Shepherd’s Pie

Posted on Jan 6, 2014 in DIY, Savory | 2 comments

Shepherd’s Pie

Happy New Year everyone! As I’m sure many of you have also done, I’ve put together a short list of resolutions for this coming year.


  1. Exercise more-especially cardio (ew)
  2. Spend more time with family
  3. Set aside more time for things that are important to me-including this blog!


And of course one more added this week….


  1. Don’t freeze to death.


It’s a little bit unnerving to look at the weather forecast and not only see the temperature lows in the negative numbers but the highs as well! In the interest of resolutions number three and four, I’ve decided to share a recipe that makes me feel warm just thinking about it.


It might not be fancy, but if you want to be warm, full, and happy Shepherd’s Pie is a classic for a reason. There’s really not much that can beat the luscious flavor of lamb mixed in with vegetables in a tangy gravy topped with heavenly mashed potatoes. And if you have some leftover mash from dinner the night before, this dish is even easier to make. Enjoy


 Plated Shepherd's Pie


Mashed Potatoes

6 or 7 medium red potatoes

1 tablespoon butter

¾ cup milk

2 cloves of garlic

salt and pepper to taste



Approximately 1 lb ground lamb

1 medium onion

3 or 4 medium sized carrots

1-11/2 cups frozen peas

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

4 tablespoons flour

6 tablespoons milk


If you are using leftover mashed potatoes for this recipe, simply warm them up, set them aside, and proceed to making the filling. Otherwise, bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil. Cut your potatoes (peeling is optional) into large chunks and add to the boiling water. Cook your potatoes ten to fifteen minutes until they are fork tender. While they are cooking, peel and mince the garlic cloves.


Once the potatoes are done cooking, drain then dump them back in the cooking pot and add the butter. Using a whisk start to break down the potatoes. Add in the milk, garlic, salt, and pepper then begin whisking until everything is uniform. Set aside.


Ground Lamb


For the filling, begin by browning the lamb in a skillet. While it is cooking, chop your onion and carrots. Add the onion to the lamb, followed by the carrots, cooking until the onion is translucent and the carrots tender. Finally, add the frozen peas, Worcestershire sauce, dried thyme, and salt and pepper.


Shepherd's Pie Filling


In a separate bowl whisk together the flour and milk until smooth. Pour the mixture over the lamb mixture and cook for about a minute while stirring. Remove the filling from the heat and transfer to a baking dish (I used a nine inch round Pyrex deep dish but any sort of baking dish or ramekin will work). Top the filling with the mashed potatoes. Bakes at 350 degrees for about twenty minutes or until the top of the potatoes are toasty and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving. To fancy it up a bit, bake in ramekins that can then be served individually whole. Either way, I hope you enjoy this hearty classic as much as I do.


Baked Shepherd's Pie


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Homemade Pita Bread and Hummus

Posted on Apr 5, 2013 in DIY, Savory | 1 comment

Homemade Pita Bread and Hummus

As I have previously confessed, I have a serious hummus addiction. Hummus makes for an amazing quick snack (or even meal if you’re like me). And what better way to eat it than with some freshly baked pita bread? Although it takes a little time, pita  is actually very simple to make. And sooooo much more satisfying to eat knowing it was your own.


Hummus is likewise very simple to make. The primary components are chickpeas, tahini and olive oil… and from there the variations are endless. This recipe calls for roasted garlic, my personal favorite addition. And don’t forget the lemon-the acid is needed to cut through, and balance, some of the creaminess of the tahini.


And don’t worry if you get stuck with an impossibly huge jar of tahini like I did- it’s great in other recipes as well. Here’s one idea for cookies.

 Hummus and Pita


Pita Bread

Adapted from Grandma Bonnie’s Closet


1 ½ cups of water, approximately 110 degrees

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ oz packet of yeast

1 teaspoon salt

3 ½ cups of flour


In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, yeast and half a cup of water. Allow it to sit until bubbly, approximately five minutes. In the mean time, combine the salt and flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center.



Add the remaining water and olive oil to the yeast mixture then pour into the flour. Stir until the dough starts to come together, then knead gently for about five minutes.


Gather the dough into a ball, then place into a lightly oiled bowl. Roll the dough over until it’s sealed in a light coat of oil. Cover the bowl with a cloth and place it in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise for about forty-five minutes to an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.


Once the dough has sufficiently risen, turn it out on a floured surface. Knead it a few times, then divide into eight pieces. Fold each piece into a ball, then roll out into a circle working from the center out. Be careful not roll too aggressively over the edges- you don’t want to force out all the air bubbles since that is what will help create the pockets.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while you allow the rolled out dough to rest, about ten minutes.


Bake the circles ten to twelve minutes or until lightly golden brown. After removing them from the oven, keep the baked pita under a towel to prevent it from drying out. Once it has cooled, store it in a tightly sealed plastic bag.

 Pita Bread


Garlic Hummus


1 16oz can chickpeas, rinsed

¼ cup tahini

¼ cup water

1 lemon, juiced

several pinches salt

2 cloves garlic, roasted

½ cup olive oil


Olive Oil, Lemon, and Salt


In a blender, combine the chickpeas, tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic and salt. With the blender running, stream in the olive oil. Continue to blend until the texture is completely smooth.



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Ham, Potato, and Spinach Frittata

Posted on Mar 24, 2013 in DIY, Savory | 0 comments

Ham, Potato, and Spinach Frittata

Frittatas are an egg dish of Italian origin, similar in concept to a French omelette or a Spanish tortilla de patatas. They are a splendid dish to use for brunch, lunch or even light suppers and can be used as a side or a main course.


My favorite way to eat it is with a fresh salad of baby arugula and spinach and a chilled glass of chardonnay.  I find the peppery freshness and acidity of the salad cuts through the fat from the ham, while a buttery chardonnay compliments it. Altogether a very satisfying meal!


This recipe does use a cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one already, I highly recommend acquiring one. They are such an amazing, versatile piece of kitchen equipment for both sweet and savory dishes.

Ham, Potato, Spinach Frittata


3 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium red potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1 small onion, sliced

1-2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary

8 ounces fresh spinach

1 ½ cups ham, cubed (can also use deli ham sliced)

1 cup grated cheese

3 tablespoons milk

9 large eggs

salt and pepper to taste

 Chopped Potato and Onion


Preheat the oven 400 degrees.


Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Add the potatoes, onion, and rosemary. Cook approximately 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost done, stirring occasionally with a spatula.


Add the spinach a handful at a time and stir in until it has wilted. Toss in the ham cubes and cook until they are warmed through.


In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and cheese. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.


Add the eggs into the skillet and stir a few times to evenly distribute the ham and vegetables. Put into the top rack of the oven and bake 12-15 minutes until the eggs are set.

Frittata with Salad

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Ramen at Home

Posted on Mar 3, 2013 in DIY, Savory | 0 comments

Ramen at Home

The spirits of Wisconsin winter must have overheard my last post about longing for springtime and strawberry white chocolate muffins, because we just got hit with several days of snow and high winds. Well, fine. I can take a hint and settle back down to making winter food.


And of course, my favorite kind of food happens to be soup. So when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. Now, I should preface this with the confession that I have never attempted cooking any sort of Japanese dishes before. The closest I’ve come is eating Japanese cuisine the two weeks I spent there on vacation a few years ago, a delightful experience, I assure you!


However, I decided to roll up my sleeves and give it a shot. I did make some slight adaptations to the recipe to accommodate my pantry (with the blizzard-like conditions outside I definitely wasn’t going grocery shopping!). The results? Delicious and satisfying!


Adapted from Japanese Farm Food



2 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces

6 green onion, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 inch fresh ginger, sliced

3 chicken thighs (bone in)

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil



2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups AP flour

pinch of salt

2 eggs, room temperature

3 yolks, room temperature

2-3 tablespoons water (as needed)



soy sauce

hard boiled eggs

green onions

3 handfuls of spinach or other green

 Ramen 1

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the chicken, carrots, green onion, and ginger together with the salt and olive oil. Roast in the oven about forty minutes. When done, scrape everything (especially all the juices and sticky bits) into a stockpot or Dutch oven. Cover with twelve cups of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and simmer fifty minutes to an hour.


As the broth is finishing, start putting together the noodles. Start by combining the olive oil, flour, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Mix together with your hands until the mixture is crumbly and the oil is distributed.


Add in the eggs and yolks and knead in the bowl until the dough starts to come together. Add in the water, one tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together entirely.


From here, turn the dough out onto the counter and knead about five minutes until the dough is uniform. Allow the dough to rest.


While you are waiting, go ahead and start preparing the toppings. Chop three or four green onions and set aside.

Green onions chopped

For the boiled eggs, place a pot of room temperature water on the stove with four eggs (or as many as you want). Turn the burner on high. Once the water is boiling, cook the eggs for eight minutes and then remove the eggs with a slotted spoon into a bowl of ice water.


Divide the pasta dough into thirds and roll out into thin sheets. Cut the noodles into strips. If you have a pasta machine, please use this instead, unless you are looking for a good workout. Note to self: buy a pasta machine!


Drop the noodles in batches in the same pot used for the eggs. They should only take or three minutes to cook at a rolling boil. As the noodles are done, they will float to the top and can be removed with a slotted spoon.


To finish the broth, strain out the cooked chicken and vegetables. Separate the chicken and discard the vegetables. With two forks, shred the chicken removing the bones. Return the strained broth to the stove and throw in three generous handfuls of spinach (or any green of your choice) and stir until it has wilted down. Return the chicken to the broth.


Yay! Now its time to put everything together and eat! At the bottom of each bowl, pour about half a tablespoon of soy sauce. Over the soy sauce, distribute the cooked noodles. Ladle in the broth with the greens and chicken. Finally, top with the chopped green onions and pealed eggs. Enjoy!


Ramen Detail

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