Thursday, June 5, 2014

Weekly meal planning - Ground Beef Casserole

Hello!  I have gotten my cooking mojo back, but can't seem to find recipes that make me happy.

I decided to go start planning meals again, and got out my cookbooks.  I usually get about 3 or 4 and go through to see what pushes my buttons.  This week I chose:

Ground Beef Casserole from a lovely cookbook I picked up in the North Georgia Mountains on possibly the last trip up there before I moved away from Atlanta on September 29, 1985.  My best friend in Atlanta, Dana, and I would often go up to this beautiful part of the world.  On this particular day, John E. La Rowe, the author of Somethin's Cookin in the Mountains was in a shop we stopped in and I got a signed copy of his cookbook!  I have enjoyed using this through the years so it seemed like a good idea to revisit this one!

Tarragon Chicken Thighs from the Weightwatchers' Members Favourites cookbook.

And Courgette and Tarragon Soup from the New Covent Garden Food Co A Soup for Every Day.  It was a coincidence that there were 2 recipes calling for fresh tarragon, but then that is also a good way not to waste fresh herbs!

This blog will be too long if I post all these together, so I will add them one at a time.  Not my original idea, but to post a week's worth of recipes at once will put me off, not to mention my readers!

I have added my simple way to do roast beef in the slow cooker at the end of the casserole recipe though.

Ground Beef Casserole

I have used this cookbook since before moving to Scotland and there are asterisks in this book just like I still do almost 30 years later.  Trouble is, I didn't date the recipes then.  So I have no idea when I tried this, but I know I have and it earned one star the first time around.

1 pound ground beef or ground chuck
Worcestershire Sauce
Garlic Salt
1 medium onion, cut up
1 medium bell pepper, cut
One 16 ounce can tomatoes
3 pieces loaf bread, toasted
1/2 block Cheddar cheese, shredded

Have you spotted the obvious mistake yet?  There are virtually no measurements.  How big is a block of cheese?  How much Worcestershire sauce?  How did I make this the last time?

I just decided to go for it!

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Garlic Salt
half a block of cheese!  I just took out my block of cheese and cut it in half!  Didn't measure and am glad I bought a small block this time because I usually buy huge ones!

Preheat oven to 425F 210C

Crumble and brown ground beef, add salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and garlic salt.

Cut up onion and pepper, drain grease off beef, add onion and pepper and tomatoes; let simmer until vegetables are done.

Place in casserole (what size?  I used the largest one I had - too big!).

Put crumbled bread on top, top with Cheddar cheese.

Put in oven briefly, letting cheese melt.  

This is a very simple recipe and size really does not matter!  However, it was not that exciting and I doubt I would have given it a star this time if it had been the first time, but it is a very simple and easy dinner to just throw together!  (maybe add a second can of tomatoes?)

In this week's meal planning, I also added a beef roast for the slow cooker.  Roasts usually last Alan and I a few days' worth of meals so this should have been our food for the week.

My easy way to cook a roast:

All I do for this is line my slow cooker with a liner, seemingly only available in the US and an absolute necessity of you are using a slow cooker!  Then put 1/4 water and cover the bottom with carrots, onions and potatoes, put your roast in, then sprinkle with Lipton's Onion Soup Mix ( my most recent collection courtesy of a good friend of mine who got this for me on her last trip to Canada, thanks Pamela!), fill the rest of the slow cooker with the vegetables and turn on your cooker!  I find using the high setting for 5 - 6 hours works better than the low setting for 8 - 9 hours.

However, in the meat section - the roasts were absolutely tiny.  I had already committed to the roast and the one I decided on was just big enough for one meal.  The carrots, onions and potatoes cooked with it, though, lasted 3 meals!

“If you don't know where you are going,

you'll end up someplace else.” 

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