It’s snowing again, and I’ve been thinking about the perfect food for this kind of weather. Leave it to my NAJA friends to provide it! I’ve jokingly said my diet plan for next year is to roll off the NAJA Board of Directors. Surely, I’ll lose 20 pounds by not attending all those NAJA meetings in Greenville where the best food in world is served, like Hodge Podge and Cheese Boxes. It’s the easiest soup to make and the cheese boxes are better than you can imagine (even though they don’t photograph well). Because it’s in the NAJA cookbook, I’ll share the recipe. Otherwise, I might keep it to myself and make everyone believe I worked harder than I did on this one.
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 (15 ounce) cans ranch-style beans
3 (10 ounce) cans minestrone soup
1 cup water
1 (10 ounce) can Rotel tomoatoes
2 tablespoons (scant) chili powder
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Garlic salt to taste
To prepare the hodge podge, brown the ground beef with the celery and onions in a large heavy saucepan, stirring until the ground beef is crumbly; drain. Stir in the beans, soup, water, tomatoes, chili powder and Worcestershire sauce. Season with garlic salt. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 25 minutes.
2 (5 ounce) jars sharp Old English cheese spread
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine, melted
1 egg, lightly beaen
1 loaf sandwich bread, crusts trimmed
Beat the cheese spread, margarine and egg in a bowl until smooth. Make sandwiches by layering three slices of bread, spreading the bottom two slices with the cheese mixture. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Cut each sandwich into thirds and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Serve the hodge podge spooned over the cheese boxes or serve the cheese boxes on the side. Serves 6 to 8 (or two hungry, cold adults for several days).