to do the dressing until I saw this cooking show. And yes, he is getting fatter since I started this blog and have been more adventurous with my cooking! 🙄 😆

    With love and hugs,

    choesf 😀


  3. 3

    Eatsy said,

    I am a big fan of The Cookworks Show. I love the format and wish Donna had produced more than two seasons. I to am going to recreate this meal for my husband but, with a little twist. Now that I have him (15 years in) I must keep him.

    Happy Eating,



    • 4

      happyhomemaker88 said,

      Hi there and welcome, dear Eatsy 😀

      Thank you for your comments. Yes, I love Donna’s shows, too – she is so down to earth and she makes cooking seems like a breeze.

      Happy Cooking for your husband! I’m sure he will love your cooking and the efforts you have put into it! 😉

      With peace and harmony,

      choesf 😀


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