By Kevin Williams
One-dish suppers are really popular among the Amish and, think about, why wouldn’t they be? If you are feeding a family of 8, you don’t want to dirty every pot and pan in your kitchen. Amish kitchens by the way are just so varied. The first Amish kitchen I ever ventured into some 27 years ago in southern Michigan was “cluttered” but in a neat way. There were pots and pans hanging from hooks on the walls and ceiling, big ladles hanging from hooks, and stacks of plates in shelves. I wish I had taken photos but back then cameras were viewed by most Amish with deep, deep suspicion. Fast-forward to today and most Amish still aren’t thrilled with cameras, but a certain acceptance has seeped in that everyone has a camera on their phone.
Anyway, back to the one-dish meals….anytime an Amish cook can avoid making a pile of dishes, why not? That’s where one-dish or, in some cases, no dish meals come into play. For instance, a supper in a “foil packet” is popular.
The first recipe calls for “smoky links”, these are, for some reason, puzzlingly popular among the Amish. If you aren’t sure what a “smoky link” is they are like a hot dog. You can buy them in stores, some Amish make their own at butchering time. The first recipe is meant for a grill, but you can easily do it in your oven. And since it is made in foiled packets, you can call it a “no-dish” meal because most people would just eat it straight out of the packet, how is that for a no-mess meal?
This is a picture of an Amish-made version of the Potato and Sausage Packet supper, so this is a very authentic shot.
POTATO AND SAUSAGE PACKETS
10 red potatoes, cut into chunks with skins left on
1 /2 cup onion, diced
1 /2 cup green peppers, diced
3 /4 cups sliced carrots
3 /4 cup celery
1 package of smoky links
Seasoning of your choice
Mix all together except for the cheese. Divide into the amount you want for each serving and place onto tin foil. Wrap up and set up on grill for 10 minutes on each side. Open up foil and if potatoes are soft add a slice of cheese, rewrap and grill a few minutes or until cheese is melted.
This next recipe is written less as a recipe and more as a series of instructions. Comes from an Amish woman in Canada. I think you’ll be able to follow along:
DELICIOUS ONE-DISH DINNER
Peel potatoes, wash and slice. Grease casserole dish with butter. Put potatoes in in a layer. Next carrots if you wish, then a layer of sliced onions. Season with salt and pepper. Put pats of butter on top. Next, prepare hamburger; make patties and put over top. Add a little water. Cover with aluminum foil and bake one hour at 350.
Variations: ham may be used instead of hamburger. Turnips may be added. And canned tomato soup may be pour over all, just dilute with about half a can of water.
Next one, not sure what makes this a “handy casserole” maybe because it is just so easy to throw together and all the ingredients are handy….that’s my guess. Man, in reading the instructions it doesn’t get much easier than that!
Put a layer of browned hamburger in a dish. Over this, place a layer of sliced potatoes (cooked till about done), then a layer of canned vegetables. Add 1 can mushroom, celery, or chicken soup. Top with a layer of cheese. Cover with foil. Bake at 50 for 30 minutes.
This next meal….the Amish person who sent it to me called it a “one dish meal”, but….hmmmm, I sense a scandal here (I’m just joking, some people take me seriously when I say stuff like that) because I count two dishes. I’m just not seeing how you can do this with one dish, also, if it were me, I’d probably add some corn or peas to it. That would make it more of a classic “one disher” because it would have a veggie in with it.
This is another quick Amish-made meal on the stove-top:
FRYING PAN SUPPER
Take one pound hamburger and one small onion. Fry until it changes color then add 2 cups potatoes cut into strips. Add 2 cups shredded cabbage, 2 cups celery, cut-fine. Sprinkle with salt. Add 1 /2 cup water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are done. Canned hamburger or chunk meat, cut up may also be used.
ONE-DISH CHICKEN AND DRESSING
1 loaf of bread, toasted
1 large or 2 small onions, chopped
1 cup celery, diced
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 chicken, boned and diced
Make a thin gravy with the chicken broth. Mix all ingredients, adding salt and pepper. Put into a loaf pan or baking dish. Dot with butter. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
Pictured: Poor man’s one-skillet supper.
And, lastly, this classic:
RELATED: The Great Depression spawned many popular dishes among the Amish. Here is a video of my late Grandmother and Uncle Pat discussing cold milk soup and coffee soup. Check it out!