Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ground Turkey Shepherd's Pie

I got this recipe from a Rachael Ray magazine a few years ago. Very yummy with or without bacon.


4 large Idaho potatoes (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), peeled and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 slices bacon, chopped
2 pounds ground turkey (I only use 1 lb.)
Freshly ground pepper
2 onions, chopped (I only use 1 large)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning (I used chicken boullion)
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 teaspoon paprika


1. Place potatoes in a small, deep pot, cover with water and bring to a boil, covered, over high heat. Salt the water and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

2. Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 3 minutes, then add the turkey and break it up with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper and cook until browned, about 5 minutes; push it to the side and add the onion and carrots to the center. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then mix everything together. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and poultry seasoning. Lower the heat to medium and cover the pan with a foil tent to keep in some of the moisture. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes.

3. Preheat the broiler to high. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Add 1/3 cup cream, salt, pepper, the egg, butter, and chives and smash until potatoes are almost smooth.

4. Remove the foil from the pan and stir in the peas and remaining cream. Scrape up any browned bits and turn off heat. Scrape the turkey mixture into a casserole dish and top with the potatoes. Broil until the top is golden. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vegetarian Chili

2 cans (each 19 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained or 4 cups soaked, cooked and drained
1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 medium carrots, diced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes, with juice
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chilies, with liquid
3 Tablespoons chili powder (I used Penzey's)
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
for topping:
sour cream
more cilantro
In slow cooker, combine everything except the cilantro; stir it up.
Cover and cook on Low for 6-8 hours or High for 3-4 hours, until bubbling and hot, and somewhat darker than when it all went in. Add cilantro; cook another 20 minutes. Spoon into bowls and top with dollop of sour cream and additional chopped fresh cilantro.
The whole thing can be assembled up to 12 hours in advance and refrigerated in the cooker stoneware. Just slip the insert into the cooker the next morning and cook away. I find that this is better cooked and eaten the following day; flavors meld and deepen.

Coconut Panna Cotta

I made this for dessert on Christmas; we needed a light dessert after all the chocolate, egg nog, and gingerbread goodness that was being consumed. This is SUPER EASY!!! It originally came from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson.
We served it after a pretty rich dinner: crown of lamb, roasted garlic potatoes, Brussels sprouts with bacon and a green salad (arugula, blue cheese, walnuts). We served it with Asti spumante; Martinelli's would work well too. I made the crackers a week in advance and they kept nicely in a tupperware.
for the panna cotta:
1(14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 1/4 cups whole or 2% milk
1/3 cup natural cane sugar (I used 1/4 cup and it was fine)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Agar Agar flakes or 3/4 teaspoon agar powder (I used the flakes)

Lightly oil 6 ramekins and set aside. Place coconut milk, milk, sugar and agar flakes in a pan. Stir, then let rest for 10 minutes to allow the agar to soften and start to dissolve (this is critical or you get agar clumps, which are fine but the overall effect is more like tapioca than panna cotta). Very slowly, bring ingredients to a gentle simmer and simmer a few minutes until the agar is incorporated. If it doesn't completely dissolve, pour the mixture through a strainer, pushing the undissolved agar through as well. Pour into the ramekins and chill until set, about an hour.

for the coulis:
1/4 cup natural cane sugar (Florida Crystals or other light, organic whole cane sugar)
2 cups berries (I used frozen raspberries, blackberries and blueberries)
juice of 1/2 a lemon

Combine the berries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Mash the berries a little with the back of a spoon and chill.

for the cracker toppers:
1 package of 6-inch Wonton wrappers
1/4 cup natural cane sugar (Florida Crystals)
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger (Penzey's)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, fine-grained
1/4 cup assorted seeds (sesame, white and black, fennel, poppy, cracked cardamom, caraway)
1 egg
1 tiny splash heavy cream (or yogurt or milk)
cookie cutters, smallish, like 2-inch diameter

Preheat the oven to 350 F, position racks in the middle and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment or a silpat.

Combine sugar, ginger, and salt in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk egg and cream together. Cut the wonton wrappers into various shapes, pressing down hard and cleanly cutting. I used a soft towel under the surface of the wonton to get my lame plastic cookie cutters from like 1982 to work. Brush the wonton shapes with a thin glaze of the egg mixture. Sprinkle each with seeds, and a generous dusting of the sugar mixture. Keep it all sort of in the middle, so you can see the cookie edges a bit.

Move the wontons into a single layer on the baking sheets and bake until the wontons are golden and crisp, 5-8 minutes. They go from not done to burnt really fast, watch 'em.

For the presentation: just turn the ramekins over on a plate, pour a little coulis on top, and stick a few crackers in the panna cotta.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

I got this recipe for, but eventually made a few of my own changes after making it a few times. This recipe is great for several reasons: One, that it is a healthy version of most pot pies; Two, the chicken doesn't need to be pre-cooked; Three, it's really yummy! (otherwise I wouldn't be posting it, eh?)

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 50 min
Ready in: 1 hr 10 min
Yield: 1 9inch pie


1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
3 small cubed potatoes
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, potatoes, and celery. Add water (with chicken bullion cube) to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place bottom crust in pie dish, brush with egg whites and bake for 5 minutes
Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Brush top with excess egg whites.
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

French Bread

I had a friend over for Thanksgiving this year, and her husband (Jared Giatras) offered to make his mom's roll recipe. This recipe is normally made as french bread loaves, but can also be turned into rolls. I got the recipe and it turned out great! He said that the trick is to make sure the water isn't too hot or too cold. Yum!

Makes 2-11 inch loaves
Takes about 2 hrs, but only about 10 or 15 minutes of active time.


1 T salt
2 1/2 c warm water
2 T yeast
2 T sugar
2 T oil
6 c flour
1 egg + 1/2 t salt
sesame or poppy seeds (optional)


In a large warm mixing bowl, add salt; pour in water and yeast. Sprinkle sugar on top of the yeast. Add oil. Add flour to liquids and mix until flour is well mixed. Allow dough to rest 10 minutes and stir down. Do this 5 times. Turn onto an oil coated counter. Divide dough into 2 parts. Roll each part to 9x12-in rectangle, then roll like a jellyroll from long side. Pinch edge to seal. Put each loaf onto a French bread pan. Cut diagonal slits with a sharp knife. Pt a small pan filled with water in the oven, then preheat your oven to 400. Let the bread rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Brush with egg mixture of 1 egg and 1/2 t salt, beaten with a fork. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds or leave plain. Bake for 25 minutes

Variations: You may also roll this dough into hard rolls, hoagie buns, breadsticks or rosette rolls. You would brush each with the egg mix before baking. Bake only 20 minutes for the roll and breadsticks. Make sure and put the water in oven prior to preheating it. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tres Leches Cake

I made this cake that I found on the Pioneer Woman's website. It was a huge hit at the party I went to. I had attempted the same cake a few years ago with a different recipe. This one was definitely much better. Sorry for the bad photo, I forgot to take a picture and managed to get one after it was almost all eaten.


  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 5 whole Eggs
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • ⅓ cups Milk
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
  • ¼ cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 pint Heavy Cream, For Whipping
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 9 x 13 inch pan liberally until coated.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
Separate eggs.
Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla.
Pour egg yolk mixture over flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.
Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer on, pour in 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.
Fold egg white mixture into other mixture very gently until just combined.
Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out surface.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.
Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and 1/2 cup heavy cream in a small pitcher.
When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times.
Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the milk mixture—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.
Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes.
Whip 1 pint heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of sugar until thick and spreadable.
Spread over the surface of the cake. Decorate cake with whole or chopped maraschino cherries. Cut into squares and serve.