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The Most Popular Dinner Recipe the Year You Were Born

It's incredible to look at dinner trends through the years! The invention of microwaves and Crock-Pots, Pillsbury crescent rolls and even Julia Child all shaped what made a popular dinner recipe.

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1940: Meat Patties

During World War II, when meat was rationed and had to be purchased with tokens, this recipe went a long way in feeding a family. To this day, I still reach for it whenever I want something different from regular hamburgers. By the way, children really like these (just as I did when I was a child!).— Gladys Klein, Burlington Wisconsin
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1941: Ham and Beans

I had never made or eaten this dish before meeting my husband here in Kentucky. Now I make it at least once a week. I serve it with some homemade sweet cornbread. Delicious! —Christine Duffy, Sturgis, Kentucky
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1942: Scrambled Eggs

When you're short on time and scrambling to get a meal on the table, this recipe is just what you need. There's a short ingredient list, cooking is kept to a minimum. and the green pepper and tomato makes it colorful. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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1943: Meat Loaf

I combined a few awesome-tasting meat loaf recipes to create this flavorful version, which my husband loves. And because it's made in the microwave, the entree is ideal for busy nights. —Deb Thompson, Lincoln, Nebraska
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1944: Chicken and Dumplings

 Homemade chicken and dumplings from scratch harken back to my childhood and chilly days when we devoured those cute little balls of dough swimming in hot, rich broth. It's one of those types of soup you'll want to eat again and again. —Erika Monroe-Williams, Scottsdale, Arizona
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1945: Spaghetti

As children, we always requested this dish for our birthday dinners. Our mother got the recipe from her grandmother. Now I pass on our tasty tradition. —Ruth Keogh, North St. Paul, Minnesota
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1946: Pork Chops

My husband, Clark, and I reserve this recipe for Sundays after the grandkids have gone home and we're too tired to prepare a big meal. It's comforting and quick. —Kathy Thompson, Port Orange, Florida
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1947: Deviled Chicken

My family has always loved this flavorful golden brown chicken. I watch for frequent sales on leg quarters to keep the cost per serving low. —Linda Trammell, Kingston, Missouri
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1948: Meatballs

My great-grandmother started this easy meatball recipe with our family. We use ground beef and turkey for these meatballs, and the flavor’s so good, you won’t miss the extra calories. —Audrey Colantino, Winchester, Massachusetts
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1949: Beef Stew

This easy beef stew recipe is my favorite. The rich beef gravy helps the hearty flavor of the potatoes and carrots to come through. It's the perfect homemade dish for a blustery winter day. —Alberta McKay, Bartlesville, Oklahoma
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1950: Tuna Noodle Casserole

When you need supper fast, this tuna noodle casserole makes a super one-dish meal. Cooked chicken breast works well in place of the tuna. —Edie DeSpain, Logan, Utah
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1951: Salisbury Steak

This hearty main dish is a favorite at our house. It really warms you up. —Kim Kidd, New Freedom, Pennsylvania
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1952: Chicken Pot Pie

Why look for potpie in the frozen food aisle when this easy version tastes much better? The chicken pot pie's crust is so tender and flaky, and underneath you'll find the ultimate comfort food for kids and adults. —Amy Briggs, Gove, Kansas
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1953: Glazed Ham

This old-fashioned ham glaze gives a pretty, golden brown coating—just like Grandma used to make. The mustard and vinegar complement the brown sugar which adds a tangy flavor to this glazed ham recipe. Be prepared to serve seconds! —Carol Strong Battle, Heathville, Virginia
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1954: Meat Pie

I work full time as a nurse, so I depend on quick and easy meals like this one. My sister suggested I use canned soups instead of prepared gravy. Now my husband and teenage son ask for seconds and even thirds. —Cheryl Cattane, Lapeer, Michigan
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1955: Lasagna

Want to know how to make lasagna for a casual holiday meal? You can't go wrong with this deliciously rich meat lasagna recipe. My grown sons and daughter-in-law request it for their birthdays, too. —Pam Thompson, Girard, Illinois
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1956: Chicken a la King

When I know I'll be having a busy day with little time for cooking, I prepare this tasty main dish. Brimming with tender chicken and colorful vegetables, it smells so good while cooking. —Eleanor Mielke, Snohomish, Washington
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1957: Pigs in a Blanket

These baked hot dog sandwiches appeal to kids of all ages. Even my husband, Allan, admits to enjoying every bite! We like to dip them in ketchup and mustard. —Linda Young, Longmont, Colorado
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1958: Swedish Meatballs

Mom fixed this Swedish meatball recipe for all sorts of family dinners, potluck suppers and PTA meetings. The scent of browning meat is intoxicating. Add to that the sweet smell of onions caramelizing, and everyone’s mouth starts watering. —Marybeth Mank, Mesquite, Texas
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1959: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

This fresh-tasting spaghetti sauce is a real crowd-pleaser. I rely on this flavorful recipe often. It tastes especially good in the summer made with fresh garden herbs. —Anne Heinonen, Howell, Michigan
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1960: Turkey Tetrazzini

What a great way to use up leftover turkey! This casserole bakes up delicious and bubbly for a wonderful main course. —Audrey Thibodeau, Gilbert, Arizona
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1961: Burgundy Beef

When my adult children are coming over for dinner, this is the request. All three of them, and their significant others, love this dish. Yum! — Urilla Cheverie, Alfred, Maine
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1962: Steak Diane

Sometimes, I add more mushrooms to this recipe when my son's eating dinner—he loves them, and they are just fantastic with the steak. — Carolyn Turner, Reno, Nevada
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1963: Chicken and Rice

This recipe is a great example of Midwest food! Its ingredients, including the wild rice, can all be found in Minnesota. The dish is good for larger groups since the cook doesn't need to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. —Suzanne Greenslit, Merrifield, Minnesota
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1964: Beef Wellington

Perfect for holidays, this beef Wellington recipe is also impressively easy. Find ready-made puff pastry sheets in the frozen food section. —Kerry Dingwall, Ponte Vedra, Florida
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1965: Pork Skillet

Some people call it dinner hour, but many of us call it rush hour. Slow down the pace with this so-simple mouthwatering ground pork meal. The only thing you'll have left over is time to share with your family at the table. —Brigitte Schaller, Flemington, Missouri
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1966: Kabobs

These steak kabobs not only satisfy my love of outdoor cooking, they feature a mouthwatering marinade, too. It's terrific with chicken and pork, but I prefer it with beef because it tenderizes remarkably well. —Christi Ross, Guthrie, Texas
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1967: Chicken Kiev

From holiday dinners to potluck suppers, this is one of my favorite meals. Folks love the mildly seasoned chicken roll-ups. —Karin Erickson, Burney, California
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1968: Beef Stroganoff

This homey recipe of steak and egg noodles in a creamy sauce is just like what we had at my gran's house when we visited. It's one of my favorite "memory meals," as I call them. —Janelle Shank, Omaha, Nebraska
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1969: Crab Rangoon

When I'm dining out, crab rangoons are one of my go-to dishes. I decided to create a better-for-you version at home. —Emily Higgins, Wingdale, New York
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1970: Pineapple Chicken

I'm always on the lookout for low-fat recipes that are scrumptious, too, like this pineapple chicken recipe. Quick-cooking chicken breasts get wonderful, sweet flavor from pineapple, honey and teriyaki sauce. —Jenny Reece, Lowry, Minnesota
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1971: Goulash

Talk about your heirloom recipes! My grandmother made this Hungarian goulash recipe for my mother when she was a child, and Mom made it for us to enjoy. Paprika and caraway add wonderful flavor and sour cream gives it a creamy richness. It’s simply scrumptious! —Marcia Doyle, Pompano, Florida
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1972: Pasta Primavera

Although I enjoy this dish throughout the year, it's even more special when I use my garden to supply the vegetables. A splash of white wine and a sprinkle of fresh basil really add flavor. I have also roasted the vegetables and mixed in chicken breasts with scrumptious results. —Carly Curtin, Ellicott City, Maryland
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1973: Pork and Beans

When my wife asks what she should make for a gathering, she's always told to bring this—and a couple of copies of the recipe! — Robert Saulnier, Clarksburg, Massachusetts
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1974: Lo Mein

If you like a good stir-fry, this beef and spinach lo mein will definitely satisfy. I discovered the recipe at an international luncheon, and it's now a favorite go-to meal. —Denise Patterson, Bainbridge, Ohio
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1975: Hamburger Helper

This is the ultimate simple and fulfilling dinner that uses items I typically have in my cupboard. It's so easy to prepare and cooking all in one skillet makes it a snap for clean up. —Juli Meyers, Hinesville, Georgia
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1976: Quiche

With plenty of veggies and a creamy egg-cheese filling, this tasty quiche gets rave reviews every time I make it! —Lilith Fury, Adena, Ohio
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1977: Chicken Supreme

Stephanie Bell asked our test kitchen to lighten her family-favorite recipe. Even though this makeover recipe is slimmed down, it is still supreme. It has 560 fewer calories, 81 percent less fat and nearly 75 percent less sodium. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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1978: Taco Salad

I found this recipe in an old school cookbook, and I've taken it to many potlucks since then. The layers look so pretty in a glass bowl. —Sandy Fynaardt, New Sharon, Iowa
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1979: Ratatouille

I get my son to eat eggplant by cooking it low and slow in this classic French veggie dish. A side of rice and garlic cheese bread also help. —Diane Goedde, Red Lodge, Montana
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1980: Swiss Steak

I was really glad to find this recipe since it's a great way to use round steak and it picks up fabulous flavor from one of my favorite herbs - tarragon. I am a homemaker with three children and enjoy cooking tasty dinners like this one for my family. —Lorna Dickau, Vanderhoof, British Columbia
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1981: Breaded Baked Chicken

Combine mashed potato flakes with Parmesan cheese for an ultra-crunchy coating to oven-baked chicken that is oh-so-tender and perfectly moist.—June Brown, Veneta, Oregon
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1982: Sloppy Joes

Mother made these fresh-tasting sloppy joes many times when I was growing up. She passed the recipe on to me when I got married. My brother-in-law says they're the best sandwiches he's ever tasted. And he ought to know—his name is Joe! —Ellen Stringer, Bourbonnais, Illinois
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1983: Pizza Rolls

Our family just loves my husband's version of store-bought pizza rolls. They take some time to make, but they freeze well so we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor for a long time! —Julie Gaines, Normal, Illinois
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1984: Chicken Marbella

This recipe is sweet, briny, savory and herbal, and it packs a big punch of garlic. The Mediterranean flavors make me think of dinner on the patio with family or friends. — Beth Jacobson, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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1985: Blackened Fish (or Chicken)

Try serving this spicy halibut recipe with garlic mashed potatoes, hot, crusty bread and a crisp salad to lure in your crew. After trying a few halibut recipes, this one is my family's favorite. —Brenda Williams, Santa Maria, California
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1986: Penne alla Vodka

This easy and impressive pasta is always on the menu when my husband and I have new friends over for dinner. Years later, they've asked me to make this Penne alla Vodka recipe again. —Cara Langer, Overland Park, Kansas
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1987: Ground Beef Casserole

Kids love this casserole because it combines two of their favorite fast foods. And I like the fact that I can whip it up with just four ingredients. —Karen Owen, Rising Sun, Indiana
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1988: Chicken-Fried Steak

As a child, I learned from my grandmother how to make these chicken-fried steaks. I taught my daughters, and when my granddaughters are older, I’ll show them, too. —Donna Cater, Fort Ann, New York
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1989: Homemade Pizza

I always keep meatballs and pizza crusts in the freezer to make this specialty on the spur of the moment. Add a tossed salad and you have a delicious dinner. —Mary Humeniuk-Smith, Perry Hall, Maryland
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1990: Fajitas

I've enjoyed cooking since I was a girl growing up in the Southwest. When friends call to ask me for new recipes to try, I suggest these flavorful fajitas. It's wonderful to put the beef in the slow cooker before church and come home to a hot delicious main dish. —Janie Reitz, Rochester, Minnesota
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1991: Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo's been around for ages. I give it a modern update by adding tender shrimp and a pop of lemon. —Tonya Burkhard, Davis, Illinois
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1992: Macaroni and Cheese

The wonderful homemade goodness of this creamy Velveeta mac and cheese makes it a staple side dish in my mother's kitchen and in mine as well. It has tender noodles and a crowd-pleasing golden crumb topping. —Maria Costello, Monroe, North Carolina
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1993: Chicken Noodle Casserole

Everyone who tries this comforting, cheesy chicken and noodle casserole asks for the recipe. It's so simple to make that sometimes I feel like I'm cheating! —Kay Pederson, Yellville, Arkansas
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1994: Hard-Shell Tacos

1994: Hard-Shell Tacos

A taco seasoning made from scratch with pantry staples deliciously jazzes up ground beef, turning Tuesday night into an all-out fiesta. Add your favorite toppings, and dinner is served! —Rebecca Levesque, St. George, New Brunswick
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1995: Sushi

I'm a big sushi fan, but I don't always have time to make those intricate rolls at home. This jar is layered with my favorite California roll ingredients, so I can get the flavor I love without the fuss. —James Schend, Deputy Editor, Taste of Home Magazine
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1996: Caesar Salad

My Caesar with grilled chicken is a healthier alternative to heavy meat and potatoes dishes. After grilling the kabobs, we serve them family style. —Melissa Adams, Tooele, Utah
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1997: Sun-Dried Tomato Anything

Flavor-packed sausage and sun-dried tomatoes are sure to liven up any simple pasta dish. I have a feeling that once you've tried it, it'll become a family favorite!—Dawn Singleton, Eighty Four, Pennsylvania
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1998: Fish Sticks

I am a nutritionist and needed a healthy fish fix. Moist inside and crunchy outside, these are great with oven fries or roasted veggies and low-fat homemade tartar sauce. —Jennifer Rowland, Elizabethtown, Kentucky
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1999: Stir-Fry

Stir-fry noodles on a cooking show caught my eye. I ran with the idea and loaded mine with veggies. Now it’s our favorite hurry-up meal. —Beverly Norris, Evanston, Wyoming
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2000: Foil Packet Dinners

For these nifty foil packs, small hands make quick work of topping potato wedges with a hot dog, onions and cheese. — Kelly Westphal, Wind Lake, Wisconsin

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.

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