Monday, March 4, 2013

Ground Beef Grand Style - the ugly duckling of recipes

Jan here, with a confession. This is not the prettiest recipe in my collection, but it's the most this guy:

Yes, this is my son. The oldest. The one who has suffered the most through my experiments and "trying new recipes" phases.

When things get too strange, he usually requests that I make "the orange stuff" for dinner. Soon. Like today? Please? 

Sure, why not? After all, it's probably one of the EASIEST and QUICKEST recipes I have...unlike those gourmet masterpieces I slave over, trying to expand your palate, you ungrateful man with a squirrel on your face. (No, there's no bitterness here!)

Secretly, though, I'm more than willing to make "the orange stuff". It's better than going out - cheap, easy and quick. And perfect for Speedbo!

The recipe is from this cookbook, compiled in the 1980's by members of the Western Plains District of the Church of the Brethren - people who live in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and New Mexico. 

There's something appealing and nostalgic about these church cookbooks, isn't there? 

Done as a labor of love, filled with hours of recipe collecting, letters (this was BI: before internet!), typing, re-typing, and distributing - these cookbooks are time-capsules of life. They capture favorite recipes, nutritional trends, and forever seal people in our memories.

Even though I don't think I've ever met Beverly Miller of the Mont Ida Church of the Brethren (although I might have at District Conference or at family camp), she has a place in our family because she contributed her recipe for "Ground Beef Grand Style" those many years ago.

So here's the recipe:

Ground Beef Grand Style (aka: the orange stuff)


1 can biscuits
1 1/2 pound ground beef, browned
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 Tablespoons dried minced onion
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup ketchup

In a large frying pan, stir the soup, onions, cream cheese, milk and ketchup together over medium heat until the cream cheese is melted. You want it to be gooey, creamy, orangey goodness. 

Now add your browned ground beef, and stir.

Pour into an 8-inch square pan (my 8-inch pan wasn't available, so I used an oblong pan) and bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

Top the casserole with the biscuits and bake it for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the biscuits are browned.

Like I said above, it isn't the prettiest casserole, but it's quick, easy, yummy, and my son loves it. What more could I want in a recipe?

Thank you, Beverly Miller!

What is your family's favorite "ugly duckling" recipe?


  1. The ugly casserole is made up for by that handsome son! Cutie!

    Probably my favorite ugly recipe is rattatouille. You know, the veggies saute with chicken broth that ends up looks like cat erp.


    1. You're right about ratatouille. Virginia! As beautiful as eggplant is on the stand at the Farmer's Market, once you cut that baby into pieces and saute it for awhile...well...gray isn't my favorite food color. But the flavor! Oh yes!

      And the son? Thanks! I've always thought he was quite good-looking :)

  2. Oh my stars, he's gorgeous!!!!

    Oh, wait.



    Jan, some of the best things aren't eye appealing. I wonder if it would improve the looks to make (shh, don't yell at me yet) biscuit dough from Bisquick a little on the moist side (like you do for chicken biscuit pie) and then spread it over the top to get a biscuit blanket. Same taste, but the appearance would change.

    But either way, around here we don't care so much about appearances unless it's company dinner, and I think it sounds wonderful! And easy, and I'm all about easy.

    1. Ruthy, the Bisquick route would be MORE homemade than using biscuits out of a can! And you're right, it would look better, but my family likes to lift the biscuit off and eat it separate. Some of that tasty orange stuff sticks to the bottom...oh, so good!

      And wouldn't that guy at the top make a great romance hero? (Don't tell him I said that, though...)

    2. Oh, absolutely! And I can just see boys picking off those biscuits and chowing them. They're such .... food hounds! So funny.

      Yes, he'd be delightful.

      My next series has Zach, Luke and Seth as heroes... They don't necessarily LOOK like my Zach, Luke and Seth but they have some of their attributes... and their names! :)

      It's kind of fun in a warped-motherly way!

    3. He is really handsome! Maybe we can all switch off and use each other's son's names for our heroes. :)

  3. I think my ugliest dish is vegetarian chili with tvp. It really isn't pretty but it tastes wonderful, is extremely high in protein and sticks to your ribs...and great in the winter. I have friends who won't eat it though because it grosses them out. :-(

    1. They won't even try it?

      Oh well, more for you, right?

    2. Kav, what goes into it? Besides the toilet paper?

      Oh, wait TVP!!!

      What is that?

      Do I dare ask, honey????? :)

    3. Three words: Textured Vegetable Protein (soy made to look like hamburger)

      Yes, it's as appetizing as it sounds, and the number one reason I will never be a vegetarian.

      BUT, if you ARE a vegetarian, it's protein, right? And perfect for those dishes that call for ground beef - just substitute the TVP :)

    4. LOL! I prefer my term: Soy Crumbles. :)

      And I like them in recipes!

    5. Hey, don't dis the tvp! LOL. It's dehydrated soy beans so it's kind of crumbly -- maybe like the consistency of broken up corn flakes. But it expands when wet. My chili recipe has the tvp, tomato sauce, onions, celery, mushrooms, peppers and spices. It's supper fast to make. The problem is the tvp makes the mix look like it's curdling and sensitive diners might say it looks like I'm surviving up regurgitated chili. :-)

    6. Maybe you can hide the chili with a layer of cheese...cheese makes anything look good, doesn't it?

    7. TVP.... Oy.

      Okay, Meat-Eaters Anonymous, here I come!!!!

  4. That sounds soooo good!!! I can even do this one in a pinch since I usually have all the ingredients on hand. Thanks for sharing, Jan! And thanks to your son for asking for the orange stuff. :)

    1. I love these recipes with only a few ingredients for those last-minute-we-need-some-food-now dinners. So easy.

  5. My ugliest dish has to be the Chicken & Sausage Gumbo I made for a New Years Party, a few years ago. I'm not sure what color it was suppose to be but it turned out a yellowish orange color. I took a picture of it as it bubbled away on the stove.

    I should have taken a pic of the almost empty stew pot afterwards though. It was a hit!

    1. It sounds like everyone was glad they tried it, even though it looked questionable to you.

      Has everyone seen the "food" picture Mary Connealy posted on Seekerville this morning? My, oh my, talk about UGLY!

    2. That gelatinous mass around a big, ugly, over-cooked purple potato.... it's a Jabba the Hut meal....



      This is paradise food compared to that.... whatever.... Mary posted, Jan!

  6. Jan, with that list of ingredients, you can't go wrong, no matter what it looks like. Yum!

    1. There's nothing like cream cheese in a casserole, is there?

    2. Cream cheese is a great additive.... it melts nice and creamy. What a great invention.

  7. Kav- our dear, sweet eldlerly friend from across the street was always serving us strange dishes with... that... stuff. Whole gallons of chili, spaghetti sauce, even gravy.

    We learned to love it. Her religion forbade meat and she loved to cook for us. She was from a family of 8 kids who often went hungry so I think she had this idea we were starving! :D

    One of my kids called her 'Grandma yum yum' when he was really tiny and it stuck. When she passed away last year, the minister at her church referred to her as 'Grandma yum yum' during the funeral service and everybody laughed. She was really proud of that name.

    So, TVC may not be the tastiest thing on the planet, but it brings us lovely memories.

    1. I remember you mentioning Grandma yum yum before. What a sweet story! I can only think about what a blessing she got out of sharing with your family :)

      Although we all know you don't starve your children. No kids with cheeks like those are starving!

    2. I know!!

      And when my kids would go out in the backyard without a jacket during 65F weather, she would call me and tell me. Because kids always need a sweater unless it's over 85F!!!!

      And then I'd have to go out and tell them to put a coat on because Grandma YY was worried.

      I just love nosy old ladies. :)

  8. I don't think it's ugly. I think it looks wonderful. Now I am hungry.

  9. Yum! I love this dish. I had lost the recipe, but saw this post and it's in the oven now! Can't wait to taste it again!