potatoes

Shepherd’s Pie

When I think of comfort food, I think about pasta, cheese and soup. This is to be expected, but I also think about the feelings these foods can provoke. They’re called comfort foods for a reason, so of course they bring a sense of comfort and security.

Along with these feelings also come memories. Chicken and dumplings transports me back to being just above eye level with the counter in my grandmas chicken as I cut the dough into strips for her to drop in the hot broth. Chili makes me think of chopping firewood with my sisters and Dad in the middle of winter. Spaghetti puts me right back at my other grandma’s kitchen table as I watch her douse the boiling water with salt.

Shepherd’s Pie isn’t a dish I grew up eating, but it always sounded cozy to me, probably because the word “pie” was in the title. So I only have two memories of it. The first was the one time I decided to make it when I was younger. It was nothing more than ground beef covered with a layer of the blandest potatoes ever then taken out of the oven while they were the same color.

The other memory is when my family and I visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. To say we were tired and hungry after a day on our feet at Disney World is an understatement, so we plopped down at The Three Broomsticks. My sisters and I were dying at the fact that we were eating there (we love HP). The rents couldn’t have cared less. Dad ordered Shepherd’s Pie.

That’s it. Those are the only two run ins I’ve ever had with the stuff. Not much, but I decided it definitely qualifies as a comfort food and it should definitely be on this blog.

I hope that this recipe, should you decide to try it, brings back some of those memories for you that certain foods brings back for me.

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Shepherd’s Pie

So let’s talk about the recipe and ingredients themselves.

I’ll be the first to admit that there’s a ton of items you’ll need to make this. But beef and potatoes need just a bit of help when it comes to flavor…

Rich, creamy potatoes are completely necessary for this dish. I made mine a bit thin because some of that moisture is going to come out in the oven. To make them even more decadent, try adding some cream cheese.

Feel free to add any kind of seasonings you want into the meat mixture, and don’t be afraid with them either. Ground beef is rather bland on its own, which is why I created a gravy.

It’s a pretty simple gravy. And it’ll be thin, but that’s okay.

So give it a try and let me know how it turns out.

Shepherd's Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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Ingredients

For the mashed potatoes:

  • 6 russet potatoes, peeled
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (I like a lot of pepper in my potatoes. Tone it down if you want)
  • 1 tablespoon butter

For the meat mixture:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced the same size as onions
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 15oz can corn
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf

For the gravy:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet over medium to medium high heat, cook beef about 15 minutes, breaking up the big chunks. Drain and pour beef into casserole dish.
  3. Peel and quarter potatoes and place in a large pot with just enough water to cover them. Add salt and boil about 20 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain and set aside.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, return the beef skillet back to stove and melt butter over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, bay leaf and seasonings. Cook till onions are translucent and carrots begin to soften, about 25 minutes. Add peas and corn to heat through.
  5. For the gravy, melt butter and add flour in a small saucepan. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then drop in bouillon cubes and pour in water. Whisk till the gravy thickens and the cubes have dissolved. Add Worcestershire and pour into vegetable mixture along with the beef.
  6. Add sour cream, milk, salt, pepper and butter into potatoes and beat with a hand mixture till smooth. Adjust seasoning if needed.
  7. Pour meat mixture into bottom of a casserole dish. Carefully spoon potatoes on top, covering all of the meat.
  8. Bake uncovered for about 15-20 minutes until potatoes have browned.

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

So I know I’ve been posting a ton of roasted recipes lately, but I can’t help what i’m in the mood to cook.

And I want to make this blog full of easy recipes that don’t require a ton of ingredients. This isn’t to say I won’t post something that takes hours and 34534083 components, but you get it.

One of first times I cooked with rosemary was when I was in college. My roommate found had this recipe that used the fresh sprig mixed with cream cheese, spread onto buttery dough then baked. The rolls were delicious, but man did we use too much rosemary! Needless to say, we didn’t know what we were doing.

I do love the herb, though. It gives us an earthy, warm flavor you can’t get anywhere else. Once it’s added to a bowl of garlic, onions and potatoes to be roasted?? Say it with me: “Yes, please.”

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Like I said, we used too much rosemary for those rolls, so I stayed away from it for quite a while. I recently started tossing it into my cart at the store because it’s pretty and green and it’s fun to chop. (It doesn’t take much to make me happy.)

This is about as fancy as it gets for me when I roast potatoes. Really. I normally toss the spuds with whatever dry spices my eyes land on first when I open the cabinet. Sometimes it’s a mixture of Lawry’s and black pepper, and other nights call for onion powder and garlic salt. And I definitely slather them in barbecue sauce.

When I told Aaron we were having rosemary on our roasted potatoes one night, he said, “Ew that Christmas tree stuff?” He doesn’t even like rosemary and he ate these, guys. No barbecue sauce needed. 🙂

Let’s talk about the type of potato. I used yellow potatoes here. I absolutely cannot get passed their creamy, velvety texture. They also seem to keep their shape better than other potatoes, but a red or a russet would probably work just as well. It’s also up to you weather or not you peel the spud. I know some people have a ~thing~ when it comes to skins on their food. If you do decide to peel them, try not to move them around too much or they’ll turn into mashed potatoes..

You can line your baking sheet with parchment paper to make cleanup a snap. I rarely use foil anymore because they always seem to stick to that and watching someone spit a piece of foil out of their mouth after eating one of these is sooooo embarrassing.

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Strangely enough, these potatoes make a great side dish along side a few fried eggs. Any kind of potato roasted any kind of way with eggs is honestly one of my favorite weeknight dinners.

And who doesn’t love potatoes??

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 3-4 yellow potatoes, cut into one inch cubes
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Make sure each cube is coated with oil.
  3. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for about 25-30 minutes, turning them around about half way through to brown all sides.
  4. Serve immediately.