Easy Shepard’s Pie

I was having one of those evenings where the babies were see-sawing between mildly entertained and fussy, but I also really wanted to cook something yummy. I had ground beef and carrots in the fridge, onions and seasonings in the pantry. I didn’t feel like pasta, especially because my homemade Alfredo sauce the night before was an epic fail. But suddenly, I looked in one of my cabinets and spotted this handsome devil to the right.

Now, before you get all judgy, I’ll have you know that instant mashed potatoes are freakin delicious. They give you that whipped texture without all the added work. For a mom of twins who doesn’t have very much free time for cooking – that’s everything.

I took a glance at a few recipe combinations before making it my own. I knew that Shepard’s Pie with ground beef would be pretty straight forward, but the gravy-like mixture needed to be good. Rachel Ray has a great base for this (Rachel Ray’s Shepard’s Pie), but I made lots of changes and ultimately created…THIS:

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound (ish) – Ground Beef
  • 1 – medium/large Yellow Onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 – medium Carrots, diced
  • 1 cup – Frozen Peas
  • ½ teaspoon – Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 cloves – Garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons – Butter
  • “a pinch” – Celery Salt
  • “to taste” – Regular Salt
  • 2 tablespoons – All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup – Beef Broth
  • 2 ½ teaspoons – Worcestershire Sauce

…and for the Mashed Potatoes :

  • one 8 oz “Family Size” package – Instant Mashed Potatoes (quick & easy for the win! I ADORE the garlic kind)
    • OR two of the normal sized 4 oz packages will do just fine
  • 4 cups of water

Step 1

Brown the ground beef in a pan. Drain the excess fat, then return it to the pan.

Step 2

Add in your chopped onions, diced carrots, peas, red pepper flakes, pinch of celery salt, regular salt (to taste) and minced garlic to the cooked ground beef and stir together. Cover and let it all heat together at medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 3

Meanwhile…gotta get yo gravy goin’! In a separate pan, whisk together the beef broth, flour,Worcestershire sauce and butter over medium high heat. Bring just to a boil while stirring continuously, then remove it from the heat and add the gravy to your ground beef mixture. Let this sit without heat while you jump into step 4. Also – now’s a good time to turn on your oven’s broiler to low heat.

Step 4

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, then remove it from the heat. Add the 8 oz package (or the two 4 oz packages) of powdered mashed potatoes and quickly stir it all together until it’s smooth. Within seconds you have gorgeous delicious garlicky mashed potatoes. Sooooooo easyyyy!

Step 5

In a casserole dish, layer the ground beef mixture first, then top it off with the mashed potatoes. Be sure to cover the ground beef completely with the mashed potatoes so that the ground beef mixture won’t bubble over and ruin the pristine potatoey topping. Pop that dish in the oven and broil it on low until it’s juuuust golden brown on the top. Let it cool a bit before serving, garnish with a little parsley on top, then serve it up!

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This dish is a total hit since the first night I made it. Some nights I made it without carrots, sometimes without peas. It’s super adjustable depending on what you have in stock. Hope y’all enjoy a slice, or 3, on an upcoming cold winter night! Be sure to comment/share if you give it a try. I’d love to see pics of your “pie”!

Big hugs,

Katherine

 

 

Bourbon Glazed Salmon

BOURBON! Hope that go6O9C2353t your attention. Y’all, this bourbon glazed salmon dish is straight up heavenly. I’m so excited to share it! Sean and I love it so much that it was our choice for dinner on a recent Monday night. This wasn’t just any ol’ Monday – it was December 8th – our wedding anniversary. We went out in Tulsa for dinner the Saturday night before to celebrate, but for the actual night it seemed fitting to cook a nice dinner at home.

The combination of flavors leaves you wanting more: the sweetness of the brown sugar, sharpness from the soy sauce, the tangy spark to your tastebuds from the lime juice, the shy little heat from the pepper, and the not-so-shy burst of bourbon…ohhh that bourbon. It provides an amusing punch to the sauce that brings the whole thing together.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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2 or 3 skinless salmon filets

3 tablespoons of bourbon

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

3 tablespoons of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of minced garlic

1 tablespoon of lime juice

1 tablespoon of a ginger/garlic/sesame mix…or just ground ginger (…but that all in one stuff is awesome!)

3 tablespoons of sliced green onion

 

STEP 1

Once you’ve got your mis en place (everything in it’s place – ingredients ready for action!) ready, it’s crazy easy from here on out. Mix brown sugar, soy sauce, bourbon, garlic, lime juice, ginger mixture, and black pepper all together in a bowl.
Mixture/Glaze

STEP 2

Well that was easy! Give the liquid mixture a little taste…and I mean little…but beware of the hearty punch to your senses from the bourbon! A little goes a long way, and it cooks out…trust me. It’s the perfect amount when the dish all comes together. Lightly salt the salmon, then pour just half of the mixture over the salmon filets, resting patiently on a plate.

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STEP 3

Place the plate in the fridge to chill until you’re ready to cook. No longer than an hour in advance. When I cooked this, it was about 20/30 minutes early while I waited for Sean to come home and worked on desert. While that chills, Step 3 is really all about the other stuff (took everything in my not to say “all about that bass”…but I stayed strong!) like…oh I don’t know…pouring yourself a hella good glass of red wine? YEAH!

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Quick pause from the recipe to talk about this red blend. Ghost Pines‘ red blend came recommended by a staff member of our neighborhood liquor store, Kwenchers, which has quickly become our favorite place to get wine/beer/scotch (Sean’s a scotchy-scotch guy). I asked for “a nice red blend” and mentioned I usually love Apothic but wanted to try something different for our anniversary dinner. Kwenchers certainly knows good wine, because this recommendation was perfect. As I started to prepare dessert in advance, I took a sip…and it was like a Zack Morris style “time out” where the world stopped for a moment and let me savor its beautiful balance. Anyone else like a good red blend like me? It’s a medium bodied red, similar to Apothic, but slightly less sweet with a dryer finish. It’s absolutely perfect for this kind of dish. Just had to share!

STEP 4

Sides! Most any sides will do. I just threw together some small whole carrots and white rice. For the carrots, I sautéed them in a bit of a random mixure (but a personal favorite) of chicken broth and pumpkin pie spice. SUPER random sounding, right? But try it. Juuuuuuuuust try it 🙂 Be sure to let it simmer and roll around in the broth while covered. It’s our favorite easy way to cook carrots while also giving it a hint of spice. Nothing too fancy with the white rice. I always add a little butter, salt, and pepper to taste, then finish it with a little chopped parsley mixed in.

STEP 5

Cook the salmon in the pan for just a few minutes each side, depending on how thick your slices are. Our’s were thawed from frozen and on the thinner side, so about 3 to 4 minutes on one side, flip carefully, and 2 to 3 minutes on the other did the trick. After you flip the salmon, add the remaining glaze that you set aside originally and let it all come together just before it’s perfectly cooked; soaking in the fresh flavors at the last 2-3 minutes.

6O9C2380Sprinkle some chopped green onions over the dish (or a lot…like we did!) and ENJOY! I can’t wait to make this again. It’s a perfectly divine, perfectly easy recipe to make any night of the week. It was a classy compliment to our special night.

After dinner we decided to join the chilly Oklahoma evening outside for a fire in our fire pit. Jackets on, drinks refreshed, and a perfect night by the fire to laugh hysterically and catch up on life with my best friend, love of my life – my dear hubby. Love you so much, Sean.

Fire pit

 

Enjoy this dish for a special night, or for any ol’ day. We adore it. Hope you do too!

Happy cooking 🙂