Thursday, June 5, 2014

Culinary adventures - and Potato Beef Bake recipe

June has been an adventurous month for our family so far - in the culinary department, that is. After one of Joe's co-workers had great success with the Whole30 diet, he borrowed the book and got all excited about trying it ourselves. I thought it sounded like a good idea, too, as we both would like to lose some weight and just have better health in general. In a nutshell, the plan involves a complete avoidance of dairy, sugar, grains/gluten, alcohol, legumes, and a few vegetables like white potatoes and corn. What's left? Meat, vegetables, fruit, and some nuts are pretty much it.

Our few days on the diet have gone quite well. I've had almost no cravings for off-plan foods, and aside from a light headache the first couple days (probably because I wasn't eating enough), I'm feeling great. And the food has been surprisingly tasty! Joe has been a huge help in picking out recipes (the part that overwhelms me the most), going grocery shopping (the part that depresses me the most, since it's so much more expensive than our usual shopping), and with the cooking itself (the part that takes the most time, with primarily all-new recipes).

For anyone interested, Joe is blogging daily about our Whole30 adventure over on his health/fitness blog, One Man's Journey. Many of the posts include pictures of our meals as well as links to recipes.

On a semi-related note: I recently had a friend request a potato casserole recipe from me. It's one of the things I made this last weekend, in an effort to use up some of the potatoes and dairy I knew we wouldn't be using this month. My mom has made this casserole for years, and it's a family favorite: easy to put together (aside from all the peeling and chopping of potatoes), and a very frugal way to fill up a large crowd. My apologies for not having a photo to go along with this: maybe I'll snap one next time I make this recipe. After we're done with Whole30. ;)

Potato Beef Bake 
  • 6 Tb. butter or oil
  • 6 Tb. all-pupose flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper (I usually leave this out)
  • 3 c. milk
  • 1 1/2 c. mayonaise (Miracle Whip also works)
  • 12 medium potatoes, cubed (or however many it takes to fill a 4-qt casserole to about 3/4 inch from the top)
  • 3 c. hamburger, cooked and seasoned as you like (other meats also work; I used chopped ham this time)
  • 2 onions, chopped (I use more like 1/2 an onion)
  • buttered bread crumbs 
Melt butter/oil in a saucepan and blend in flour, salt, mustard, and pepper. Add milk and cook, stirring constantly until smooth. Boil 1 minute, still stirring. 
Remove from heat and stir in mayo. Pour over beef, potatoes, and onion in a 4-qt casserole dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. 
Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, likely longer - potatoes should be fully cooked and soft. 
Serves 6-8.


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  3. Congratulations to #2 coming in July; I'm so happy and excited for you three! I hear you are due around your birthday; that would be fun if the baby was born on your birthday. :)

    1. Thanks, Samantha! We are super excited. :) My due date is actually at the end of July, so closer to your birthday than mine. I think it'd be special for him/her to be born on July 26, my grandma's birthday, but we shall see what God has planned! I just posted a brief update with a couple pictures.

      Hope you are doing well - I miss keeping in touch!

  4. That would be fun to know someone born on my birthday but it would be even more special if the baby was born on your grandma's birthday!
    What day is your birthday again? I thought it was the 30th but I think I may be wrong ;-)

    I miss keeping in touch with you too. I'll have to email you for your new address so I can send you a little note in the mail.