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Burger ‘n Fries Pot Pie

By Vicki Christianson

Fri, Mar 1st, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

I received a bottle of wine for Christmas from the Four Daughters winery. I was able to choose between white or red. Selecting the wine choice brought back an old memory from years gone by. Many years ago when my husband and I lived in Silver City, Iowa, and I worked for the Treynor Iowa School District. I was the secretary for the High School Principal, the Guidance Counselor, and the Athletic Director. I worked 9 ½ months out of the 12-month year. I got my summers off and I loved it!!

I ended up taking a part-time job during those summer months working as a waitress for a small but elegant supper club in a nearby town. The supper club (the owner preferred the words supper club over restaurant) had a small six-seat bar with a beautiful waterfall in one corner. I usually worked Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. We were closed on Mondays and Tuesdays but would do private parties upon request. Instead of a salad bar we served a “relish/cracker” platter. It held several kinds of raw vegetables with homemade veggie dip and also homemade cheese pate spread for the assorted crackers. This plate was followed by the soup of the day, a dinner salad and then the main entrée. Desserts were also offered.

One particular Monday evening, the owner asked if I would help serve a private party. The party would consist of 12 priests and the visiting Bishop who was in the area. I agreed to work the party. We were informed ahead of time that wine would be requested with each course so I needed to brush up on the wine selections and remember which wine goes best with which entrée.

We arranged the tables so all the priests could see and visit with each other. The tables were set up very formally with all the necessary glasses and silverware and our best linen tablecloth and napkins! We polished the silver buckets that would be holding the bottles of wine and iced them down. We were ready to go!!

Once everyone had arrived and was seated, I began serving the glasses of ice water. Immediately after that I passed out the dinner menus and explained what the special of the evening was. I then asked them if I could bring them a bottle or two of wine for them to enjoy while they were reading the menus. The priest, who was in charge of the party, spoke right up with, “Yes, that would be lovely. We would like two bottles of Blue Nun.” I looked at him and without thinking replied, “Yeah right, and I would like a Purple Jesus!”

There was dead silence as all the eyes in the room, including the owner’s, were on me and then suddenly the entire room erupted into laughter!! The owner casually took my arm and ushered me into the kitchen area. He looked at me and said, “Blue Nun is the most EXPENSIVE wine there is! It is not on the menu because most people can’t afford it!”

My jaw dropped down, my face turned beet red, and I said “You have got to be kidding!!” No one had every told me about Blue Nun!! I just thought the priest was being funny!! As the owner got the two bottles of Blue Nun opened and I let the red color fade from my face, I got myself ready to go back out to the dining room. I didn’t know what I would say or what those priests would say to me after my spontaneous remark!

I carried out one bucket and the owner carried out the second. As we sat them down on their silver pedestals I cautiously looked up and all the priests were looking at me and grinning from ear to ear!! The priest in charge said, “Honey, we haven’t laughed that hard in ages! Thanks!!” I guess they thought my remark was very funny! Thank goodness!! The rest of the night went smoothly and they ended up leaving me the biggest cash tip of my life!!

One of my co-workers brought in this recipe and we have all been trying it.

Burger ‘n Fries Pot Pie

1 ½ pounds of lean ground beef (at least 80% lean)

1 large chopped onion (about 1 cup)

2 T flour

1 can (14.5 oz) undrained diced tomates

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups frozen crispy French-fried potatoes

Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a skillet brown the beef and onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain off any excess grease. Sprinkle the flour over the beef and cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the tomatoes with juice and heat to boiling. In an ungreased 1 ½ quart casserole, spread the beef mixture. Sprinkle with all the cheeses. Arrange the frozen potatoes evenly in single layer on top. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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