“What one earth is that?” you may ask. Well, it is a gathering of friends who get to together to enjoy each others company, share a meal, and talk about what they share a passion for. (See more here.) I was inspired long ago by a story of a women who repaid her friends’ dinner invites by bringing them all together for a meal in her home. Her menu? Bean soup. It was cheap and could feed a crowd. I combined this idea with another story I heard of a couple who hosted concerts in their New York apartment and invited their friends who enjoyed the fine arts. They also shared a meal as well as something they had a passion for—the arts.
My dinners have kept the soup idea but our reason for gathering is to hear from mission workers who practice their calling locally as well as a round the world. It’s a marvelous night of good news. This month we heard of a local ministry helping those with special needs, outreaches using the arts in Germany, prevention of human trafficking in India and Thailand, and upcoming opportunities to help the homeless in Mexico. Every month is different and the reports of positive action bring hope to those who hear the stories.
If you are local to the Victor Valley in California, feel free to join us. Contact me directly for more information or join our Facebook page SOUPer Friday.
One of last week’s soup offerings was Mexican-Style Beef and Hominy Stew. It was delicious. All the ingredients can be dumped into a crockpot in the morning and by suppertime you will have something pretty delicious.
Mexican-Style Beef and Hominy Stew
1 pound lean ground beef
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 15.5 ounce can hominy, rinsed and drained
1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic , minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
Dump all ingredients into crock pot, leave ground beef in one large piece.
Cook on low 8-10 hours, or high for 4-6 hours.
When finished, use a potato masher, break up ground meat into bite-sized pieces.
serve with chopped cilantro and lime wedges.
All ingredients can be put into a gallon zipper bag and frozen for a later cooking date. to cook—dump frozen meal into crockpot and follow cooking times.
People want real, flavorful food, not some show-off meal that takes days to prepare.
It’s been a while since I posted a Dumping Dinner recipe. Here’s one for the comfort food category. My daughter, Genny, recently posted it on Facebook, and it reminded me of its yumminess. You can cook it up now, or put it in the freezer for later. Hope it makes you week go a little smoother.
Three Packet Pot Roast
1 3 pound chuck roast
1 cup water
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 packet Italian dressing mix
1 packet brown gravy mix.
Mix the three packets and 1 cup water. Pour over roast in the crock pot.
Cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
For the freezer:
Mix it all together and freeze it in a gallon size bag.
Remove from bag and put in crock pot straight from the freezer.
Yesterday, I dumped some chicken tenders into the crock pot along with a cup of salsa and a small can of green enchilada sauce. My thought was to have it ready for dinner with some left for the next day. But later in the morning, an impromptu gathering started to bubble. Before I knew it, our supper for three quickly grew to a dinner party of fifteen.
Luckily, the salsa chicken would be ready to transform into an enchilada casserole, another simple dump recipe that takes just a few items from the pantry and fridge. Tortilla chips, black beans, corn, enchilada sauce, and cheese layered into a baking dish along with the chicken produced a pretty delicious entrée to feed a crowd. And guess what? We had leftovers, so I get to enjoy it again today.
I am giving you the amounts for a 9×9 casserole which will feed four to six. If you need to feed a crowd just adjust accordingly.
2 cups broken tortilla chips
2 cups cooked chicken, or your choice of any cooked meat
1 14.5 ounce black beans
1 14.5 ounce corn
1 19 ounce enchilada sauce, red or green
1 cup or more shredded Cheddar/Monterey Jack cheese
sliced green onion
Layer the ingredients into a lightly greased 9×9 casserole dish. I used garlic infused olive oil, and oh, man, did the kitchen smell good when the enchiladas were baking.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
I have to thank my sister, Jeannie, for suggesting this recipe. It’s one of her go-to recipes.
The first BBQ weekend of the summer is here and so I thought you might like and easy side dish to add to what is going on the grill. Marie, my daughter’s mother-in-law, has a version of Calico Beans that is much sought after at family gatherings and her pot usually goes home empty.
I actually grew up with a similar recipe. It was an easy week night meal that Mom could throw together in a flash. Like many of the recipes found on the internet, she used pork and beans. She cooked up onions and ground beef, then added the beans along with the catsup, mustard, and brown sugar and simmered everything a bit. I still make it occasionally when I want a taste from childhood.
4 ounces bacon, diced. You can use precooked if you like.
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup diced onion
2 14.5 ounce cans white beans, any variety [See notes]
1 14.5 ounce black beans
1 14.5 ounce kidney beans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup catsup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt
Cook bacon until medium.
Stir in onions and cook until soft.
Add ground beef. Cook until no longer pink.
Dump bacon, onion, ground beef mixture in crock pot. Dump in the rest of the ingredients. Give it a stir.
Cook on low for 4 hours.
These beans can be put together in a freezer bag to make later. Just leave the ground beef in a chunk and break up after cooking in the crock pot. Omit the bacon. It can be added later in the cooking process. When ready to cook, dump in crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours.
This recipe can be made on the stove top from start to finish or poured in a casserole dish and baked for an hour or so, until bubbly and brown around the edges. Yum.
You can use any combination of beans that suits you.
I did not have a full 1/2 cup catsup so I used some mild salsa for the rest.
Here’s your Dumping Dinner for this week. Butter chicken or murgh makhani is an Indian dish of chicken in a mildly spiced curry sauce. It actually came to be in the 1950s because of leftovers. See story here. A few more than normal ingredients but only minimal chopping. It is delicious. Enjoy!
Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani
[No butter. Just yumminess.]
4-6 chicken breasts or thighs
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can coconut milk
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 teaspoons Garam Marsala*
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Dump in one-gallon freezer. Seal and freeze.
To cook: 6-8 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high. When finished, remove meat slice or shread. Serve with sauce.
Meal Maker—Serve with brown rice and your choice of veggies. Garlic naan, Indian flatbread is a must. Yum!
*Garam Marsala is a blend of ground spices common in India, Pakistan, and other South Asia Cuisines. You can find it in the spice section of most grocery store or online. The following is a quick recipe that will do the trick.
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container.
Please leave a comment and let me know what you’ve been cooking up in your kitchen. I would love to hear.
This week, I’m back in Oklahoma for spring break to watch over five-year-old Hero while her parents work. This morning, I dumped one of my daughter’s frozen dinners into the crock pot. While the stroganoff cooked away, we had time to play cards, watch Magic School Bus, and paint our nails. It was a very fun day, and at the end we had something pretty delicious to eat. We added broccoli and chopped salad to make it a meal.
1 ½-2 pounds stew meat
½ cup chopped onion
2 cans golden mushroom soup
½ cup water
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 package onion soup mix
1 pound sliced mushrooms, optional
16 oz egg noodles
Dump all ingredients except noodles into crock pot.
Cook on low 6-8.
Cook noodles according to package directions. Add to meat mixture and serve.
Note: Instead of adding the mushrooms at the beginning, I sautéed them and added with the noodles at the time of serving. You could also use canned mushrooms in place of the fresh.
To freeze: dump ingredients except noodles into 1 gallon freezer bag, seal and freeze.
Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.
Here is another Dump Dinner that will make those busy days just a little bit easier. I like that I can just get dinner going in the morning when my energy is high and my resolve to eat well is still intact. After my visit in Oklahoma, my daughter Genny was inspired to make some more dinners for her freezer after the ones I made ran out. She and her husband packaged up seventeen in just an hour and a half. Here is one they tried this week. She reported that the Beef and Broccoli was their favorite so far.
Beef and Broccoli
2 pounds beef, sliced
1 can beef and mushroom soup
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ginger, minced or grated
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 cups fresh or 10 ounce bag frozen broccoli cuts, steamed
To cook now:
Dump meat into crockpot.
Mix remaining ingredients together.
Pour over beef.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Before eating stir in broccoli.
To freeze for later:
Dump beef into one gallon freezer bag. Can be split into two bags.
Mix remaining ingredients except broccoli together and dump on top of meat.
Seal and freeze.
Follow To cook now directions on cooking day.
Freezing tip: Place freezer bag into 64-96 ounce plastic bowl to load. This will give you stability and free up your hands. Then, freeze, bowl and all. I know you have seen freezer meals all flat and stacked on the freezer shelves. It’s a thing of beauty, but the shape simply does not fit into a crock pot without defrosting. The bowl also prevents the meal from freezing around the wire on the shelves. Remove bowls when frozen to use for more dinners.