Cheesy Shepherd’s Pie

Last night I was going to make a very elaborate dinner but my day took a couple of wrong turns and I didn’t get home in time to do that. I was now left with a pound of defrosted locally grown lean veal and no clue what to make in 45 minutes.

I decided to cop-out and make a quick and delicious Shepherd’s Pie. My family loves this dish and it makes for delicious left-overs, which allows for me to have a cook free day the next day. Well not fully free but at least dinner is set.

PREP TIME: 10 mins

COOK TIME: 35 mins

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb ground beef or veal or lamb (preferably locally grown/organic)
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 – 3 large organic carrots, finely diced
  • 1 cup of organic frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup of organic chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 8 medium potatoes
  • 100 grams of butter
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 200 grams of grated cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Peel the potatoes and set them on the oven to boil.
  3. Use a saucepan to saute the carrots in the grapeseed oil until they start to get tender.
  4. Add in the onions and saute for a minute or two then add the meat.
  5. Season with black pepper and salt.
  6. Cook until browned. If you would prefer for it to be extra lean you can opt to drain the fat before continuing to the next step.
  7. Add the butter and peas.
  8. Sprinkle with flour and stir through.
  9. Add tomato paste, wine and Worcestershire sauce.
  10. Let this reduce slightly then add the chicken stock. Allow to reduce down until you have a thick meaty gravy. Season to your taste.
  11. Remove from heat. Grease an oven proof dish with a teaspoon of butter and add the meat sauce.  *I like using my Corningware French White 4-QT  Oval Roaster
  12. Smash the potatoes with the leftover butter and milk. Sprinkle some salt for taste.
  13. Spoon the mashed potatoes over top. 
  14. Grate the cheddar cheese and sprinkle it over top of the mashed potatoes.
  15. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the potato is nice and browned on top.
  16. Let it cool for 20 minutes before serving.

Notes:

This dish serves 4-6 people comfortably.


This dish is not for the calorie counting folks but if you want to tweek it by making it a touch more nutritious, you can substitute the potatoes for sweet potatoes and remove the cheese.

I don’t advise this though, as it is so hearty and delicious as is.

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Cinnabon Cinnamon Bun Recipe

Last night I had a crazy craving for a cinnamon bun. I happen to live in an area where getting a fresh cinnamon bun is out of the question, so I took to my recipe book and made them myself.

Now if I am making my own cinnamon buns they have to be a carbon copy of a Cinnabon and I found just the recipe.

I found Todd Wilbur’s recipe that came straight out of his book More Top Secret Recipes and went for it!

Before you take on this task, just remember that it will probably take you two hours from start to finish, so make sure you have a slot open in your agenda.

Nate wanted to bake with me so it took just a touch longer but it was well worth it! These cinnamon buns are as close to the real thing as they come!

Dough Prep

Rolling and cuttingBaked and Ready

CINNABON CINNAMON BUNS A LA REV

PREP TIME – 30 MINS

COOK TIME – 20 MINS

*TOTAL TIME UNTIL BAKED AND READY – 2 HOURS AS IT TAKES TIME FOR THE DOUGH TO RISE BOTH AFTER YOU PREPARE IT AND AFTER YOU HAVE ROLLED, CUT AND PLACED THE BUNS INTO THE PAN

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

Dough

  • 1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups flour

Filling

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened

Cream cheese icing

  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup cream cheese
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ⅛ tsp salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl.
  2. Add sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour to the bowl of a mixer and mix well.
  3. Pour the milk/yeast mixture in the bowl and using the dough hook, mix well until well incorporated.
  4. Place dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 16 inches long by 12 inches wide. It should be approx ¼ inch thick.
  6. To make filling, combine the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Make sure that it is extremely soft, borderline liquid like, or you will have a hard time spreading it properly.
  7. Use a soft brush to spread the mixture evenly over the surface of the dough. Alternatively you can melt the butter and spread it on the dough and then sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture on top. 
  8. Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge8 inches in length. Cut the roll into 2½ inch slices.
  9. Place the cut rolls in the prepared pan. Cover them with a damp towel. Let them rise again for another 30 minutes until they double in size.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cooking time can vary depending on your oven so pay close attention to the cinnamon buns by checking on them every 5 minutes.
  12. While the rolls are baking make the icing but mixing all ingredients and beat well with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  13. When the rolls are done, spread generously with icing.

NOTES

Make sure that you have a good quality yeast on hand as this is the component that can make or break this recipe.

Stick a fork in me cause I’m done!

The finished product

Fluffy Pancake Recipe

We are a pancake loving family and with two young kids there are a lot of creative and fun ways to play around with this classic dish.

Today we decided to makeshift dinosaur pancakes and I decided to throw in an Elmo pancake for good measure.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of milk

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 egg

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup whole wheat flour (or any flour of your choosing)

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Chocolate chips and Blueberries to taste

Steps:

Mix all of the dry ingredients together  

  

Put the melted butter and egg in a bowl together

  

Pour the vinegar into the milk and let it sit for five minutes until it thickens slightly

  

Mix all of the wet ingredients together 

  

Mix until you get a mildly thin consistency and use an ice cream scoop to pour the batter. It pours out the perfect amount of batter.

   
Use a nonstick pan, on a medium heat and put the batter directly on with no use of cooking sprays, oils or butter.

  

Cook until golden brown on both sides

  

I couldn’t find my dinosaur cookie cutter so I improvised with a boot cookie cutter 😉

  

 
   

I added a chocolate chip as the dino “eye”. You can also use a blueberry

  

Dino buddies 😉

  

Same thing with Elmo

  

  

This is a great way to get the little a to eat their fruit

 

Serve with real maple syrup and enjoy!

Homemade Play Doh

I don’t know about you but my kids love to eat everything that they shouldn’t.
So for the most part I kept Play Doh playtime at a minimum until today.
Today my mother in law made her homemade recipe that shouldn’t be eaten but
is edible nonetheless.
Here is the recipe:

In a medium pot mix:

1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of salt
2 tbsp of cream of tartar

Add:

1 cup of water
1 cup of unsweetened Kool Aid
1 tbsp oil

Cook over medium heat and stir until a ball forms.
Turn it out and fold until it has cooled off.

Now enjoy without any worry of your kids ingesting it.
That’s what I call true freedom these days!