A Very Meta Christmas

Today I hosted my big family Christmas dinner with every dish (but one) on the menu courtesy of Meta.  I feel like a bad-ass. (A nerdy kitchen bad-ass, but still).

My Christmas Menu

71 Butterhorn Rolls and 78 Knots with butter

786 Cole Slaw

824 Raw Spinach Salad

966 Lentil Soup

177 Baked Macaroni and Cheese No. 1

688 Stewed Chicken and Dumplings (with noodle variation)

1088 Escalloped Sweet Potatoes and Apples

260 Apple Dumpling Pudding

pumpkin cheesecake (from Trader Joe’s)

coffee and tea for adults, lemonade for children

Early morning started with shaping 66 Ice Box Rolls into 71 Butterhorn Rolls and 78 Knots.


The dough had made itself very happy in the fridge, developing a mushroom top with slight indentations from the rack above it.  I wish I had taken a picture because it was practically developing a personality in there.  The dough was a dream to work with too.  Perfectly plastic and didn’t require any extra flour to roll out.

Confession time:  I didn’t follow Meta’s instructions on this one.  Making bread takes forever!  I dumped all of the ingredients in my bread maker and set it to the dough cycle.

Three of my guests were vegetarians (I may be wrong on this, but I don’t believe Meta would have been familiar with the concept judging from The Modern Family Cook Book), hence 177 Baked Macaroni and Cheese No. 1 and 966 Lentil Soup for vegetarian proteins.  For the mac and cheese, I used macaroni shells; Meta calls for “macaroni” and calls for breaking sticks of macaroni into 1 1/2 to 2 inch lengths. I’m guessing she is referencing a shape not readily available anymore or perhaps something like perciatelli or bucatini?  I rather enjoyed the mac and cheese (macaroni layered with slices of cheese, butter and milk instead of the usual cheese sauce), but my husband didn’t care for it.  The kids present mowed through it with abandon.

The lentil soup was a bit weird but not bad–it consisted of lentils, salt, onion, celery tops, evaporated milk, S + P, and parsley and it tasted very strongly of celery.  It was also kind of thin.  I’ve never had milk in a lentil soup.  My husband swears Meta is a shill for Big Dairy.

688 Stewed Chicken and Dumplings (with the noodle variation) rocked my world.  Ingredients were: chicken, salt, water and frozen egg noodles (I used Reames brand).  This recipe is the epitome about what I love about The Modern Family Cook Book.  Simple perfection.  This will show up on my table again sometime soon.

1088 Escalloped Sweet Potatoes and Apples, 824 Raw Spinach Salad, 786 Cole Slaw were great vegetables dishes to round out the meal.  (E)scalloped potato dishes may be turning out to be the bane of my culinary existence.  They seem like an awful lot of work for what you get.  However, the spinach salad and coleslaw were clear winners.  I’ve made 786 Cole Slaw before so I took the liberty of adding shredded carrots for color.

One more deviation from Meta’s recipes to confess:  I made 260 Apple Dumpling Pudding with artificial sweetener since my dad is diabetic.  It was still a tasty and relatively healthy dessert.  (Also, you just can’t go wrong with a warm fruit dessert in the winter).

I forgot to take pictures before everyone dug in, but my husband remembered to take one for me:

Meta Christmas Spread

Here’s a closeup of the 260 Apple Dumpling Pudding:


All in all, everyone seemed very happy.  Best of all, I told everyone where the recipes came from and everyone was expressed interested that the recipes were 70 years old.  My dad even spent awhile reading through the three sets of Meta cookbooks I own.  There’s nothing like sharing your weird obsessions with others.

688 Stewed Chicken and Dumplings (or Noodles)

3 1/2 to 4-lb stewing or roasting chicken (I used 3 1/2 lb of bone-in thighs)

2 tsp salt

For noodles:

1 pkg (1 lb) frozen egg noodles

For dumplings:

1 1/2 cups AP flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup milk

1 tsp minced parsley (optional)

Remove skin from chicken and cut off any excess fat.  Add pieces in one layer in a Dutch oven and fill with enough water to just cover.  Sprinkle with the 2 tsp of salt.  Cover with a lid and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.  Let it simmer about 1 1/2 to 2 hours until it is very tender.

For the noodles:  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.  Turn the heat up until the broth boils.  Add the noodles and cook 5-10 minutes.  Return the chicken to the pan and serve together (de-bone or serve whole).

For the dumplings: (I haven’t tested this yet)  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt (if so compelled or just use modern measuring methods and then combine).  Stir in the milk and parsley just until barely combined.  Drop the batter in the pan by spoonful, dipping the spoon in the broth in between spoonfuls to prevent sticking).  Re-cover and cook for 12 minutes.  Meta suggest arranging the chicken on a platter on top of the dumplings and serve the liquid in a gravy boat at the table.

177 Baked Macaroni and Cheese No. 1

7-8 oz macaroni

3 tsp salt

3 quarts boiling sater


3 TBSP butter

1/2 lb sharp cheese, sliced thin

about 1 cup milk

Salt boiling water and stir in macaroni.  Meta suggest boiling about 20 minutes, but you might want to follow package directions instead.  Drain and rinse with hot water (I did this despite everything I’ve learned about pasta cooking and it was fine).  Put 1/2 of the macaroni in a large buttered casserole dish.  Sprinkle with salt and 1/2 of the butter.  Layer 1/2 of the cheese slices.  Repeat layering with the other half of the ingredients.  Pour milk up to the top layer of macaroni.  Bake at 325 F for about 45 minutes.

786 Cole Slaw

3 cups shredded cabbage

1/4 cup mayo

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 or 3 TBSP top milk or sweet or sour cream (use the sour cream, you’ll thank me)

Variations: add one diced tomatoes, 1/2 green or red pepper, diced or 1/4 c. of chopped sweet pickle
Trim, quarter and core the cabbage.  Shred the cabbage thinly with a sharp knife.  Whisk together the rest of the ingredients.  Toss the cabbage and any additional veggies in the dressing until well coated.  Good served right away, but let it refrigerate a couple of hours if you have time.  5 servings.

66 Ice Box Rolls (modified for bread machine and “refrigerator”)

1/4 cup water

2 cups milk, lukewarm

2 eggs, well beaten

1/4 butter or shortening, melted and cooled

1/3 cup + 1 tsp sugar

1 TBSP salt

8 cups AP flour

1 1/2 cakes compressed yeast or 1 1/2 packages fast granular yeast (I used 3 1/2 tsp of bread machine yeast)

Add to bread machine in order recommended by machine instructions (or if it’s like mine, liquids on the bottom, dry ingredients other than flour and yeast, flour and then yeast in a well in the flour).  Run dough cycle.  When it comes out, it can be used immediately or put in the refrigerator overnight.  Shape into desired roll shape and let rise on the baking sheet or dish. (Another Meta treasure, The Encyclopedia of Modern Cooking, suggest putting the pan in a cold oven.  Turning the oven on to 400 degrees for 1 minute exactly to make a warm place for rising–worked like a charm).  Remove rolls from oven before preheating to 375 F.  Brush with melted butter.  Bake rolls for 15-25 minutes depending on size.

260 Apple Dumpling Pudding

1 cup AP Flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 TBSP butter

1 egg, beaten

1/4 c. milk

3 1/2 cups think fresh cooked apple sauce or canned

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 TBSP lemon juice

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt (or sift if you please) in a bowl.  Add butter and rub in with fingertips.  Add egg and milk and beat thoroughly.  Heat the applesauce and stir in the cinnamon and lemon juice.  Pour into a baking dish (Meta says a 10 x 6 1/2 x 2 inch one, but I used a 9×9).  Drop tablespoons of batter onto the applesauce.  Cover and bake in a 450 F oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  (I used Splenda and Splenda-sweetened applesauce in place of the sugar with good success).


One thought on “A Very Meta Christmas

  1. Pingback: Pantry Clean-Out Project Week 3 and 4 Review plus Recipes | Meta's 1942 Meals

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