Tag: kitchen

Whatcha Got Shepherd’s Pie

shepherdspieI had a bluesy, stressful few days. The first of those days was potluck night with friends, and all I had to make was a ham-cheese-egg casserole. Easy enough. Last night, I used leftover spaghetti, frozen meatballs, and the last of the delicious meat sauce my Dad made a few weeks ago when he and Mom were visiting.

Today, I was feeling better and ready to give out in my love language: cooking. It relieves my stress and produces something useful, nourishing, and usually, appreciated.

Along with Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate brownies (thank you, Costco) sprinkled with a little sea salt (thank you, Pioneer Woman), this went in my oven. It’s not all traditional, because it was spur-of-the-moment, so I didn’t have everything on hand, and my people don’t really love peas or mushrooms anyway….

Whatcha Got Shepherd’s Pie
– Serves 6ish
1.5 ground beef
3ish strips of bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
4-5 carrots. chopped
1 bag of frozen green beans (traditional: peas)
2 tablespoons flour
2-4  bouillon cubes/beef brother/Worcestershire sauce (make a combo depending on what you have)
red wine/apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar (depending on what you have)
salt/pepper/thyme
mashed potatoes (I used 6 medium whole potatoes, made extra creamy)
1 cup cubed or shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  1. Brown the ground beef. Remove beef from pan and reserve some of the drippings for next step.IMG_5201
  2. Cook bacon and carrots for about 10 minutes. Add onion and garlic. Cook until tender. Add flour and stir thoroughly.
  3. Add beef, green beans, and your combination of bouillon and red wine vinegar. This shouldn’t be more than cup of liquid total. Add about a teaspoon each of salt, black pepper, and thyme. Stir thoroughly and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer everything in the pot to a lightly greased casserole dish (I used an 8×8). Cover with mashed potatoes and then cheese
  5. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Serve.

Southern Cooking in a Chicagolina Kitchen

I have a new addiction.

It started two weeks ago, when I went here:

(I go there a lot less in my current life, because unlike in my Chicago life, there isn’t one every 2 miles I drive. Anyway…)

And instead of ordering a donut (because seriously, they don’t compare to the ones at Donut Man), a bagel, or the little breakfast wrap I would normally choose, I, quite to my own surprise, ordered this:

(except with a coffee).

And it was love.

Now, I have loved biscuits for awhile, ever since I got Trisha Yearwood‘s first cookbook:

and started making them myself. But the chicken biscuit never really occurred to me until I started hanging around with Southern Gospel singers, and then moved to the south.

They are so good, y’all!

So the other night when I had, ahem, a hankerin’ for one, I knew what to make for dinner. It went something like this:

1. See a “pinteresting” and easy recipe:

(click the picture to go to the recipe)

2. Realize I have all the ingredients

3. Realize my children are playing nicely

4. Thaw some chicken in the microwave and get started on the recipe.

5. Make some tea. This is essential. Since it was just going to be me drinking it (when we have company, I make a Bunch), I made it this way:
– bring a pot of water to almost boiling, remove from heat
– let 4 standard tea bags steep ‘for awhile’
– pour into pitcher, stir in 1 cup of sugar and a bunch of ice
– say, Aaaaaahhh

6. Boiled another pot of water for corn on the cob, the one vegetable that both my girls will eat.

7. Decide we will have green beans, too.

8. Set the table with the essentials:

9. Make the biscuits. And here is how I do it (adapted from the Trisha Yearwood version):

2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix these ingredients together

3/4 cup of milk (buttermilk would be great. I make the fake version using 1 tablespoon of white vinegar)
3 tablespoons of softened butter
Knead with the flour

Drop biscuits on to baking sheet or stone. Bake 8-11 minutes on 450. Restrain yourself.

This is how our finished dinner went:



Biscuits make KK excited.


Miss Picky ate everything but the green beans…


She celebrated (mostly) cleaning a plate that didn’t contain any macaroni.


My homemade chicken biscuit and I saluted her.

10. Always Have Dessert
They had ice cream sundaes.

I had another glass of sweet tea.

Can a girl from South Chicago Heights cook southern? It’s on, friends!

Whatever’s cookin’ for you this weekend, I hope it’s great.

Our Paige will be home for spring break~Smiles all around!

Kitchen Sink Beef Soup

Kitchen Sink Beef Soup

Last week I made a beef roast in the slow cooker. I saved all the broth and carrots in a pot until I was ready for soup, which was this week. You can add whatever you want to soup, which is what I love about it. This particular version was really yummy to me, though it was a bit peppery for my little soup eater, KK. Experiment with what you like best. Bonus: Refrigerating the broth, at least over night, means all the grease hardens on top. Gross? Yes. But that meant I could easily skim it off and throw it away, outta my soup.

1. Spray the bottom of your slow cooker. Add 1/2 up of uncooked rice.

2. Then add to slow cooker:

– beef broth
– 6 carrots, sliced
– 1 medium onion, chopped
– 1 cup of chopped broccoli (I pre-cooked mine to ensure it wasn’t anything but soft, but you probably don’t have to. Also, I chop it super tiny so my kids don’t notice what it is…)
– 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
– spices to taste: onion salt, black pepper, garlic powder, 1-2 bay leaves

3. Allow to cook 4-6 hours or until rice is cooked thoroughly.
*unrelated note: I have never been able to spell the word “thorough.” It’s not even hard, right? I missed it on *2* spelling tests in fifth grade and to this day, it causes the red squiggles when I type it.

4. Mangia! (especially good with a toasted leftover hamburger bun on the side!)