Sunday, December 18, 2011

Shepard's Pie

One interesting thing about this recipe is that it can easily be turned vegan, if you happen to be entertaining one of the meat-haters, and it is still very good.  I didn't bother to make it vegan though, I'm just fine with meat  : P
Servings: 6


  • Mashed potato layer:
  • 5 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese 
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Bottom layer:
  • 1 tablespoon oil (you probably don't need this if you're using non-vegan hamburger)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 diced pepper
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 clove garlic, minced, or more to taste
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (I used mozzarella too)


  1. Place the potatoes in a pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat to medium-low, and boil the potatoes until tender, about 25 minutes; drain.
  2. Stir the mayonnaise, milk, olive oil, cream cheese, and salt into the potatoes, and mash until smooth and fluffy. Set the potatoes aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C), and spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook and stir the beef, onion, pepper, carrots, celery, frozen peas, and tomato until the meat is brown and the vegetables are soft. Stir in the Italian seasoning, garlic, and pepper.
  5. Spread the vegetarian meat substitute mixture into the bottom of the baking dish, and top with the mashed potatoes, smoothing them into an even layer. Sprinkle the potatoes with cheese.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted and slightly browned and the casserole is hot, about 20 minutes.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

I know, I know, squash is one of those scary tasting vegetables, but this soup is really good.  It uses basic ingredients, and is a tasty was to use up some of Mom and Dad's plethora of butternut squash  : P

Servings: 4


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped (optional, but you can't even taste it)
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 or 3 potatoes, cubed (use more if they're the small kind)
  • 1 medium butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cubed (stab it with a fork and bake it in the oven before you peel it)
  • 4 cups chicken stock or broth
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (red pepper if you like the heat)
  • sour cream


  1. Melt the butter in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, and squash 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Pour in enough of the chicken stock to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.
  2. Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Return to pot, and mix in any remaining stock and sour cream to attain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, basil, garlic etc.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Easy Roasted Potatoes

This is a pretty easy side dish that tastes really good.  I bet you could make pretty much the same thing on a stovetop if you wanted to.  This would also be really good if you threw some chicken or beef in with it
Servings: 4


  • 5 medium potatoes, diced with peel
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon seasoning salt
  • basil, parsley, italian seasoning, etc
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder, or taco seasoning if you don't like it spicy
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup cheese (optional)
  • mushrooms, peppers -- i didn't have any, but these would be great with this

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C).

  • Arrange the potatoes and onions in a greased 9x13 inch baking dish so that they are evenly distributed. Season everything, then drizzle with olive oil. Stir to coat potatoes and onions with oil and spices.

  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until potatoes are fork tender and slightly crispy. Stir every 10 minutes. When done, sprinkle with cheese. Wait about 5 minutes for the cheese to melt before serving.
  • Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Beef and Veggie Stew

    Its getting colder, and i had a bunch of stewing beef to use, so i made this beef and veggie soup.  It takes a little while to make, but not as long as most soups.  You could also make this one pretty easily in a slow cooker.

    Servings: 12
    Prep time: 2-3 hours


    • 3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
    • 1/3 cup Italian salad dressing
    • 2 cups water
    • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
    • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed beef broth, undiluted (i just added more bullion and water)
    • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
    • 2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 tablespoon basil
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 6 medium potatoes, quartered
    • 6 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (you could use any kind of pepper really)
    • mushrooms, celery, etc
    • red pepper, curry (if you want to spice it up a bit)
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or cornstarch)
    • 3 tablespoons cold water


    1. In a Dutch oven, brown meat in salad dressing over medium heat. Add the next 10 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours or until meat is tender.  Skim the fat off that boils to the top. Add the potatoes, carrots, green pepper, onion, mushrooms and spices. 
    2. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Combine flour and cold water until smooth; stir into stew. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Discard bay leaf before serving.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    granola bars

    • Im sick of paying for expensive granola bars from the store, so I decided to try making some.
    • These are tasty, and theres a lot of room for experimentation when you make them.
    • Enjoy!

    • 2 cups rolled oats
    • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup wheat germ
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup raisins (optional)
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
    • 3/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
    • cocoa or chocolate chips (optional)
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup honey (you can use sugar if you don't have honey)
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
    2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, coconut, cocoa, walnuts, raisins and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well using your hands or a fork. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
    3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Coffee Cake

    If you want to make this coffee cake in a bunt pan, I would recommend doubling the recipe 


    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x9 inch pan. Combine the flour, baking soda and baking powder; set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar, butter and eggs until smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat until smooth. Finally, stir in the sour cream and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the nuts, confectioners' sugar and cinnamon.
    3. Spread half of the batter into the 9x9 inch pan. Sprinkle a layer of the nut mixture, then spread the remaining batter and top with the rest of the nut mixture. Spread the melted butter over the top.
    4. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, until cake springs back to the touch.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Oatmeal Cookies

    These are tasty cookies


    • 1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
    • 1 cup Grape-Nuts cereal (I used chex)
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • peanut butter and/or chocolate chips

    In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, oats, cereal, baking soda and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture. Roll into 3/4-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets; flatten with a fork. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 3 minutes before removing to wire racks.