Monday, November 28, 2011

Shepard's Pie...

We made Shepard's Pie for dinner and we really, really like it. Well, the kiddo and I like it. We were the only people home to taste it. Usually, my husband likes more complicated dishes. He's not a typical casserole lover. I have a feeling he would like this version though. The taste of the meat reminds me of a dish that his mom makes with beef cooked with onions, carrots and garlic and stirred into rice with pine nuts and currents.

I compiled this recipe from a variety of sources, including and a short Gordan Ramsay video. Ramsay says shred everything--the carrots, onion and garlic--right into the beef. Then, those ingredients sort of melt into the beef creating a really delicious flavour. Grating is fabulously easy too! Way better than chopping onions. Ramsay also added wine with the broth if you feel so inclined.

After dinner, my daughter came and whispered in my ear. "I have a secret for you. Please, please, please make that 100 times more. It was so yummy." It has all her favourite things: mashed potatoes, beef, carrots, ketchup, peas.

(Update: When my husband tried it, he said it needs more salt (which he says of everything) but otherwise he liked it too.)


potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1-2 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp milk
1/4-1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1 lb ground beef
1-2 large carrots, grated finely
1 onion, grated coarsely
3-4 garlic cloves, grated finely
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp ketchup
3/4 cup beef or chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted


  1. Put potatoes in pot, add water until the potatoes are just covered, and add salt to the water. Cover with a tight fitting lid, bring to a boil on high heat, then simmer on low until the potatoes are fork tender.
  2. Meanwhile brown the beef in a fry pan until crumbled texture. (I usually cook from frozen with water and crumble my beef in the food processor.)
  3. Add in the grated carrots, onion and garlic. Continue cooking until softened.
  4. Stir in flour and cook for a minute more.
  5. Add ketchup and broth over high heat, stirring until thickened. Reduce heat.
  6. Drain and mash potatoes with salt, sour cream, butter, milk, and cheddar cheese.
  7. Next layer the meat, peas and potatoes in baking dish. Top with more cheese if desired.
  8. Bake in preheated oven at 375 F for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Potatoes

I spent an exuberant amount of money on a Club House Seasoning Package. The package was definitely the same price as a whole jar of spice, but only contained five teaspoons of spice. The salt was not included.

I was sold on the convenience of the pre-measured spices. Ultimately, it meant that on day when I was tired and couldn't be bothered to cook, I wouldn't have to spend a few minutes collecting various spices from my drawer and measuring them myself. And if the combination was good, the package including the recipe card, so I knew I could duplicate it again.

Well it was good. Very good. My husband raved about this dish. It will be duplicated. The original recipe called for boneless skinless chicken thighs, but I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs with legs. It also called for red potatoes. I used what I had.


2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp dehydrated minced garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs chicken (I used bone-in thighs with legs.)
1 1/2 lbs potatoes, cubed

  1. Mix oil, spices and salt in bottom of a large 9x13 glass baking dish. 
  2. Add chicken and potatoes, toss to coat well.
  3. Roast in preheated 425 F oven for 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked and the potatoes are tender.

Inspiration: Club House seasoning package

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Waffles

I found this recipe on my new favourite online destination, Pinterest. Someone pointed out that this recipe is so good that it has its own web site, just for the recipe. It's true. You can check it out here.

This recipe is good. Everyone at my house enjoyed it. It's perfect for thanksgiving, fall harvest, October, and for simply eating an orange vegetable. I recently learned that the Canada Food Guide recommends that each person should eat at least one serving of an orange and green vegetable everyday.

I also learned on a field-trip to the pumpkin patch that pumpkins, which are filled with seeds, are a fruit. Despite that technicality, I'm still going to count pumpkin as an orange vegetable and call these waffles yummy and nutritious.

I have to say, I never read the original recipe carefully enough to know that you were supposed to separate the eggs and beat the whites to stiff peaks. I never did that and I was still pretty darn pleased with the recipe. If you want to go to that trouble, check out the link I provided. If not, here's my version:


1/4 cup light brown sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
4 tbsp butter, melted


1. Turn on the waffle iron.
2. Combine all ingredients in Kitchen Aid mixer and beat until smooth.
3. Once the waffle iron is hot, you’re ready to cook.

Inspiration: The Ultimate Pumpkin Waffle Recipe web site

Friday, April 08, 2011

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables...

A huge hit with my family. The pine nuts really make this dish. I would like to swap the eggplant for zucchini next time and see how it is.


1 small eggplant, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound orzo or rice-shaped pasta

For the dressing:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:
4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.
  4. For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pine nuts, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

Inspiration: Barefoot Contessa Food Network

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cucumber Tomato Salad

I feel silly for needing a recipe for this basic salad, but it helped me get the taste right. My mother-in-law calls this Shepard's Salad and serves it regularly. It's a typical Turkish dish. I changed this recipe from the original by adding oil, salt and pepper.


4 mini cucumbers, roughly chopped
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered or halved
2/3 cup fresh parsley and/or mint, chopped
1/3 cup chopped green onion
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (half a lemon)
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Stir together cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, green onions and lemon juice. Let sit for a half-hour to an hour before serving. Supposed to be served with bread.

Inspiration: President's Choice Blue Menu Flier

Citrusy Tuna and Chickpea Pasta

Fish is not my favourite, but the rest of my family enjoys it, so I've been on the look-out for inventive ways to serve it. This is recipe is really quick and made from ingredients we always have on hand. My four-year-old didn't want to try the sauce--she wanted to know where her traditional meat sauce was--but she ate some tuna and plain noodles.


1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3/4 tsp fennel seeds
zest of 1 orange or lemon
1 cup chick peas, drained & rinsed
12 oz spaghetti, cooked to package directions
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

  1. Drain tomatoes, reserving juices. chop tomatoes. Set tomatoes and juices aside.
  2. In large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat.
  3. Cook onion for five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  4. Stir in fennel seeds and orange rind; cook stirring for 1 minute.
  5. Stir in tomatoes and juices. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions.
  7. Stir in tuna and chickpeas. Cook, covered, for 1 minute or until heated through.
  8. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
  9. Toss pasta with reserved cooking water and sauce.
  10. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley and orange rind.

Inspiration: President's Choice food flier