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  1. Tuesday, August 20, 2019

    Shepherd’s Pie. Nothing Crazy, Just Really Good.

    I have perfected Shepherd’s Pie. There’s nothing magic about this recipe, no secret ingredients. It’s just really, really good, with the right balance of spices and flavors. And that is seriously all I have to say about this recipe. Yup, that’s it. 

    Side view of Shepherd's Pie on White Plate

    Okay, actually, one more thing. You can use ground lamb, beef or turkey. I always use turkey. As I’ve started subbing in poultry products for beef products more and more, I’m discovering that I actually like ground turkey better better than beef in most recipes, and this recipe is no exception. Use whatever meat tickles your fancy, but I’m loving the ground turkey in this one.

    Side view of shepherd's pie in blue casserole dish

    Uh oh, I thought of something else. This recipe is gluten free and, if you use oat milk (which I do), it’s dairy free, too.

    Top view of shepherd's pie recipe in casserole dish

    Okay, okay, just one more thing. You may notice that there are no peas or corn in these photos. I totally forgot to add them even though I specifically made this batch of shepherd’s pie for photographing. Just pretend there are a few more veggies in the photos. You are now like one of the lost boys on Peter Pan. You’re welcome!

    Top view of shepherd's pie on a plate

    Here you go…classic shepherd’s pie, no bells and whistles, just deliciousness.

    Plated Shepherd's Pie

    Shepherd's Pie
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Serves: 6-8
    Ingredients
    • 2 standard-sized russet potatoes
    • ½ cup milk or oat milk
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 small onion
    • 2 full-sized carrots
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • ½ cup peas (fresh or frozen)
    • ½ cup corn (fresh or canned)
    • 2 pounds ground meat (lamb, beef or turkey...I like turkey!)
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • ½ teaspoon ground sage
    • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1½ cups beef, chicken or vegetable broth
    • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    Instructions
    1. Cut russet potatoes into evenly sized discs, about ¾" thick. Place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium or medium-high to maintain a light boil and cook until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and drain. Put potatoes back into pot.
    2. Heat milk and butter in microwave until warmed, about 30-60 seconds.
    3. Add milk, butter, salt, pepper and egg yolk to potatoes and mash (with an electric hand blender or potato masher). Set aside.
    4. Preheat oven to 400º F.
    5. In a deep 12-inch frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and carrots and cook about 5 minutes.
    6. Add ground meat and cook until meat is no longer pink, stirring and breaking up the meat as it cooks. Add the salt, pepper, sage and thyme while the meat is cooking.
    7. Sprinkle the cornstarch evenly over the meat, then whisk in the broth. Stir in worcestershire sauce and tomato paste and cook a few minutes until everything is fully mixed.
    8. Pour meat mixture into a large casserole dish (a 13"x9" or equivalent). Carefully spread the mashed potatoes over the top, doing your best to create a seal around the edge between the potatoes and the pan and spreading the potatoes so there are no holes in the surface. If there are holes it's not the end of the world - you'll just get gravy bubbling up over the potatoes.
    9. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are lightly browned and dish is bubbling. I will sometimes turn on the broiler for a few minutes at the end to get the tops of the potatoes even more browned.

     


  2. Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    {Thanksgiving Prep} Green Bean Casserole from Scratch

    Today’s post might be a little controversial. Maybe even more controversial than the 2012 presidential election. I know. Are you ready?

    I don’t like green bean casserole. You know, the casserole that practically everyone else in America seems to LOVE except me. The casserole that graces many a Thanksgiving table every November. I appreciate that it is a staple and I love that other people love it. But, yeah. I’m just not that into it and always pass when it’s available.

    See. Controversy. I may as well just tell you who I voted for for president. That might actually cause less of a stir! So, I voted for…

    What, did you REALLY think I’d fess up about my secret ballot? Yeah right!

    Back to casserole. I decided to invite green bean casserole into my life this year. But I also decided I wanted it to be made completely from scratch. Fresh green beans and mushrooms, no canned soup, homemade onion rings. The task was daunting, but I have to tell you, I am SOOOOOO glad I tackled this challenge. Because the end result was unbelievably delicious. And I am NOT speaking in hyperbole here.

    Our friend Brandon, a renowned casserole hater, took a bite and said, “Where have you been all my life?”

    Is that enough of a build up for you? Are you ready to cast aside the canned soup and the store-bought french fried onions and throw a little blood, sweat and tears into your green bean casserole? Good. Here you go.

    {Thanksgiving Prep} Green Bean Casserole from Scratch
     
    Adapted from two recipes, one from Williams Sonoma the other from Cook’s Illustrated
    Author:
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Thanksgiving
    Cuisine: American
    Ingredients
    • 1½ pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2”³-3”³ pieces
    • 1 cup water and a large bowl of ice water
    • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
    • 3 tablespoon butter
    • 1 small onion or ½ regular-sized onion, chopped
    • ⅓ cup flour
    • 1½ cups chicken or veggie stock/broth
    • 1 cup cream
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 3 shallots, sliced very thin
    • ¼ cup flour
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
    • ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. In a large skillet with a lid, heat 1 cup water to boiling over medium-high to high heat. Add green beans. Put on lid and cook for three minutes. Remove beens and place in ice water. Set beans aside.
    3. Pour water off of the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and melt butter. Add mushroom and cook for about 5 minutes. Add chopped onion and cook an additional 5+ minutes, until onions are soft and translucent. Sprinkle ⅓ cup flour over the mushrooms and onions and stir well, cooking for a minute or so. Slowly stir in the chicken broth. Slowly stir in the cream. Mix well. Add ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Stir well then mix in green beans. Transfer to 9×13 casserole dish and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes (you will put fried shallot rings on top for the last 5 minutes of baking”¦see below).
    4. While casserole is baking, heat ¼ cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Mix flour, ¼ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp pepper in a medium to large bowl. Mix shallot rings in the flour, coating well. Use your hands to mix the shallots in the flour so you can break the rings up and get them coated really well. Transfer floured shallots with tongs to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are crisp and golden.
    5. Sprinkle fried shallots over the top of the casserole at the 25 minute baking point. Bake 5 more minutes. Serve hot!
    6. If you want to make this ahead of time, I would do everything except the fried shallot rings and put the casserole in the fridge BEFORE baking. Bake 5-10 minutes longer since the casserole will be going into the oven cold and make the fried shallot rings while the casserole is baking.

    green bean casserole from scratch by @janemaynard from thisweekfordinner.com


  3. Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    Twice-Baked Potato Casserole

    My CSA has had Yukon Gold potatoes recently. Before we get to today’s recipe, let us first ponder on just how delicious Yukon Gold potatoes are. Mmmmmmm…

    In an effort to mix things up with all the soft foods I’ve had to eat lately, I wanted to do something a little different with this week’s batch of potatoes.

    I don’t know about you, but I love twice-baked potatoes. But, honestly, scooping the hot baked potato out of its skin is one of my least favorite kitchen tasks. The potatoes are always super hot and I invariably break some of the skins. As I was eating mashed Yukon Gold potatoes with the skins mixed in the other day, I had a revelation…as cute as twice-baked potatoes are, if you just mash the skins in with the potato and make a casserole out of it, it would be easier to prepare and probably taste just as good.

    And so the twice-baked potato casserole was born! A bit easier to prepare than its classic counterpart and easier to serve to a crowd. And, the casserole version did taste just as good. Hypothesis proven correct! Enjoy!

    Twice-Baked Potato Casserole
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1.5 pounds yukon gold potatoes (other bake-able potatoes will work, too, but yukon golds sure are yummy!)
    • ½ cup warmed cream
    • 2 tablespoons melted butter
    • ⅓ cup sour cream
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon pepper
    • ~1 cup shredded cheddar or cheddar-jack cheese
    • sliced green onions (optional)
    Instructions
    1. Poke a few holes in your potatoes, wrap in foil and bake in a 350-degree oven for about an hour, until easily pierced by a knife. Leave the oven on.
    2. Mash potatoes with the skins ON in a bowl by hand. Add cream, butter, sour cream, salt and pepper. Mix and mash some more! Spread in a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. Top with cheese. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until cheese is all melted. Top with sliced green onions if desired.

     


  4. Friday, November 19, 2010

    Thanksgiving Prep: Broccoli Casserole

    My mom always makes broccoli casserole for Thanksgiving. This recipe definitely reminds me of her, so I end up making it myself almost every year. When I take a bite, I go back in time, back to a time when I didn’t do much on Thanksgiving morning except watch TV. Those were the days, eh?

    I must warn you…not everyone loves this broccoli casserole. Kids especially. I remember not loving it all that much myself when I was younger, but it grew on me. I think the reason is that there is blue cheese in the sauce and, well, blue cheese isn’t always a universally loved flavor. In fact, I pretty much detest blue cheese in most things. I can’t help it.  But I do really like this casserole. I like the strong savory flavor of this dish in contrast with the more mellow, often sweet flavors on the Thanksgiving plate.

    Thanksgiving Prep: Broccoli Casserole
     
    From my mom Phyllis Wallin (don’t know where she got the recipe from!)
    Author:
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Vegetable
    Ingredients
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • 6 oz cream cheese
    • ¼-1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (I do ¼ cup)
    • 1 cup milk
    • 2 14 ounce pkgs frozen broccoli – thawed and drained
    • ~15 Ritz crackers (half a sleeve or so), crushed
    Instructions
    1. In saucepan melt butter; blend in flour and cheeses (this part doesn’t always go that smoothly for me, but once I get the milk in there things melt and blend better). Add milk; cook and stir until mixture boils. Remove from heat and stir in broccoli.
    2. Place in casserole dish; top with cracker crumbs. Bake at 350 for 30 mins.

     

    As you can see, I’m freezing the casserole for next week, so I’m keeping the crackers stored separately until it’s time to bake.