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50 Retro Family Dinners That Deserve a Comeback

Remember the family-friendly fare that Mom and Grandma used to make back in the day? We do, and we miss it a lot. In fact, we think that every one of these retro recipes should make a comeback ASAP.

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Grandma's Chicken 'n' Dumpling Soup

I've enjoyed making this rich homemade chicken dumpling soup recipe for over 40 years. Every time I serve this type of soup, I remember my southern grandma, who was very special to me and was known as an outstanding cook. —Paulette Balda, Prophetstown, Illinois
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Ground Beef Wellington

Trying new recipes is one of my favorite hobbies. It's also the most gratifying. What could beat the smiles and compliments of the ones you love? This recipe is easy yet fancy, perfect for when it's just you and one kid or a friend.
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Mom's Roast Beef

This well-seasoned roast is Mom’s specialty. Everyone loves slices of the fork-tender roast beef and its savory gravy, and people always ask what her secret ingredients are. Now you have the delicious recipe for our favorite dish! —Linda Gaido, New Brighton, Pennsylvania
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Slow-Cooked Turkey Sloppy Joes

This tangy sandwich filling is so easy to prepare in the slow cooker, and it goes over well at gatherings large and small. I frequently take it to potlucks, and I'm always asked for my secret ingredient. —Marylou LaRue, Freeland, Michigan
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Glazed Cornish Hens with Pecan-Rice Stuffing

Cornish hens bake up with a lovely golden brown shine when they are basted with my sweet and tangy glaze. The traditional rice stuffing has some added interest with crunchy pecans and sweet golden raisins.—Agnes Ward, Stratford, Ontario
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Herbed Tuna Sandwiches

A delightful combination of herbs and reduced-fat cheese makes this simple tuna sandwich a standout. —Marie Connor, Virginia Beach, Virginia
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Mom's Chicken Tetrazzini

Rotisserie chicken turns this baked spaghetti into a warm, cozy meal our family craves. If we have leftover turkey, we use that, too. —Jennifer Petrino, Newnan, Georgia
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Classic Swedish Meatballs

I'm a "Svenska flicka" (Swedish girl) from northwest Iowa, where many Swedes settled at the turn of the century. This recipe was given to me by a Swedish friend. It's obviously a 20th century version of a 19th century favorite, since back then they didn't have bouillon cubes or evaporated milk! I think you'll agree that these modern-day "Kottbullar" are very tasty. —Emily Gould, Hawarden, Iowa
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Mom's Spanish Rice

My mom is famous for her Spanish rice recipe, the ultimate comfort food. When I want a taste of home, I whip up this dish. Punch up the flavor with a little lime and extra chili powder. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Flavorful Pot Roast

On hectic days, this is so quick and easy to prep! Convenient packages of dressing and gravy combine to create a sauce worthy of a fall-apart roast. For a filling meal-in-one, serve with mashed potatoes and ladle the juices over top. —Arlene Butler, Ogden, Utah
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Crispy Fried Chicken

If you've wanted to learn how to make crispy fried chicken, this is the recipe for you. Always a picnic favorite, this deep fried chicken recipe is delicious either hot or cold. Kids call it my Kentucky Fried Chicken! —Jeanne Schnitzler, Lima, Montana
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Melt-in-Your-Mouth Meat Loaf

When my husband and I were first married, he refused to eat meat loaf because he said it was bland and dry. Then I prepared this version, and it became his favorite meal. —Suzanne Codner, Starbuck, Minnesota
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Slow-Cooked 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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Mini Hot Browns

Here's my take on the famous Hot Brown sandwich. Guests quickly saddle up for juicy turkey slices and crispy bacon piled on toasted rye bread and then topped with a rich cheese sauce. —Annette Grahl, Midway, Kentucky
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No-Fuss Pork Chops

These tender, mouthwatering chops taste a bit like sweet-and-sour pork but require little attention or time. I prepare them year-round, whenever I'm on a tight schedule but still want something scrumptious.—Sally Jones, Lancaster, New Hampshire
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Skillet Shepherd's Pie

This is the best shepherd's pie recipe I've ever tasted. It's very quick to make, and I usually have most—if not all—of the ingredients already on hand. —Tirzah Sandt, San Diego, California
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Chicken Amandine

With colorful green beans and pimientos, this attractive casserole is terrific for the holidays. This is true comfort food at its finest. —Kat Woolbright, Wichita Falls, Texas
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Sunday Pork Roast

Mom would prepare pork roast for our family, friends and customers at the three restaurants she and Dad owned. The herb rub and vegetables give it a remarkable flavor. It's one of my favorite pork roast recipes. —Sandi Pichon, Memphis, Tennessee
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Crescent Turkey Casserole

How do you make a dinner of turkey and vegetables really appealing to kids? You turn it into a pie, of course! My version tastes classic, but won’t take much time at all. —Daniela Essman, Perham, Minnesota
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Great-Grandma's Italian 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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Hearty Turkey 'n' Rice Soup

Hearty Turkey 'n' Rice Soup

Use the leftover cooked turkey in the fridge to speed up dinner. You'll be ladling up bowlfuls of goodness in only 30 minutes. —Maggie Brewer, Canandaigua, New York
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Stroganoff Sandwiches

Stroganoff Sandwiches

This recipe is great for a game day, either at a tail-gate party or at home. I often make up the meat mixture ahead of time and add the sour cream when I reheat it just before serving. —Susan Graham, Cherokee, Iowa
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Makeover Tater-Topped Casserole

I love Tater Tot casserole, but wanted a lighter version of the recipe. The Taste of Home Test Kitchen slashed the fat in this classic dish, while keeping all the Tots my family loves. Who know you could have healthy Tater Tots?! —Scott Woodward, Shullsburg, Wisconsin
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Hungarian 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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Mom's 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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Apple-Gouda Pigs in a Blanket

For New Year’s, I used to make beef and cheddar pigs in a blanket, but now I like apple and Gouda for an even better flavor celebration. —Megan Weiss, Menomonie, Wisconsin
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Makeover Beef Stroganoff

I trimmed the calories, fat and sodium in a classic stroganoff, and my comfy, cozy version still tastes like a Russian masterpiece. —Candace Clark, Connell, Washington
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The Best Chicken & 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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Cabbage Roll Casserole

I layer cabbage with tomato sauce and ground beef lasagna-style to create a hearty casserole that tastes like cabbage rolls but without all the work. —Doreen Martin, Kitimat, British Columbia
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Chicken Divan

This tasty chicken divan recipe was given to me by a friend years ago, and it's been a family favorite ever since. My daughters enjoy making this dish in their own homes and get the same enthusiastic compliments I always do! —Mary Pat Lucia, North East, Pennsylvania
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Stuffed Chicken Rolls

Just thinking about this dish sparks my appetite. The ham and cheese rolled inside are a tasty surprise. Leftovers reheat well and make a perfect lunch with a green salad. —Jean Sherwood, Kenneth City, Florida
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Best 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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Grandma's Pea Soup

My grandma's pea soup recipe was a family favorite. What makes it different from any other pea soups I have tried is the addition of whole peas, spaetzle-like "dumplings" and sausage. Try it once and you'll be hooked. —Carole Talcott, Dahinda, Illinois
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Easy Chicken Paprikash

When my husband studied Hungarian in the Army, I made him the chicken and onions dish known as paprikash. We serve ours over rice or buttered noodles. —Susan Wildman, Haslett, Michigan
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Favorite Baked Spaghetti

This yummy baked spaghetti casserole will be requested again and again for potlucks and family gatherings. It's especially popular with my grandchildren, who just love baked spaghetti with all the cheese. —Louise Miller, Westminster, Maryland
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Mini Reuben Casseroles

These cute and creamy little casseroles have the classic flavors of a Reuben sandwich. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Potato Kielbasa Skillet

No need to hunt through kielbasa and potato recipes, this smoky take steals the show as a hearty home-style, all-in-one meal. It's especially perfect on those cold late fall and early winter nights. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Baked Mushroom Chicken

This mushroom chicken recipe is the perfect way to dress up a standard weeknight dinner. It's a recipe I can count on to yield tender and flavorful mushroom chicken every time. —Barbara McCalley, Allison Park, Pennsylvania
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My Mother's Mac and Cheese

I remember my mother sending me to the store for 15 cents worth of cheese. The butcher would cut off a slice from a gigantic wheel covered with a wax-coated cloth. Mother would then blend that cheese into this tasty dish. Today, the memory of her cooking is like food for my soul. —Phyllis Burkland, Portland, Oregon
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Chicken Wild Rice Soup

I'm originally from Minnesota, where wild rice grows in abundance and is very popular in recipes. This creamy chicken and wild rice soup has been part of our Christmas Eve menu for years. To save time, I cook the chicken and wild rice and cut up the vegetables the day before. —Virginia Montmarquet, Riverside, California
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Italian Hot Dish

My husband had a poor perception of healthy food until he tried this beefy casserole. The combination of pasta, oregano, mushrooms and green peppers makes it a favorite healthy pasta recipe in our house. —Theresa Smith, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
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De-Lightful Tuna Casserole

This mild, homemade tuna casserole will truly satisfy your family's craving for comfort food without all the fat! —Colleen Willey, Hamburg, New York
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Best-Ever Fried Chicken

Crispy, juicy and perfectly seasoned, this really is the best fried chicken recipe, ever. Summer reunions and neighborly gatherings will never be the same. When I was growing up, my parents had a farm, and every year, Dad would hire teenage boys to help by haying time. They looked forward to coming because they knew they would be treated to some of Mom's deep fryer recipes, including this delicious fried chicken. —Lola Clifton, Vinton, Virginia
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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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Classic Beef Wellingtons

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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Li'l Cheddar Meat Loaves

I got this recipe from my aunt when I was a teen and have made these miniature loaves many times since. My husband and three children count this main dish among their favorites. —Kathy Bowron, Cocolalla, Idaho
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Cheddar Chicken Potpie

Cheese soup is one of my favorites, but it’s a bit too rich for my husband’s taste. Now I make a variation of potpie we both enjoy. If I’m in a hurry, I’ll skip the crust, add extra milk and serve it as a chowder. —Sandra Cothran, Ridgeland, South Carolina
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Sunday Pot Roast

With the help of a slow cooker, you can prepare a down-home dinner any day of the week, not just on Sundays. The roast turns out tender and savory every time. —Brandy Schaefer, Glen Carbon, Illinois
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Mom's Meat Loaf

Mom made the best meatloaf, and now I do, too. When I first met my husband, he didn't care for homemade meatloaf, but this won him over. —Michelle Beran, Claflin, Kansas
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Sloppy Joe Pasta

Since I found this quick-to-fix recipe a few years ago, it's become a regular part of my menu plans. Everyone loves the combination of sloppy joe ingredients, shell pasta and cheddar cheese. —Lynne Leih, Idyllwild, California

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly in The Huffington Post as well as a variety of other publications since 2008 on such topics as life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. She is also a writer of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.
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