Some foods taste like memories. There are 3 main foods that I closely associate with my grandparents: shrimp cocktail, Harvey Wallbanger cake and good, homemade soup. They’re both 90 now, and I’m insanely lucky to (a) still have them with us and (b) have a great relationship with them.
While visiting them recently, Grandpa made Meal in a Bowl for dinner. The name suits it. Full of vegetables with just enough ground beef and a splash of barley, it pretty much hits all the food groups – especially if you sprinkle shaved parm on top.
I asked for the recipe. This is what Grandpa told me:
“Well, you brown the beef in a pot. Add your vegetables. Let that cook a little. Then you use beef stock or water with beef bouillon, but I prefer the stock, and let it cook. Then you add the barley. Let it simmer a bit longer, and it’ll be ready when you’re ready.”
So…that’s what I had to work with when trying to recreate Meal in a Bowl. It’s not just like Grandpa’s, but it’s pretty delish. The directions are above. The ingredients are below. This makes a surprisingly large amount, so use a big pot.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 carrot
- 1/4 bunch of celery (leaves, too)
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 2 yellow squash
- 3 mini sweet peppers (optional, I just needed to use mine before they went bad.)
- 1 pack of trimmed green beans
- 2 boxes of beef stock
- 1 box of water (use the beef stock box, it doesn’t have to be totally full. This is optional if you think there’s already enough liquid)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano (optional, flavor to your liking, Grandpa adds Mrs Dash to his bowl when eating.)
- 1/2 cup barley (not the pearled kind)