This is an easy “throw it in the oven and forget about it dish.” The recipe comes from a cookbook of my mother’s. I think it’s called Main Dishes and it was compiled by the US Parent-Teacher Association, but the cover is missing so I can’t be sure of the title. It seems like we had one cookbook for main dishes and a different one for something else, desserts? Anyway, it was probably published in the late 1960s or early 1970s. It’s 382 pages, so there’s every kind of hot dish imaginable, whole sections on Beef Stews and Ground Beef Dishes, many of them just slightly different from each other. This cookbook came in very handy when we ate ground moose regularly. I would just comb through until I found a recipe that I happened to have all the ingredients.

  • Ingredients
  • 4-5 potatoes, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Small onion, sliced
  • 1 lb. ground beef (or caribou, moose, elk, or bison–I’ve used them all)
  • 15 oz. can Pork and Beans
  • 1 cup tomato juice (or tomato sauce or vegetable juice or 12-oz can V-8–I’ve used them all)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 2-quart casserole dish (I use my Dutch Oven) with non-stick spray or grease. Place a layer of sliced potatoes, salt and pepper, then a sprinkle of sliced onions. Add ground beef (just sprinkle it around on top), then the Pork and Beans. Add another layer of potatoes, salt and pepper, and sliced onions. Pour tomato juice over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for two hours. Yield: 4 servings

This recipe calls for a small can of “Pork and Beans” and I’ve always bought Van Camps, but Van Camps’ ingredient list warns there’s a potential for soy. This may be a problem for some. I looked up how to make Pork and Beans myself and it’s essentially a soupy version of my “Ranch Beans” recipe, using small white beans and no chili powder. I haven’t tried that yet in this recipe because I’m all about easy with this dish. I love to eat Potato-Bean Casserole liberally enhanced with pickled sliced jalapeno peppers.

I’ve got one of those fancy ovens that you can set it to come on and then turn off at specific times. I can’t tell you how many times I put this in the oven with partially frozen meat, set the oven to come on and then cook for two hours, and arrived home from soccer practice to have a wonderful meal all ready for hungry people to eat. Press the easy button!