Saturday, January 18, 2014

Chili Bake, American Home, January 1954

I've never seen this magazine, American Home.   From what I can find on the internet it ran from 1928 to 1977 and then merged with Redbook magazine, which is still around.

Apparently in the 70's the magazine changed direction and was written for "newly liberated women".   But my 1954 copy it is clearly marketed to the pre-Women's Lib housewife. Beautiful gardens are pictured as are family friendly dens.  Ads for cleaning products use cute babies as motivation for keeping a clean home while another promises the "carpeting of your dreams."  Of course many liberated women appreciate the importance of a germ free environment and dreamy carpeting but the ads are written in such a way that assume a woman is only concerned with home and family.  I'm a sucker for idealism of post war advertising nonetheless.

Now the recipe!

Chili bake is an easy mixture of ground beef, tomatoes, rice, cheese and seasonings.  Presto- all 4 food groups!  It was simple enough for a busy week night and the leftovers were good.  I didn't try freezing it (not enough for another meal) but I think it would do ok.

Preheat oven to 375.

1 No. 2 can of Tomatoes (2 1/2 C)
1lb Ground Beef
1C Chopped Onion
1t Salt
1/8t Pepper
2C Cooked Rice (White I assumed.  But brown would be good too.)
2t Chili Powder
1t Paprika
1C Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Brown the meat in a large pot or really large skillet over a medium heat.  Drain and set aside.  Cook the onions until soft.  Turn off the heat.  Put the beef back in pot/skillet with the onions and add the seasonings, tomatoes, rice, and 1/2C of the cheese.  Spread the mixture in a greased baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes.

This is a great way to use up leftover rice and it would make the preparation even simpler.  You could also use precooked frozen rice.  Or leftover white rice from Chinese take out.  Having none of these options in the house I made the rice while I browned the beef and cooked the onions.  Didn't take much more time but added another pot to wash.  I much prefer cooking to cleaning!

Here's the original.  Can you spot the mistake?

Click on the image to see larger.

The recipe never says to mix in the tomatoes!  I'm surprised this was never caught in the editing phase of publication.  Go figure.  So I took it upon myself to add it.  I also used a half cup less cheese and cooked the beef and onion separately.  These are the only changes I made.  I served it with green beans and oranges (but not together).  Everyone was happy.  Most of all me.  :)

Here's the dish just seconds after coming out of the oven.

  I baked it in my vintage Hall baking dish.  (My aunt, who is a collector, said this was quite a find as she chastised me for putting it in the dishwasher.  I've been better about washing it by hand I promise, Aunt A.)   My family gave this dish the thumbs up but added their own opinions of course.  One of the girls didn't like the cheese on top but her brother loved it so he rescued the abandoned cheese from his sister's plate.  My other daughter said the cheese was just right.  (I'm living with the three little bears.)  Hubby came home starving and had two extra helpings.  I had to cut him off so I could save a bit to test as leftovers.  He said it could have used more onions but liked it and said it had enough "flavor."  I'll take that as a victory.  

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!



  1. Looks delicious! I have a large stack of American Home only from the 1940s.

  2. I'm not surprised you have some of these too!

    The recipe would work for you as it's gluten free. :)

    Thanks for commenting.


  3. This sounds so wonderfully tasty! I adore chili (as long as it's on the milder side) and will be whipping up a ground chicken or turkey version of this, perhaps with some diced bell peppers, very soon. Thank you for the wonderful vintage recipe inspiration!

    Have a serenely lovely Sunday.
    ♥ Jessica

    *PS* Many thanks as well for your wonderfully sweet birthday wishes for Annie.

  4. Jessica, this chili wasn't spicy at all. It has a nice complex flavor. Adding bell peppers and using ground poultry sounds great too!

    Thanks for commenting!

  5. Sara, This looks amazing. i am going to give it try this weekend. Jesica's idea to use ground turkey is perfect! We are going to enjoy with family on Sunday.

    1. Thanks, Joe. I hope your family loves it!