Archive | February 2012

Shepherd’s Pie

I love dinners that are full of veggies and comfort. Well this recipe from kitchen stewardship has both. (I love Katie from Kitchen Stewardship. I suggest you check out her website and recipes and ebooks for fabulous whole foods cooking.) It’s one of my favorites and is a fantastic freezer meal. I made a couple in September and froze them and we just ate one this week and after thawing for several hours then cooking for 2 hours is was perfect. I leave the cheese off till the last 10 min. even when freezing.  So here are my changes.

I add whatever veggies I have. I particularly like broccoli, carrots or parsnips. I usually leave out the peas and the meat as we aren’t big meat eaters. I did try it with ground beef once for company and I didn’t think it was that much better. I usually add a can of pinto beans instead.  It makes a very large 13×9 pan. Since this is the time of year for red potatoes to go on sale it’s a good time to stock up and make this! You won’t be disappointed.

Shepherd’s Pie

2 1/2 lb. red potatoes, chunked
3 cloves crushed garlic (or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder), divided
4-6 slices bacon, optional but yummy (I leave this out)
1 lb. ground beef or turkey (I sub pinto beans instead)
(note: a great chance to sneak in liver or heart…)
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground thyme
freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2-4 carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1-2 c. chopped broccoli, including stems
1 c. frozen peas
4 Tbs. flour (or arrowroot starch)
1 c. chicken or beef stock or broth
1 c. plain yogurt, divided
1 egg
2 Tbs. butter
1/4 c. cottage cheese (I leave this out too since I never have any.)
1/2-1 tsp. Real Salt, to taste (or other unrefined sea salt)
1/2 c.+ shredded cheddar cheese, divided (sharp is best)



Boil potatoes with a clove or two of crushed garlic and some sea salt and cook on medium-low until tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, get busy in another medium-large pot.

Cook the bacon, drain grease, chop bacon and set aside. In the same pot, brown the ground meat. Drain grease if necessary. [If you’re low on time, you could have the bacon going in a frying pan next to the big pot to speed things up. Or better yet, maybe you are smart and have some already cooked bacon in your freezer!]

Season meat with paprika, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook about 5 minutes to soften veggies, then add red pepper, broccoli, peas, and remaining crushed garlic. Cook 2 minutes. Put the bacon back in.

Stir in flour (or starch), and cook and stir 2 minutes (to get rid of the flour taste). Add broth and 1/2 c. yogurt and bring to a low simmer.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

When the potatoes are tender, stir a ladle of the cooking water into one beaten egg in a small bowl. Drain the potatoes. You can leave them in the pot a few minutes to dry out a bit if you’re still working on all those veggies in the other pot!

Smash the potatoes with butter, 1/2 c. yogurt (or sour cream), salt, pepper, and cottage cheese plus 1/4 c. of the shredded cheddar. Add the egg mixture and stir well.

Pour the meat mixture into an oval or 9×13 casserole dish (usually both, this recipe tends to grow like the loaves and fishes!). Top with potatoes and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 c. cheddar cheese on top. You’ll likely need extra if you divided the meal into two pans. Bake 20 minutes until bubbly and the cheese is melted.

Serves: many! 8-10 people perhaps?


This recipe freezes great once in the pan.  To reheat a frozen casserole, thaw completely and bake at 350F 30-40 minutes until bubbly. You may want to leave the shredded cheese off before you freeze, then add it the last 10 minutes of baking. It’s helpful to cover the casserole with an inverted cookie sheet for the first 20-30 minutes so you don’t burn the potatoes.

It’s Leap Day!! & Salmon Chowder

I made a goal for our family when we were first married that every leap year day we would eat a special meal and use our china. So even if we never did during the year (which we do) we would have a chance to teach our children about manners and make it a special day at least every four years. I thought it was a cool idea.

Well it’s our 3rd leap day and I am on the couch with a cold and my horrible back that I’ve been down with for 2 months and I wondered how I was going to pull off a nice dinner when we’ve been surviving on freezer meals for weeks.  Well first I had to really lower my expectations and realize my children ages 11, 8, & 4 probably don’t remember the last leap year day. So I settled on a salmon chowder and I even used canned salmon!! Heaven forbid! I just couldn’t pull myself off the couch to thaw and then cook the salmon.  I already had celery and onions chopped and frozen in the freezer so all I really had to do for prep was chop 2 potatoes and make the white sauce. And I have to say that this will be a staple in our house. It turned out fantastic. I even took a picture we’ll see if i can get it uploaded. I still don’t know how. Anyone out there know?

Salmon Chowder

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2 cups diced potatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans salmon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 2 c. whole milk


  1. Melt 2 T butter in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion, celery, and garlic  until onions are tender. Stir in potatoes,water salt, pepper, dill & the salmon juice in the cans. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat. Cover, and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are barely tender.
  2. Meanwhile put 6 T butter, the flour, milk and heavy cream in a blender and blend till butter is chopped and incorporated about 10 seconds. This is your white sauce.
  3. Stir in salmon, white sauce, corn, and cheese. Cook until thickened & heated through stirring constantly.