Category Archives: classic

Thanksgiving menu

So the menu is finalized for Thanksgiving Day. We’ll plan to eat at 1 p.m., and 10 adults and 1 child will be seated at the table.

The menu:
• turkey
• mashed potatoes
• gravy
• cranberry salad
• green bean casserole
• sweet potatoes
• broccoli and/or cauliflower with cheese sauce
• rolls
• relish tray

We’ll have a variety of sodas to drink.

For dessert, will have a plethora of pies: pumpkin, berry, Dutch apple, chocolate. Dessert will be served with coffee, of course.

I’m in charge of the turkey, gravy, chocolate pie, coffee, and sweet potatoes, sort of.

Shepherd’s pie

The recipe I follow for this dish is actually titled Hamburger Pie, but I grew up calling it shepherd’s pie, and Wikipedia supports my name for it.

Shepherd's pie

The recipe I use is adapted here from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, but I couldn’t find the same version online, so I’ll reproduce it here rather than link. The ones I was finding at Better Homes and Gardens all had condensed tomato soup in it. Ew.

Shepherd’s pie
Bake time: 20 minutes

2 cups mashed potatoes (or more)
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
9 ounces frozen green beans or 2 cups loose-pack frozen mixed veggies (I like peas and carrots)
scant 1/4 cup water
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon-ish of dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
shredded cheese to top

Make the mashed potatoes. Set aside. In a large skillet cook ground beef and onion until meat is no longer pink and onion is tender. Drain if necessary.

Stir beans or mixed vegetables and water into beef mixture. Cook, covered, for 5-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, garlic and pepper. Bring to boiling. Transfer the mixture to a 2.5-quart casserole.

Drop mashed potatoes in mounds atop hot mixture and spread to nearly cover. If desired, sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Bake in a 375° oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Makes 4 servings.

I grew up having this as a way to use up instant mashed potatoes. Now I wouldn’t make it without real potatoes. Traditionally, I think of it having peas and carrots, but I make it with green beans at this point in life.

Beef stroganoff, variation on the theme

Last night I was late getting home, so P was cooking. When I called saying I was beginning the 45-minute journey home, he said he was making beef stroganoff — without the mushrooms. He dislikes mushrooms, but whenver I’ve made beef stroganoff, he just has to pick them out. For me, it’s hard to call a dish beef stroganoff if it lacks mushrooms. Per Wikipedia, though, mushrooms apparently aren’t a requirement. I responded, that he was also making it without sour cream? He said yes, as if he wasn’t aware it was generally used. The aforementioned article states that sour cream was part of the initial iteration of this Russian dish.

Regardless, he at the least made a variation on the theme of beef stroganoff. It tasted remarkably like the dish I’m used to. Another substitution he made, this time quite intentionally, I’m sure, was to use frozen egg noodles instead of the traditional dried egg noodles. Clearly this changed the texture of the dish.

Chop two onions, 1 1/3 pound stew meat in skillet, covered, let cook 30 minutes. Cook two packages of the noodles according to package directions. Drain juice off meat and onions, remove meat and onions from skillet and return juice to pan to use for roux. Add 3 tablespoons butter, 1/3-ish cup flour, and 4 cups milk and 1/2 cup cream, along with 1 cup of shredded cheese and salt and pepper and cook to thicken. Combine the meat, noodles and sauce in a large bowl. Serve.

Doh! There’s also garlic in the sauce, of course.