Sometimes, every housewife needs to get a super fast dinner on the table. And vintage homemaking had an answer for that too! This cold-weather dinner comes from a 1950 Better Homes and Gardens magazine. It has step-by-step instructions on how to get dinner on the table in 30 minutes start to finish.
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- How to Get Dinner in 30 minutes
- Making the Meal Step-by-Step
- Vintage Cooking Notes
How to Get Dinner in 30 minutes
Here is your answer to getting a free afternoon for sewing or shopping, or a few glorious hours of just-do-what-you-please. This is the vintage way of getting that 30-minute meal that all the modern dinner helpers tout.
The menu includes an appetizer, meat and two veg, a salad, bread, and dessert. The meal isn’t adapted to young children — you would probably serve cottage chese or a poached egg, tomato juice, a piece of toast, plain yams with butter, and plain gingerbread for dessert as a nursery supper.
- Chilled tomato juice (as an appetizer)
- Sausage Patties
- Candied Yams
- Pineapple Rings
- Cabbage Slaw with Pepper Rings
- Hot French Bread
- Gingerbread Layers with Whipped Cream
- Hot Coffee
The Shopping List
This shopping list is for a dinner for 4. Obviously, I triple this amount.
- 1 lb. bulk pork sausage
- 1 20-oz can of yams
- 1 loaf French bread
- 1/2 pint heavy cream
- 1 package gingerbread mix
- 1 head cabbage (probably still only need 1 head of cabbage if serving more people)
- 1 green pepper
- 1 bunch parsley (may not need to increase this either)
- 1 medium white onion
- 1 20-oz can of tomato juice
You will also need some of your pantry staples:
- Brown sugar
- White sugar
- Vegetable or salad oil
- Tabasco sauce
- Celery salt
Making the Meal Step-by-Step
1. Preheat the Oven
Come to the kitchen at 5:30 pm. Dinner will be served at 6. The first thing to do when you come into the kitchen is turn on the oven to 350° F. The whole meal will go into the oven to cook for about 20 minutes, so while the oven preheats, you will brown the sausage and prep the yams and pineapples.
2. Start Cooking the Sausage
Put the skillet on to heat while you slice the sausage. Slice the roll of bulk sausage in 1/2-inch slice and allow 2 patties per person, or make 2-oz. patties, and allow 2 per person. Put the patties in the pan and begin browning them over medium heat while you move on the the yams.
3. Prepare the Yams and Pineapple
For the candied yams, drain the yams and put them into a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle them with brown sugar and dot with butter. Drain the canned pineapple. Put the pineapple slices on top of the yams, sprinkle with more brown sugar and dot with butter again.
4. Finish Browning the sausage
While you prep the yams and pineapple slices, you will need to flip the sausage patties when one side is brown, and then brown the other side. When both sides are browned, drain off the excess fat. Add 2 tablespoons of water (have a lid ready), cover the pan, and let the patties steam a bit.
5. Make the Dessert
Empty the gingerbread cake mix into a bowl. Mix it up following the directions on the package. Pour batter into 2 greased 8-inch cake pans.
6. Put the Meal INto the Oven
It should now be 5:40. Put the whole meal into the oven. The sausage patties in their skillet and the casserole of yams and pineapples goes into the bottom of the oven, and the gingerbread goes on the top shelf.
7. Finish the Little Extras
Slice the french bread, buterr the slices, put the bread back together like a loaf, wrap the loaf in its paper bag, and slide it into the oven to heat.
Start the coffee.
Whip the cream. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla. Chill the cream after whipping.
Warm the plates and chill the salad bowls.
8. Set the Table
Set the table with napkins, silverware, glasses, salt and pepper. Don’t foget a centerpiece — the article suggests a small potted plant, which I love. I would also add a runner and placemats or a tablecloth to dress up the table. Plates and salad bowls are served up in the kitchen.
9. Make the salad
Shred the cabbage and cut up the onion and the green pepper. Toss the slaw with the dressing. Here’s the recipe.
Pour the chilled tomato juice and add a dash of Tabasco sauce and a dash of celery salt.
Fix the ice cubes and pour water.
10. Serve the Dinner
Take everything out of the oven. Leave the gingerbread in the pans while you dish up the plates.
Put the sausage patties, yams, and pinapple on the table. Put the bread in the bread basket. Fill the salad bowls.
Turn out the gingerbread onto the rack
Bring the tomato juice to the table and call everyone to the table. Serve the tomato juice first, then bring the warm plates, salad bowls, and the bread basket to the table (or serve from the sideboard or tea cart).
After everyone is finished, clear the table. Put the gingerbread layers together with the whipped cream and sprinkle with chopped nuts or leave plain. Bring it to the table and serve there. Pour the coffee at the table also.
Vintage Cooking Notes
Just a note from personal experience, this whole 30-minute limit only works if:
- The tomato juice was put into the fridge to chill when all the groceries were delivered in the morning.
- Your kitchen is organized and set up for work.
You can, however prepare things in advance. For example, you can use leftover baked or boiled sweet potatoes. You can also make the gingerbread from scratch in the morning or just before you start everything else, tacking on about 15-20 minutes at the start of cooking. If you are increasing the quantity of people served, add extra time as well.
Recipe: Shredded Cabbage Toss (1950)
Shredded Cabbage Toss (1950)
- 2 cups crisp, shredded cabbage
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 Tablespoons vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons salad oil
- 1 medium green pepper, sliced into rings
- Combine cabbage, parsley, and onion, and toss together in a bowl.
- In another bowl, combine salt, sugar, vinegar and oil. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Pour dressing over the cabbage salad and toss lightly.
- Pile lightly into individual chilled salad bowls for serving. Garnish with green pepper rings.
Amount Per Serving Calories 272Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 0mgSodium 684mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 2gSugar 12gProtein 3g
Note: Accuracy of nutrition facts not guaranteed.
5 thoughts on “How To Get Dinner on the Table in 30 Minutes (A 1950s Guide)”
I’m wondering what type of bulk sausage this recipe is referring to. I’m assuming it was a canned sausage. I’m wondering what would be comparable today.
I just want you to know that I really enjoy your posts/emails. May God bless you during this season of Lent.
When I read this recipe I thought of Jimmy Dean sausage that comes in a roll. We have a local sausage maker that makes bulk sausage and sells it in a tube which would also work
I think it could be any type of bulk sausage that you would find in the freezer section or the meat counter of the grocery store. I like to make my own from ground pork, sometimes. I also can get bulk sausage at the farmer’s market.
I just loved this 30-minute meal, this is most defiantly a whole-meal deal. In the 50s one could eat like this but now we are a much lazier generation and this seems like a huge meal. I will try making this one of these nights, I love getting ideas for dinner. I seem to make the same things over and over. Love your blog, look forward every week.
I agree. I love vintage cooking, and I thought it was lovely to have a helpful quick dinner idea that wasn’t all sad!