Tag Archives: potatoes

Mmmm…Bite-sized Potatoes and Butter!


B returned home from a two-week tour a few days ago and I wanted to make a nice dinner for us.

I cheated with the chicken and bought chicken breasts stuffed with roasted red pepper, feta and spinach from a local meat counter (Thanks for the tip, Ben S!) The .veggies were pretty straightforward, steamed green beans.

And the potatoes…I bought a bag of new red potatoes, small bite-sized ones and had to figure out how I wanted to prepare them.

My friend Michael made an awesome potato dish last year when we were in Montreal so I started with trying to remember how that what he had done to prep them.

All I remember is that it involved a lot of butter. And, oh, how I love butter!! Margarine, you can get the hell away from my fridge and take your plastic tastelessness with you! But butter….please come along and bring friends!

I knew I wanted to bake the dish, so I washed the potatoes and put them in a casserole dish with lid, while setting the oven to 375.

Then I put a few fairly large dollops of butter on them, followed by some minced garlic and a bit of salt.

Seemed pretty easy and I figured that was it until I spied a bag of brown sugar in my cupboard.  Did a little smell taste…garlicky taters….brown sugar….brown sugar…garlicky taters and the smells seemed to jive so I thought, what the hell, and added a sprinkle of sugar on top. I also poured in a bit of water…not much…just a bit to add some moisture.  Not sure if that was needed, but it worked out okay.

I know what you’re thinking.  Holy crackers, that’s a lot of butter!! Yeah….yeah it is.

But you know, you can put less.  I don’t know WHY you’d do that, but you have the butter-cutting power. 😉

So, oven pre-heated to 375, I covered them and let them bake for about 30 minutes.  At that point, I pulled them out and tossed them a bit and then allowed them to bake for another 40 minutes.

This picture doesn’t do them justice….but…

They were SO good! And SO easy!

And, as I’ve said before in this blog, the Smell Test seems to always work! I put a few ingredients side by side and see how them smell together…if they work, they seem to taste good together as well!

I am always surprised when some of my better dishes turn out to be the easiest ones to prepare.

You really don’t have to go all out to make a damn fine meal!


No, not Shep Pie….Shepherd’s Pie! Shep-HERD!


I love shepherd’s pie!  Absolutely love it!

Many recipes I have found call for a variety of ground meat but I have always enjoyed a shepherd’s pie made with plain ground beef.  I also have to admit that I cheat and use  *gasp* boxed potatoes!

Yes, I agree that actual potatoes, boiled and mashed, would be beyond delicious…so no need to convince me of that.  But time constraints tend to push me towards the boxed potato aisle in the grocery store.

I made two pies the other day. They were yummy the day of… awesome the day after…I have some frozen servings and I can only imagine how spectacular they’ll be!

Okay, so how did I make this yummy creation?  Read on to share in my shepherd’s pie adventure.

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

It all started with butter and onions……Fried until soft and transparent.

Then I added the ground beef…which I cooked about halfway before adding the veggies.  As I’m sure you can tell by the pictures, I simply used frozen mixed vegetables.

Okay, so, slight tangent for a minute.  In deciding to make shepherd’s pie, I realized that I needed to pick up some ingredients I was lacking…namely, ground beef.  Over two days, I hit two different grocery stores to find no ground beef…none.  No idea what the heck was going on…beef strike?  beef holiday?  All I know is, upon visiting the third grocery store, I had to buy my ground beef in a tube!

A TUBE!

Not a foam tray in sight.

I’m not judging people who generally buy this beef (note: not necessarily *this* beef in the picture above…I can’t remember the brand I bought).  It was definitely cheaper than the foam tray-ed, cling-wrapped beef and it tasted great.  But it was the tube squeezing that got to me.

I’m not a fan of squashing my beef out of a plastic tube…next thing you know, they’ll have squeeze chicken and squeeze bacon-…..
Gah!

Okay, let’s forget the whole squeezing the meat thing and move on, shall we?  (And YOU!  Yeah you!  Get your mind out of the gutter! lol)


So, beef and veggies…right.  So, I cooked the beef until totally brown and as I said, about halfway through the cooking process,  I added the frozen veggies.  I kept the meat on a medium heat which extended the cooking time…but that also allowed me to add spices to the mix and gave time for their flavour to spread throughout the dish.

Since the beef cooked for a little longer than normal, I also had about 3/4 cup of beef stock on hand and would add a splash when the mixture seemed to be getting a little dry.

As it neared readiness, I made my potatoes.  Instructions?  On the box! 😛  All I will add is that I always use butter instead of margarine.  Usually they always also require some milk.  This time around, all I had on hand was almond milk, which worked out fine.

Once everything was ready, I placed the beef/veg mixture in the bottom of two casserole dishes…it ended up being about one and a half inches deep.  Topped that off with the potatoes and then placed them in the oven.

I kept the potatoes rough on top with little peaks so that they would brown…and voila….

…yummy shepherd’s pie goodness!

In hindsight, I probably would’ve made a bit more potato…but still…..yum!


RECIPE

  • 11/2 to 2 lbs ground round beef
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1-2 cups vegetables – chopped carrots, corn, peas
  • 2 packs of garlic boxed potatoes
  • butter (to sauté onions)
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • Desired spices: I have used Worcestershire sauce, soya sauce, salt, pepper, thyme, basil, oregano, dried chili flakes, hot sauce etc…though not all at the same time! Season to taste.

1. Sauté onions in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins).

2. Add ground beef and sauté over medium heat.

3. Halfway through cooking the beef, add the vegetables. Continue cooking until beef is no longer pink.

4. Add desired seasoning.

5. Add beef broth as needed to keep moist and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes.

6. Boxed potatoes don’t take much time so at this point I put on the milk/butter/water (depending on the box instructions), bring it to a boil and get the potatoes ready. (I recently only had almond milk on hand and it worked out quite well!)

7. Place beef mixture in casserole dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely.

8. Cook in 400 degree oven until potatoes start to brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown further.

Servings: This recipe made two 8-inch round casserole dishes of shepherd’s pie.

***Original Recipe from http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/easy_shepherds_pie/


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