Hello Sheppard’s Pie

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I know it’s been a while since my last post. I made a life change and decided to go back to school full time. Who would have thought I’d be more busy in school than working full time?! But school or not, a girl has got to eat. While I have been cooking, I haven’t been posting so my goal is to get to a new normal schedule.

I’m starting with my take on Sheppard’s pie. Spoiler alert, this is not your mom’s Sheppard’s pie. It has elements of healthy with an infusion of vegetables and loads of flavor. My philosophy is the vegetables balance the butter that is absolutely required for the potatoes. This pan makes enough for 8 to 10 servings depending on if your into generous portions. Check out the recipe below. 🙂

Sheppards Pie

Ingredients:

2 lbs ground turkey

2 cups diced carrot

2 cups diced zucchini

1 cup of diced bell pepper

1 cup peas

3 cups diced onion

1/4 cup minced garlic

6 oz tomato sauce

2 tbsp tomato paste with Italian seasoning

1 tbsp red pepper flake

1 tbsp Italian seasoning

2 tbsp of garlic and onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

4 cups of mashed potatoes

1/2 tbsp. avocado oil

2 tbsp. butter

1/2 cup of parsley (optional garnish)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel and dice 2-3 large potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until potatoes can be pierced smoothly with a fork.
  3. Peel and dice onion. Add one cup to potatoes. Peel and mince garlic and add both to a medium pot over medium heat with oil.
  4. Peel and chop carrots and add to the pot with a splash of water to soften.
  5. Add ground turkey and brown with garlic and onion and carrots.
  6. While browning turkey, rinse zucchini, slice in half, then cut into strips before dicing. Rinse and dice bell pepper.
  7. Add diced zucchini and bell pepper to the pot. Open cans and stir in tomato paste, then add sauce and seasoning.
  8. Add peas then remove the pan from heat.
  9. Drain potatoes and onion and mash with butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Add meat mixture to a oven-safe baking dish then add potatoes on top in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes uncovered to firm up the mixture.

Thanksgiving Sides

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Thanksgiving brings together family with food and fun and also brings the opportunity to share gratitude. In addition to time with family we all look forward to our favorite dishes for the Thanksgiving holiday. While I am certainly looking forward to mirliton dressing, I will also prepare a healthy side to share my gratitude for health in this season. 

I fell in love with the oyster mushrooms from the Red Stick Farmers Market and wanted to share this tasty idea a side option. With multiple varieties of kale in season, I selected the tender Dino kale  and sautéed them with garlic and the mushrooms for a quick and easy side dish. You can always substitute any other mushroom of choice. Check out the recipe below.

In addition to this recipe, the savory sweet potato dishes in my last post would also make great seasonal sides. I challenge you to make a healthy dish and add it to the mix this Thanksgiving. Be sure to share your creations!

Sautéed Kale and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

4 cups of Kale

2 cups of oyster mushrooms diced

6-8 cloves of garlic minced

1 tbsp. Olive oil

1/2 cup of water

1 tsp. Red pepper flakes or cayenne

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Rinse kale and slice leaves in half longwise before chopping. 
  2. Heat oil over medium heat. Peel and mince garlic  and add to oil. Add red pepper flakes.
  3. Chop mushrooms and add to garlic. Add in kale and stir well for one minute.
  4. Add water, top and reduce heat to low for 3-5 minutes or until tender.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Seasonal Sweet Potatoes

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Every fall, we are lucky to have the delicious sweet potato crop produce in abundance. Sweet potatoes, like all potatoes, have their share of nutrients and vitamins such as high fiber, iron, calcium, B vitamins (energy) and Vitamin C (immune boost). Of course by name alone, this starchy vegetable lends itself more to desserts; however sweet potatoes are a great addition to many savory creations. After purchasing a couple of sweet potatoes from the Chenier Farm at my local farmers market, I used the potatoes to make two sides: rosemary and garlic chive roasted vegetable medley and savory mashed sweet potato. These are great side dishes for any protein of choice. If you want to keep things simple, bake chicken, which you can season 2 to 3 ways on one baking sheet, and steam the leafy green veggie of your choice. Check out the recipes below.

 

Mashed Sweet Potato

Serves 4

 

Ingredients:

1 large sweet Potato (2 -2 ½ cups)

1 tbsp. butter

½ cup of milk

3 tbsp. green onion

½ tbsp. garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.
  2. Rinse and peel sweet potato.  Cut in half then slice.
  3. Boil for 12-15 minutes or until tender.
  4. Strain water. Add butter and mash potatoes with a fork.
  5. Add milk, green onion and seasoning. Mix well.
  6. Enjoy.

 

Roasted Vegetable Medley

Serves 4

 

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato (2 cups)

6 medium turnips (2-2 ½ cups)

1 tbsp. avocado or olive oil

2 tbsp. fresh chopped rosemary

2 tbsp. garlic or regular chives

½ tbsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

1 tsp. smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Rinse and peel potatoes and turnips.
  3. Cut off both ends of turnips but leave stems to stabilize the root while cutting. Cut it in half, then slices. Dice the sliced turnips. Repeat with second half, remaining turnips and potatoes.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rinse and chop herbs.
  5. Add vegetables, oil, herbs and seasoning and mix until evenly coated with your hands or a spoon.
  6. Spread vegetables into an even layer on parchment paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. (Test with a fork. Fork should slide easily into and out of the diced veggies.)
  7. Enjoy.

 

 

Fall Harvest Stew

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There is something to be said about roasted vegetables. Add in some sausage and spice and it’s a win win! Check out this tasty win from today’s demo at the Red Stick Farmers Market!

Ingredients:

2 cups large diced eggplant

2 cups large diced squash 

2 cups large diced zucchini

1 cup chopped bell pepper

1 cup diced green onion 

1 tbsp. olive or avocado oil

1 lb. Italian sausage (optional or sausage of choice)

1 14.5 oz can of tomato sauce

2 1/2 cups of water

1 tbsp. Sunny herb blend (Red Stick Spice) or Italian seasoning

1 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

1/4 tsp salt and black pepper

Directions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Rinse vegetables. Cut ends off of zucchini, then cut in half and halve each half. Cut into strips, then dice. Repeat with squash and add to baking sheet.
  3. Cut ends off eggplant, the cut in half. Cut a half in half horizontally, but only midway through to stabilize it. Slice into strips then dice, repeating with remaining eggplant. Add to baking sheet.
  4. Coat in oil and mix well. Bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Rinse and dice bell pepper and onion. In a large pot, brown the sausage with the peppers and onion for 5-7 minutes over medium high heat.
  6. Once roasted veggies are done, add to the pot, then open and add the can of tomato sauce. Add one and a half cans of water to the pot. Reduce heat.
  7. Add seasoning, stir well and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Enjoy! (Can be served with rice or quinoa).

 

Thanksgiving Ready

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With thanksgiving around the corner, it’s good to have options to lighten traditional classics like sweet potato casserole. I enjoyed sharing my easy recipe with yesterday’s demo at the Red Stick Farmers Market. Though there was not butternut squash at the market yesterday, if you can find it, try subbing out half of the sweet potatoes to lighten the carb load and add in other nutrients. Since we are also in cold and flu season, I also showed how to make a fresh immune booster to keep you and your loved-ones protected or armed with a speedy recovery boost this season. Check out the recipe for each below.

Sweet Potato Casserole
Serves 8

Ingredients:
4 cups diced sweet potato (3-4 small)
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 tbsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. whole milk (or preferred %)
1 tbsp. red stick spice Vietnamese cinnamon
3 tbsp. local honey
2 tbsp. raw cane sugar
1/2 cup chopped roasted pecans

Directions:
1. Place a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut in half longwise. Cut each half into three strips then cube into medium-sized chunks. Add to pot.
3. Let boil for 12 minutes or until tender with a fork.
4. Strain and place in a large bowl. Mash with a large spoon and add butter, honey and sugar and mix until well blended. Add milk and spices and mix well.
5. Place in a small oven safe dish and cover top in chopped roasted pecans. Bake for 5 minutes. *optional (Be careful not to burn pecans.)

 

Immune Booster
Serves 6

Ingredients:
3-4 fresh juiced satsuma or orange
3-4 fresh juiced lemon
3 tbsp. local honey
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1-2 drops of oil of oregano pee individual serving *optional

Directions:
1. Peel satsumas and break in half. With a glove hand, juice satsuma sections over a medium bowl with a pouring spout.
2. Rinse lemons and cut in half. Remove visible seeds and juice each half, cut side up over the bowl.
3. Stir mixture with a fork or spoon and remove any spotted seeds. Add honey and mix until dissolved.
4. Add cayenne and stir well. Pour into individual containers for storage in the fridge. (A salad dressing container or top-able condiment container should work.)
5. Add optional oil of oregano only when ready to consume. Otherwise, the entire mixture will taste like a pizza within an hour. 🙂

Fall Flavor Fix

IMG_8141.JPGIf you’re as excited as I am for the cooling weather, it’s both a great time to get outdoors and to step into soup recipes. The Fall is abundant with a variety of vegetables that are easy to make into soups. I am a fan of roasting vegetables to bring out and transform their flavors. For my first soup of the season, I decided on roasting eggplant, butternut squash and garlic for a buttery and nutty flavored soup. Not only is it rich and creamy, but nice and flavorful. If you’re missing the meat, crumble a slice or two of bacon on top with a little fresh green onion for an added punch of bold. Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts!

Soup ingredients:
1 medium purple eggplant
1 medium butternut squash
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup of water
1 cup of milk (2% or whole recommended)
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1 tbsp. fresh minced rosemary
1 tbsp. onion powder

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Cut squash in half longwise and scoop out seeds and pulp with a spoon. Add to baking sheet.
3. Rinse eggplant and cut off each end then cut in half. Cut 1-inch thick chunks and slice longer slices in half. Add to baking sheet.
4. Peel garlic and cut in half. Add to eggplant and coat it in olive oil on the baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes.
5. Remove eggplant and garlic and place into a bowl to cool. Check squash with a fork and if it is tender (fork sinks in) remove sheet from oven and let cool. If not, let cook for another 10 minutes. Turn off oven.
6. Once cooled (10 minutes) remove skin from eggplant and squash. Add to a food processor or blender with water and blend until smooth.
7. Add to a medium pot and add seasoning and milk and stir until well blended. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.
8. Serve and enjoy.

Winging It

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With football season upon us, it’s good to have a recipe or two of something easy and game worthy in your back pocket. Dips and chips are always a crowd pleaser and rotel certainly pops to the forefront of easy options. I like to make my own mix with a couple hunks of good cheddar and pepper jack and cream cheese to smooth things out; add ground meat and a can rotel and you’re in business. Though there are not often leftovers, this is great on top of fresh baked fries, topped with fresh tomato, pickled jalapeño and a little sour cream to boot.

In addition to my take on rotel, I like to wing it at home with crispy oven baked wings that I can sauce any way I please. Not only is it easy, but certainly more cost effective. My package of 7 whole wings (14 pieces) totaled $5.05 and on average I’ve spent about a dollar per wing.

Try your hand at making both dishes with the recipes below.

Rotel ingredients:
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced bell peppee
1/2 lb. mild cheddar cheese (block or shredded)
1/2 lb. pepper jack cheese (block or shredded)
1 8oz package of Philadelphia cream cheese
1 10oz can of rotel original
1 diced medium jalapeño (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper

Directions:
1. Peel and dice a medium onion. Slice, remove seeds and dice the bell pepper. Add both to a pot over medium heat.
2. Add ground beef and seasoning and break up with a fork or large spoon.
3. Slice or shred cheese (if block) while beef cooks.
4. Dice optional jalepeno. Add the can of rotel with liquid and diced jalepeno. Reduce heat to low-medium.
5. Add pepper jack and cheddar cheese and mix to melt. Add cream cheese.
6. Reduce heat to simmer and stir occasionally until fully melted.
7. Serve with chips or over fries

 

Wings ingredients:
1 to 1 1/2 lbs of wings
1 tbsp. olive or avocado oil
1/2 tbsp. sea salt
1/2 tbsp. coarse black pepper

Sauce ingredients:
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. honey
1 1/2 tbsp. sirracha
1/2 tbsp. onion powder
2 tbsp. ketchup

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Add wings and other ingredients to a ziploc bag, close it and shake and massage bag to evenly distribute oil and seasoning.
3. Add to baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes. (Should be crispy and browned.)
4. In a bowl, whisk BBQ sauce and honey until well blended. Add in other ingredients and mix well.
5. Remove wings from oven and add to the bowl.
6. Toss well then add back to the baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes.
7. Remove from foil and enjoy.