December 19, 2018:

Hola!

I can't believe we're less than a week away from Christmas and I haven't yet really decorated the kitchen and dinette! I've got the small cardinal tree up on the peninsula counter and my Christmas cards are shaped in the form of a Christmas tree and taped to a wall by the dining table; I put up my colorful teal floral curtains with lots of gold and red, my cardinal prints and added a red tablecloth to the dining table, but that's it! Enough, I suppose.

The tree is done! It seemed to take forever this year to decorate but I am loving the result. It looks like the kind of mish-mash everything on it but the kitchen sink kind of tree I remember from my childhood. The only thing missing is the bubble lights, but I'm too frugal to buy them!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and that the dreaded Polar Vortex stays away!

Jan

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Easy Shepherd's Pie

Hola darlings!

Here's a recipe I created all by myself.  I'm no expert cook, for sure, but after cooking for a long time and having eaten many other versions of Shepherd's Pie, I came up with my own take on this classic dish.

It's easy to put together and I like that when I arrive home dragging my butt after a long hard day at the office!  I remembered to take some photos of my progress through the dish.

Okay, here's the recipe - 4 ingredients plus your favorite seasonsings!

1 pound ground beef
1 16 ounce package frozen mixed vegetables
1 can tomato soup
2 - 3 cups mashed potatoes (I use instant but left-overs work great)

PREPARE frozen vegetables according to directions, drain, and set aside.
Brown ground beef and season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Optional:  Add 1/4 cup finely chopped onion and cook with the ground beef.
Drain browned ground beef and add tomato soup to meat, mixing well.
Add drained cooked vegetables to beef/tomato soup mixture, mixing well.
Turn out mixture into 9" pie plate.
Optional:  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheddar or your favorite cheese. OR lightly sprinkle with grated Parmesan/Romano cheese.

Grated parmesan/romano cheese lightly sprinkled over the top.

Add mashed potatoes.  If using instant, prepare according to package directions.  Or used left-overs that have warmed up outside the fridge to room temperature while your other prep is going on.  Imagination rules when adding your potatoes.  Drop them on in a pattern, cut some into the pie body itself, spread over the surface in waves, mountains, spikes, get all fancy and pipe them on, etc.  The entire pie does NOT have to be covered with potato topping.  If you're decadent (like moi), sprinkle a wee little bit more shredded or grated cheese over the potatoes.  If you use more than 2 cups of potatoes, you may have to adjust your cooking time by another 15 minutes -- you'll want to see a little browning on your potatoes and bubbling around the edges of the pie.

Instant mashed potatoes were first "plopped" on top if the pie, then cut
into the pie surface with a fork; and the remaining potatoes were thinly
spread around the top with a fork and poked into mini-peaks to
catch some browning action :) It's not necessary to cover the full pie.

BAKE in preheated 400 F oven for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on degree of browness desired on potatoes.  And check - it - OUT!

Bubbly tomato and meaty-rich sauce bubbling up around the sides,
some browned peaks.  Cool for about 20 minutes before cutting into
if you want this pie to hold its form; otherwise, scoop out with a large spoon!

Goodbye, purty pie: I ate a quarter of you last night and another quarter tonight.
Store leftovers tightly covered in fridge for up to 4 days. (Usually not much leftovers for this dish...)

January 6, 2014: 45 below zero windchills around here today.  I thought you might enjoy this quick and easy recipe, that I'm sharing at The Dedicated House Make It Pretty Monday! 

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