Monthly Archives: October 2013

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

We started making this easy recipe when our whole family went on a gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, no-preservative diet. We were trying to eat this paleo diet (like the paleolithic times!) to see if it eased my daughter’s eczema. Unfortunately, it didn’t really help her symptoms much and she still had a lot of itching and dryness. On the plus side, we felt great, it made us eat a ton of vegetables and healthy foods and cut out a lot of unnecessary junk in our lives.

Nowadays, we still eat pretty healthfully and I make shephards or cottage pie (or turkey) every few weeks or so. Its such an easy way to get a lot of veggies in a dish and its easy to prep in advance, most likely during a nap time. It also has such a homey, filling quality to it. I hope you enjoy it as well!

There is a lot of chopping involved here, but it really makes the dish super hearty and delicious. It’s something I feel really happy about feeding to my family ūüôā You can always do that step in advance and store until you are ready to cook.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my special helper this time.

Harper chose to work on "her job" instead of cooking with me this time
Harper chose to work on “her job” instead of cooking with me this time

But this guy came to keep me company:

Waiting for any dropped food!
Waiting for any dropped food!

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

2 lbs. ground beef (I used 93/7 this time.)
1 tsp each: thyme, basil, oregano
1 medium onion
1 red pepper
4 oz mushrooms
4 celery stalks
4 carrots (or big handful of baby carrots)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 TBL worcestershire
1 1/3 cup chicken broth, divided (Or beef broth)
2 tomatoes
2-3 large sweet potatoes*
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup milk
parmesan cheese

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie- Ingredients

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cube sweet potatoes and place in boiling water to steam 10-15 minutes, until fork-tender.

(*FYI I roasted my sweet potatoes the day before for 1 hr in 375 degree oven wrapped in foil and then cooled and refrigerated overnight).

Start filling by browning meat in large skillet and seasoning with salt and pepper and all herbs. Remove to another dish, leaving any fat in pan and set aside.

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie- Browned meat

Chop veggies: onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, red pepper and garlic. Add to skillet on medium low heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper.

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie- Chopped veggies Sweet Potato Cottage Pie- Veggies

While veggies cook, remove sweet potatoes and mash. (I use my immersion blender, it’s awesome!) Add garlic and onion powder, milk and 1/3 cup of chicken broth, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie- Mashed sweet potatoes

Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth to veggies and scrape up any bits on bottom of pan.

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie- broth added

Chop tomatoes and add to veggies. Add tomato paste and worcestershire, continuing to stir.

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie- Tomato, worcestershire added

Add another 3/4 cup of chicken stock and bring to simmer, 1-2 minutes.

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie- skillet

Return beef to pan and stir to incorporate.

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie- Filling complete

Add beef and veggie mix to 9 by 11 in pan. I find it helpful to press everything down with my spatula to even-out the filling.

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie- in the dish

Mound sweet potatoes by the spoonful atop the beef filling.

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie- Sweet potato dollops

Grate parmesan cheese all over top. The dish can be covered and put in refrigerator if need be or placed directly in oven, uncovered for 30-40 minutes.

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie- grated cheese

I like to broil the top for the last 2-3 minutes to get cheese really melted. Let stand for 5 minutes, then dig in!

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie- in the oven Sweet Potato Cottage Pie- broiled

Please let me know what you thought of the Sweet Potato Cottage Pie! I would love to hear from you!

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

Cider Oatmeal

Cider Oatmeal

This oatmeal is something I’ve been making since my daughter first started eating solid foods. (I’ve started adding nuts since then). Its so easy and the fruits and nuts can be swapped out for whatever you like and/or have on-hand.

I love using the apple cider around this time of year but I’ve also used apple juice in the off-season. The sweetness from the cider is the only sugar you need for this oatmeal. It’s awesome as leftovers as well, so make a big batch and warm it up as needed! Its really yummy either way!

Cider Oatmeal

2 1/2 cups apple cider
1 cup water
1 1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped apricots
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Apple Cider Oatmeal Ingredients

Stove top directions:

Combine apple cider and water in saucepan over medium low heat and bring to a simmer.

Apple Cider Oatmeal- Cider and Water

Add fruits, nuts and spices. Mix together and bring back to simmering; this should take 1-2 minutes.

Apple Cider Oatmeal- Add fruit, nuts and spices

Add rolled oats and stir to incorporate. Cover and turn heat to low.

Apple Cider Oatmeal- Add oats

Cook for 8 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from heat and uncover to cool. Oatmeal should firm a bit more.

Apple Cider Oatmeal- Remove lid to cool

This recipe is really easy to reheat on a busy morning. It will be really firm coming out of the refrigerator. I like to warm it up in the microwave and then thin with a little milk and some extra walnuts on top.

Apple Cider Oatmeal- Warm and delicious

I’ve also made this oatmeal in my rice cooker. It doesn’t get much easier than this!

Rice Cooker directions:

Pour all ingredients into rice cooker. Turn on. Stir. Rice cooker will switch off when ready. Mine takes about 15-18 minutes. Let cool.

Cider Oatmeal
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Cider oatmeal is a sweet meal that includes dried fruits and walnuts in delicious spiced oats.
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups apple cider
  • 1 cup water
  • 1½ cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup chopped apricots
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Combine apple cider and water in saucepan over medium low heat and bring to a simmer.
  2. Add fruits, nuts and spices. Mix together and bring back to simmering; this should take 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add rolled oats and stir to incorporate. Cover and turn heat to low.
  4. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from heat and uncover to cool. Oatmeal should firm a bit more.
  5. This recipe is really easy to reheat on a busy morning. It will be really firm coming out of the refrigerator. I like to warm it up in the microwave and then thin with a little milk and some extra walnuts on top.
  6. Rice Cooker directions:
  7. Pour all ingredients into rice cooker. Turn on. Stir. Rice cooker will switch off when ready. Mine takes about 15-18 minutes. Let cool.

 

ENJOY!
Please let me know what you thought of the Cider Oatmeal! I would love to hear for you!

Combine apple cider and water in saucepan over medium low heat and bring to a simmer.

Apple Cider Oatmeal- Cider and Water

Add fruits, nuts and spices. Mix together and bring back to simmering; this should take 1-2 minutes.

Apple Cider Oatmeal- Add fruit, nuts and spices

Add rolled oats and stir to incorporate. Cover and turn heat to low.

Apple Cider Oatmeal- Add oats

Cook for 8 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from heat and uncover to cool. Oatmeal should firm a bit more.

Apple Cider Oatmeal- Remove lid to cool

This recipe is really easy to reheat on a busy morning. It will be really firm coming out of the refrigerator. I like to warm it up in the microwave and then thin with a little milk and some extra walnuts on top.

Apple Cider Oatmeal- Warm and delicious

I’ve also made this oatmeal in my rice cooker. It doesn’t get much easier than this!

Rice Cooker directions:

Pour all ingredients into rice cooker. Turn on. Stir. Rice cooker will switch off when ready. Mine takes about 15-18 minutes. Let cool.

Cider Oatmeal
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Cider oatmeal is a sweet meal that includes dried fruits and walnuts in delicious spiced oats.
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups apple cider
  • 1 cup water
  • 1½ cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup chopped apricots
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Combine apple cider and water in saucepan over medium low heat and bring to a simmer.
  2. Add fruits, nuts and spices. Mix together and bring back to simmering; this should take 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add rolled oats and stir to incorporate. Cover and turn heat to low.
  4. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from heat and uncover to cool. Oatmeal should firm a bit more.
  5. This recipe is really easy to reheat on a busy morning. It will be really firm coming out of the refrigerator. I like to warm it up in the microwave and then thin with a little milk and some extra walnuts on top.
  6. Rice Cooker directions:
  7. Pour all ingredients into rice cooker. Turn on. Stir. Rice cooker will switch off when ready. Mine takes about 15-18 minutes. Let cool.

 

ENJOY!
Please let me know what you thought of the Cider Oatmeal! I would love to hear for you!

Savory Beef Stew

Savory Beef Stew

About a year ago, my grandparents came to visit and I was given a few of my grandmother’s old cookbooks; some were 40-plus years old. After sitting on my shelves for most of that year, I finally got them out a few weeks ago and started sifting through the recipes. Some of them I sounded just perplexing (Creamed Chicken in Zesty Corn Ring; Asparagus-Peanut Casserole?) and some sounded down right delicious. This is one of the awesome ones, it has so much great flavor.

So I made this stew in my slow cooker instead of on the stove (which you could do!) and I added a few more vegetables but I think it made it even better! Its perfect for autumn evenings since it just sticks to your ribs!

Savory Beef Stew

1 1/2 lb. beef chuck, cubed
2 TBL olive oil
salt & pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 med onion
3 stalks celery
3 parsnips
4 oz mushrooms
3 carrots (or handful of baby carrots)
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup chicken broth, divided
1 tsp basil, thyme and sage, each
1 lb gold potatoes
parmesan cheese for finishing

Savory Beef Stew- Ingredients

Begin by seasoning beef with salt and pepper and brown in olive oil in a Dutch oven for 3-4 minutes. (I tried to avoid my non-stick pan for this to get all the extra flavor on the bottom to scrap off later!) Remove with slotted spoon to a plate.

Savory Beef Stew- Browned beef

Chop all vegetables and add onion, celery, parsnips and garlic to pan with beef juices. Saute on medium low until transparent, 3 minutes or so, stirring often.

Savory Beef Stew- Onion, Parsnip, Celery, GarlicSavory Beef Stew- Into the fire!

Add carrots and mushrooms and saute for 3 minutes more. Add herbs and a good amount of salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth to scrap up all brown bits from bottom of pan.

Savory Beef Stew- Mushrooms and Carrots Savory Beef Stew- Browning Vegetables

Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes to vegetables and warm through. Take off of heat.

Savory Beef Stew- Tomatos added

Chop potatoes and add to slow cooker.

Savory Beef Stew- Potatoes

Add veggie/tomato mixture, remaining chicken broth and beef to potatoes in slow cooker. Stir to make sure everything is mixed thoroughly.

Savory Beef Stew- Crock pot turned on

Turn slow cooker on Low for 4-6 hours or High for 3 hours.

Savory Beef Stew- LOW

We had my daughter’s soccer practice in the evening so this was awesome to come home to and just dig right in!

Savory Beef Stew- Dinnertime!

We added a little grated parmesan cheese to the top, just to give it another layer of flavor! Even Calvin, the baby loved this hearty stew!

If you wanted to do it on the stove, just add everything into the Dutch Oven with the vegetable mix (instead of slow cooker) and set on low for 1 hour.

Savory Beef Stew
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Rich, hearty beef stew is cooked low and slow with delicious beef chunks with carrots and potatoes.
Ingredients
  • 1½ lb. beef chuck, cubed
  • 2 TBL olive oil salt & pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 med onion
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 3 parsnips
  • 4 oz mushrooms
  • 3 carrots (or handful of baby carrots)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1½ cup chicken broth, divided
  • 1 tsp basil, thyme and sage, each
  • 1 lb gold potatoes
  • parmesan cheese for finishing
Instructions
  1. Begin by seasoning beef with salt and pepper and brown in olive oil in a Dutch oven for 3-4 minutes. (I tried to avoid my non-stick pan for this to get all the extra flavor on the bottom to scrap off later!) Remove with slotted spoon to a plate.
  2. Chop all vegetables and add onion, celery, parsnips and garlic to pan with beef juices. Saute on medium low until transparent, 3 minutes or so, stirring often.
  3. Add carrots and mushrooms and saute for 3 minutes more. Add herbs and a good amount of salt and pepper. Add ½ cup chicken broth to scrap up all brown bits from bottom of pan.
  4. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes to vegetables and warm through. Take off of heat.
  5. Chop potatoes and add to slow cooker.
  6. Add veggie/tomato mixture, remaining chicken broth and beef to potatoes in slow cooker. Stir to make sure everything is mixed thoroughly.
  7. Turn slow cooker on Low for 4-6 hours or High for 3 hours.
  8. If you wanted to do it on the stove, just add everything into the Dutch Oven with the vegetable mix (instead of slow cooker) and set on low for 1 hour.

 

Please let me know what you thought of the Savory Beef Stew! I would love to hear from you!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Chocolate-Chip Muffins

This recipe comes from my mom and she makes these muffins every time we come to visit them in Texas. She always has a huge Tupperware container sitting out on the counter and its the first thing I eat when we walk in the door, usually after our super long 12 hour drive!

Since we’ve already decided that we will be celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas here at our house in Florida, I was really excited to whip up a bunch of these for old times sake! They tasted just like my mom makes them, all chocolatey and delicious! (Even better since I had my special helper with me!)

Banana Chocolate-Chip Muffins

1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal (or wheatgerm)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mashed banana (usually 2 meduim size)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

banana-chocolate-chip-muffin-ingredients

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir sour cream and soda together in a small bowl and set aside. (I had my special helper do that, so helpful!)

stirring-banana-muffin

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Make sure butter is really soft and room temperature when doing this step.

butter-sugar-banana-bread

Add egg, beating well.

add-egg-banana-bread

Beat in sour cream mixture.

Banana Chocolate-Chip Muffins- Sour cream & soda added

Stir in remaining ingredients. (Trust me, they are all in there, my helper just dumped them all in.) Don’t over mix it!

Banana Chocolate-Chip Muffins- Stir in remaining

Eat a few extra chips.

Banana Chocolate-Chip Muffins- Eat a chocolate chip!

Spoon into greased muffin pans. (I used the butter wrapper with my silicone pan, I love that thing!)

Banana Chocolate-Chip Muffins- Spoon into muffin pan

This is what I got when I said, Smile!

Banana Chocolate-Chip Muffins- no, smile!

Bake for 18-22 minutes. They will be down when golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before removing from pan.

Banana Chocolate-Chip Muffins- Bake to golden brownBanana Chocolate-Chip Muffins- Let cool and try not to eat them all them all

Acting silly while our muffins baked!

Banana Chocolate-Chip Muffins- Acting sillyBanana Chocolate-Chip Muffins- Laughing

Banana Chocolate-Chip Muffinswaiting-for-muffins

Enjoy while warm, that’s when they taste the best! (Bathtime was where these muffins where enjoyed. Otherwise I would have posted a pic of her eating one!)

Please let me know what you thought of the Banana Chocolate-Chip Muffins! I would love to hear from you!

Banana Chocolate-Chip Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 muffins
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup flaxseed meal (or wheatgerm)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup mashed banana (usually 2 meduim size)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir sour cream and soda together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Make sure butter is really soft and room temperature when doing this step.
  3. Add egg, beating well.
  4. Beat in sour cream mixture.
  5. Stir in remaining ingredients. Don’t over mix.
  6. Spoon into greased muffin pans. (I used the butter wrapper with my silicone pan, I love that thing!)
  7. Bake for 18-22 minutes. They will be down when golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before removing from pan.

 

King Ranch Chicken

King Ranch Chicken

When you want something yummy, filling, cheesy and/or all of the above, this is a great dish for that. I even prepped everything ahead of time and then let it sit in the fridge until a hour before we were ready to eat. I love recipes like this since I can do so much while little ones are sleeping or otherwise occupied.

I adapted this recipe from a few different ones and omitted a lot of the “cream-of” whatevers soups. It still has that great creamy taste, but with none of the weird, hard to pronounce ingredients!

We gobbled this right up and had hardly any left over. This dish is also one that can be easily doubled and frozen. Just defrost overnight in the fridge and bake as you would with the other version! Enjoy!!

 

King Ranch Chicken

6-8 chicken thighs
1 TBL chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 onion
1 each, red and green pepper
3 cloves garlic
2 roma tomatoes
3 TBL flour
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies
12 flour tortillas
8 oz grated cheese
1 TBL chopped cilantro

King Ranch Chicken- Ingredients

Lay out chicken thighs on baking sheet and season with salt, pepper and spices on both sides and brush with olive oil. Put in oven to broil for 4-5 min per side until browned. (You could also use already cooked chicken, just add seasoning and spices.)

King Ranch Chicken- Spice Mix

King Ranch Chicken- Chicken Thighs

Remove chicken from tray and reserve 1/4 cup of liquid from chicken. (Use 3 TBL of butter if using cooked chicken.) Allow chicken to cool and chop/shred into bite-size peices. (I usually do this in the dish its to be cooked in, less dirty dishes, right!?)

Warm reserved liquid in skillet or saute pan and heat to bubbling. Add flour and cook 1-2 min until flour is moistened. Add chicken broth and bring to boiling. Reduce and cook for 5-10 min. Pour into another container (I used my measuring cup).

King Ranch Chicken- 2 cups broth

Chop all veggies and mince garlic.

King Ranch Chicken- Green Pepper, Onion, Red Pepper, Garlic

Using the same pan, add veggies and saute on medium low for 5 min until soft.

King Ranch Chicken- Sautee Veggies

Chop tomatoes and add fresh tomatoes and Rotel to pan.

King Ranch Chicken- Tomatos diced

Slice tortillas into triangles

King Ranch Chicken- Tortilla Triangles

Now time to start layering! I set up an assembly line: tortillas, veggies, chicken, cheese. First, layer tortillas on bottom of a large oven-proof pan. (If you don’t have the chicken liquid in your dish, make sure to spray the bottom.)

King Ranch Chicken- Cover the bottom

Next, comes 1/3 of the veggies, then 1/3 of the chicken.King Ranch Chicken- Layering

Add cheese and keep layering, tortillas, veggies, and chicken until all is used, holding off on last 1/3 of cheese. Pour soup mixture then add cheese and sprinkle cilantro on top.

King Ranch Chicken- Ready for the oven

At this point you could put in oven at 325 for 40 minutes or cover and refrigerate or freeze. If refrigerated, I put it in my oven for 1 hour at 325. If frozen, you can defrost in fridge and then follow refrigerator instructions.

FInished Product! King Ranch Chicken

We served it with some sour cream to top it off, yummmm!

King Ranch Chicken
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
A home made make ahead update to the classic King Ranch Chicken. No soups here!
Ingredients
  • 6-8 chicken thighs
  • 1 TBL chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 onion
  • 1 each, red and green pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 3 TBL flour
  • 2½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies
  • 12 flour tortillas
  • 8 oz grated cheese
  • 1 TBL chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. Lay out chicken thighs on baking sheet and season with salt, pepper and spices on both sides and brush with olive oil. Put in oven and broil for 4-5 minutes per side until browned. (You can use already cooked chicken, just add seasoning and spices).
  2. Remove chicken from tray and reserve ¼ cup of liquid from chicken. (Use 3 TBL of butter if using cooked chicken.) Allow chicken to cool and chop/shred into bite size pieces. (Can be done in dish used it will all be cooked in.
  3. Warm reserved liquid (or butter) in skillet or saute pan and heat until bubbling. Add flour and cook 1-2 minutes until flour is moistened. Add chicken broth and bring to boiling. Reduce and cook for 5-10 minutes. Pour into another container.
  4. Chop all veggies and mince garlic. Using same pan, add veggies and saute on medium low for 5 minutes until soft.
  5. Chop tomatoes and add to pan with Rotel as well.
  6. Slice tortillas into triangles.
  7. Start layers in 9x13 casserole, covering bottom with tortillas first then ⅓ of veggies, ⅓ of chicken, cheese. Keep layering until all is used, holding off on last ⅓ of cheese. Pour soup mixture first then add cheese.
  8. *Can be refrigerated or frozen after covering at this point. Place in oven for 1 hour at 325. If frozen, defrost in fridge overnight and then heated in oven as above.
  9. Serve with sour cream on top!

Please let me know what you thought of the King Ranch Chicken! I would love to hear from you!

 

The First of Many

So here goes! My first post of what I know will be many posts!

Who am I? I am a mother of two, working on raising these munchkins and all that goes with that. I try to get them to eat their veggies (not that hard, most of the time!), and actually have everyone at the table love it too! My hubby is a big-time carnivore, so I try to address that with every dinner as well.

We eat at home mostly because that’s easier with a crazy (but really sweet!) 3 year old and a rambunctious and silly one year old but also because its cheaper, healthier and more convenient overall.

Here will be my reviews and recipes of what we eat. I am not a chef, and have no formal training when it comes to food, but I just love cooking for my family and loved ones. I will tell you what we think of the things that I cook or bake or prepare and what we love about them. If we don’t like it, I promise to not post it but will likely redo it and end up really enjoying it next time! Hopefully, you find something awesome and will make it for your loved ones!

Shannon