Another Ten Minute, Ten Dollar Dinner: Girl Scout Stew

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There are a couple of things you need to know about Girl Scout Stew. It is not endorsed, as far as I know, by the Girl Scouts of the USA, but that's what my mother called it and she was a Girl Scout. Also, Girl Scout Stew is not pretty, but it's not about looks, is it? This hearty, mostly healthy meal is perfect for a busy weeknight.

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I could call it Campfire Stew, but I don't camp and I am the only woman in a house full of men, so I cling to femininity when I can. I do not, however, cling to traditional feminine roles in the home, so I don't spend hours on dinner every night. Unless I want to, because then it's a dinner party and I love a party!

To make Girl Scout Stew, I need three things: a can of vegetable soup, a pound of ground something and a few pieces of bread. You may be thinking, "But, this will cost more than $10." It can, if you buy pricier ingredients, but it's definitely possible to keep this one under $10. Though I tend to use locally sourced meat, I know it's more expensive than other options. When some of us were vegetarian, I made the stew with Boca Crumbles, which are usually less than $4 a bag. Since any kind of meat works in the stew, I usually have something in the freezer I can use.

Usually while hollering at kids to do homework or practice piano or take a shower already, I brown a pound of ground turkey, beef, chicken or lamb in a pan. Then I dump a can of soup over it and stir it together, adding a dash of ketchup or tomato paste if I'm in the mood for a brighter meal. At some point, I throw a few pieces of bread in the oven to make toast. I turn down the heat on the stew and put a lid on it while I go wrangle everyone who needs to be wrangled and make sure everyone's hands are washed.

I usually don't have to call them for Girl Scout Stew, because my boys will wander into the kitchen when they smell cooking meat. We don't eat it that often and the smell is somewhat thrilling for them. This meal isn't heavy on the veggies, so I usually leave a bowl of raw carrots within grabbing distance. Serving takes less than a minute; all we have to do is spoon stew over toast.

One of my favorite childhood meals has become one of my sons' favorite meals, and I love thinking about how much my mom enjoyed making it, because she hated to cook and a ten minute meal was always her favorite!

Do you cook meals from your childhood? Do you have time to cook or do you often need quick options?

(Images: Anne Postic)

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