Category Archives: Nostalgic Eats

Nightmare Nostalgia Presents Nan’s Famous Italian Christmas Soup Recipe!

Fun fact: I actually started writing this out to put on the website a year ago, but stopped short because my shitty committee told me that no one could possibly care about this. However, here and today, I know at least one person that cares: ME; and eh, maybe someone else looking for an easy and DELICIOUS soup recipe that my Grandmother (Nan) concocted and served for both Thanksgiving and Christmas as appetizers to our ridiculous ten-course Italian holiday feasts. Italians go overboard with the food almost all the time, but get REAL EXTRA during the festive time of year. I’m ok with it, as long it includes Nan’s Famous Italian Christmas Soup! Ok, and some Clams Oreganata to boot. Maybe if you guys are interested I’ll get the secret special recipe from my Dad, because no one, and I mean, NO ONE makes a meaner Oreganata than my Pops.

I’ve been eating this soup every holiday season since I’m able to remember and after my Nan passed away in 2017, I kept the tradition going with my own family and children to make a point to serve this dish at every holiday meal together. As a teen, I lived with my Grandma for a few years and during that time she gave me Italian cooking 101 lessons as this is what she basically lived for. Coming up on the five-year anniversary of her passing, I figured I’d take it a step further and honor her right here on Nightmare Nostalgia. Christmas meant the world to her, and so did this soup that pretty much ANYONE I serve to immediately asks for the recipe. So unless your taste buds are seriously malfunctioning, I can guarantee this will be a dish you’ll not only put into your holiday feast bracket but stick in rotation on a regular basis during the Winter season.

Ok, let’s get to it, I’ve rambled enough!

This is what you’ll need: Serves 4-5 People

  • Two boxes of (preferably) Swanson Chicken Broth
  • 3/4 cups of Orzo pasta
  • 2 tbsps of Better Than Boullion (You can use 2 Chicken Bouillon cubes as well but I think the BTB paste gives it more of a kick)
  • 3 Eggs
  • Shredded Parmesan and Romano cheese
  • Salt, Pepper, and Butter for cooking

Cooking Instructions:

Drop the broth and Better Than Bouillon into a large soup pot and bring slowly to a boil over medium-high heat.

While broth is heating up, grab a frying pan, throw in some butter and get those eggs ready for scrambling!

Midway through scrambling, add a heap of Parm/Romano cheese. I don’t really have any measurements for this. Add as much or as little as you like, but I always so the more the merrier! Mix and scramble together until done and set aside.

Once the broth is boiling, add the orzo pasta and cook over medium heat. Once the orzo pasta is almost done, add the eggs into the pot and season with salt and pepper. Use a fork to separate the eggs in the broth so it looks all pretty and dispersed for portions. Add more cheese to the pot for taste.

Simmer all together for about 15 minutes and that’s it! Get ready to devour. As stated this is great as a starter course for the holidays or hell, all by itself. This dish can be very filling so keep that in mind when serving at a holiday dinner. Other than that, I like to make it on a cold, Winter night alongside the King of sammiches, the Grilled Cheese.

Enjoy and hey if you make it, let me know in the comments your thoughts! Happy Holidays!

Nightmare Nostalgia’s Sparkling Ecto-Cooler Recipe For The Holidays!

Nightmare Nostalgia's Sparkling Ecto-Cooler Recipe For The Holidays!

The holidays are upon us and so are the twenty pounds it brings along with it via all the tasty treats we prepare and stuff our pie holes in to celebrate. So why not make it count with a nostalgic treat that I concocted myself to bring a little extra flair to the holiday spread table! It’s easy, tasty, and sure to be a hit at your Thanksgiving or Christmas get-together; and I’m sharing it with you guys today! The ever-so-wonderful Sparkling Ecto-Cooler Drink Recipe!

Grant it, there are a TON of copycat Ecto Cooler recipes out there. However, none are quite like this and I tweaked it with my own flair to give it a little extra punch especially if you, like myself, like a bit of fizzy in your beverage. So here’s what you’re gonna need to make this nostalgic nectar of the Gods:

  • 1 1/2 CUPS OF ORANGE JUICE (PULP FREE)
  • ONE BOTTLE OF IZZE CLEMINTINE SPARKLING JUICE
  • 1 TBSP COUNTRY TIME LEMONADE
  • 2 TBSP’S TANG
  • 1 TBSP SUGAR
  • WATER TO TASTE
  • GREEN FOOD COLORING

After mixing both juices, sugar, lemonade, and Tang mix, grab a water bottle and slowly pour to dilute it some to your own desired taste. Drop in a few splashes of green food coloring and presto- a holiday drink fit for the most gluttonous of ghosts! Bonus points if you have a McDonald’s Batman mug from the 90s’ to serve it in.

If you want to get saucy, add a shot of Vodka to really get into that holiday spirit. Enjoy my nostalgic nuggets! Let me know in the comments if you used this recipe and tell me what you think!

Celebrating 35 Years Of McDonald’s Halloween Buckets

Celebrating 35 Years Of McDonald's Halloween Buckets

Halloween in the eighties ruled. Being born in 1982, this allowed me to live most of my childhood throughout the glorious decade, following being an angsty pre-teen during the Grudge era, and ending my adolescent years as the Class of 2000. I feel pretty lucky to have experienced these monumental changing of the tides; but one thing that has changed too much and I fondly miss, is the way Halloween WAS growing up. Most people could attribute that to, “eh, it’s never the same as when you were a child”; which is of course, true. However, some Halloween traditions should never have gone away- and that one is the McDonald’s Halloween Buckets.

I’ll never forget the first commercial I saw for these national treasures. It was during a CBS airing for Garfield’s Halloween Adventure, which I uploaded in it’s entirety WITH that commercial in the most cringe way possible, but hey, I tried. Anyways, I along with all other kids my age became obsessed. With the arrival of October meant shopping for noisy plastic costumes with masks at our local Sav-On drugstore, Halloween community carnivals, Halloween parades at school, and of course McBoo and friends.

The orange bucket Happy Meals that originally were released in 1986, resembled that of a pumpkin and had a variety of three available; McPunk’n, a traditional jack-o-lantern face; McBoo, a ghost face; and McGoblin, the “scariest” of the three- which is the one I still have to this day!

The buckets themselves were nowhere near large enough to take on a night of heavy tricks or treats, but they sure were great storage pails and maintained a versatile function for the past 30 years. This little bastard went from holding my Polly Pockets and stickers in the 80s’, to pins, hair accessories, and makeup in my teenage 90s’, and circling back today in 2021, where I actually use it to hold my rather large collection of face masks. Not a terrifying Halloween mask by any means, but considering everything, they’re just as scary these days.

While most know to believe the Halloween buckets weren’t available until 1986, that’s not actually entirely accurate. McDonald’s ran a test promotion in the Boston and New York area with prototypes of several Halloween Happy Meal Buckets from October 11 thru October 31, 1985 . After a successful run, they were introduced nationally in 1986. They came back the following year after but for some reason were absent in 1988. Then in 1989, the buckets got a mild makeover with McBoo turning white and a new friend- the McWitch, complete with pointy hat on the lid!

In 1990, the buckets added some glow in the dark flair to the designs, while changing the faces entirely to a more cartoonish look- one that I personally think is less than the originals, but not a bad second-place prize if these are the ones you had. In 1991, the buckets were replaced by vinyl glow-in-the-dark trick or treat bags, which get a LOT OF SHIT by Halloween bucket lovers, but I actually used this fucker for trick-or-treating and it served me well. The handles seem pretty flimsy, but this bastard held up for a full bag filled with Tootsie Rolls and Mr. Bones. So I can’t hate on them.

To keep in with the now tradition of refreshing the successful Halloween product, 1992 saw another makeover to McPunk’n, McBoo, and McWitch with minor facial changes, but with the addition of a new cookie cutter lid!

And that my friends, was the last time we got a quality McDonalds Halloween Bucket. After taking yet, another hiatus in 1993, the pails came back, with a more “modern” makeover that just sort of plain sucked. McWitch looked like an angry cartoon drunk, and even though they still had the cool cookie cutters, it seemed less magical than their predecessors.

After this monumental modern fuck-up, the pails again disappeared until 1999, when they came back only as a duo, with no more spoopy faces. Instead we got Halloween scenes that wrapped around the bucket featuring Mcdonald Land characters. On the upside, the cookie cutters were still there.

In 2001, the quality diminished further and the cookie cutter lids were abolished entirely. We got the same cartoonish scenes around the pail, but we got bat handles instead on the lid now- which although sort of cool, were so damn uncomfortable, cutting into your palms like Shakaka the Great White Bat trying to escape Ace Ventura’s hands while running through the jungle.

In 2010, Mr. Potato Head was apparently spooky enough to get a themed Halloween pail. This is where the downfall of a soft society began folks.

The 2011 pails were somewhat of a return to nostalgia with a pumpkin or a monster face, along with the again, gnarly bat handles. But that was the last time we would see Halloween faced pails at all. Following years brought cartoon themed buckets such as Scooby-Doo, Monster High, and eventually Minions pails. Then, the year that ended it all in 2016, the pails made their final appearance with It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown– in which I guess if they’re gonna go out, at least it’s with a Halloween classic and not a damn Potato Head toddler toy.

It’s been 35 years since the nostalgic Halloween buckets entered our childhood Halloween fantasies and while these little pieces of big corporate plastic may seem trivial, they serve as a staple of fond Halloween memories for the kids of past generations. It would seem fitting if indeed, McDonalds celebrated this milestone with a grand return of McBoo and friends, however, I haven’t heard of any plans to do so. McDonald’s was once, the king of fast food Halloween and no one did better promotions for the favorable holiday than the french fry giants. I’m not sure what’s happened in recent years that the company has turned the cold shoulder to our beloved holiday, but it’s almost as if it’s become a traumatic break-up with an abusive ex. They barely acknowledge the holiday even exists anymore. In any regard, I’ve championed for the comeback for as long as I can remember, and I’ll never stop fighting the good fight.