Shipwreck (Desert Island Not Included)

September 13, 2023

Ground Beef and Potato Casserole Recipes

Recipe SourceFamily Favorite Recipes, Middleburg United Methodist Women of Middleburg Maryland.

About the Dish

I wanted to cook this recipe just because of the name. It’s not often I get to serve my family a wreck (hopefully!). This recipe is a simple casserole with ingredients most people have in their kitchen at any given time. It’s a simple “throw-together” recipe when you’ve had a busy, exhausting day and want something simple to prepare that tastes good and everyone will eat. 

The only downside is, this is a ground beef and potato recipe, so you can’t make it ahead of time. I used Petite Gold Gourmet potatoes because I didn’t want to peel them and it worked out fine. The only complaint I have is that it needs more ground beef than called for, so I suggest increasing the ground beef to at least to 1.5 pounds.

Original Recipe

Recipe Source: Family Favorite Recipes, Middleburg United Methodist Women of Middleburg Maryland.

This is not an old cookbook by my standards. There is no copyright date on it, but it provides a history of the group from 1850 through 1990. So I’m going to guess the cookbook was published around 1990.

One of the most useful sections in this cookbook is “Emergency Substitutions” — a list of helpful hints when you’re caught in the middle of a recipe and you’re an ingredient short. Who hasn’t been there? Hopefully, these will save you an urgent trip to the grocery store. 

Emergency Substitutions:

  • 1 cup cake flour = 1 cup minus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. fresh herbs = 1 tsp. dried herbs
  • ½ cup brown sugar = 2 tbsp. molasses in ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard = 1 tbsp. prepared mustard
  • 1 cup tomato juice = ½ cup tomato sauce plus ½ cup water
  • 3 medium bananas = 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 10 miniature marshmallows = 1 large marshmallow
  • 1 cup of catsup or chili sauce = 1 cup tomato sauce plus ½ cup sugar and 2 tbsp. vinegar (for cooking, not to be used as a condiment)

Above all, the sweetest recipe in this cookbook is:


Recipe For A Happy Home

Combine happy hearts,

Melt hearts into one,

Add a lot of love,

Mix well with respect,

Add gentleness, laughter, and joy,

Faith, hope, and self control,

Pour in much understanding. 

Don’t fortet (forget, love it) the patience, blend in listening,

Allow to grow and share,

Sprinkle with smiles, hugs, and kisses.

Bake a lifetime.


Now let’s make a shipwreck!

Original Recipe


  • 1 qt. raw potato, diced
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 small can kidney beans
  • ¼ cup uncooked rice
  • 1 ½ cup fresh or canned tomatoes
  • 1 lb. hamburger, lean, uncooked
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ cup water


Place potatoes in the bottom of a buttered 9×13 inch casserole dish. Layer other ingredients, putting hamburger on top. Season. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 ½ hours. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and bake until lightly browned.

How I Cooked It

This recipe is pretty straightforward. The only changes I made were purely for personal taste. I dislike peeling a bunch of potatoes, so I washed and diced petite yellow potatoes. I left out the onion to prevent a family mutiny on this shipwreck. I added a carrot to get a little bit of the sweetness I was losing by omitting the onion. I increased the meat to 1 ½ lbs of ground beef and it still wasn’t enough for a family of five. I recommend increasing it to 2 pounds.

You will also notice that the original recipe doesn’t list cheese in the ingredients. But it does say to sprinkle with grated cheese in the directions. I’m not sure what cheese they are referring to, so I elected to shake some grated parmesan on it because that’s a family favorite for everyone.


  • 1 ½ pound bag Petite Gold Gourmet Potatoes, diced
  • 3 tbsp. Butter
  • 1 tbsp. shortening
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • ¼ cup uncooked rice (not converted)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ancho chili powder
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease casserole dish with butter and shortening
  3. Layer ingredients in this order: potato, carrot, celery, kidney beans, tomatoes, rice, beef
  4. Sprinkle dish with salt, chili powder, black pepper
  5. Cover and bake for one hour
  6. Uncover, sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top, and return to oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is golden brown