Six Layer Casserole

Six layer casserole stretches one pound of ground meat to feed six to eight people without anybody feeling deprived. Layers of potatoes, onions, carrots, celery and a green veggie are topped with ground meat and seasoned with herbs and spices. The juices of the meat intermingle with the vegetables and potatoes.

6 large potatoes
6 carrots
6 stalks celery
1 bunch of greens (chard, kale or spinach)
2 large onions
1 pound ground meat
vegetable oil
1 can condensed cream of mushroom, celery, chicken or tomato soup

Scrub the vegetables and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Coat the bottom of an oven proof skillet or pot with oil. Layer all the vegetables except the onions into the pot. Sprinkle with onion and garlic powder, dried parsley, thyme and a pinch of rosemary. Go easy on the rosemary since it can overpower the other flavors. Salt and pepper to taste.

Crumble the raw ground meat over the vegetables. Use beef, pork, chicken or turkey or a combo of meats. Cover the meat with onion slices.

Add 1/2 cup of liquid — broth, beer, wine or water to the soup and pour over the casserole.

Place in a preheat 450 degree oven. Wait 15 minutes then lower to 350. Cover.

Bake for one hour until meat is cooked through and vegetables are soft.

Freshly baked biscuits are great for mopping up all the gravy.

Breakfast Biscuits and Gravy for Dinner

What could be better on a cloudy or rainy day than biscuits and gravy with scrambled eggs? Have them for breakfast, lunch or a quick supper. The biscuits are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. You could make the gravy with just pan drippings and that’s how thrifty cooks do it. For a heartier dish make it with crumbled pork sausage with just a hint of sage, complemented by lots of freshly ground pepper.

Combine 1 3/4 cups flour with one tablespoon baking powder. Work in four tablespoons of cold butter or lard, using your fingers, two forks or a pastry cutter. When the fat has been incorporated into the flour and there aren’t any pieces bigger than a pea, add about 1/2 cup of milk, a little at a time. Exactly how much you add depends on how dry the flour is. You’re aiming for a dough that holds together but isn’t sticky. Use buttermilk instead of whole milk. Another option is to use a few tablespoons of sour cream or yogurt to replace a few tablespoons of the milk. It gives the biscuits a nice tang.

Roll out on a floured surface until the dough is 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds. Dip the biscuit cutter into flour every third or fourth biscuit. If you don’t have a biscuit cutter use a drinking or wine glass.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree Fahrenheit oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.

The gravy is easy. Fry the sausage until it’s done. Add 1 tablespoon of flour for every cup of milk for the gravy. Put the milk and flour into a jar, put the lid on and shake like crazy.

Add a liberal amount of ground pepper to the pan. Let it heat for 20 or 30 seconds then add the gravy mixture.

Stir until the gravy comes to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for two minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste.

Split open the hot biscuits and pour over the gravy.

You can make this with crumbled drained bacon, chopped ham or if you’re in the mood for something spicy, chorizo sausage.

If you have any biscuits left over they make a wonderful fruit shortcake, much better than those spongy cake things. The biscuit soaks up the juices from the fruit. Cut up the fruit and add a few tablespoons of sugar. The sugar brings out the juice. Let set for an hour.

Split the biscuits. Add the fruit on top of the first half of the biscuit. Cover with the second half and add more fruit. Drown in whipped cream.