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8th Dinner Club Meeting – Americana Menu & Recipes


March 2004

As I mentioned in the information about the dinner club members, M is half Japanese and grew up with that being the primary influence on her culinary training.  So, she has been dying to learn how to make meatloaf!  With that in mind, she chose "Americana" as the theme for this meeting.  We all decided to bring things that were popular in our younger years. 

Here’s the menu:

  • Appetizer:  Pigs in a Blanket
  • Cocktail:  Manhattans (recipe below)
  • Main:  The Perfect Meatloaf and Meat Loaf (from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
  • Salad:  Wedges of Iceberg with Blue Cheese Dressing (recipe below)
  • Sides: B’s Updated Green Bean Casserole (recipe below) and Ultimate Twice Baked Potatoes (recipe below)
  • Dessert:  Apple Pie


  • 2 ox of Kentucky Bourbon (K used Maker’s Mark)
  • ½ oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Maraschino Cherries
  • Bitters

Shake bourbon and vermouth together in shaker filled with ice. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with cherry and a drop of bitters.

Wedges of Iceberg with Blue Cheese dressing

  • 2 heads of Iceberg Lettuce
  • 1 jar of Litehouse Blue Cheese Dressing
  • 8 oz Point Reyes Blue Cheese
  • 1 ½ cup fresh diced tomatoes
  • Fresh Ground Pepper, optional

Cut Iceberg heads into wedges (dinner club portion was 1/3 of a head), place on plate, divide dressing equally over wedges, sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese, and tomatoes. Pepper to taste.

Serves 5-6


Original Durkee Green Bean Casserole


B’s Updated Green Bean Casserole

Serves 6 – 8

  • ¾ pound fresh green beans, sliced into 2” – 3” pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ pound crimini or white mushrooms, sliced
  • Butter or olive oil for sautéing
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp half and half
  • ¼ dry bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup almonds, toasted and finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Blanch beans in boiling water for 1 minute and then plunge into ice water to cool. Drain thoroughly.

Sauté onions and mushrooms in butter or oil with salt and pepper just until tender. Remove from pan.

In same pan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp butter. Add 2 Tbsp flour and mix until a smooth, thick paste is formed. Cook for one minute. Add stock a little at a time making sure to thoroughly incorporate each addition before adding more. Once all stock has been added bring sauce to a boil. Salt and pepper to taste. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Add half and half and bring back to boil. Remove from heat.

Mix beans, onions and mushrooms, and sauce together and pour into buttered 1½ quart covered casserole. (Casserole can be prepared to this point and then held in refrigerator until ready to bake.)

Bake @ 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling slightly.

While casserole is heating, melt remaining tablespoon of butter and mix with bread crumbs and almonds. When sauce is bubbling, remove lid, sprinkle bread crumb mixture over casserole and bake an additional 10 minutes to brown bread crumbs.

Ultimate Twice Baked Potatoes

  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup half & half or milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  • Salt & pepper to taste (lots)
  • Additional cheese for garnish (¼ to ½ cup)
  • Paprika

Bake potatoes in preheated 375 degree oven until tender, about 1 hour. When potatoes are done allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; save skins.

To the potato flesh add sour cream, milk, butter, cheese, green onions, salt and pepper. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended and creamy. (Or use a food processor.)

Spoon the mixture into the potato skins, mounding slightly. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake for another 15 – 20 minutes. If preparing early in the day, you’ll need to allow about 45 minutes to reheat.

Note: The recipe can be modified many ways – use all cheddar, all gruyere or other type of cheese; fry bacon and add to mixture; top with chives; etc.  

Meeting Summary

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