When I was a kid, my Mom found this hot dish that she would make occasionally and it became known as Supper Medley. Maybe this is what the recipe was called were she found it. I have no idea. This is what my family called it. This was in the 60’s and I was interested in sports and girls, not recipes! All I know is that when we had Supper Medley, I was going to be there. It’s a delicious concoction of meat, pasta, tomato sauce and cheese, all mixed together to form a great, flavorful supper.
To make it required browning the meat and cooking the pasta, then assembling a casserole dish that was baked in a 350 oven for at least a half hour. But it was definitely worth the wait. Like one and a half hours! Too long to have very often, especially when both of my parents worked and didn’t get home until 5 or 5:30.
Supper medley was put together in layers. After the meat was browned and the pasta was cooked, the can of Baby Le Sueur very young peas was opened. You know. The one in the silver label covered can that was way more expensive than the regular big peas. Green Giant Le Sueur peas were the way to go! Open the can and drain, then dump the whole can in a glass casserole dish. First layer done!
Next is the meat layer. Only ground beef was used for this. We had no idea what Italian sausage was. Never used it. This would probably taste really good with Italian sausage, but I’m not using it. I’m a traditionalist. I have no idea what spices my mom put on the meat. Maybe it was only salt and pepper. Maybe some oregano. I know that we never had the 75 spices that MaryJo and I have in the cupboard. (Maybe that’s an exaggeration). My mom had what moms of the 60s had for spices. It was very unsophisticated. Sorry Mom.
On top of this was the layer of spaghetti. Cooked spaghetti . A whole pound.
On top of the pasta in this casserole was the cheese. And, as anyone knows, cheese in the 60’s was Velveeta! Like it or not, that soft, gooey cheese-like stuff was the go to cheese. I know that we always had a brick of Velveeta in the refrigerator. I used to have Velveeta and Miracle Whip sandwiches on white bread. Yum!
Using a semi sharp knife to slice off slabs of Velveeta, my Mom would cover the pasta with the Velveeta. These were 1/4 inch slabs of the good stuff! Enough to cover every square inch of the pasta.
Now that the casserole was assembled, it was placed in a 350 degree oven for 30 or 40 minutes during which time the cheese melted into the pasta and started to slightly brown. Then it was time to take it out of the oven and let it rest for 10 or 15 minutes before cutting and spooning out servings of the Supper Medley!
That’s it! Supper Medley. Any questions?
Knowing how much I love Supper Medley, we rarely have it because it is a pain in the rear to make. I takes too long. Dirties a lot of dishes.
I knew I had to try to re-create this meal in an easy, One pan Supper Medley! I wanted to make this a 30 minute meal that tastes just like the casserole I love, (minus the Velveeta), and minus the one and a half hours it takes to make the original.
I made this and asked my taste tester, MaryJo, what she thought. I think I got a two thumbs up! Tastes like the original in less than half the time. This One Pan Supper Medley is super good and is put together in one pan. Less clean up is the way to go.
This recipe makes enough for 6 people, but if you have leftovers, they are easy to heat up and enjoy the next day.
Try it out. It is about a 5 on the scale of healthy or unhealthy, but I believe in goodness in moderation. Not too much. Just enough to know that this is really good tasting food. Greater than the sum of it’s parts.
One Pan Supper Medley
- 1 pound ground beef , 85 lean, 15 fat
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 heaping tsp dried oregano , dried thyme, and dried basil
- 1 level tsp ground fennel
- 1 15 oz . can tomato sauce
- 1 15 oz . can diced tomatoes
- 8 oz . spaghetti , broken, (or other pasta like Rotini)
- 2 1/4 cups water , more if needed
- 8 oz . frozen peas , thawed
- 6 oz . Boar's Head yellow American cheese , 3/8 inch diced
- In a 3 quart or larger pan, brown ground beef on medium heat
- Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, salt and spices. Bring to boil.
- Use the tomato sauce can to add 15 oz. water to the pan, plus 4 or 5 more oz water.
- Add the pasta, breaking the spaghetti in half. Stir to keep from sticking together.
- Simmer the sauce and pasta, covered, for 15 to 18 minutes, stirring every 2 or 3 minutes. Add more water if necessary, (the pasta will keep absorbing liquid once off the heat)
- Test the pasta for tenderness.
- When nearly al dente, add the frozen peas and diced cheese, stir gently to combine
- Keep on heat for another minute then turn off heat.
- Let rest for 1 or 2 minutes, until the cheese has melted.
- Serve immediately