January 16, 2017

Classic Shepherd's Pie

Three recipe posts in one month -- I'm on a roll!  I'm really trying to get back into the groove of things.  Honestly, I feel like I've lost touch a little bit with my food photography skills because I haven't been doing it often, so I'm on a mission to get back on track!  

Shepherd's pie was on the menu for dinner tonight.  This version sure is delicious and comforting, especially on a cold night after a long day of work!  If you want a healthier spin, check out my Shepherd's Pie with Cauliflower Mashed Topping (recipe here).  

Just for fun, scroll down and check out my original photo (yikes) and post about shepherd's pie from 2011... there's a cute picture of my Granddaddy giving me his two-thumbs-up rating!  Love him!

Mashed Potato Topping Ingredients:
  • 4 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 1/2 c heavy cream or milk, or to desired texture 
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese 
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp onion salt
  • 1/4 c shredded cheddar cheese 
  • Paprika, for sprinkling on top 

Remaining Ingredients:
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 c onion, finely minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 c brown gravy, homemade or store-bought
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 c frozen corn
  • 1/2 c frozen peas 
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Make the mashed potato topping.  Place the potatoes in a medium-sized pan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer 20 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces through.  Drain the potatoes and return them back to the pot.  Place the pot back on the burner with the burner turned off.  Add the butter heavy cream or milk, Parmesan, garlic powder, pepper, and onion salt.  Mash with a potato masher until smooth and creamy.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, make the filling.  Boil the carrots in a small pot of water until tender.  Drain and set aside.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until translucent.  Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute longer.  Stir in the beef and cook until no longer pink.  Drain the fat from the pan.  Stir in the flour, stirring and cooking for 1 minute.  Pour in the Worcestershire, brown gravy, and parsley.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, and continue to cook and stir until it thickens.  Stir in the corn and peas.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Assemble the pie:  Pour the beef mixture into the bottom of a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.  Spread the cooked carrots evenly on top.  Using a spatula, spread the mashed potatoes evenly over all.  Sprinkle the shredded cheddar and paprika on top.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden.  Allow to sit at least 5 minutes before serving.



Original Photo and Post:  04/20/2011

I had contemplated using this recipe for the next edition of "Fridge Fridays" but decided against such since mashed potatoes was the main ingredient last time.  This is a meal that I tend to make with leftover mashed potatoes.  Yesterday was cold and rainy and, to me, this is comforting on those days. 

We had my granddaddy over for dinner and he decided that he would like to be my food critic for the night.  See below for his rating.

Granddaddy Rating:
Two thumbs ups!

January 12, 2017

Roasted Pork Tenderloin in Balsamic-Rosemary Marinade

It took me a while, but I finally figured it out.  I now have a specific spot in my house set up that is intended solely for food blogging!  Since we've moved, I've been taking photos in my bay window, which makes it extremely difficult to get a good picture when the sun goes down before dinner.  Now I have my lighting and everything set up to where I don't have to rely on the time/position of the sun!  Even though artificial lighting isn't as desirable as natural, I'll take whatever I can get during the months of winter!  Happy days!

One of my favorite meals to make is pork tenderloin.  It's easy enough to make for a weeknight meal but good enough to serve to company.  Searing the pork gives it a lovely crust that locks in flavor, and roasting it to an internal temperature of 140 degrees and then allowing it to rest will result in fork-tender deliciousness!  I served mine with a side of quinoa and peas.

January 10, 2017

Baked Parmesan & Almond Crusted Chicken

I know, I know!  It's been eight whole months since my last blog post.  Yes, I've been buzzing away in the kitchen, but sadly I haven't grabbed my camera to share some of the new things I've been doing.  Speaking of "new" things, we've been experiencing a lot of them this past year.  With moving into our new house, starting a new job, getting used to a new school for my little sous chef, learning about a new area, getting involved in a new church, and making new friends, I haven't had nearly as much time as I used to for blogging.  I'm definitely not complaining, though.  God has really been blessing us in so many different ways, and I wouldn't change a thing about how things have been going!

Well, something else has happened that I never thought would happen in a million years...  I turned into a dog person!  I've always been a creepy cat lady and planned to stay that way, but our Jack Russell quickly became a part of our family.  I don't know how on earth I lived life this long without having a dog!  We love him so much... even though my house is constantly covered in a layer of dog hair!

On to the recipe.  I didn't intend on blogging about this originally, but my husband encouraged me to dust off the camera for it.  It really is delicious!  Instead of using panko or breakcrumb, I toss almonds into the food processor (and sometimes pistachios!) until they are breadcrumb size, and then I mix in Parmesan and other delicious spices for the coating.  The chicken always comes out tender and juicy, and the Parmesan and almond crust is amazing!  I served mine with smashed potatoes, green beans, and a creamy dill dipping sauce.

May 5, 2016

Skinny Chicken & Shrimp with Quinoa and Vegetables

No interesting story behind this dish -- just another weeknight meal that I'd like to share.  It earned an "excellent" rating from my family.  It's healthy, delicious, and you'll find yourself coming back for more... and more!  

February 28, 2016

Spicy Honey-Glazed Salmon... and a New Member of the Family!

I'm a little late.  Tomorrow is March, and I'm just now sharing my first post of the New Year.  While 2015 was very eventful for us, 2016 seems to be giving it a run for its money.  I was laid off from my job of nearly ten years, which was sad in itself and wasn't the best timing in the world considering we had just bought our new house.  Thankfully, I was blessed to be able to quickly find a new job that I love, and I'm still able to work out of my home!  We also just recently decided to adopt a puppy.  "Duggy" is a Jack Chi (Jack Russell Terrier/Chihuahua mix).  He's happy, full of energy, and extremely smart.  We've had him for one month, and he can already sit, stay, fetch, bang-bang (play dead), and shake!  Potty training is another story, however.  Serves us right for getting a puppy in mid-winter!

December 17, 2015

Streusel Eggnog Cupcakes with Eggnog Glaze

Every year, my little sous chef and I get all excited and giggly when we see eggnog in the stores.  Making your own eggnog from scratch is very easy and worth the effort.  Check out my recipe here.  I've made eggnog cookies, eggnog holiday cake, eggnog cupcakes, eggnog French toast... you get the idea!  We can't get enough of it!  Things tend to get very slow around the holidays with my job, and I had a full today to myself today to do whatever I wanted.  So, of course, I got into the kitchen and came up with these babies.  They are delicious, and the streusel and eggnog glaze take these muffins to a heavenly realm! 

November 29, 2015

Turkey and Pumpkin Chili

I've had my house decorated for Christmas since the first week in November.  If you think I'm crazy, that's okay - so do my friends and family.  I've just been so excited to spend our first Christmas in our new house!  I did exercise some restraint by not plugging in my outdoor lights until after Thanksgiving.  Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can finally let my inner Christmas freak out!  It's been amazing experiencing all of these "firsts" in our new home.  We have so much to be thankful for.  

After our Thanksgiving feast, we had a good amount of leftover turkey.  While I do enjoy a cold turkey sandwich, I'm always excited to come up with new ways to use it.  After cleaning out our gutters (one of the not-so-fun "firsts") yesterday in the cold, I found myself craving a hot bowl of chili.  I decided to use the turkey in the chili and add some pumpkin and sage.  It was so good!  The pumpkin and sage added a delicious depth of flavor.

October 18, 2015

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars with Almonds

These granola bars are a much better alternative to the processed stuff in a box.  They're easy to make, delightfully chewy, and seriously delicious.  My daughter goes nuts over them, and I frequently catch her sneaking into the kitchen to get "just one more bite".   

September 27, 2015

Peach Crumb Bars

February 22, 2010 is a very special date to me.  That was the day that I began my journey in food blogging.  I devoted every spare moment that I had to creating new recipes, styling the food for pictures, photographing them, and writing about them.  

Fast forward to present day, 5 years later.  After years of saving and living as frugally as we could, we finally did it -- we bought our dream house!  We also now have some land, and I can finally garden in my own backyard.  (The garden that I've written about countless times is one that we share with dear friends and family at a different location.)  Most of my free time now has been spent gardening, harvesting, and preserving.  I have some shelving in my basement where I store all of my canned foods, and I have a pretty nice collection so far.  My husband suggested that I start a section on my blog for canning.  Harvest is nearing an end, so maybe next year!  

I have about 15 quart jars of peaches hanging out in my basement.  It's been quite a while since I've blogged any dessert recipes, so I decided to use some of my canned peaches to make peach crumb bars as a treat over weekend.  These are delicious!  They're like a perfect mix of peach cobbler and peach pie.  My husband and I enjoy them warm, but my little sous chef likes them better cold.  However you eat it, try your best to score a corner piece!   

August 12, 2015

Our Favorite Skillet Beef and Broccoli

Looking for a go-to, restaurant-quality, never-ordering-take-out-again beef and broccoli recipe?  This is it!  No wok required.  It's seriously delicious, super easy to make, ready in under 30 minutes (including marinating time!), and much healthier than take-out. 

Choosing the beef:  Flat iron steak may be more expensive, but is the best choice for this dish because it's more tender.  Skirt (or flank) steak works well, too, but it won't be quite as tender.  Whichever beef you choose, know that they are best when thinly sliced against the grain and cooked quickly to medium-rare.  Cooking beyond medium will cause the steak to be tough.  

Note:  Because my family prefers their broccoli soft, I blanch it ahead of time (while the steak is marinating).

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