15 Classic Old-School Dinners You Hardly See Anymore

Krystal Smith

Food & Drink

The aroma of a family meal cooking can evoke a wave of nostalgia, especially if it’s one of the childhood classics that we rarely get to enjoy as adults. This article highlights 18 old-school dinners that not only offered parental convenience and budgeting but also deserve a comeback. These classic dinners from times past bring back fond memories and are worth revisiting.


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Meatloaf gained considerable popularity during the Great Depression for economic reasons. It can often feed multiple meals, protects the family from disease caused by rot and microbes, and could have saved your soul in those days. Meatloaf is a mash-up of culinary art and science. And wherever you go, a regional or cultural flock of hungry folks is ready to argue the finer details of making this dish from ground meat molded into a cake, seasoning it, and baking.

Pot Roast

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Pot roast is an iconic dish of America’s culinary history. The pot roast dates back to colonial times when it was made similarly to the favored weekday dish on Sunday, where the family could enjoy each other over a delicious and hearty meal. The pot roast was cherished then and is now since it is the experience of making it and then enjoying sharing it in a delicious meal. You make pot roast with extra meat that needs to be cooked till tender in a liquid alongside starchy root vegetables that absorb the lovely flavors of the roasted herbs and umami juices from the meat. 

Chicken Pot Pie

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Chicken pot pie has always been a comfort food that personifies the age-old classic via grandma’s recipe. Still, it bears 1700s correlations to European cuisine. However, this staple dish has taken a modern spin by consisting of a crust enveloped in a bag de save (saved juice), a certain type of meat, vegetables, and, in various theories, the chicken bone with marrow. It tells the story of perseverance and endurance. Both 1700s Europe and the chicken pot pie became more advanced over time. It was derived from a deconstructed dish—aka a cook before the era of food processors-which resulted in a timeless classic.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

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Spaghetti and meatballs are among the best-known Italian-American dishes in the United States. The first Italians to come to America were from regions of Italy that did not have a tradition of eating pasta with tomato sauce. The new immigrants discovered tomatoes in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They started to make sauce with dinner without knowing how to make it. The traditional Italian pasta sauce, like the ones in the south, suggested by Marcella Hazan, the foremost Italian cookbook author, is pureeing a can of whole tomatoes, a stick of butter, and an unpeeled onion and cooking it down for 45 minutes.

Beef Stew

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Beef stew has played a huge part in culinary history, settling into the hearts of people worldwide long since it was first created. It started out as a way to use meat that may have gone bad otherwise, most commonly the left-over cuts of meat at local grocery stores with higher meat prices. This simple meal quickly became popular throughout the world.

Shepard’s Pie

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Shepherd’s Pie is a commonly known dish worldwide. This dish was created during the early 1800’s in the United Kingdom. Shepherd’s Pie was created during economic hardship in the United Kingdom. Many people turned to this satisfying family meal due to not being able to purchase other foods at reasonable prices. Over time, neglected ingredients were added or removed depending on the place in the UK that you visited. Some areas preferred a certain ingredient, and some were limited and had to substitute their local, more accessible ingredients. 

Tuna Casserole

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For many of us, tuna casserole is a go-to budget-friendly meal. People love tuna casserole because it makes a large batch out of just a few cups of dry goods. This recipe has always been popular because it tastes great, is very easy to make, and can be thrown together using things that people tend to always have on hand. This simple casserole has been around for a long time. 

Beef Wellington

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Beef Wellington is an example of an indulging, elegant meal from British cuisine named after the great Duke of Wellington. This symbolic meal is composed of a tender beef fillet drenched in water with mushroom Duxelles and completed by being covered in a puff pastry and baked to a supple texture. Beef Wellington was first served as a centerpiece for lavish dinners and ostentatious engagements. It has not lost any of the festive elegance of its predecessor but is a delightful way to share a grand joint for a special service or festive dinner party. 

Salisbury Steak

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Salisbury steak is, quite simply, a dish made from ground beef and seasonings, then fried or broiled and served with gravy or brown sauce. This dish became popular in the US in the 1890s when an American physician invented it as a savory dish for people who were ill or could not digest food. Early versions of Salisbury steak involved salt, onion, and pepper and shaped into patty shapes. Burgers that we know today were invented in the 20th century. The dish resembles the beef patty used in hamburgers, so one thought is that cooks in the US found an easy way of serving it to put steak onto a bun. 

Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Stuffed bell peppers are a dish passed down through many generations. The dish originated in the Mediterranean and has many nutritional factors. It can be made in many ways, such as with different meats, vegetarian, or Mexican styles. The possibilities are truly endless. Baked until they’re just right and topped with tasty melted cheese, stuffed bell peppers combine various flavors and textures and are suited for folks of any age. 

Beef Stroganoff

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One of the most loved recipes in Russia but famous worldwide is Beef Stroganoff. When we think of comfort food, we usually think of the food our mother or grandmother made for us when we were young. More often than not, that food brings back feelings of warmth, happiness, and security—a reminder of home. It is sautéed beef cubes, with or without onions and mushrooms. Over the years, however, many different variations of beef stroganoff have been developed worldwide, including various ingredients such as garlic, mustard, and different herbs. 

Macaroni Cheese

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Most families try to make baked macaroni and cheese when it is cold outside. This dish has been a family favorite for years. Although it was said to have been brought over by the Europeans when they immigrated to America, it has been passed down through families and tweaked a little here and there. It is creamy, cheesy, and demanded at almost every holiday. Who can beat that?

Liver and Onions

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Liver and onions are a comfort food that has been around for centuries. You thinly slice the liver and cook in sautéed onion and seasonings. Liver and onions have a history; they are the food of the past that has fallen in the ranks of food of the present. But just because it may not be what some of the people you ask would call it doesn’t mean it is not a food of the past and doesn’t have a placement in the history of food. 

Chicken Fried Steak

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Often recognized as a Southern classic, chicken-fried steak dates back many generations and is enjoyed by many people daily. It’s usually made with a tenderized round steak dipped in an egg wash and dredged in seasoned flour. It’s fried until crispy and then smothered in a creamy gravy. Chicken-fried steak can be found on many southern menus, from downtown diners to mom-and-pop restaurants. Classic chicken-fried steak is usually served alongside mashed potatoes, green beans, and cornbread, but that does not include the vegetables.

Swedish Meatballs

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Swedish Meatballs, traditionally served with green beans and potatoes, are great as an appetizer with toothpicks, over egg noodles, or pasta. They are traditionally served with lingonberry sauce.

Orange Loaf Cake Recipe

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Looking for a delicious and easy-to-make dessert to impress your family and friends? Look no further than this mouth-watering orange loaf cake! With its perfect balance of tangy and sweet flavors, this cake is sure to become a favorite in your recipe collection. Get the Recipe: Orange Loaf Cake Recipe

Tres Leches Cake

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Gluten-free Tres Leches Cake is made with a combination of gluten-free flours and is just as decadent and indulgent as the original version. Whether you’re gluten intolerant or just looking for a tasty dessert that everyone can enjoy gluten-free Tres Leches Cake is a must-try.

Get the Recipe: Tres Leches Cake

Vegan Lemon Matcha Marble Loaf Recipe

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This unique dessert combines the bright, zesty flavor of lemon with the earthy bitterness of matcha to create a tantalizing taste experience. Made with simple ingredients like all-purpose flour, almond milk, and vegetable oil, this cake is easy to make and perfect for any occasion.

Get the Recipe: Vegan Lemon Matcha Marble Loaf Recipe

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