I've already mentioned how my casserole for the guys on Friday night did not cook. Well, I attributed that to several things:
1. It came straight from the refrigerator and was so cold that it probably took the first half hour baking to just take the chill off.
2. It was to be baked covered. I used heavy duty aluminum foil which wasn't even invented when my grandmother made this recipe in the 1960's.
3. I had tripled the recipe which made for a denser casserole.
4. I should probably learn how to use my convection oven.
So yesterday I decided I was going to cook that sucker until it was finished---regardless of how it turned out. It took 3 Hours!!! Now remember, it had already cooked an hour and a half on Friday night. It was only supposed to be one hour at 350. Even after 3 Hours the larger carrots were still a bit hard.
Now the reason I was mostly upset about this situation is that I made a second casserole while I was at it---for Connie. She just had some pretty serious surgery on Thursday. Jack was here for poker on Friday night and knew how the casserole turned out (or didn't). I'm sure when I showed up with the casserole on Saturday, he probably said to himself, "Oh no, not the casserole from HELL!" I did warn them to cook it longer---but didn't know how long.
In the midst of cooking the main casserole---about 2 hours in---I called Connie and asked how theirs turned out. She said that she baked it about 40 minutes longer and it was good. Well, knowing Connie, you can't really count on that being the truth. She's so nice, you could make her a mud pie and she'd say it was the best fudge pie she'd ever had. I was just happy that at least it had cooked for them.
After my call to Connie, I took the foil off for the last hour. The final result---we didn't get to eat until 7 p.m., but it was worth it. The casserole was delicious---even with some harder carrots and slightly crispy meatballs! So that's why I've decided to share the recipe. Just beware---you'll need to figure out how long to bake it! Perhaps if you just follow this original recipe and do not double or triple it and do not refrigerate it before hand, it will bake up just fine!
Here's the recipe, but read all the way to the bottom for my shortcut.* I'm mostly posting this for my family who may not have this recipe from grandma---we don't have many!
Meatball Oven Dinner (from Marguerite Zimmermann circa 196something)
1 lb. ground beef
2 T minced onions
2 T minced green pepper
1/2 cup cracker crumbs
1 t. chili powder
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup shortening
6 med. potatoes
6 med. carrots
6 small onions
1-can tomato soup
1/2 cup water
1 bay leaf
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
Combine beef, onion, green pepper, cracker crumbs, seasonings, milk and egg. Blend thoroughly, form into 12 meatballs. Roll in flour. Brown in hot shortening. Place carrots, potatoes, onions and meatballs in a buttered casserole. Mix tomato soup with water and remaining seasonings. Pour over all. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
*Now-a-days, I always go for the shortcuts. You can find really good meatballs already prepared in the freezer section of the grocery store. I bought the Italian flavored ones and they were delicious.
Tomorrow I'll share the "easiest dessert on the planet"!