In Patty’s Kitchen: Intentional Leftovers are Yummy
By PATTY RICE GROTH
The sun is shining but the air is quite cool, and I am happy to be switching over to recipes which warm the kitchen and please one’s nose. Except for occasional baking of cookies, I really do not use my oven very much in the summer. Meat is cooked on the grill or sautéed quickly on the stovetop, with salads and fresh vegetables rounding out a meal.
On Sunday I prepared a pot roast with mashed potatoes, corn and green beans for my family. On Sundays we tend to eat breakfast a little later — after church — and skip lunch. Supper is usually ready around 4 p.m. I am most happy when my son and his girlfriend is able to join us. They both work, though, and it’s not possible as frequently as I‘d like.
When my children were growing up it was not unusual to have a visiting child comment on our family sitting down to dinner together. We tried our best to make it happen at least four or five nights each week. I am at the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation and can remember family meals growing up. When my sister Shirley and her husband Larry missed Thanksgiving dinner in 1967 we all knew it was because their baby had decided to be born that day! Through all the changes in a family as it ages, grandchildren are born, young adults move out, the family supper table was important.
You may recall that in those days too children did not have to report in to their parents every 30 minutes or every time they changed play location. We were safe all over the neighborhood. After a long day of playing, we all headed home for supper together with our families.
Anyway, when cooking up the roast I increased the amount of potatoes in the pot with the intention of having some leftover to make a Shepherd’s Pie. My recipe card is written in my own handwriting so I don’t have any reference to where this recipe came from. I do not remember it being something my mother made, but the card is showing signs of considerable age.
There are so many variations on this dish, so this recipe is just basic.
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. flour
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 cup beef broth
½ cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup onion rings
Brown the ground beef, remembering not to overcook it, especially if it is lean ground beef. Drain off any fat if necessary. Add salt, pepper and flour, stirring them in. Add the beef broth. Bring to a boil, stirring until gravy is thick. Add carrots and celery. Cook a few minutes more.
Pour meat mix into a casserole dish and cover with the leftover mashed potatoes. Place a layer of onion rings on top of the potatoes.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Serves 4.
Because it is such a basic recipe, I freely modify it to match what I have in my cupboards. I do not have any carrots or celery, so I left them out, and added some chopped green peppers. I have frozen lots of green pepper from the summer garden and will be using it all winter long. When the timer goes off, I will put some shredded cheese on top of the potatoes and let them bake just a few minutes more.
We will have our vegetable as a side dish, and it will be the last of the green beans picked from the garden before the recent frost. We still have lettuce and brussel sprouts growing in the garden. The cool temperatures do not bother them at all. Over the lettuce is a row cover to keep the frost from settling on the leafy greens.