Moving in Dinner
My best friends are moving into my neighborhood and I want to drop dinner off for their first night. I can't think of anything easy to reheat that doesn't require much effort except chili and lasagna, neither of which I feel like making.
Years ago when my first husband and I bought out first home, the neighbors sent over beef stew and crusty bread. It was perfect. Easy to heat, easy to eat and very comforting.
You could vary the shepard's pie and mac & cheese ideas and make Pastitsio, an easy Greek casserole made with seasoned ground meat on the bottom (lamb or beef) and mac & cheese on top. It is comfort food but a little different. Add a Greek salad, some bread, and pick up some baklava for dessert.
I have made Martha Stewart's Shepherd Pie with rutabaga topping and given it to friends when they are moving. It is requested now when my friends move.
Yield: 8 Servings
1 1⁄2 ts Unsalted butter, plus more for rutabaga topping
2 lb Boneless beef or lamb for stew
2 md Onions, peeled and chopped
2 tb All-purpose flour
2 c Dry red wine
1 c Beef stock
Bouquet garni, made with 1 celery stalk, 1 sprig each of rosemary and thyme, 2 crumbled bay leaves, and 1 clove garlic tied in cheesecloth
4 Carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch lengths
3 Rutabagas (about 3 lb)
4 Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 3/4 lb)
1⁄2 c Hot milk, or as needed
Salt & freshly ground pepper
1 tb Chopped fresh rosemary
1. Over medium heat, heat a wide, heavy-bottomed lidded pan until hot. Melt butter, and brown meat in two batches. Add onions; cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over meat and cook until well browned, about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring often.
2. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping bottom of pan to loosen brown bits. Add stock and bouquet garni, bring to a boil, cover, and cook on low heat for 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is tender. Remove lid after 1 hour; add carrots and cook, uncovered, for the last 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, peel rutabagas and potatoes and cut into large chunks. Place in separate saucepans and cover amply with cold salted water. Bring each to a boil and simmer until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes for rutabagas and z5 minutes for potatoes. Drain; return to hot saucepans to dry for a few minutes.
4. Put rutabagas and potatoes through a food mill or ricer, or mash by hand. Add butter to taste, and enough hot milk to make a creamy puree. Season to taste with Salt and pepper; stir in chopped rosemary.
5. Heat oven to 350'. Remove bouquet garni, and turn stew into a deep 2-quart baking dish. Top with puree; dot lightly with butter. Bake for 1 hour, or until the top is brown and crusty.
I would choose something that can be eaten on paper plates or not require a lot of "kitchen" stuff because when I move I have to have time to set up my kitchen and usually don't do it the 1st day.