With the rise in popularity of Instant Pots, air fryers, and meal delivery services, many of the vintage recipes we drooled over as kids have lost their favor. It was once common to heat up a Swanson TV dinner in the oven, but this is 2018 and people are more likely to throw together whatever is on their Blue Apron menu.
While today’s most popular meals are easier to prepare and healthier than the dishes that dominated dining room tables back in the 1950s and 1960s, there’s something that makes us nostalgic about these childhood favorites. Scroll down memory lane and check out our list of 10 dinners you (probably) haven’t had since you were a kid, and then bring yourself back to this decade with the 10 Most-Pinned Slow Cooker Recipes of 2017!
Swanson TV Dinners
In the decades after World War II, TV dinners were all the rage. Swanson led the way in 1950 by producing frozen, oven-ready chicken and turkey pot pies in aluminum trays. The aluminum trays typically had three compartments: one for frozen turkey, chicken, or beef slices and the other two for side dishes. It became increasingly common for families to park themselves in front of the television and chow down on meal heated in a convection oven. The meals were convenient and perfectly suited for eating on a folding tray while watching a new episode of The Andy Griffith Show.
Hasselback potatoes or potatoes au gratin are today’s version of scalloped potatoes. Many people suspect that the potato-and-cheese-layered baked dish was inspired by the post-war American fascination with French cuisine. This casserole dish might have fallen in the recipe ranks because it’s labor-intensive and carb-heavy. But most people that still prepare this dish serve it during the holidays.
You can trace cheese fondue’s roots back to the 1930s when the Swiss Cheese Union used it as a way to increase cheese consumption. However, it didn’t really make its mark on American cuisine until the 1960s. In fact, the U.S. introduction to fondue apparently happened in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair. The dish was featured in the Swiss Pavilion’s Alpine restaurant.
Although cheese (and more recently, chocolate) fondue remain popular dishes today, American families aren’t whipping up this unhealthy Swiss favorite as often. For mealtime inspiration that won’t expand your waistline, check out these 30 Quinoa Recipes for Weight Loss!
If there’s one person to thank for this seriously impressive dish, it’s Julia Child. She catapulted the decadent French dish of beef, veggies, and red wine to popularity via her 1961 cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Though the complex dish isn’t featured much on dinner tables today, it’s often served on special occasions or at French restaurants across the country.
Chicken à la King
We’re not sure where Chicken à la King originated, but it was a popular meal throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The hearty dish consists of diced chicken and vegetables (peas, carrots, bell peppers, and mushrooms) in a cream sauce. It was often served over pasta, rice, or bread. The high-calorie dish bears a striking resemblance to chicken pot pie, which was also a popular entrée choice at the time. You can now find the dish in a freezer aisle near you.
While most people today are familiar with Swedish meatballs from IKEA, this 1960s classic was a popular party dish. The recipe calls for standard meatballs and a cream gravy, but some people also liked to serve it with grape jelly.
Thanks to increased American interest in Hawaiian culture in the 1970s, pretty much every pineapple dish was popular. To prepare pineapple chicken, you marinate the meat in pineapple juice and serve it with chunks of the tropical fruit and rice. If you were lucky, there may have even been a pineapple upside-down cake for dessert.
Beef stroganoff was introduced to American dinner tables via Russia, likely a result of World War II servicemen who were stationed there and liked the dish so much that they brought the recipe back with them. It’s a tasty (albeit largely unhealthy) combination of beef and noodles or rice slathered in a rich cream sauce. Though the dish was one of the most popular vintage recipes of the 1960s, it isn’t something that’s regularly served for dinner today.
Casseroles became a popular household dish in the 1950s primarily because the ingredients were cheap and easy to find at the store. To prepare a tuna casserole, all you need is a can of tuna, a can of veggies, a cap of soup, and a package of egg noodles. It takes about 35 minutes to prepare it. Simple enough, right? In addition to being easily thrown together, tuna casseroles are also a cinch to reheat, making them a common dinner choice and popular dish to take to potlucks.
Another favorite low-cost dish from the 50s, 60s, and 70s was meatloaf. Meatloaf exploded in popularity during the Great Depression and World War II, but it retained its hype in the post-war years because the meat you use to prepare it is cheap. While this homestyle favorite is still somewhat a heavy hitter, the increased availability and affordability of other meats have made it a less common dinnertime offering. Looking for budget-friendly recipes? Check out these 50 Cheap and Easy Slow Cooker Recipes!