Shepherd’s Pie

My mom has made shepherd’s pie for as long as I can remember.  Growing up, I liked the melty cheese.  As an adult, I like how easy & cheap it is to make. The last time I made it, I used leftover mashed potatoes, but you could also speed up the preparation by using instant potatoes if you wanted. I added more veggies to my mom’s recipe & made it gluten free, so know that this recipe is easy to customize.

Shepherd’s Pie

Adapted from Shellie McMaster’s recipe

Shepherd's Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 c ketchup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can green beans
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 c mashed potatoes
  • optional: sliced or shredded Cheddar

Directions:

  • Mix together hamburger, ketchup, egg, corn & beans.  Bake in a pie plate at 350, for about 30 minutes, or until the burger is browned
  • While the meat is cooking, make the mashed potatoes
  • Remove the meat from the oven & drain off any juices.  Spoon potatoes onto meat.  If desired, cover with cheese.
  • Bake at 350 for about 10 more minutes, or until cheese is melted and/or potatoes are warm
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Grilled Corn on the Cob

Grilled corn is soooo much better than boiled corn.  But it’s hard to find corn on the cob with the husks still on, other than in the summer.  So we take advantage of the short growing season & grill corn whenever we can.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

A Cooking Sugar original

Ingredients:

  • As many ears of corn as you want, with the husks still on

Directions:

  • Pull the husks down just enough to remove the silk
  • Pull the husks back up, so the corn is covered again; soak in water for 20 minutes
  • Remove from water & grill on bbq until done, about 20-25 minutes on low-medium heat

Beef & Zucchini Skillet

This skillet turned out pretty well, but of course Cody had suggestions for improvement.  The flavor was subtle, so he wasn’t crazy about it, but you just have to pay attention.  We just ate the mixture plain, but Cody’s suggestions included: serving over rice or noodles, adding tomato sauce to make it saucier, or dicing the zucchini (rather than slicing it).

Beef & Zucchini Skillet

from This Chick Cooks

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium or 1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise & sliced
  • olive oil for frying
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, or 3-4 diced large tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tb balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Fry the zucchini in olive oil, over medium heat, for about 2-3 minutes per side. The zucchini should be soft & slightly browned in places
  • In a separate skillet, brown the ground beef.  Add garlic a few minutes into cooking
  • Add tomatoes, vinegar, basil, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper to beef.  Cover the pan; cook until tomatoes are slightly soft, about 5 minutes
  • When the zucchini is all fried, stir it into the beef mixture & serve

Chicken-stuffed Peppers

Sometimes, Cody thinks I just pull recipes out of my ass.  In this case, I did.  I had Anaheim & bell peppers to use up, so stuffed peppers seemed like the best way to do that.  I put the chicken mixture in both types of pepper- it was good in both… even cold, the next day at lunch. The coolness of the chicken offset the spice of the Anaheims, so I could even eat them.

Chicken-stuffed Peppers

A Cooking Sugar original

Ingredients:

  • 4 large bell peppers, 6 Anaheim peppers, or a combination of both
  • 2 cans of shredded chicken (I get it at Costco), drained
  • 1/4 Miracle Whip or mayonaise
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Cut the top off the peppers & remove the seeds
  • Mix everything else together & stuff each pepper with the mixture
  • Bake at 400 degrees until the peppers are soft; about 20 minutes

Southwest Chicken Salad

So, I’m back! With excuses, of course 🙂  I spent 4 days in Phoenix at a work conference, then went on a 3 day mini-vacation with the husband & dogs.  The last week, I’ve just been trying to catch up, then my mom came to visit for Labor Day weekend.  I haven’t been cooking a lot, or even thinking about cooking… but I have a real meal plan for this week, so I’ll making  up for the slacking.

I liked the salad, but Cody reeeaaally liked it.  We didn’t have olives, so I left them out.  I’m not eating dairy, so I left the cheese off.  Cody put hot sauce & ranch on his; I put a little Italian dressing on my.  He also suggested shredding the chicken, or using ground beef seasoned with taco mix.  Basically, you can customize this salad to suite your tastes.

Southwest Chicken Salad

Adapted from Six Sisters

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken breasts, diced
  • 1/2 package taco seasoning
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1/2 can of olives, chopped
  • 1/2 c shredded mozzarella
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 avocados, chopped

Directions:

  • Dice the chicken breasts, sprinkle with taco mix, and cook in a large skillet with just enough olive oil to prevent sticking to the pan.
  • Throw everything together in a large bowl & mix well; serve with whatever dressing you want.

“Amish” Coleslaw

I’ve been looking for a dairy-free/mayo-free for awhile now.  I tried out Asian coleslaw, but it wasn’t the greatest.  Cody didn’t even really like it (yeah, the guy who eats anything).  So I was a little hesitant to try another version of slaw… but I had cabbage to use up.  Cody was pretty skeptical when I told him my plan for dinner, but he’s brave ;).  Luckily, this recipe turned out good!  It tastes just like coleslaw should, but it still fits within my new diet restrictions.

Amish Coleslaw

slightly adapted from All Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head cabbage, cored & shredded
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 c white sugar (you could cut it back to 1/2 cup)
  • 1 c vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard
  • 3/4 c vegetable oil (I used olive oil & it was fine)

Directions:

  • In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, salt, celery seed, 1 tsp sugar, mustard & oil.  Bring to a boil & cook for 3 minutes.  Cool completely
  • In a large bowl, combine cabbage, onion, & 1 c sugar.  Pour the cooled sauce mixture over the cabbage; toss to coat
  • Refrigerate overnight before serving

PS: It’ll be pretty runny- just serve with a slotted spoon.  And feel free to add shredded carrots, cucumbers, or zucchini.

Mashed Squash & Potatoes

I had cooked squash in the fridge, from an aborted attempt at making a baked squash casserole thing (since it had dairy in it, I abandoned the recipe).  I didn’t want to waste a whole squash, so I got creative… yes, this is me being creative 😉

This basically tasted like mashed potatoes- add more salt & pepper for extra flavor.

Mashed Squash & Potatoes

A Cooking Sugar original

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (acorn or kabocha would probably work too)
  • 8 medium potatoes, washed
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • diced fresh chives to taste (optional)

Directions:

  • Cut the squash into 1 inch cubes, removing the outer skin as you go.  Boil in water until soft, about 20-30 minutes
  • If you want, peel the potatoes.  Cut them into 1/2 inch cubes.  Boil in water until soft, about 20 minutes.  You could probably boil with the squash & just check the tenderness often after 20 minutes
  • Drain the squash & potatoes, then transfer to a large bowl.  Add chicken broth, salt & pepper, and chives.
  • Using a hand-held mixer or potato masher, smash up the squash & potatoes; serve warm