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Quick meal gets meat, veggies in one dish

Thursday, July 26, 2001

By Suzanne Martinson, Food Editor, Post-Gazette

It had been so long since Donna Kos of Penn Hills submitted her recipe "on a whim" to Countdown to Dinner that it had completely slipped her mind.


But she did and we tested it, and here it is. (This should inspire all you early submitters that your favorite fast food might hit PG ink yet.)

Donna typically uses instant potatoes. "When you're in a hurry, that's just fine," she says.

A retired school nurse, she had studied at Shadyside Hospital, then Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Penn State. She retired in 1987 from Penn Hills School District and says she's glad to be retired. "I do cross-stitch. I like to read, and I like to garden. I plant the veggies in the midst of the flower garden."

Although we are talking on the phone, you can almost see her smile when she says of planting both flowers and vegetables, "food for the soul as well as the body."

She's had some surgery, so her kids are tending her garden, which includes green peppers, tomatoes and cabbages.

Donna and her husband of 35 years, the late Miller Kos, had three children, Beverly Wyland of Oakmont, Alan Kos of Chalfant and Kenny Kos of Penn Hills. Donna has four grown grandchildren, Jacob Wyland, Harrisburg; Mary Wyland, Mount Washington; Jamie Kos, Chalfant; and Kristin Kos, Chalfant.

Donna's father, the late David J. Davies, was sports editor of what was then The Gazette. Growing up in Beechview/Dormont, she remembers her mother, who died when Donna was 7, making what she dubbed Dinner on the Run. "This is a quick, filling dinner for folks on the run," Donna says.

That it is. Our tester, in no big hurry, chose to peel, boil and mash potatoes, rather than using a convenience product. (Donna says frozen mashed potatoes would work, too.)

"My mother used to make this years ago with carrots instead of beans," Donna recalls. "She would scrape and parboil them, but I found this way quicker and just as satisfying. Leftovers can be frozen for future use."

Our tester preferred carrots, too, though he used frozen. Our leftovers were microwaved for lunch. Simple, hearty and good.

Dinner on the Run

1 pound ground chuck
1 medium onion
1 can French-style green beans with liquid
1 can tomato soup
Mashed potatoes -- leftover or instant or frozen ones (amount depends on number of people to be fed)
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown meat in microwave-proof dish for 3 to 4 minutes, then add chopped onion and zap another 2 minutes.

Add beans and soup. Stir well and microwave on medium-high for about 5 minutes or until well mixed and hot. Serve over hot mashed potatoes. Makes 4 to 6 servings depending on amount of potatoes used.

-- Tested by Bob Martinson

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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