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.