By Sidna Brower Mitchell, HT.com blogger
What a busy week we had with no time to recover from a three-day visit from energetic six-year-old Maggie.
I attended Maggie’s kindergarten concert at her school in north Jersey and then brought her home with me so her parents could attend the Knights of Columbus conference in Wildwood, down at the Jersey shore. Friday we attended the Kiwanis luncheon and changed into whites to play golf croquet.
Saturday, “Mr. Ken” took us to Cracker Barrel for breakfast and then on a jaunt supposedly to Whitesbog in South Jersey. Unfortunately we got lost but enjoyed the picturesque back roads.
Sunday was church, of course, and then to Wendy’s for lunch with the widows. As soon as Maggie’s parents picked her up, I tried to take a quick nap, but the phone kept ringing.
Monday meant Ken and I drove to Hatfield, Pa., to pick up those delicious breakfast sausages for the Kiwanis pancake fundraiser. Tuesday, I had to sell tickets to the breakfast and then prepare for the Republican Club meeting that night.
Wednesday, Ken and I were off to Sam’s Club and Walmart to purchase supplies –– like eight gallons of milk and 16 gallons of orange juice –– for Saturday’s breakfast.
That evening, we played doubles in croquet and Ken had his bridge club. With little time to eat, I prepared a casserole beforehand.
In the “old days”, I called this “Make-Your-Own” casserole for each family member to assemble and add only the ingredients he or she liked before baking. Now it’s known as “Mitchell” casserole because I assemble everything, i.e., poor Ken doesn’t get a choice.
1/4 pound ground beef
2 medium size potatoes, diced
3/4 can of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped onions
salt and pepper to taste
grated sharp cheddar cheese to cover
Break up the ground beef and season with garlic salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and oregano as you like. Cook until all the meat is browned. Drain and set aside.
Cook the potatoes until just tender. Drain and set aside.
Assemble the casserole in layers, first the ground beef, then the potatoes that you salt and pepper, tomatoes, chopped onions and cover with sharp cheddar cheese.
Put in a 350-degree oven and bake until the cheese is melted or longer if the meat and potatoes have cooled.
NOTE: I often use a can of Rotel tomatoes for a little kick. You can also add chopped green peppers or chopped mushrooms –– whatever your family or guests might like.
Sidna Brower Mitchell, a Memphis native, was graduated from Ole Miss in 1963 when she was named to the Hall of Fame. As editor of the Daily Mississippian when James Meredith integrated the university, she was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her editorials and received a number of other honors and job offers. Sidna accepted an internship with Scripps-Howard to become a general assignment reporter for the World Telegram and Sun in New York City and a deskman for UPI in London. Her other media work included being officer in charge of employee communications for Citibank in New York City, a hospital community affairs director and an assistant director of development for a NYC management consultant firm. She and her late husband owned weekly newspapers in Morris County, NJ, for 25 years, where she has continued to write a weekly cooking column since 1975. Sidna retired as deputy director of the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing (COAH).
Although retired, Sidna continues to be active on a state and local level. She serves on the state board for CAI-NJ (Community Association Institute-New Jersey), a Middlesex County GOP committeewoman, on the Rossmoor Board of Governors, president of the Rossmoor Kiwanis Club, president of the Rossmoor Republican Club and Community Church secretary. Her sport is serious croquet in which she has participated in tournaments in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Florida.