Shepherd’s Pie

I am a meat and potatoes kind of girl, so Shepherd’s Pie is right up my alley. I grew up eating it and have made it dozens of times, but never before like this. This is the kind of Shepherd’s Pie I’ve enjoyed at authentic Irish pubs. And while I’m not knocking what I grew up on (which was ground beef, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes and cheese all served with ketchup), the Shepherd’s Pie I’ve been craving as of late is of the meat with gravy, peas and potatoes variety…. this Shepherd’s Pie.

It took me about an hour to prepare (cooking time included). I served it with drop biscuits and sliced tomatoes and it was really a great meal. The kids (and hubs) enjoyed it, and I’m thrilled to have come up with a solid go-to Shepherd’s Pie recipe. Hope you enjoy!

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

Meat Layer
1 1/3 lbs ground beef
1 stalk of celery, diced small
2 carrots, diced small
1/2 a large sweet onion, diced small
8 oz mushrooms, diced
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
3 tbsp flour
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup frozen peas

Potato Layer
2 1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (to top, not mix in)

1.) Place potatoes in a large pot filled with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 to 12 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.) While potatoes are cooking, brown ground beef in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. When meat is almost browned, add celery, carrots, onion, mushrooms, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme and continue cooking until meat is fully cooked. Sprinkle flour over meat and stir well, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Add beef broth and stir again. Add Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste and simmer for about 3 minutes longer. Remove from heat and stir in frozen peas.
3.) Once potatoes are fully cooked, drain and return to pot. Add butter, heavy cream, salt, pepper and onion powder. Use an electric mixer to whip until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Add egg yolk and whip for about a minute longer.
4.) To assemble, use a deep dish pie plate and place the meat mixture in the bottom. Next add the potatoes and top with cheddar cheese. Bake for 25 minutes.

As I mentioned, I served with drop biscuits. They are from my Chicken Pot Pie recipe, but do great on their own. I mixed them up after I put the Shepherd’s Pie in the oven, and then cooked them along side it (at 400) for about 15 minutes.

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Drop Biscuits

Chicken Tetrazzini

I’m not sure I had ever actually had chicken tetrazzini until just recently. We had an assortment of pasta dishes at the shower I helped host this weekend, and one of the other hostesses put this dish on the menu. Ever since Saturday night I’ve had the itch to make it, and while I knew it would be ambitious for a week night meal, Blake was home tonight and so I thought what the heck. Totally worth it. This is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe. I stayed pretty true to the original, but due to some of the quantities I had on hand (and the fact that I messed up a couple of steps), I veered ever so slightly. I am sharing the way I made it because I can personally attest to the fact that it tasted really, really good. I will definitely make this again, and it has potential to be a great care package meal too. Hope you enjoy!

Chicken Tetrazzini

Chicken Tetrazzini

2 chicken breasts, boiled and shred
1 lb linguine
1 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp butter, divided
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, diced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup flour
4 cups milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup parmesan
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs

1.) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2.) Add 1 tbsp of butter and olive oil to large dutch oven. Add mushrooms and sauté until any liquid is cooked up and mushrooms are golden. Add onion, garlic and thyme. Saute for another 2 or 3 minutes. Add wine and chicken stock. Saute until liquid is mostly evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in shredded chicken.
3.) While the mushroom mixture is cooking, boil linguine in a large pot of salted water for 10 minutes. Set aside when done.
4.) In a separate large sauté pan, heat remaining 4 tbsp butter until it is melted. Add flour and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add milk, heavy cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Bring to boil, stirring frequently. Once sauce has thickened (about 8 or 9 minutes), remove from heat.
5.) In the largest pot you used, add pasta, mushroom/chicken, cream sauce, peas and parsley. Stir until well combined. Pour into a 9″x13″ casserole dish. Top with parmesan cheese and then Italian breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and the top is golden brown.

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Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’s Chicken Tetrazzini

One Pot Stovetop Chicken and Yellow Rice

Ever since I started avoiding MSG in my food, yellow rice has pretty much been off limits. But my favorite variety of chicken and rice is chicken and yellow rice. So I decided to try to make it from scratch, which required me to work with a foreign ingredient – saffron. I was very proud of my small-town Publix for actually carrying it (in the ethnic section near the Spanish and Mexican foods). I made a “saffron tea” with some of the chicken stock, and it worked like a charm – yellow rice the natural way.  This turned out really good and was exactly what I’ve been craving. If I wasn’t feeding it to the kiddos, I would have added a little heat, some more paprika and probably some red pepper flakes. This can be done start to finish in under an hour, so it’s definitely a weeknight possibility. And only one pot to clean, definitely a plus in my house! Hope you enjoy!

Chicken and Rice

Chicken and Yellow Rice

2 – 3 tbsp canola oil
3 lbs bone-in chicken pieces (I used legs and thighs), seasoned liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder
2 carrots, quartered and diced
1 stalk of celery, halved and diced
1 sweet onion, diced small
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
4 cups chicken stock
1 pinch saffron
1 3/4 cup white rice (I used Jasmine)
1 cup frozen peas
Corn kernels from one cob
Juice from 1 lime

1.) In a glass dish, heat about 1 cup of chicken stock in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, until very hot. Add saffron and stir. Allow saffron to dissolve in hot liquid until the recipe calls for the chicken stock (although all threads will probably not dissolve fully).
2.) In a large dutch oven (I used a coated cast iron pot), heat oil and add chicken pieces to pan, skin side down, in an even layer. Fry over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes, and then turn each one over. Cook for about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Remove some of the oil from the pot until only about 2 tbsp remain.
3.) Add carrots, celery and onion to pot, scraping bottom to release any brown bits. If bottom starts to burn, add 1/4 cup of the chicken stock to deglaze. Add garlic, salt, pepper and paprika and sauté until veggies begin to soften, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add rice and cook for about 1 minute longer.
4.) Remove any remaining saffron threads from the cup of chicken stock. Add that stock, as well as the other remaining stock to the pot. Stir well and then add chicken back to pot. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 17 to 18 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure rice does not stick, and that chicken cooks evenly.
5.) Remove chicken from pot and check the temp to ensure it is at 165 degrees. Add frozen peas, corn and lime juice to rice. Stir well and then add the chicken back to the pot. Cover and cook for 2 minutes longer.

Saffron

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