Pope St. Gregory the Great was born in Rome, in the year 540 to a Roman senator and St. Sylvia. He was educated by the best teachers, but always remained very humble. He was appointed prefect of Rome, which was an important civil position, but he wanted to serve God. He became a monk and later an advisor to Pope Pelagius II. After his father’s death, Gregory inherited quite a bit of money, which he used to build six monasteries in Sicily and one in Rome. Pope Pelagius II died from the plague. Gregory was elected pope. He immediately started programs to feed the poor of Italy and repair the damage done in Rome by natural disasters. The Lombards (barbarians) were threatening to lay siege to Rome. Pope Gregory the Great negotiated with them and paid ransom to retrieve people who had been taken prisoner. Because of the work of Pope Gregory the Great, Rome was spared. Pope Gregory the Great cared deeply for the people. Upon learning that someone had starved to death in Rome during his papacy, he wept openly. Gregory understood the importance of beauty in worship. He created the Gregorian Chant and wrote many beautiful works. Pope St. Gregory the Great is a Doctor of the Church. He is one of only two popes to be honored with the title “the Great”, the other is Pope Leo I the Great. This holy humble Pope took as his title in Latin, “Servant of the Servants of God.” He started massive clergy reform and sent St. Augustine of Canterbury to England with forty monks to evangelize there.
This recipe is named for Pope St. Gregory the Great, because he is the patron of teachers and this is the perfect back to school dinner. When school has started schedules become hectic. This Pope St. Gregory the Great Beef Casserole will be sure to gather your family back to the table. Ask each person in your family to share the favorite part of their day and tell them about Pope St. Gregory the Great. Pray to Pope St. Gregory the Great for each child’s teacher that school year.
Pope St. Gregory the Great Beef Casserole
Feast Day: September 3rd
This “back to school” dinner will bring your family to the table. Serve with a salad or Jello and share the highs, lows and surprises of your day!
Oven Temp: 400 Degrees Yields 6-8 servings
You will need a 9 x 13 buttered baking dish.
2 lbs ground beef
1 c. chopped onion
½ t. salt
½ (16 oz) package frozen mixed vegetables
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup*
1/3 c. milk
1 ½ c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 (32 oz) package frozen, seasoned tater tot potatoes*
If you are avoiding soy make your own chicken soup (recipe follows) and buy frozen Non GMO Hash Browns & allow to defrost (instructions follow).
Cook the ground beef and chopped onion, with the salt, in large skillet over medium heat. Stir until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Spoon ground beef into a lightly buttered 9 x 13 baking dish.
Mix the cream of chicken soup with the 1/3 c. milk. Set aside.
Layer vegetables, soup mixture and cheese over ground beef. Season as you go. Top with the tater tots, laying them end to end; forming rows. This casserole uses almost the whole bag of tater tots. Bake casserole at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until potatoes are golden.
Soy Free Directions:
Hash Browns: Defrost hash browns. Using a griddle or skillet, drizzle a small amount of light or regular olive oil on the surface and add enough hash browns to lightly cover. Sprinkle with sea salt & pepper and cook until browned and fairly crisp. Remove cooked hash browns to a plate as you continue process, adding more oil and seasoning, until they are all browned.
Homemade Chicken Soup:
2 T. Butter
3 T. Non GMO Flour
1 c. Chicken Broth
½ c. Milk or Heavy Cream
½ t. Sea Salt
¼ t. Pepper
In a medium skillet on Hi heat melt butter. When the butter is melted, whisk in flour to make a roux. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, whisking until no lumps remain. Reduce heat to Lo and add milk and seasonings. Whisk to combine. *You probably will not have to add additional milk to this mixture.
Copyright Building the Family Cookbook, 2003, Suzanne Fowler.