Dinner · Make-Ahead

Shepherd’s Pie Made Light

I have a beloved cookbook that houses the recipes of some of our nation’s best Bed and Breakfasts.  One such recipe is for Shepherd’s Pie.  If you’ve never had it, it’s basically a roast beef dinner served in a casserole dish.  The beef, gravy and vegetables are on the bottom and then it gets “iced” with mashed potatoes! 

My cookbook’s recipe  contains a very detailed list of ingredients, including roast beef to make this delectable dish.  I don’t often have a roast on hand to make it, so I’ve learned that there is a simpler, but still delicious way to make a Shepherd’s Pie. It uses ground beef instead of roast. That makes it so much faster, but still delicious! 

My favorite new substitute for the roast is ground turkey, making it lower in fat.  Don’t worry – you still get the gravy, the vegetables and the mashed potato topping!  I like using just carrots and celery with the meat. I don’t want it to taste like a beef stew, but you could certainly add other vegetables to it. This is a great weeknight dish with all the hearty flavors your family will love!

Another blessing of this recipe is that you can make the whole thing up to two days ahead of time and pop it into the oven to heat up for dinnertime!

Here’s the easy recipe:

Shepherd’s Pie

INGREDIENTS

Potatoes:

  • 1-1/2 lbs  potatoes, peeled, diced
  • 3/4 cup fat free chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp reduced fat sour cream
  • salt and pepper
  • paprika

Filling:

  • 1 lb ground turkey (of course you could use lean ground beef as well)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup fat free beef broth
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped thyme leaves
  • kosher salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Boil potatoes in a medium pot of salted water until cooked and soft.
  • Drain and mash with chicken broth, sour cream, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • In a large saute pan brown meat over medium high heat, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste.
  • When cooked, set aside on a plate.
  • Add the oil, onion, garlic, carrots and celery. (Add other vegetables of your choice) Sauté on medium heat about 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  • Add the flour, beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, cooked meat and mix well. Simmer on low about 8-10 minutes.
  • Spread the meat on the bottom of casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes and sprinkle with paprika
  • Bake 20 to 25 minutes, then place under the broiler 1 to 2 minutes until the potatoes turn golden.
  • Remove from oven and let it cool 5 minutes before serving

This would be a great dish to take to a new mom, someone recovering from illness or surgery, or a new family that’s moved into your neighborhood.  Add a salad (how about a copycat Olive Garden Salad?) and a biscuit (here’s my favorite recipe) and you’ll have a complete meal!

If you like make-ahead recipes, you might enjoy this one for Hot Chicken Salad!

With love from my country kitchen,

breakfast · Fast meal · Make-Ahead

Bump up your breakfast game

I always eat breakfast, but I find it the most difficult meal to want to prepare. I’m ready to get my day started and don’t like fussing over that first meal of the day. Can anyone else relate?

It’s for that reason that I try to have this things on hand that are either quick to prepare or can be made ahead and just warmed up.

If you’re like me and struggle with getting breakfast ready, let me share a few of my favorite go-to morning meals.

Baked Oatmeal with apples or bananas is hearty, easy to prepare and reheats nicely. Here’s one of the recipes I use often. This same page has a delicious Banana Bread that’s another great addition for breakfast, and it’s also a lighter version!

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Baked Eggs With Hashbrowns and Canadian Bacon
Here’s an egg dish with all the morning breakfast foods! It is also hearty and reheats well.

Baked Eggs with Hash Brown Crust
  • 6 spray(s)cooking spray
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cup(s)frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 1 small uncooked onion(s), thinly sliced
  • 1⁄4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1⁄4 tsp dried thyme, plus more for garnish
  • 3 slice(s)uncooked Canadian bacon, diced
  • 12 large eggs

Instructions:
1. Place oven rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a 12-hole standard muffin pan with cooking spray.

2. Heat a medium skillet over high heat; add oil and swirl to coat pan. Reduce heat to medium-high; add potatoes, onion, salt and thyme. Sauté until lightly golden and tender, 5-7 minutes; remove from skillet. Spoon about 1/4 cup potato mixture into each prepared muffin hole; bake 15 minutes – Less if you want a runny yolk!

3. Meanwhile, return skillet to heat; add Canadian bacon. Sauté until crispy on edges, 3 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.

4. Crack an egg, one at a time, into a small ramekin or cup; gently slide an egg into each muffin hole. Bake for 9 minutes; remove from oven and evenly divide bacon over eggs. Return pan to oven; bake for 3 minutes more.

5. To serve, run a knife around edge of each egg and lift out onto individual plates or a serving platter; sprinkle with dried thyme and serve immediately.

6. Serving size: 1 baked egg with hash brown crust

Then there’s this Fruity Peanut Butter Toast I made recently and LOVED!! It’s as pretty as it is delicious! It’s simply whole grain bread, toasted and topped with peanut butter and whatever fruit you like. Then add a tiny drizzle of honey over the fruit. So good!

There’s no need to go without breakfast just because you don’t have time to stop and make it in the morning. Get a jump on things and prepare ahead so you can have a delicious meal at the start of your day!

Anyone else love breakfast but dread making it?

I hope you’ll refresh your breakfast routine with one of these easy ideas!

breakfast · Make-Ahead

Breakfast At Its Best

Bakedoatmeal1

A good breakfast just starts the day out right, but for me it’s so hard to find a good time in the morning to stop the routine and go fix something delicious!  So whenever I can find a recipe that can be made ahead of time, and ready in 30 minutes, I’m all over that!

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I’ve made a couple of Baked Oatmeal recipes and they’ve been good, but Southern Living published a new one in their recent magazine that caught my attention and I knew I had to try it.  I’m so glad I did!  This was declared by my husband to be the BEST Baked Oatmeal he’s had!!! I agree!  The apple and cranberry addition are so delicious.  There’s just the right amount of sweetness.  It’s hearty and filling plus, it’s ready to put in the oven when you get up in the morning.  It only takes 30 minutes to bake, so I can pop it into the oven and finish getting ready while it’s baking!

Here’s the recipe:

Baked Oatmeal with Apples, Cranberries and Pecans

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar, divided
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
  • 2 cups small cubed, peeled apple (about 1 large apple)
  • 3 1/2 cups uncooked old-fashioned regular rolled oats, divided
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, divided
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, divided

How to Make It

Step 1

Lightly coat an 8-inch square (2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, apple pie spice, salt, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar, and 5 tablespoons of the melted butter in a large bowl. Add apple cubes, 3 cups of the oats, 1/2 cup of the pecans, and 1/2 cup of the cranberries; stir to combine. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish; cover with plastic wrap.

Step 2

Stir together remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/2 cup oats, and 1/2 cup pecans in a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Place covered baking dish and covered bowl in refrigerator; chill 8 hours or overnight.
Step 3
Preheat oven to 350°F. While oven preheats, remove baking dish and bowl from refrigerator; remove plastic wrap. Stir apple-oat mixture in baking dish to redistribute wet ingredients. Sprinkle top evenly with oat-pecan topping mixture.
Step 4
Bake in preheated oven until mixture is set in the middle and topping is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup dried cranberries. Cool 10 minutes. Serve warm.

 

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If you’re like me and need a little less fussy breakfast you’ll love this simple answer to your morning meal!

Refresh breakfast by making it ahead!

denise a

 

breakfast · Make-Ahead

Friday Favorites

Hi Friends and Happy Friday!  I wanted to share some of my recent favorite things that might help and refresh you as they have me!

  • Let’s start with a reminder about a hot, filling breakfast.  This is an important meal, but it can be difficult to find time to put it together on busy days.  Last year I shared these easy Instant Oatmeal Jars that make having a hot, delicious, filling breakfast super simple!

I pulled my small jars out this week and put several breakfasts together in just minutes.  All you have to do is add a cup of hot water and let it sit for 4-5 minutes!

oatmeal 2

Sure, you could use those Oatmeal packets, but who likes eating paste first thing in the morning?  (Sense a little sarcasm there?! )  I’m not a fan, but these instant jars are creamy and delicious!

oatmeal 1

  • I recently found a Podcast that has been so encouraging!  Donna Otto’s podcasts on Modern Homemakers is full of biblical wisdom and practical, helpful tools!  She speaks on child training, marriage, Christian growth, organization, and current events.  I’m sure you’ll find something that will be a blessing to you!
  • My new Fall dining table centerpiece is made up of all things I had on hand.  My parents had just given me a bag of their beautiful pine cones and I piled them onto the wooden board I had.  I added some pumpkins, both fabric and metal and also added some softness with a cloth napkin.  The flickering candle adds another measure of softness.  It’s rustic, it’s earthy, and I love it!fall centerpiece 2
  • One last thing is the reminder I set on my phone.  This isn’t for my afternoon nap, rather it is a reminder to pray for a lost individual.  I have it set for 1:00 in the afternoon.When I hear the notification,
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    I immediately stop and pray for one minute for a friend who needs Christ.  This has been such a blessing to me!
    Do you have a special burden for a lost individual?  Can I encourage you to set an alarm or reminder for 1:00 p.m.and pray for one minute?  Oh sure, we pray for them at other times, but I’m consecrating this time until Christmas to pray for my friend.  I can’t wait to see what God is doing and how He will answer these prayers!

What’s your favorite new thing?

Denise