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Gourmet Childhood Favorites

For my husband's 30th birthday I am going to prepare gourmet versions of the foods we all ate as kids. So far I'm thinking I'll do a Macaroni and Cheese dish as well as some type of meaty sloppy joe dish that can be used as sandwich filler as well as in Frito boats (one of his childhood faves). Does anyone have any recipes or additional ideas to send my way?


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  1. How about a chocolate cake decorated as a large Hostess Cupcake (with the white squiggly line across the center)?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Antilope

      Love the idea but he is a 100% Carrot Cake kind of guy :-)

    2. You have to do something with jello! Even it is only ornamental.

      1. Well you could do mashed potatoes with garlic, cheese, or something to fancy up the dish.

        1. For the mac and cheese dish, how about macaroni and blue cheese with chives?

          And how about a casserole? Maybe a gourmet version of a green bean casserole or a tuna casserole. (Is it even possible to make a gourmet tuna casserole?)

          1. Mac and Cheese goes well with tomato flavor... Tomato Soup!

            You could do chicken tenders coated w/ panko, parmesan and herbs, as a "gourmet" coating.

            Instead of french fries, sweet potato or butternut squash sticks baked or fried topped w/ parm or gruyere and sage.

            I like the above idea for Hostess Cupcakes... just make carrot cake cupcakes and do the requisite icing top swirl and filling with cream cheese frosting instead.

            1. This is a much more gourmet version of the stewed tomatoes you were served in the school cafeteria. A savory tomato pudding is delicious and a good way to use up leftover bread. Make sure you use plenty of seasoning as this needs to be spiced up. Also very good with broiled or roasted meats.

              5 cups (1-inch) cubes country-style bread (from 1 loaf), crusts discarded
              1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
              1 (14 1/2-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice
              2/3 cup water
              2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
              1 tablespoon tomato paste
              3/4 teaspoon salt
              1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco PreparationPut oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.
              Toss bread cubes with butter in a 13- by 9-inch baking dish until coated.

              Purée tomatoes with juice in a blender 5 seconds, then transfer to a small saucepan along with water, brown sugar, tomato paste, salt, and hot sauce. Bring mixture just to a simmer, then pour over bread, stirring to combine. Bake, uncovered, until edges are beginning to caramelize, 35 to 40 minutes.

              1. TATER TOTS!
                I went to a restaruant last weekend where they made their own tater tots and I was completely trasformed to my childhood self- they also served them with a variety of sauces, a banna ketchup, a spicy aioli and a smokey ketchup- it was really fun

                1. Party is Saturday and I have the final menu if anyone is interested:

                  Ants on a Log
                  Mac n Cheese (Barefoot Contessa recipe with Gruyere & Cheddar)
                  Grass-Fed Beef Sloppy Joes (traditional recipe)/Frito Boats
                  Homemade Tater Tots (Potato Bites recipe found on chowhound)
                  Pigs in a Blanket (sausages not hot dogs)
                  Fruit Salsa w/ Cinammon Chips (allrecipes.com)
                  Homemade Twinkies
                  Carrot Cake

                  1. Bugs on a Branch


                    • 6 stalks celery
                    • ½ cup peanut butter
                    • ½ cup raisins


                    1. Cut the celery stalks in half.
                    2. Cut half stalks into three inch lengths.
                    3. Spread with peanut butter.
                    4. Sprinkle with raisins.
                    5. Serve with a smile.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: speyerer

                      Growing up there were two versions...either filled with cream cheese or as you described, but Mum called them Ants on a Log :)

                    2. Like the idea of Macaroni and Cheese or Mashed Potato, and use premium cheese + truffle!

                      Pizza - a gourmet version using flatbread, fancy cheese, and whatever toppings he

                      Silders - use wagyu beef or prime angus beef for the patties, roquefort cheese, fried crispy onion strings, mini broiche bread

                      PB&J - make a ice cream PB& J "sandwich" with peanut butter gelato, raspberry sorbet, short cake as top and bottom bread