Tag Archives: Carrots

Is it Cottage or Shepherd’s Pie?

Most people call this dish “Shepherd’s Pie”. Period.

Cottage Pie - Foodies Gone Real

There are food purists out there that will argue you on this, though… and here’s the real titles, as far as my research shows:

COTTAGE Pie= beef

SHEPHERD Pie = lamb

FYI… This is cottage pie.

This is common fare for us in the winter, and especially in the month of March around St. Patrick’s Day.  I know, I know… shouldn’t it have been corned beef and hash? Alas, this is probably where the other parts of my genetic make-up take over. Can’t stand corned beef.  So I this is a classic dish, British-Isles-Ish, that I feel good about eating on March 17th.

And yes, I’m late posting it. But I’m making it again in a week or so… so see. You don’t have to only eat it for St. Patrick’s Day.

I also love it for the following reasons:

  1. Cheap. It can be as cheap as you need it to be… however…
  2. You can definitely “take it up a notch.”

I would argue that “taking it up a notch” doesn’t really keep true to its roots in the British Isles, BUT, it does seem to better appease our American taste buds.

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds Ground Beef
Potatoes – about 4-6 russet potatoes, preferably, peeled and chopped
2 tbl butter, 1/2 c milk (for making mashed potatoes)
2-3 tbl Butter (for saute veggies, as needed)
Sprinkle of ground sage
1 tsp thyme
1 Onion (small), chopped
4 Carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cups Peas
Splash of whiskey (for deglazing, but you could use additional broth instead)
1/4 c broth (or water)
Salt/Pepper

TAKIN’ IT UP A NOTCH…

One small can of tomato paste
Shredded cheddar cheese – about 1/2 cup

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 400*.

Brown your beef and chop your veggies.  This is almost always my first step, because I like to use the fat leftover from your beef to saute the veggies… I’m big into waste not, want not.

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While your beef is browning, bring a pot of water to boil for your potatoes.  Once it’s boiling, drop in your peeled chopped potatoes.  You are making mashed potatoes to top off the pie.

After the beef is browned, use a slotted spoon to remove.  If you can do it quickly, you don’t need to reduce to heat (keep the fat simmering).  Then, plop in your onions, carrots, sage, and thyme.  You may need to add more butter to prevent sticking.

After they’ve sauteed for about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper generously, but if you plan to use salted broth for deglazing and/or later in the recipe, just go easy if you don’t like things over salted.

Cottage Pie - Foodies Gone Real

Once the onions and carrots are tender, put the beef back in with the onion, carrots and herbs, and splash your whiskey (you can use broth if no whiskey).  Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits at the bottom of your pan.  This makes the food divine.  I do not joke. Do not skip this step of deglazing!

I like to think using whiskey makes it more authentic. I mean, we ARE trying to tie ourselves to Irish, roots, aye?

Now add your peas. Fry up for a few minutes until they start to thaw.

Cottage Pie - Foodies Gone Real

Add your meat and broth (or water) Bring to a boil and you want to ensure your peas are cooked all the way through if you’re using frozen (which is pretty much what I always do).  If you used canned you probably don’t want to cook as long as they don’t turn to complete mush.

Cottage Pie - Foodies Gone Real

Once the liquid is reduced some, peas are cooked, dump your veggie beef mix in the largest pan you have.

Now, about this time, those potatoes are tender and falling apart in your pot.  Strain them, mash ’em up with butter and milk.

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This is the only tricky part to the recipe: Dollup the potatoes around the beef and then spread it out, as if frosting a cake.

Cottage Pie - Foodies Gone Real

Cover your dish and cook for about 20 minutes.  Peek at it.  If you’re using a clear glass dish, you should see the liquid boiling inside.  This is a good sign.

Uncover the dish, and put it back in the oven.  Let it cook for another 5-10 minutes.  This is really for however crispy/browned you want your mashed potatoes.  (The good news of course is that all the ingredients are actually cooked before you put it in the oven.  It’s entirely safe to eat, if you like.  This is just more about “melding the flavors.”)

TAKING IT UP A NOTCH:

Right before putting your beef+veggie mix into the pan, mix in one can of tomato paste.  Probably not authentically Irish, but I llllooovvveeee the flavor it adds.

After you’ve spread the mashed potatoes on top as described above, sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese on top of the potatoes and then cover.  When you remove your cover/lid/foil during the bake process, you can watch the cheese to how melty/brown you like.

Cottage Pie - Foodies Gone Real

For THIS time, I added the cheese.  We can’t go wrong with cheese in this house.

This is what it looks like, pulled out of the oven after a total of 25 minutes (5 uncovered).

fter you've spread the mashed potatoes on top as described above, sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese on top of the potatoes and then cover.  When you remove your cover/lid/foil during the bake process, you can watch the cheese to how melty/brown you like.

This is what it looks like served, and about to be devoured, like the true Irish woman I am. I adore potatoes (check out this and this and this if you don’t believe me). I love them sooooo much.

Cottage Pie - Foodies Gone Real

 

 

Ramen, a Slurpy Soup

So, I love soups.  I would eat them every day.  I love broth ones, porridge ones, creamy ones.  In a box with a fox, in a house with a mouse.

My wonderful, long-suffering Italian husband… he’ll eat them. He’s a good sport. But he doesn’t love them.

I love Asian food.  I’m a military brat who spent a total of 6 years of her childhood on Okinawa (and some other random places, too). I grew up in a home that appreciated this “ethnic” food, and we ate it frequently.

My wonderful, long-suffering Italian husband… he’ll eat it. He’s a good sport.  But he doesn’t love it.

UNTIL.

Homemade ramen soup.

Ramen, A Slurpy Soup - Foodies Gone Real

He actually asks for this. I’m not entirely convinced it’s because it has a pasta-like carb in it ;-) but for us… happy medium when I’m craving Asian and he’s not feeling so tolerable to my other dishes. Like cabbage stir-fry or fried rice.

Now, my disclaimer is this: there is probably going to be some ramen purist out there that will claim I didn’t do this the correct way.  You’re probably right.  There’s likely many restaurants out there that could make this more authentically.  However… this foodie is on a budget. With legit health concerns over the food I eat. So I think this is a balanced compromise.

We start this soup like any other soup or stew-like food, like my chicken soup, chili, or even stroganoff – frying the onions in butter. You can create no better base than this!

INGREDIENTS:

butter, for sauteing
1 small onion, or about 1 c. chopped
1 medium carrot
1 pound of ground pork… as best sourced as you can afford
1 clove garlic (or two!)
1/2 c. san-j soy sauce (I can’t recommend any other brand)
1 tsp. ground ginger
dash red pepper flakes
ground pepper to test
5 cups water (or broth)
1 cup frozen peas, optional (but delicious!)

Note on the veggies: by all means… feel free to increase them. I often do, to increase vegetable intake

Other items:
ramen noodles
hard-boiled egg, at least 1/2 per person
chopped scallions or chives
diced carrots, mushrooms… lots of topping ideas. We usually stick to green onions, but if you know you have a favorite asian topping, I promise you can add it and it will be fine!
And… I recommend chopsticks :)

DIRECTIONS:

Do your thing with the butter, onions and carrots.  I would recommend using a big pot or dutch oven.  Also, side note, this smells like heaven. If you were slightly hungry before starting, now you’re likely salivating.

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Remove the vegetables (I use a slotted spoon) once they are softened (they don’t have to be mushy… you’re going to boil it later) and brown the the ground pork.  DO NOT SALT IT. If you’re a home cook and you’ve done browning meat any length of time, a lot of recipes call for salting it.  You will regret it because of that soy sauce that’s coming on later.  However, feel free to go nuts with the pepper. The soup can be as spicy or peppery as you want, so do this as what you feel is appropriate for your tastes.

Ramen, A Slurpy Soup - Foodies Gone Real

Now that the pork is browned, add the veggies back in.  Sprinkle on the ginger and red pepper flakes.  Stir and let it saute for just a minute.  Now you may add the soy sauce.

Use the soy sauce to scrape up the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot … this is also called deglazing.  You want the brown bits because it adds flavor. I promise it’s true, because the depth is not as great if you tried to clean it off (and not use it) and then continue cooking with a clean pot.

Add your water.  You could use broth… wouldn’t hurt.  However, if it’s salted you might run into issues make the soup too salty.

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Throw in your peas if you’re using … and begin the boil.

Now while this is boiling, I recommend doing the following:

  1. get your hard-boiled eggs ready, if necessary
  2. get your ramen noodles ready
  3. chop your garnish

I know there are guides out there for how to boil eggs. I just use this sucker (check it out here). Love it. Had it for years and it was a cheapy kitchen spontaneous buy.

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You want to boil the soup for about 10 minutes, (this is about cooking the veggies the rest of the way), then let it simmer for another 15 minutes or so.  Just honestly, you could rush this. Or draw it out.  Whatever you are working with in time. I wouldn’t recommend letting it simmer for an hour or anything… I think the peas and carrots would go to mush. Unless you like that kind of thing… then knock yourself out.

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Now here’s how it’s going to vary… prepping whatever ramen you’re using. I use gluten-free ramen noodles. I’m still not over this… my ITALIAN HUSBAND LOVES THESE THINGS. 1) They’re Asian and 2) they’re rice (not wheat). My noodles call for me to boil them for a very short amount of time, then run then under cold water. I just have to tell you… if you buy them and they say to run it under cold water…. DON’T SKIP IT. It prevents them from cooking further and not turning gross and mushy. The benefit of the soup still simmering is that once I drop the noodles in, it rewarms them! It works beautifully.

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Because I have to limit my carb intake, I do not put 4 servings of ramen noodles in the big pot once they’re done.  I ladle out the soup into individual bowls then put in the cooked pasta as per our carb preferences.  (You can buy a big pack of these noodles here.)

And then… top it.  That egg, y’all. THAT EGG. And those scallions. I really wouldn’t skip these garnishes!

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Isn’t this soup great and forgiving? it really is what you want it to be. Maybe that’s why my Italian husband loves it, too.

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DISCLOSURE: There may be affiliate links within this post. I never recommend anything arbitrarily and receive small financial benefit. If I choose to recommend something, it’s of my own free will and volition and MORE because I think you’ll benefit from hearing about it more than me gaining the $$.

Ancient Grain Lazy Chicken Pot Pie

It’s ancient grain because it uses Einkorn wheat, which is the “original wheat” (no hybridizing or bred for production.  It just is what it is.  And it’s GOOD).  I give quite a bit of information on why I prefer Einkorn in this post – my recipe for waffles.

It’s lazy because I didn’t bother with the crust.

Well, I bothered, but didn’t go crazy.

See what I mean?

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A) I didn’t make it in a pie dish – I actually made the pie right in the cast iron skillet.  So there’s only a top here.

B) I didn’t bother making it perfect looking. And point a) to this is… this was food for my belly, not for presentation.

I’ll add this in now — This recipe =  1/2 green, 1 yellow, 1 red for those on 21 Day Fix. Yes, I did the 21-day fix, and yes, I promise to post my thoughts soon. But for those on the plan now and watching what they eat… there ya go. :)

I grew up on stuff like chicken pot pie.  This time of year I tend to really miss comfort foods. I think, at least here in upstate NY, it’s because we’re inside, and you actually want to cook because there’s the side benefit of warming your home.  You want hot food.  I don’t tend to miss it so much in the summer – for me, this has to do with the amount of grilling I do.

But I digress.  Let’s deal with the weather at hand, and make a clean chicken pot pie.

TOOLS:
Cutting Board
Good Knife
Cast Iron skillet… I would go bigger rather than smaller

NOTE:
I ate a quarter of this in one sitting without guilt. So, if you’re planning on serving this to more than four people, I recommend throwing in some side dishes.

Also, you can cook the chicken and prep the pie crust ahead of time.  No real changes to the latter parts of the recipe are necessary if you choose to do so.

INGREDIENTS:

Pie crust ingredients (you can sub in your own recipe, but I recommend giving Einkorn a chance!) —
1 cup of Einkorn flour
4 tbl salted grass-fed butter
3-4 tbl water
sprinkling of salt

Innards of the pie —
1 1/3 cup chopped cooked chicken (I highly recommend going with dark meat! It will taste better!)
2 cup chopped veggies – what you have around will work
1 tbl salted grass-fed butter
1 cup milk
2 chopped skinned potatoes (about 1 cup)
2 cups chicken broth
lots of salt, rosemary, thyme, sage

DIRECTIONS:

Cook your chicken if you haven’t already done so.  Some families roast a whole bird and then pick off of it for other meals… this is a great option for this recipe.
I sprinkled my chicken with rosemary, thyme, salt and garlic and then roasted it.

I roasted it at 400* for about 35 minutes.  I wasn’t really worried about over-cooking it since I was going to dump it in a creamy-brothy pan later.

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While the chicken is cooking (if you aren’t using leftovers) make your pie crust.

Cut the 4 tablespoons of butter into the flour.  You want the pieces of butter pea-size or smaller. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt.

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Then, drizzle 3 tablespoons of water over the butter-flour mixture.  I would recommend using your hands to mix this together.  If you’ve made pie crust before with a food processor, feel free to do so.  I am without a food processor so it’s up to ingenuity to do without. :)

You want to mix it until it comes together in a somewhat dry dough.  Think play-dough.  You may want to add that fourth tablespoon of water if it’s really flaky or you can’t get it to combine.

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Cover it, and put it in the fridge to harden up.

Once chicken is done and cool, chop it up.  I used the breast pictured above and a few other pieces of dark meat.

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Chop up those veggies.  I used a tiny bit of celery, lots of carrots and onions.  I would recommend whatever combination you do with your veggies that you at least involve a little bit of carrot and onion for flavor. Chop up those potatoes too. (*Note: you can do without the potatoes, if you desire, and sub in more veggies. HOWEVER, potatoes help thicken up the “sauce” later, so I would recommend sprinkling a tablespoon of gluten-free, einkorn, sprouted wheat, or rice flour when you’ve combined the milk in a later step).

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Preheat your oven to 400*.

Melt some butter in your cast iron skillet.  A tablespoon will probably be enough if it’s a well-seasoned cast iron pan.  If you are not using cast iron, you’re likely going to need quite a bit more butter to prevent the veggies from sticking.

Add your veggies to the pan of melted butter. Throw a very hearty dash of your spices – I recommend dried rosemary, thyme, sage and salt.  You could add garlic if you feel so inclined.  Fresh is better, but this time of year I have no fresh, so dried it is.

See this picture below and about the amount I added?  Add twice as much.  (If you’re a visual person.)  The veggies and potatoes should be very covered in spices.  The photographer (erm… me) forgot to take the second picture where I added more. :)

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Let these cook until soft, adding more butter if the food starts to stick.

 

Once all vegetables are soft, stir in the two cups of broth and the chicken.  Bring to a rapid boil.

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While your veggies are coming to a boil, bring out your chilled pie crust.  It’s going to take a little bit of elbow grease to roll it out, but if your kitchen is hot like mine, choosing to NOT cool the crust means the butter starts to melt/soften which means a really sloppy and hardly-stick-together crust.

My preferred method of rolling out is between two pieces of parchment paper.  Roll it until it’s so think it’s nearly transparent (but no holes!) Then, once it’s super super super thin, you can slowly peel one of the parchment layers back.  Set this prepped crust aside, leaving it attached to one of the parchment pieces.

Go back to your veggies… by now they are boiling.

What’s going to happen next is this:  because it’s a wide pan, the water is going to boil off fast.  Keep stirring to prevent any sticking, and your potatoes are going to start to fall apart (only a tiny bit).  This is good because this is what’s going to thicken the sauce in the next step.

After it’s been rapid boiling for about 5 minutes and the liquid is reduced, stir in the milk.  Let it boil for another 2 minutes.  DO NOT LET IT BOIL LONGER THAN THIS. It will cause your milk to separate and turn the mixture a funky texture.  How do I know, you ask?  ;-) Let’s just say lots and lots and lots of failure in the kitchen.

Now turn off the heat, and slowly peel off your pie crust on top of the pan.

Remember… this is about appealing to your belly and not the picture.  If it’s sloppy, it’s ok.  This is a lazy pie.

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Slice through the top of the crust to make tiny slits.  This allows the steam to vent as necessary while baking.

Now, you can put your pie in the oven at 400* and let it cook for about 20 minutes.  This is mostly about letting the pie crust golden and the ingredients in the pie have time to stew.

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Next, your house starts to smell like heaven. And comfort. And yumminess. (How on earth do you spell that?)

You’ll know it’s done when the entire crust is golden, and maybe just a tiny bit brown on the edges.

I served mine with my favorite salad – blue cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, and olive oil + balsamic vinegar.

My belly was soooo comforted!

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A New Food: Garlic Scapes (and an Asian-Inspired Side Dish!)

This year we are participating in a local CSA (Community Shared Agriculture). We are discovering new foods and have fallen in love with garlic scapes!

Bag of scapes!

If you don’t participate in a CSA, you should probably still see some at the Farmer’s Markets (depending on your region — in the NE these are out, in warmer climates, it may be past that time). They are a great onion replacement, and taste fabulous on their own roasted (try this lovely recipe from The Elliott Homestead)

Garlic scapes have a middle “nob” that is tough to chew (etc.) that we choose to cut off or not eat.  Feel free to give a try for yourself! No harm shall come to you by eating it. :-)

Cutting scapes

I threw them into an Asian-inspired veggie stir-fry that I adore! I call it cabbage stir-fry, but my disclaimer is that I do not know by true “Asian-food” definitions that this constitutes as a stir-fry.

CABBAGE STIR-FRY:

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 tablespoons of grass-fed butter (you could also use sesame oil if you wanted a different darker flavor)
  • 2 garlic scapes, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated/sticks (I usually just use my vegetable peeler to make a bunch of strips)
  • 4 cups of coarsely chopped cabbage
  • soy sauce

Directions:

Prepare all your veggies.  Truthfully, this is the longest step of the whole process!

While you are cutting them up, turn your stove on and heat the skillet on medium heat for a few minutes (I wouldn’t do it more than 5 minutes before step #3.)

After it’s heated, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on the pan.  This process should be relatively quick as the pan is already hot. (If you use sesame oil, you do not have to wait before step #4.)

Add all your veggies, and saute.  Stir frequently to prevent uneven cooking/burned parts, and add more butter/sesame oil as needed to prevent sticking.

Sauteed cabbage stir-fry

Your veggies are just about done when the start to become transluscent, or lose their color (most noticeable with the red onions).  You can taste a bite of the cabbage, and you don’t want it really crunchy, but you don’t want it soggy, either.  It should have just the tiniest bit of crunch left.

Translucent stir-fry

At this point, add the soy sauce.  I usually just drizzle it around, no measurement.  I would suggest drizzling it, then taste it, and if needed, add more.  Use the soy sauce to scrape up any brown bits or stuck vegetables (shouldn’t be much!).

Soy Sauce Stir-Fry

Now serve! Very easy … and SO tasty.

Cabbage Stir-Fry

Comfort Food: Ham & Biscuit Pot Pie

This was born out a desperation for comfort food.  Earlier this month, we got hammered with snow storm after snow storm… I wanted to crawl up in a blanket, drink my coffee, and eat comfort food.

Which, for a real-food foodie, is not as easy as it sounds.

This recipe was inspired by this Biscuit Pot Pie from another blogger, but I changed it up a bit to exclude unsprouted/unsoaked wheat…  and to use up my leftover Christmas ham that’s been freezin’ away. Y’all, these are the BASICS of eating real food.  It’s exchanging the fake/unhealthy food for the good stuff God made for your body (a.k.a. “real food”).

Mmmmmm.  Ham.
P1100753Some tips before you set out to make this yummy dish: *and you need to read this before you set out to start cooking*

Prep your biscuits.  The recipe I use regularly is from The Elliott Homestead.  I make these, on average, about every 10 days.  I do this as it reduces the amount of snacking/eating the processed stuff I do allow (like cereal).  When they can grab a warm biscuit with healthier wheat, grass-fed butter, and topped with raw honey… it’s now a health-food.  So I usually plan to make the potpie close to the day I’m going to make biscuits.  The reason that it’s so important to plan this out is that these biscuits take a little thinking ahead — you have to set the dough for soaking 24 hours before you can bake them.  This is not complicated, do not be overwhelmed!  I basically spend 5 minutes at about 7 at night to prep the biscuits, then finish the prep the next morning at 7 a.m.  (I usually double the batch.)  I would bake all but six of them in the morning (which is what I did today), and save those six to top my pie tonight.

Another *think ahead* step: I usually buy organic celery, chop it up, then freeze it.  Since I do not ever want to eat it raw (sorry, YUCK!), but just cook with it, it’s so much less expensive… I can use a small amount and not waste the rest or feel obligated to eat it (again, YUCK!).

So! On to the ingredients and directions:

INGREDIENTS:

3tbl grass-fed butter
3 carrots
1c chopped celery (I did not thaw mine)
1 onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves
1 tbl + 1/4c arrowroot powder, divided; or similar GF thickener
2c chicken broth
1c milk or heavy cream (so much yummier with the cream!)
1c frozen peas (do not thaw!)
1lb of ham, cut into bite-size
1tsp fresh minced thyme
sprinkle of pepper
6-10 soaked biscuits (depending on preference and size of dish)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Melt your butter in a large pot/pan.  Once it’s melted, begin to saute the carrots, celery, and onion.

P1100746Saute these vegetables for 5-10 minutes, and they will start to become fragrant.
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Once the veggies are starting to cook and lose their color (they look duller), add the pressed garlic.  You can do this however, but I have a garlic press.
P1100759Let this cook for another minute or two until you smell that garlic.  Garlic cooks quick (and consequently burns) so you don’t want this to sit long.

Once you smell the garlic, throw 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder and stir.  This is the beginning part of the thickening process.
P1100760Still stirring, add your 2 cups of chicken broth.  Continue to stir for a minute or two until it’s all combined.  I would also suggest scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon (the browned bits on the bottom are part of what makes it delicious!).

After its scraped, add your 1 cup of milk and stir.

Whisk in the remaining arrowroot powder (1/4 c).  Keep whisking until it’s mixed well.
P1100772Bring this mix to a boil, and let it boil for about 5-10 minutes until it’s thickened significantly.

Add your chopped ham, chopped thyme, and peas, and stir.  Put the lid on and let this cook at a slow boil for another 10 minutes.
P1100767When you uncover it, it will be thick and combined.
P1100775Dump into a casserole dish, and sprinkle with black pepper.
P1100789Bake this for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

It will be slightly browned when you pull it out.

Top this with your uncooked biscuits.  You can put as many as you want on top, but just be aware that they tighter they are squished into the dish, the longer it will take to cook them through.  I usually space 6-8 out over the dish, and that’s because I don’t want heavy bread at night-dinner.
P1100794Put this dish back in your over, and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until your biscuits are cooked through and the tops are browned.  If you pull up a biscuit, you might notice it looks gooey on the bottom — and this is because it’s been sitting in thickened soup, basically.  If you’re concerned about the doneness, break a biscuit apart and examine the contents in the middle for how well it’s cooked.
P1100798Let it cool for 5-10 minutes, so it won’t burn your mouth.

And last, most important step –

Eat.  And be comforted.

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