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. 🙂
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)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 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.
- 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.
- Peel and chop carrots and add to the pot with a splash of water to soften.
- Add ground turkey and brown with garlic and onion and carrots.
- While browning turkey, rinse zucchini, slice in half, then cut into strips before dicing. Rinse and dice bell pepper.
- Add diced zucchini and bell pepper to the pot. Open cans and stir in tomato paste, then add sauce and seasoning.
- Add peas then remove the pan from heat.
- Drain potatoes and onion and mash with butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- 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.
Shrimp and okra is a Southern Classic and a childhood favorite! With the random cold front, I was in the mood for something comforting. Though it’s early yet for farm fresh okra, I grabbed a pound of frozen okra from the produce stand to complement the Anna Marie Seafood shrimp I had from my local farmers market. My rule of thumb is pretty much a pound of each main ingredient: okra, shrimp and sausage. You can play with fresh stewed tomatoes from the market or use these quick tips for a quicker dish. This takes 30-45 minutes to make depending on the cook time or your okra, as some can be more slimy than others. Check out these tips below and enjoy!
1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
1 lb sausage
1 lb chopped okra (16oz)
1 14oz can stewed or diced tomato
1 14oz can tomato sauce
3 tbsp. fresh or dried Italian seasoning (thyme, rosemary, parsley, oregano blends)
1 tsp. cayenne
2 cups chopped onion
6 cloves garlic
4 cups water
- Add chopped onion to a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped okra and 2 cups of water. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Slice sausage. Peel and mince or press garlic cloves and add garlic and sausage to the pot.
- Add seasoning, remaining water, tomatoes and sauce. Cook for 12-15 minutes.
- Add shrimp and additional water if needed. Let cook for another 5-7 minutes.
- Serve over rice or stand alone.
So I did something I haven’t done in years; I burned a creation that I just knew would be mouth-watering delicious. I even shamefully ate it partially cold at lunch, afraid that it might smell a little scorched. While trimming my tomato plants, repotting herbs that I started indoors, and working on my spinach trellis, I lost track of time and my inspired dish suffered. Though my spicy stewed coconut chicken dish was not perfect as intended, the ginger basil fried rice was it’s saving grace as that had my full attention. It was also a good reminder that time waits for no one, so neglecting to set a timer thinking “this won’t take long” is a recipe for scorched food. I sufficiently learned my lesson. This is a pretty inexpensive dish, using chicken legs as a base which adds lots of flavor while being wallet friendly. Even the fried rice required little using items already on hand. If you’d like to try a non-scorched version, check out the recipe below.
Spicy Stewed Coconut Chicken
1 pack of chicken legs (4 count)
1 can diced tomato
6oz coconut milk
6 cups of water
2 cups of chicken stock
1 cup of chopped spinach
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves of grated garlic
2 tbsp. fresh basil
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. fresh ground peppercorn (or coarse black pepper)
1 tsp. cayenne (optional)
1 tsp. sea salt
- Bring water and stock to a boil in a medium pot. Rinse and add chicken legs, garlic powder and ground peppercorns or pepper. Boil for 18 minutes.
- Remove chicken and cut from the bone before adding back into the pot. Add diced tomato (with liquid), coconut milk, basil and cayenne. Grate in garlic or mince well and add.
- Peel and dice a small onion and add to pot. Cook for 10 minutes on simmer, then rinse, chop and add spinach.
- Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
- Enjoy with plain or fried rice.
Ginger Basil Fried Rice
1 cup cooked white or brown rice (preferably a few days old)
2 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
1 small carrot grated or in slivers
1 tbsp. sriracha
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. grated ginger
2 cloves of sliced garlic
3 tbsp. chopped basil
1 tbsp. oil (olive, avocado or coconut oil)
- In a wok or large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Slice garlic and chop basil while oil heats.
- Add garlic and basil and stir to infuse in the oil. Add rice and stir occasionally, lightly browning for 5 minutes.
- Grate ginger and add to pot. Peel carrot and grate or peel into slivers with a potato peeler.
- Move still browning rice to one side of the pan and add the eggs. Mix in well with the rice.
- Add soy sauce, sriracha and sesame oil and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.
With the dreary weather expected this week, I was in the mood for some jambalaya. I’ve posted before about my preference for traditional New Orleans styled jambalaya with seafood, sausage and a red sauce to boot. I decided to highlight some local green onion sausage that I picked up at Soprano’s supermarket in Livonia parish which is about 30 minutes or so from Baton Rouge on Hwy 190. My dad loves to find gems off the beaten path and Soprano’s green onion sausage certainly makes the list. The sausage is made in house and the store offers both fresh and smoked options as well as other flavor combinations. Green onion sausage is tasty and pretty easy to find, so try a brand that you like and give it a try.
I also picked up some fresh turnips, green onion and red potatoes from the farmers market to make a quick soup with some of the sausage as a second option for meals this week. With a little help from a kohlrabi salad mix (kohlrabi, kale, shredded golden beets) from Trader Joe’s and a quick pickle of shaved turnips and thinly sliced yellow onion, that will be a nice side to my soup meals. For some added sweetness, you can also grate or thinly slice a small red apple into the salad mix. Since I have previously posted a jambalaya recipe, check out the soup and salad recipes below.
Potato, turnip and Sausage Soup
1 cup diced red potato (2 medium)
1 cup diced turnip root (2 medium)
2 cups chopped turnip greens
1/4 lb green onion sausage
1 small yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 14.5oz can of chicken stock
2 cups of water
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1. Peel and thinly slice onion. Add to a medium pot over medium heat with olive oil. Once it begins to sizzle and brown (2 mins) add 1/2 cup of water to carmalize the onions.
2. Remove green tops from turnip roots and soak tops in water in a bowl or the sink to remove dirt.
3. Using a potato peeler, peel turnips until dirty skin is removed. Cut off skinny end and green stem end. The cut in half and dice into medium pieces. Add to the pot with onions and add remaining water and bring to a boil.
4. Rinse potatoes and dice into medium pieces and add to the pot.
5. Cut sausage in half long-wise before slicing thin and add to the pot. Add seasoning.
6. Rinse and chop turnip greens and green onion and add to the pot.
7. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Kohlrabi and Kale Salad
1 cup salad mix
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp. local honey
1 tbsp. thinly sliced onion
1 tbsp. thinly sliced turnip
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1. In a bowl, add vinegar and honey and mix with a fork until dissolved. Add seasonings.
2. Peel and thinly slice a small onion (About two cuts worth). Add to the vinegar.
3. Peel dirty skin from turnip. Rinse peeler and then use to peel thin pieces into the bowl.
4. Let sit for 3-5 minutes then add salad mix and toss well with a fork.