Back in the day with six kids to feed, and sometimes a very limited budget, it was a rare occurrence that I served any entree that involved individual servings of meat. A pound of hamburger could be used in a dozen different dishes, a pound of stew meat could be used to create not only stew, but cooked and tossed in a rich, homemade brown gravy and served over mashed potatoes or rice, or added to vegetables for a quick stir-fry meal. Same thing with chicken breasts. So, it should come as no surprise, that Dinner Loaf is a feed-your-family inexpensively, one-dish meal.
Nearly of my children loved it, a couple liked it, and one sometimes ate it even though he didn’t particularly like it because my mantra was always, you can eat what I made for dinner, you can go hungry, or you can make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I didn’t cater to individual likes and dislikes much, although, if half of them disliked a dish, I would make a second one and serve both so they had a choice, sometimes, if I was feeling ambitious.
There were times I gave them a bowl of cereal for supper, and as they got older, at least one night a week became a yoyo night, meaning You’re On Your Own – forage for your dinner in the fridge and cupboards. I have to admit that these days rather than cooking a complete meal for myself, you may find me standing over the sink (it saves on washing dishes) eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; how times have changed. (But I do enjoy PB&J every now and then.) Anyway, dinner loaf, a versatile recipe, that’s easy to make and feeds a crew.
1 loaf French bread (the top sliced open and bread scooped out – set aside)
1 can cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup
½ to 1 lb of ground beef, browned and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 to 1 1/2 c. shredded cheese (set aside)
Remove excess grease from ground beef. Mix soup into cooked ground beef, add crumbled bread from inside of loaf.
Saute then add to meat/soup mixture any or all of the following:
Several stalks of celery, finely chopped
Medium onion, diced
Garlic clove, minced
Green and/or red peppers, diced
Broccoli Heads, Chopped
Spread ground beef/soup/vegetable filling into hollowed out loaf. Shred cheese over the top, replace bread “top” then wrap in foil and heat in 350* oven until cheese is melted and filling is hot. Serve hot with a side of fruit.