I was tempted to make Seven-Layer Salad with the Six-Layer Dish, but in reality it duplicated meat from the casserole and richness from dessert, so I gave up the silliness. I made a Lemon Sponge Pie. Lemon Sponge is a PA Dutchy thing, with meringue folded into a lemon custard part and baked.
So, what I made was a simple salad of spinach, watercress, and mushrooms with honey-mustard dressing. By the way, do you know how easy it is to make honey-mustard salad dressing? I mix equal parts honey and mustard with enough olive oil to make it pourable. Done! I usually use a good brown or dijon mustard, not just the common yellow hot dog mustard.
-thawed ground beef
-made Lemon Sponge Pie
-assembled Six-Layer Dish, set on timed bake
-washed salad greens and put them in a dishtowel in fridge
-sliced mushrooms into salad
-made honey-mustard dressing
I make that breakdown of tasks so that you can see how you could tweak it. Depending on your family or what time you get home from church (or wherever - you can apply these principles to other occasions), you could do everything ahead of time, even setting the table. Or you might realize you have enough time to make the salad when you got home.
My husband told Ben to eat his salad with his fingers - almost-2-year-olds don't have the fork skills for salad. Ben happily dipped the leaves in honey-mustard and ate a lot. He has picked up this funny habit of calling all meat "hot dog" which is very ironic, considering we're rather snooty about such junk at our house (big exception: roasted over a fire) and I'm not sure where he ever ate or named a hot dog! So while he was eating the Sunday dinner yesterday, he kept looking up and piping with perfect enunciation, "hot dog."
Six-Layer Dish - a real workhorse for plan ahead meals (from More with Less)
Layer in order given in 2 qt. greased casserole or Dutch oven. Season each layer with salt and pepper.
2-3 medium potatoes, sliced
2-3 medium carrots, sliced
1/3 c. uncooked white rice
2 small onions, sliced
1 lb. ground beef or sausage or ham or scraps of meat
4 cups canned tomatoes, broken up with hands, with juice
1-2 Tbs. brown sugar, sprinkled over
Bake at 300 for 2.5 hours, uncovered.
An option listed in the cookbook that I haven't used is to put a cup of drained cooked kidney beans in before the meat. I have increased the vegetables sometimes and decreased the meat, using scraps of ham or proscuitto. One time I added some cabbage instead of the carrots and yesterday my potatoes were rather shrimpy, so I added a turnip. I made this casserole one time when tomatoes were in season and sliced a tomato on top and then used 3 cups tomato juice. In the same season, I put in a few layers of fresh basil leaves. I have thought of adding minced garlic, too.