Shazzy’s Not So-Shepherd’s Pie

The other night I had every intention of making a classic shepherd’s pie. we had left over lamb roast and that dish seemed perfect. Well, I get home and decided to make something else…

It still ended up being a pie-type dish but my ingredient list was way off of a shepherd’s pie.

One way or the other, it was SO good. Dale and I devoured it and had seconds.

I hope this inspires you to just toss in what you want and take a chance with leftovers. 🙂

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Ingredients: anything in your fridge

  • My fridge happened to contain…
  • One onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 4 small parsnips, chopped
  • Swiss Chard, chopped
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
  • one bunch of Italian parsley
  • Smidge of paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Leftover lamb roast, chopped
  • Leftover bacon, chopped (about 6 thick slices)
  • Beef broth
  • Red wine
  • Topping: mashed cauliflower. Steamed it in the microwave, drained most of the water, then used a  hand mixer to blend.
  • “Gravy:” Red wine, bit of milk,  tapioca flour or xanthan gum – put it all in a water bottle with a lid and shook it.

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat olive oil in a deep skillet, added onion and garlic. Let that cook for a couple of minutes, add celery, carrots, let that all sweat for about 5-10 minutes (this will depend on how large your ‘chops’ are). Mine was about 8 minutes.

Added parsnips, tomatoes and a bit of beef broth. Let that cook for another 8-10 minutes.  Bring to a boil, and add gravy. Shake the gravy mix, and add slowly to boiling pot. You may not need that much – you’ll have liquid you added (broth) and some that have come out of the veggies. You do want the liquid in the pan thicker, more gravy-like.

Bring the mix back to a boil, stir well, and then let simmer for 3-5 minutes. Don’t forget to add your spices.

I oiled up two casserole dishes, put the chopped lamb and bacon in each (had enough for two!), added the chard, then added the stuff from the stove. Mixed it all up, and added the topping, used a spatula to smooth it all out, and we’re ready for the oven.

Put in oven for 45-1 hour. What’s great is it’s ok if you leave it in a bit longer because you’re just letting the flavors meld even more.

It was delicious!

So, what started out as a shepherd’s pie turned into a kitchen sink type of dinner. It was goooooooooooooodddddddddddd……….

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I LOVE a good red velvet cupcake. Katie’s Cupcakes in Fairhaven has one of the best red velvet’s I’ve ever had…B.C. “Before Celiac.”

Since I’ve had this allergy, it has definitely cut down my intake of sweet treats like this. I never had a huge sweet tooth, but when I had one I wanted something very high quality and very specific – i.e., a rocking red velvet cupcake.

For Christmas, my girlfriend got me Elana Amsterdam’s new cookbook: Gluten Free Cupcakes. I was pretty stoked – but also a little scared. I’m not a “baker.” My daughter, Meghan, is a baker. That girl made me the most AMAZING birthday cake…but I digress….more on that later.

So, back to red velvet goodness. I made them. And they pretty much rocked. Here’s the recipe. You’ll notice there is a random picture of a red patent leather wedge heel in there as well…Happy Birthday to me.

Enjoy!

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Makes 9-11 large cupcakes. Recipe says 9, but I didn’t fill my cups as much so got 11. They were a good size that way. Just my way, you can do this any way you feel like!

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tbl unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbl grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tbl red food coloring, made from vegetable dye (Ok, here’s the deal on this. I did use the suggested food coloring, but let me tell you – it’s BLOODY EXPENSIVE. So – know that up front, maybe look for a homemade dye, or just use the cheap stuff. At the Co-Op, you get a red/blue/yellow pack for 19$ before tax. I used almost ALL OF THE RED in this one batch recipe).
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line cupcake pan with paper liners
  3. In a large bowl combine the coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, grapeseed oil, nectar, and food coloring. Blend the wet ingredients into the coconut flour mixture with a mixer until thoroughly combined.
  5. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into each cup.
  6. Bake for 18-22 minutes until you do the toothpick test. (In my oven, it was 21 minutes)
  7. When they are done, take out, let cool for an hour, and frost! (of COURSE I made cream cheese frosting – are you kidding?!) Keep reading….

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz of cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar

In a deep bowl, whip the heavy cream until you get stiff peaks. In a separate larger bowl, combine cheese and nectar until well combined. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the cream into the cheese mix. Use immediately or store in glass container for two days.

 

Roasted Chicken and Stuffing

This is something I whipped up and am SO freaking proud of it. Sunday I made the FINEST freaking chicken I’ve ever made, and, I STUFFED IT. Here you go – ENJOY.

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Organic, free range whole chicken (2 pack from Costco)

Chicken Stuffing

Stuffing is enough for both birds.

  • 1lb ground pork, cooked

*note – I drained this before adding to the other ingredients. I put a couple of table spoons in with the mix, but dumped the rest of the fat. I didn’t want it too greasy. There is salami in here too, which is fat-heavy.  I may change my mind after it’s done.

  • ½ cup  sun dried tomatoes chopped
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts – whole
  • 1 pack of genoa salami chopped – Applegate brand, crap free (Haggen’s carries)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa/rice mix from TruRoots (I’m sure plain rice or plain quinoa would work too – this is what I had on hand and I love it)

I used a food processor for the following:

  • 1 cup parsley
  • 5 celery ribs
  • 4oz mushrooms
  • 1 apple with skin
  • 1 medium onion
  • salt, pepper, onion powder, poultry seasoning

While the pork and grain mix is cooking, combine all other ingredients in a big bowl. Add drained pork and grain to bowl, mix well, add all other spices. I didn’t measure the spices – to me, this is a personal thing. If you like something a bit more – add more. If not, add less.

Mix all of this very well.

Prep your birds:

Take all of the organs out of the birds, rinse off and pat dry. Rub generously with olive oil, drizzle a bit in the cavity. I sprinkle salt and pepper all over the outside and inside of the birds, as well as cut and squeeze a lemon – juice it inside the cavity, then stuff the remainder in there as well.

When you are ready with the stuffing, well, stuff away. You may have extra!! I did – but, I just cooked that in a casserole dish and had extra left over – believe me, it’s not a bad thing. It is freaking GOOOOOD.

Now that your chickens are stuffed, in your cooking dish, you are ready to go.

Preheat your oven to 450. Put birds in preheated oven and for the first 15 minutes, keep oven at 450. You’re basically searing them during this step.

At the 15-minute mark, turn oven down to 375.  I cooked my two stuffed birds for an additional 1 hour and 30 minutes. I checked it at an hour and 10…just in case. Because they are stuffed, you’ll need to cook a bit longer than unstuffed.

Chicken meat is done at 180. I take mine out when the meat thermometer hits 170-172, and let it sit with foil over it for another 15 minutes (if you go more, you’re fine).

When all was done – I had cooked an amazing dinner.  I LOVED IT and will be making it again very, very soon, i.e. next week. 🙂

 

 

Paleo Bread

Wow. Just…WOW. This was DELICIOUS. Another winner from elena’s pantry!  Two people have asked me for bread recipes of late yet I was pretty shy on trying it because I’ve gotten so used to not having bread it’s not something I ever think about…so I was fearful anything I made would turn out bad!

Tonight, I found an easy recipe (elena’s pantry) and decided to give it a go. Holy. This was amazing. I couldn’t believe how good it smelled while cooking and when I tasted it – of course, with a bit ‘o butter….I had to force myself to STOP EATING IT. It was AMAZING.

And the kicker??? EASY. Me likey easy. I did change a couple of things – see below. And enjoy – this one is a keeper and I will be making it again. Probably on Friday, for Dale, because I’ll have eaten it all by then. Ooops.

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Original recipe: http://www.elanaspantry.com/paleo-bread/

Paleo Bread

  • 1 ½ cups blanched almond flour [I usually grind my own almonds and use that. Now, it’s more ‘mealy’, not as finely ground so it gave this bread a not as dense texture. I like it just fine, but if you like that dense, thicker bread, purchase almond flour that’s finely ground.]
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour [used heaping tblspoons because my almond ‘flour’ was not finely ground, so as a ‘just in case’ used heaping, not level]
  • ¼ cup golden flaxseed meal
  • ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 5 eggs
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey [used half a tble spoon, if that. Ran out so didn’t use it – don’t think you need it.]
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  1. Place almond flour, coconut flour, flax, salt and baking soda in a food processor
  2. Pulse ingredients together
  3. Pulse in eggs, oil, honey and vinegar
  4. Pour batter into a greased 7.5″ x 3.5″ Magic Line Loaf Pan
  5. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes

Cool and serve

This one comes from www.elenaspantry.com.  I just happened to hop on her site and it was the featured recipe. It looked so good i was inspired!

I just had a bite – really good. BUT – they would be a lot better had I used the right coconut milk…meaning, canned coconut milk, not the stuff you normally drink. Way to go, Shasonta.

Overall, this is a great recipe…my way made the bars a bit more fluffy, Elena’s way will make them more dense. 🙂

Glass half full, this is what I’m telling myself. HA!

Enjoy – but with the right coconut milk. I have no idea what I was thinking…

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Coconut Bars

  1. Mix eggs, coconut milk, oil, honey, vanilla and stevia in a food processor
  2. Pulse in almond flour, coconut flour, shredded coconut and salt
  3. Transfer ingredients into an 8×8 inch Pyrex baking dish
  4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes
  5. Cool for ½ hour, then place in refrigerator and serve when chilled

Makes 16 bars

Here are some of the health benefits of coconut:

  • Naturally gluten free
  • Full of heart healthy fats that lower LDL cholesterol
  • Anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic
  • Reduces inflammation and promotes healthy absorption of nutrients
  • High in minerals such as iron, phosphorus and zinc

Morning Glory Muffins

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At first I wasn’t too hip on these…I don’t know why, but they just didn’t overpower me. Now that I’ve made them twice, I really like them and loved how the first batch turned out vs. the second batch. Why? I let the batter sit for about an hour before putting in the oven. They suggest this in the cookbook, but didn’t really understand the purpose.

These muffins are a great snack, post WOD treat, afternoon pick me up, or, for a little sweet after dinner. Very versatile, VERY healthy. And they ROCK with butter. 🙂 Who doesn’t love a little butter?!

The original recipe came from Paleo Comfort Foods by Julie and Charles Mayfield. This cookbook is another great one – they have some ‘southern’ style paleo recipes (biscuits and gravy?! Are you serious? HECK YES!) that are perfect for our PNW ‘winters.’

My modifications in [xxx].

This will be a staple in my house – I hope you enjoy!

  • 2.5 cups of almond flour
  • 1 tbl cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • .5 tsp salt
  • 2 cups grated/shredded carrots [I food processed. much easier]
  • 1 large apple, peeled cored and grated [didn’t peel it, why? the skin adds nutrients and flavor. food processed this too]
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • .5 c coconut or avocado oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350, grease a standard sized muffin tin. [I used a mini muffin tin and one small loaf pan for this sized recipe]
  2. combine almond flour to salt in a bowl, mix well [I used a big dinner style serving fork to mix]. Add carrot through raisins, mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients, mix well.
  4. Pour wet over dry and mix. Batter will be very thick. [At this point, set the bowl aside and work on something else for at least 30 minutes…this step is imperative for moister muffins…yes, I just used the word “moist.”]
  5. Spoon into tins of choice. For normal muffin pan, cook 40-50 minutes. For my mini muffin and mini loaf, I cooked 25 minutes. Do a toothpick check.
  6. Cool down, take out of tin and eat!

Ideas to enhance: add chopped dates, orange zest, lemon zest…

Leftover Filling from Stuffed Shrooms Recipe

 

Leftovers from the stuffed shroom recipe

Well! I had a TON of meat left over from the stuffed portabellas…Tons of stuff you can do with this super yummy filling: put it in tomato sauce for marinara, use on pizza, or, use in quiche!

So quick and easy – oiled a 8×12 (ish) glass dish, put in thick layer of spinach, the left over meat, topped with eggs. Cooked at 355 degrees for 35 minutes…

WOW. It’s goooooooood! Now, Fuzz and I have breakie/lunch for the whole week! Easy breezy!