Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dinner Inspiration - Irish Shepard's Pie

I was pretty surprised when they delivered this beautiful looking plate at my local Irish Pub. It's Shepard's Pie, which is supposed to be a casual, rustic dish. Or, at least that's how I always thought of it. But after seeing how it's plated up here, with the fresh peas, baby carrots and then that little sprig of rosemary sticking out from the center of the beautifully browned mashed potatoes, I have changed my opinion about it, and now it's on my list of really impressive dinners I could serve.

And it's not just pretty, it's SO good! Great for kids too.

I'm not going to post a recipe, but I'll give you a basic rundown of how you'd make it, should you decide to give it a whirl. This is basically a ground beef stew, topped with potatoes and baked. You could make 1 big family-style dish, or smaller individual portions, as seen above. This could also work well as a chicken & dumpling flavor, just make a thick stew and add the same potatoes on top.

A quick rundown of how I make it is below. For those who are like me and just want a quick view of what's in it so they can make their own version, see below. If you need a real recipe, I'm sure FoodBuzz has tons - click on the FoodBuzz badge on the right side of the page. :)

Brown your ground meat (beef, turkey, lamb, or a mix) then add some chopped onions & carrots to the pan and cook until the carrots start to get soft. Salt & pepper to taste, some garlic, pinch rosemary and pinch thyme. Add peas. Mix in some brown gravy - enough to make a thick stew (like a sloppy joe). Transfer to the baking dish(es) and then add mashed potatoes on top. Cook in the oven to brown the potatoes. If the stew is fully cooked, you can just brown it under the broiler.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Favorite "Quick Fix" for making Brussels Sprouts Sassy?

Mix in a spoonful or two of Mascarpone. It works wonderful on brussels sprouts, but also spinach, green beans, zucchini, all greens, broccoli, etc., etc. It's as good, if not better, than butter - it's rich and creamy, and has a wonderful flavor. Bacon used to be my favorite, but adding Mascarpone is just so much easier and faster than cooking up bacon.