An Oldie But Still Such A Goodie

We are normally such homebodies, but the last few nights have been more activity-driven than usual. Maybe that’s why I woke up this morning and immediately thought about how we had nothing going on tonight and could quite possibly be in our pajamas by 4:30 or 5 this afternoon.

Listen. Late afternoon pajama time? BEST THING EVER.

So I went to work this morning and then ran some errands before Alex got out of school, and off and on I’d wonder what in the world I was going to cook for supper. This is that time of year when I am so tired of everything in my regular rotation, so I was trying to think of something new or different or fun that would not involve spaghetti sauce (of all the dishes in all the land, spaghetti with meat sauce is perhaps my least favorite, though ironically it is one of my fellas’ most beloved). The catch, though, was that I really wanted to use ground chuck since ground chuck is only $2.99 a pound at Fresh Market on (most) Tuesdays.

(If there is a Fresh Market in your area, you need to know that $2.99 Tuesdays will change your whole life.)

(Because ground chuck and boneless skinless chicken breasts are only $2.99 a pound. And there’s no limit. And the kind Fresh Market butchers will wrap each pound individually if you so desire – that way freezing is a breeze.)

(You would not believe the people who get 20 or 25 chicken breasts wrapped individually on $2.99 Tuesdays.)

(I am in awe of the butchers’ stamina and patience.)

Anyway, before I went to Fresh Market I had an appointment with my ankle doctor. I realize that he’s not technically called an ankle doctor, but calling him my “orthopedist” seems a little pretentious considering that the only reason I’m having to go to an ankle doctor is because I slipped in my dog’s tee-tee and it just seems to me that you go to an orthopedist if you tear your ACL on an alley-oop pass or you fall and separate your shoulder during a penalty kick.

But if you slip in your dog’s tee-tee?

ANKLE DOCTOR.

This is all very subjective reasoning, of course.

Anyway, I went to the doctor to see if I’d made enough progress to start to live outside of my big ole comfortable orthopedic boot. The doctor said that my X-rays didn’t really look much different than my last visit a few weeks ago – but since the pain is almost completely gone and it doesn’t hurt to stand on the ankle any more, then yes, I can start to walk around without the boot when I’m in a flat, confined environment like our house or my office.

Needless to say, I was delighted by this news.

And then the doctor said the most interesting thing. He said, “You know, sometimes after a break you start to feel better – and everything starts to look better on the outside – but it’s still healing on the inside. And what we’ll usually see is that as you feel better and the pain fades and you start to use and trust whatever was broken, the gaps in that broken area will fill over time.”

He was talking about my ankle, of course. But I looked at him and said, “Well, that pretty much sounds like a sermon to me.”

He laughed and nodded his head. And then I spent a big chunk of the afternoon thinking about all the times and places in my life when I tried to stand (and walk) on something that was broken and painful. And while I certainly could chase this metaphor for the next four hours because ENGLISH MAJORS LOVE SYMBOLISM, I’ll just say that this broken ankle has taught me the value of resting and waiting. It’s so much easier to move after there’s been some healing.

And thus concludes tonight’s Ankle Doctor Sermonette.

After I picked up Alex we went to Fresh Market to secure the $2.99 ground chuck, and I decided on the way that I was going to make a hamburger and potato casserole like Mama used to make ALL THE TIME. I haven’t eaten it in years – and I don’t think I’ve ever made it before – but it sounded so good and comforting and winter-y that I decided to give it a try. I’m sure that lots of y’all make it or had grandmothers who made it, and what I realized tonight is that there’s a reason why this recipe has been around for a few generations. David loved it more than anything I’ve made in a long time; it’s so simple and easy and hearty and good.

So. Just in case you’ve never tried this recipe, here you have it. Some of y’all have probably made this 30 times in the last year, and if that’s the case, let me just say that I’m tickled to pieces┬áto be in your hamburger casserole club.

Hamburger & Potato Casserole

2 lbs. ground chuck, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Worcestershire – then browned and drained
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
5 or 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced thin
1 can cream of mushroom (if you’re not in a hurry, you could make your own white sauce, but I was in a hurry)
1 cup milk
1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, grated (any cheese will do)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brown and drain meat. Once the skillet that you used to cook the meat is back on the stove and hot again, add 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (or butter) and saute’ the onion until tender. Once the onion is done, remove from heat. In a small bowl, mix soup with milk and set aside. Lightly grease the bottom of a 9 x 13 Pyrex dish.

Cut off ends of potatoes and then slice about 1/8″ thick (give or take – and I left the skin on our potatoes because WHY NOT). Place potato slices on the bottom of the casserole dish, lightly sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper, then pour 1/2 of soup mixture over potatoes. Add 1/2 of ground beef, then all the onion, then potatoes, salt and pepper, remainder of soup mixture, remainder of ground beef, and grated cheese (however, if you don’t want your cheese to get a little crispy in places, wait and add it towards the end of the baking time).

By the time you layer everything, it’ll almost look like a lovely little potato lasagna.

Bake for 45-50 minutes. Make sure potatoes are fork tender before serving (if they’re sliced thin, they should be fine). Serve with your favorite vegetable and prepare to receive all manner of praise and adoration from your people. It’s not a fancy dish, but it’s a good ‘un.

Hope y’all are having a great week!

Love,
Mamaw

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Comments

  1. It certainly is a meat and potato casserole time of year, isn’t it. I just made up a chicken potato casserole topped with BBQ sauce, fried onions, chopped bacon, and a little cheddar. You would have thought Christmas came early my crew was so happy!

  2. I promise you I smile when I see a post in my news feed. It’s a guarantee that I’m gonna smile.

  3. Oh I’m just tickled for you- no more boot! I know you felt Christmas had come early! I got my cast off yesterday and began the post surgery 6-8 weeks wearing a shoe boot, not the big one like I had before and you just adiosed, much more tolerable. I’m glad you hit upon a winning dinner- that is aces isn’t it? Have a wonderful break, Merry Christmas and take care not to over do in your zeal to be about your business!

  4. I laughed so hard at your explanation of when it’s appropriate to call the doctor the “ankle doctor” as oppossed to the “orthopedist”!

  5. This reminds me of a quote by Ernest Hemingway. “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”

  6. Jennifer M says:

    I am so grateful for your blog. The days I need a good laugh the most, you deliver. So, thanks Boomama!

  7. I am so tickled that you use the word tee-tee! I live in South Texas where there are a whole lot of Spanish speakers. You know what Spanish speakers have never heard of? Tee-tee! Potty training my kids I always said tee-tee and always got some interesting looks.

  8. Good news about the boot and thank you for the recipe. It sounds like one my hubbie would love.

  9. I’m in line at Starbucks getting my free earned reward and treating myself to a white chocolate mocha. And now all I can think about is hamburger potato casserole. That sounds like fun for dinner tonight thank you. This might be about one of my favorite posts ever! Ankle doctor sermonette was just what this girl needed to hear this morning.

  10. Hey, Mamaw! MeeMaMa here is gonna make that casserole tonight! Ha! Sounds delicious and, you’re right, this is the perfect time for such a thing. Glad you are healing well. Tell that doc that if medicine doesn’t work out for him, he can surely go into ministry.

  11. Loving the Ankle Doctor Sermonette! And I love that we both are $2.99 Tuesday patrons of The Fresh Market. It is such a great deal! My freezer is pretty well stocked. :) Also, I appreciate the reminder of the potato/ground beef casserole. I almost wore out that recipe when I was a newlywed so I hardly ever think to make it now. You’re right though – it’s a good one!

  12. I had forgotten all about Hamburger/Potato Casserole!! I can’t wait to make it now. Thanks for the recipe! That ankle doctor brought a WORD!

  13. The recipe sounds great. I will be trying that. And no I have never had it.
    Also, who knew medical information about healing bones would bring tears to my eyes. Thanks for that. God Bless and Merry Christmas.

  14. What I said to the Lord just now, “OH! That Ankle sermon was just a sucker punch from You, wasn’t it?” I’m still reeling (in a good way!). Thanks for sharing — and congrats on being bootless!

  15. Tracey Knight says:

    this, sophie – this is why we love you. dog tee-tee & something meaningful & a recipe. you are the whole enchilada. that was a compliment from a native Texan. :) bless you, friend.

  16. You truly make me laugh out loud. “Mamaw” made my day. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  17. You always make me laugh! Thanks so much! Merry Christmas!

  18. Lynda Morstain says:

    Glad to hear your ankle is healing. Here’s my take on meat & potato cassarole:
    Brown ground meat w onions, salt & pepper; in same skillet make gravy (butter, flour, milk)
    Make mashed potatoes (I use red potatoes with the skins on)
    Place meat/gravy in baking pan, top with frozen corn, top with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle on grated cheddar cheese. Pop into 350 oven for 15 minutes.

  19. well…that ankle sermon certainly is spot on! I’ve had an ankle break myself and the broken places do heal back stronger. I believe it’s true for our heart breaks as well. Being broken is inconvenient, painful and definitely not what we ask for – but sometimes it’s just what we need. I love some symbolism as well.

  20. Most of the time when I start laughing from something I have read I end up reading it out loud to my husband. Anyway, today was one of those days. Hilarious. I just want you and Melanie and Beth to get together and talk. It would be just delightful. Thanks and Merry Christmas!

  21. I tried your recipe tonight (never had it or heard of it)- rave reviews from my husband and daughter! Merry Christmas from Boston:) and thanks for the laughs, glad the ankle is doing better!

  22. Sometimes I add chopped broccoli or bell peppers. Then I do t even need an extra veggie.

  23. Strawberryrose says:

    This post makes me happy. I know you’ll appreciate how pleased I was to see that cheese was on sale at the store today. I broke my ankle years ago. I got an air cast. I wasn’t sure that it was better than a regular cast, but the doctor said it would be fine. I wanted a boot, but my doctor said that my ankle would not heal well with a boot. Your doctor had a good word.

  24. Strawberryrose says:

    I want to clarify that my type of injury wouldn’t heal well with a boot. So glad you were able to use one and that you are on the mend.

  25. Oh my goodness. That hamburger potato dish sounds so yummy! I’m gonna make it next week! Thankful that you are feeling better. I wasn’t an English major, but I totally get where you are going with the ankle sermon, because God uses the every day stuff to teach me nuggets of His truth. I will be rolling it around in my mind for days. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  26. My husband thinks I’m a nut case for putting on my pjs as soon as dinner is over…….so glad there are others in the club like you and Melanie!!!!!

  27. The meal was a hit, thank you and Marry Christmas from my family to yours. In God’s Love, sheila

  28. Ann in Maryland says:

    This recipe sounds so good. And I love it that you signed this post “Mamaw” because it reminds me of my own dear grandmother from Kentucky who was such a good cook!