Thursday, December 24, 2009

Shepherd's Pie and Taco Stew

Shepherd's Pie

  • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup peppers and onion mix (frozen)
  • can of mixed veggies (no salt added), drained
  • can of diced tomatoes (no salt added), undrained
  • pouch of brown gravy mix
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 pouch mashed potatoes
  • shredded Parmesan (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Brown the beef. Add the peppers to the pan with some salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent. Prepare pouch of mashed potatoes while this is cooking.

Add can of diced tomatoes and gravy pouch. I added the same amount of water that the pouch of gravy asked for. Stir in spices and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. This way it was kind of soupy at the end, which was good but I was expecting more of a stewy sauce. Next time, I may use less water or even make the gravy before and adding it already thick. Add the mixed veggies and transfer to a 2 qt casserole dish. (I sprayed the dish beforehand just to be sure.)

Top with the mashed potatoes and parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes.

Yummmmmy. Like I said before, I would like the sauce a little more thick but the flavor was PERFECT.

This stew was FABULOUS. Make it. and sooon.

Taco Stew
from Whole Foods online recipe database
  • 1/2 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 Tb taco seasoning (I make my own of chili powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin and coriander)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1-15 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup corn kernels (it says frozen but I used canned...)
  • 1 cup medium salsa
  • sour cream, for garnish
Brown meat in a large pot over medium high heat. Drain, remove and set aside. In the same pot, sauté onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add meat back to pot and sprinkle mixture with taco seasoning to blend. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Top with sour cream and serve.


YUM! The sour cream is completely necessary. It's cold and gives that lovely velvety textrure to it. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Buckeye Delights and Mint Snowtops

Greek tilapia! So simple and YUMMMY. You saute some garlic and onion, then add a can of diced tomatoes and about a tablespoon of dried oregano.

Stir together and bring to a simmer. Top with tilapia fillets and cover the fillets with the mixture.

Cover and let simmer until fish is done, about 6 minutes. Top with crumbled feta (I use Reduced Fat) and viola!

The cheese adds such a tangy velvetiness. It's just amazing. Seriously, my FAVORITE fish meal.

Buckeye Delights
Prize Winning 2008 Recipe from Betty Crocker's Christmas Cookie book
  • Cookie Base
    • 1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie dough mix
    • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used shaved baking chocolate)
    • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
    • 1 egg
  • Filling
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (I used crunchy and you couldn't tell)
    • 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Topping (I used a can of frosting mixed with extra melted chocolate for frosting)
    • 1/2 cup whipping cream
    • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 Tb smooth peanut butter (again I used crunchy)
Heat oven to 350°F. Line 36 mini muffin cups with mini foil candy cups (about 1 1/4 inch).* In large bowl, stir cookie base ingredients until dough forms. Press about 1 tablespoon dough into each foil cup. Bake 8 to 9 minutes or until puffy and set. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Remove from pan.

*I used regular liners and in regular muffin cups (only made 12).

In small bowl, mix filling ingredients until well blended. Press about 1 teaspoon mixture on top of each cooled cookie.

In 1-quart saucepan, heat whipping cream just to boiling over low heat, stirring occasionally; remove from heat. Stir in 1 cup of the chocolate chips. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until cooled. Spread about 2 teaspoons chocolate mixture over each cookie cup.

Place remaining 2 tablespoons chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon peanut butter in resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag. Microwave on High 30 to 60 seconds or until softened; knead to mix. Cut off small tip from one corner of bag. Squeeze bag to drizzle chocolate mixture over each cookie cup. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until set. Store covered in refrigerator.

These scared me since they were so hard. I guess I saw the cupcake shape and expected cakeiness. Well, they're not cakey but I wouldn't change a thing! When I finally got the nerve to try one, they were great!! It's a cookie base so the outside is hard but the inside is just perfect :)

Here's a fabulous cookie recipe that is a Christmas staple in our family, all centered around this one ingredient that seems to be near impossible to find! Seriously, our family scours the store every year for these and buys soo many bags it's ridiculous! :)

Chocolate-Mint Snowtops
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tb butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 - 10 oz bag of Hershey's Mint Chocolate Chips, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • confectioner's sugar
Take 1 cup chocolate chips and melt them in the microwave. (It's safest to do 30-second intervals, stirring and when they get close, 15 seconds.)

Cream sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl: flour, salt and baking powder.

Pour the melted chocolate into the the sugar mixture and combine. (Use a scraper to get all that yummy chocolate out!)

Slowly add the flour mixture. And I mean slooooowy - to avoid a big mess!

Add vanilla and fold in the rest of the chocolate chips.

After it's mixed together, roll out some plastic wrap and dump the dough onto it. This is the part my husband calls the "pile of poo"...which may gross you out if it weren't for the wondrous smell that you will be experiencing at this point. Roll into a tight log and refrigerate at least 20 minutes. The longer the better. My mom even freezes it for days sometimes. The firmer the dough is, the easier the next step will be.

Pour some confectioner's sugar into a shallow bowl. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and unwrap. Take off portions of the dough with a spoon and roll into 1" balls. Roll them in confectioner's sugar and place on a prepared cookie sheet. Do not tap off excess sugar! Every year I forget and the first batch isn't as pretty as the rest because of it.

Bake at 350 F for 12-13 minutes. YUMMM.

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