Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Shepherd's Pie - Southwest Version and Ham & Egg Cups

It’s beautiful here in Middle TN this week, the warm weather they were having out west finally got here.  I had dinner on the back patio last night, LOVE it when it’s warm and not humid; this is definitely my favorite time of the year here.

So, I’m continuing the recipe posting from the weekend cooking-a-thon, I have a couple more.  This first one is my take on a Shepherd’s Pie, one of my husband’s all-time favorites.  I make it a little different every time, the southwest inspired one seems to be his favorite.  It looks like a lot of work because the ingredients list is long (continuing on my quest to fit a lot of veggies in one dish) but it really doesn’t take very long to get it all together.

Shepherd’s Pie – Jen’s Southwest Inspired Version
Serves at least 8, likely more

1 tsp olive oil (or whatever oil you like for cooking)
1 medium sweet onion, chopped small
2 carrots, chopped small
2 celery stalks, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, chopped small
8 oz mushrooms, chopped small
1 lb. very lean ground beef (I used 95/5)
3 T tomato paste
½ T ground cumin
1 tsp chipotle chili powder (do this to taste, I use more, we like things spicy)
½ T chili powder
1 large can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 C corn (I prefer frozen, less sodium), thawed
Salt and pepper to taste
3 medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped into chunks
¾ large head of cauliflower, chopped into large chunks
3 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
3 T butter
¼-1/2 C skim milk (or whatever milk you have in the fridge)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
¾ C shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. For the bottom portion of the pie:
  3. Heat oil over medium high heat in a large skillet
  4. Drop in the onion through the mushrooms and sauté for two minutes, allowing veggies to soften slightly
  5. Add in the ground beef and break it up into the veggies as it is browning
  6. Once the meat is browned add in the tomato paste and spices, cook for another minute giving everything a chance to meld and the paste a chance to really wake up
  7. Add in the tomatoes, beans and corn, stirring everything together well
  8. Turn down the heat, cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes, then remove the lid and simmer another 15 minutes to reduce the amount of liquid
  9. Add the potatoes and cauliflower to a large pot and cover with water, bring to a boil and cook until tender
  10. Drain potatoes and cauliflower then put back into the pot, add in the cream cheese, butter, milk, salt and pepper, and use an electric mixer to combine everything until smooth (you are looking for a thick but smooth consistency)
  11. At this point check the meat mixture for salt/pepper needs along with spices.  I find when using canned beans and veggies I often don’t need to add salt.  If you add salt let it cook for a couple of minutes before moving on to the next step
  12. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray, add in the meat mixture and spread to an even layer, add the potato/cauliflower mixture on top
  13. If you are baking the dish now, add the cheese and place in the oven.  It should only take about 20-25 minutes because everything is already hot
  14. If you are going to put it in the refrigerator for later in the week, allow it to cool then cover and refrigerate, when you take it out to bake allow to sit on the counter for a few minutes then cover with foil before putting it in the oven, bake for 30 minutes covered, remove the cover, add the cheese then bake until the cheese is melted.
The second recipe was for breakfast this week, the husband is trying to work out in the morning and he’s usually the breakfast cook during the week.  We have done quinoa cups a lot so I decided to go a little different and do ham and egg cups.  I have seen different versions over and over across the web, this was just what I came up with after seeing a bunch and deciding how to do it my way (loading up with veggies).

Ham and Egg Cups
Serves 6-12 depending on hunger levels

12 slices of deli ham (make sure it’s GF and are the right size to line the cup on a regular size muffin tin with a little extra room)
½ red bell pepper
4 oz. mushrooms, quartered
½ medium zucchini, chopped
3 green onions, cut into quarters
6 large eggs
2 oz sharp cheddar, shredded

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray regular size 12-count muffin tin (or two 6-count tins) liberally with cooking spray
  3. Place one slice of ham in each cup, pushing it down so that you can fill it with your egg mixture
  4. Put all of the remaining ingredients in a blender in the order shown on the list (just a hint, I have learned through trial and error)
  5. Start the blender out on a low setting and move up as things start to get chopped up, you are looking for everything to be well-blended
  6. Pour the egg mixture into the ham cups, filling all about 2/3 of the way, if you have extra when you are done just top off some that look a little less full than others
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, check around 15 minutes to test doneness, egg should be set and not runny
  8. Serve right away or let cool and store in a container in the refrigerator, they warm up really easily and quickly!

Happy Wednesday everyone..!

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