Monday, February 23, 2009

The Mommy's Shepherd's Pie

This recipe makes two family sized (2 adults, 2 kids and a bit leftover for lunch) Shepherds Pie’s – I usually freeze one and have one for dinner. You could easily half this recipe if you just want to one meal out of it. With two small kids and seemingly no time…I’m all about cook once eat twice or more!
Oh.....and I use carrots instead of the traditional corn because that's the kind of chick I am (and it's what my family prefers) but you can use whatever veggie pleases you and your crew!

Grocery List

Family Pack of Lean Ground Beef (2.5 lbs)
8 potatoes (3 lbs), chopped
¾ cup milk
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
1 package of dry onion soup mix
8oz package of mushrooms, chopped
2 onions, chopped
3 ½ cups of chopped carrots (or you could substitute with 2 cans of creamed corn)
3 tbsp of Worchester Sauce
2 ½ cups of Ketchup
¾ cup of Steak Sauce (I use HP)
Sprinkle of Paprika

Cooking It All Up

Chop the potatoes and carrots. Bring each to a boil in separate pots and let cook until softened. The potatoes need to be fully cooked so you can mash them, the carrots should be soft but not mushy.

Meanwhile, brown the ground beef. Once browned drain it and rinse (I do this to remove the extra grease but it’s totally optional). While the beef is draining in the strainer, brown the mushrooms and onion in the same pan. Return the beef to the pan, add the onion soup mix, Worchester sauce, ketchup and steak sauce, mix well and set aside.

Drain the potatoes and mash with the milk, butter, salt and pepper to taste. Also drain the carrots and set aside.

Assembly and The Grand Finale

Layer the beef mixture into two casserole dishes. Top with carrots (or creamed corn if you prefer), top with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with Paprika.

At this point I set one dish aside for freezing and I cook the other in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, remove cover and broil for 3 minutes.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cinnamon Buns....sticky, gooey...goodness

This recipe is great for a Saturday or Sunday when you’re home; having a relaxing day, maintaining the household and most importantly where you have the time; it takes 3 hours - because the dough has to rise.

Ingredients (these measurements are for 6 servings – I got 12 small buns as per photos):

7g (.25 ounce) package of active dry yeast
3 tablespoons and 1/2 teaspoon warm water
3 tablespoons and 1/2 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon and 1-3/4 teaspoons white sugar
1 tablespoon and 1-3/4 teaspoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1-1/2 cups and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup and 2 teaspoons butter
1/4 cup and 2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon chopped pecans
1/4 cup and 2 teaspoons brown sugar
1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon and 1-3/4 teaspoons melted butter


1. In a small bowl, dissolve ½ teaspoon of sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in 1 tablespoon and 1-3/4 teaspoon white sugar, 1 tablespoon and 1-3/4 teaspoons butter and salt; stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.
2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, milk mixture, egg and flour (add the flour gradually – mixing in between each addition until all is added); stir well to combine. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes (literally).
3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl an turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
4. While dough is rising, melt ¼ cup and 2 teaspoons of butter over medium heat. Stir in ¼ cup and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar, whisking until smooth (I’d double this; you want to make sure that the bottom of your pan is covered nicely; as you will be coating the cinnamon buns at the end once they are cooked). Pour into greased baking pan. Sprinkle pecans onto mixture; set aside. Melt the remaining butter; set aside. Combine remaining brown sugar and cinnamon and pecans; set aside.
5. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, roll into an 18x14 (or as close as you can get) rectangle. Brush with melted butter, leaving ½ inch border; sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon mixture (I’d double this as well). Starting at the long side, tightly roll up, pinching seam to seal. Brush with melted butter. With a serrated knife, cut into pieces and place cut side down in prepared pan. Cover and let rise for 1 hour; until doubled in volume.
6. Preheat oven 375 and bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool in pan for 3 minutes (I didn’t), then invert onto serving platter. Scrape remaining filling from the pan onto the buns! AND, try not to eat them all! :)

PS – Next time; I think we’ll skip the butter/brown sugar mixture and try frosting on them instead!

Hotdog Bake

This is a great ‘wholesome food’ recipe. If you’re having one of those days where you just want something that will stick to your ribs and warm your soul, this is it! Don’t be fooled by the lameness of the hotdogs – it is really good! - ...there's a great flavour in the potatoe! Country boys and kids everywhere will love it! :)

1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tbsp margarine
1 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp prepared mustard
4-5 hot dogs, sliced (we use chicken dogs; just because that’s what we have in the house)
4 medium potatoes - cook and mash

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small saucepan, cook onion in margarine until tender. Blend in flour and salt. Then add your milk, cooking and stirring over medium heat until bubbly and thickened (thickens up quite a bit, make sure to watch it). Add the cheese, continually stirring to melt it, and then add the parsley and mustard.

Fold your hotdogs into your mashed potatoes, and then add the sauce mixing together in the potato pot. Turn into a casserole dish. Cover and bake for 35 minutes or until bubbly. Enjoy! :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Meatloaf A La Chick

I challenge you to make this meatloaf and not fall in love with it. It's so simple yet so moist and flavorful.

The Grocery List

2 lbs lean ground beef
2/3 cup crushed buttery crackers
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 package of onion soup mix (dry)
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tbsp + 2 tsp steak sauce
1 egg

Cooking it Up

Preheat your oven to 350 F. In a large bowl mix together beef, crackers, cheese, and soup mix until well mixed.

In a separate bowl stir together the egg, ketchup, and steak sauce until smooth. Dump the saucy mix into the meaty mix and combine well - your hands will work best!

Put it into a 9x5 loaf pan.

Bake for 45 - 60 minutes until no longer pink. I usually cover it for the first 30 minutes with foil and then remove it so the top browns and forms a bit of a crust.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wholly Moley Nachos!

It’s been a busy week at our house, and since we are going away tomorrow for the weekend, tonight won’t be any better – packing, grocery shopping, last minute errands etc etc. Needless to say, I haven’t cooked anything all week. But I’ve found some intriguing recipes and received some from friends, and family that I’m excited to try out. (Actually, I’ve made two different things in the last week – a French toast casserole; and an appetizer with bread, asparagus and cream cheese; but both were horrible and not worthy to share!) So, I bring you – awesome, delicious – Nachos!

Something easy, that everyone probably already makes, and loves – because, you really can’t go wrong with Nachos! Mmm..But – this is how we make them in our house!

Lean hamburger;
Taco seasoning;
Green pepper;
Red pepper;
Salsa – I love Herdez medium;
Sour Cream;
Scoops – our Nacho chip of choice!

Brown the hamburger and drain; add your onions and cook for a little bit, then add your taco seasoning as per the package instructions, we add less water than it’s called for - about ½ cup or a bit more, so there isn’t as much liquid – drain again once this is all cooked up nicely.

Dice up more onion if you like onion, green pepper, red pepper – whichever vegetables you enjoy! The trick with tomatoes is to take out the flesh part – the seeds etc. and only use the tougher exterior and inside – this is to avoid soggyness.

Place your nacho chips on a cookie sheet over top of aluminum foil to avoid a messy clean up; then add the hamburger that you finished draining; sprinkle on the veggies and top with shredded cheese!
We eat veggie nachos often as well; and go through the same motions minus the hamburger – delicious!
You can also substitute with chicken and use less seasoning!

Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted nicely – usually only takes 5 minutes or so!

Dip in and enjoy!

PS: My new favourite ingredient which MS does not enjoy; so I only put on my side…DILL PICKLES!! :) Love love love them..just chop them up thinly sliced..mmm! I make deli dills each year and find these are perfect as a nacho topper – try it and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Garlic Dip - enjoyed with Sweet Potatoe Fries

I'm completely addicted to Sweet Potatoe Fries right now; and have been looking for the perfect homeade dip that could be served with them. This one is fairly good; and quite easy to prepare.

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Put the ingredients in a small bowl, combine and stir. You can top it with a little paprika; or chilli powder to add to it's presentation. :)

I haven't found a recipe to perfect the Sweet Potatoe Fries; they always seem a bit soggy, but once I do I will post one for sure! I have one to try that involves egg whites and flour...will keep you posted!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Mary's Lasagna Casserole


Oven ready lasagna noodles
Box of hamburger helper lasagna
Cheese – cheddar or mozzarella – whatever you have on hand
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Hot sauce - optional
½ big can of tomato juice

To prepare:

Brown the hamburger and then add the onions – salt and pepper;
Heat up the tomato juice, hamburger helper spice packet, tsp of onion powder and tsp of garlic powder – and hot sauce if desired – we add Frank’s red hot sauce;
Cook 1/3 package of lasagna noodles broken up; when they are almost cooked add the hamburger helper noodles – cook and drain. If your using a lot of hamburger and it will fill more than a square sized casserole dish I’d cook ½ the box of oven ready lasagna noodles;
Add the hamburger to a casserole dish, add the noodles and the sauce, mix it all together and sprinkle the top with oregano and cover with your favourite cheese. We hid some pieces of cream cheese in it this time to see if it added some yummy goodness – was ok; but nothing special!

Cook on 350 for 40 minutes.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chicken Cordon Bleu Fake Out

Easy enough for any weeknight, yummy enough for dinner with company!

Grocery List
  • 4 or 5 chicken breasts chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup chopped ham (or you could use 6 slices of deli ham chopped)
  • 5 slices of Swiss Cheese - cut or torn into bite size pieces
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 box of your favorite stuffing mix (or you could use your own homemade version)
Cooking It All Up:
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Prepare the stuffing mix according to box directions.
  • Chop chicken, ham, cheese into bite sized pieces and throw it all into a casserole dish.
  • Take 1 can of cream of mushroom soup, open it, dump 2 tbsp of the Dijon mustard right into the can. Mix it up.
  • Pour the soup/mustard mix onto the chicken/ham/cheese mix.
  • Stir it on up. Be gentle.
  • Top with prepared stuffing mix.
  • Bake until cooked and chicken is no longer pink - probably 60 minutes.
Chicks Note: If you are making this recipe for company you might want to take extra time, pound out the chicken breast, lay a piece of ham and a piece of swiss on each chicken breast, roll, place in dish. Make the sauce and stuffing the same way! A little prettier on the plate but exactly the same taste!

I like to serve this with mashed potatoes and a veggie. YUM YUM YUM - Comfort food at it's best!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Shepherd's Pie - an oldie but a lovely!

My mother used to make this recipe when I was a kid; and she used mixed vegetables and I hated that! But I loved it otherwise, and knew it had potential. So, when I got old enough I revamped this recipe into what I love - and it is always a favourite in our house - my nephew and sister love it too - it is delicious! That's the great thing about it, you can make it your very own. I have a friend who puts onion soup mix into the beef, and that is quite good as well.

6 good sized potatoes;
Veggies of your choice - whether they be frozen or canned
I like to use delmonte french cut green beans and corn; a can of each;
1 small onion;
cup of mushrooms or canned if you like those as well;
milk and butter for the mashed potatoes;
1 cup of cheddar cheese; and
1/2 cup of ketchup or just squirt to taste.

First you are going to boil your potatoes; mash them your favourite way. I usually add milk and butter - however, sour cream would work well also.
At the same time you are going to brown your hamburger - I always season my hamburger with salt and pepper while it's browning; then add your mushrooms and onions - cook for another 10 mins and add your ketchup - to taste.

In a glassware dish, you are going to place the cooked hamburger on the bottom, then layer on your drained veggies of your choice, then layer on your mashed potatoes, and top with cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 mins until it is heated through and cheese is good and melted on the top!

Easy as can be and absolutely delicious!


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