Thursday, March 28, 2013

Truly Healthy Shepherd's Pie

Truly Healthy Shepherds Pie

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Okay, maybe it's a couple weeks late, but whatever...  Darren and I love rich, fatty foods in the late winter.  However, being on the wedding DIET, we really needed to focus on eating healthy.  Looking at that big pile of buttery mashed potatoes over the meaty, gravy-y goodness (gravy-y??) made us really crave some shepherds pie!  It also made me sick to my stomach to think of the amount of calories!  This pie is rich and filling without being overly fattening.  I subbed out the mashed potatoes for a garlicky, rich cauliflower mash and I decided to toss out the gravy and sub in some tasty low fat cream soup.  It's still absolutely delicious and, for a substantial serving, it's only around 400 calories!  So indulge on, you Irish, not so Irish, and wish you were Irish!  Eat the Blarney out of it!!

Shepherds Pie with Cauliflower Mash

For the Mash:

1 Head fresh cauliflower (about a pound of the "meat"- not including the leafy part)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp margarine or smart spread
1/4 c low fat milk
salt and pepper

For the Pie:

1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey (I use turkey)
3 c fresh chopped veggies (whatever you like!  I take this opportunity to clean out my produce drawer.  Sugar snap peas, green beans, carrots, onion, celery, broccoli, even a bit of leftover cauliflower!)
1 can condensed low fat cream of "whatever" soup (I used celery, but you can pick mushroom, chicken, broccoli...)
1 tbsp dried thyme
salt and pepper

Cut the cauliflower away from the leafy greens.  Chop it up however you want, it'll all get blended up anyway.  Toss it into some boiling water and cook it until it's tender, about 5-7 minutes.  drain it and toss it in a blender.  Add the garlic powder, margarine, and milk.  Blend to desired texture.  season with salt and pepper. (Hint: if it's not blending well, add more milk then boil it off later)  Set the mash aside.  Don't feel bad if you eat half of it while you're waiting for the rest to be done, I know I wanted to!

In a large deep skillet, saute the ground meat until fully cooked.  Set that aside.  In the same skillet, cook the veggies on medium to low heat until tender.  Don't cook them all the way or they'll turn to mush during the baking process.  return the meat to the pan and add the cream of "whatever" soup.  Mix until well incorporated.  Add thyme and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  In a 9x9 glass baking dish or 9 inch round Corningware, spray a little bit of cooking spray.  Layer in the meat/veggie/cream/awesome then top it with whatever mash you didn't eat while you were waiting.  Place it in the oven and bake until the top is a little browned and the filling is bubbling, about 25 minutes.  Allow to cool a little and set up before serving.  Serves 4 as a one pot meal, serves 6 as a side dish.  


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Roasted Chicken Breast With Balsamic Heirloom Tomatoes

A Perfect Dinner Dish for Two
This Dinner is something i came up with when my mom was in town from Illinois.  I wasn't sure what to make on her last night but I did have tomatoes and chicken.  I always keep a large amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar in my cupboard!  After my brother Ian, the picky eater, said he liked it (and he doesn't even like tomatoes!) I decided to tweak it a bit and make it perfect! I added garlic and basil and sauteed the chicken first to make it the "just right" dinner for myself and Darren.  Enjoy!

This dish is very homey, rich and acidic.  After roasting, the tomatoes become like a coarse sauce to spoon over the chicken.  You may find yourself looking for more tomatoes to sop up with the chicken!  I like to serve it with my favorite herb fingerling potatoes, but you can simply serve it with a crisp herb salad for a lighter option! 

2 boneless, skinless half chicken breasts (around a pound)
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium heirloom tomatoes, chunked
Fresh basil, torn
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more
balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a medium sautee pan, brown the garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil, about 2 minutes.  Add the onion.  Sautee for another 4 minutes, until the onions begin to become transluscent.  Don't caramelize the onions or they will not flavor the tomatoes!  Remove the onions and garlic and set  aside.   In the same pan, quickly brown the chicken breasts on both sides, just to give the outside some color.  In an 8"x 11" glass oven dish, scatter the tomato chunks.  Lightly drizzle more olive oil over top.  Layer on the onion mixture.  Drizzle the top with balsamic vinegar.   Nestle the browned chicken deep in the tomatoes.  Pop it in the oven, just under the middle rack, and roast for 40 minutes, until the chicken temperature reaches 160.  



Thursday, January 3, 2013

Raspberry Chipotle Black Bean Dip (So Long Copycat Recipe)

A Kansas State Tradition: 
Raspberry Chipotle Black Bean Dip

My fiancee, Darren, attended Kansas State University; as well as many of his family members.  His Uncle even owns the well known Campus Hairstyling, a little barber shop located in downtown Manhattan, KS.  This has become a favorite spot of mine in the state, and it's served as the platform of many great memories.

** The first time I heard of this dish (most famously featured at Manhattan, Kansas favorite, "So Long Saloon"), I thought, Erhmagersh, that sounds awful!... Modern Family Star Eric Stonestreet, a K-State alum, said it best when he asked what he should order when we were seated next to him at the So Long.  We suggested he order the famous dip and he looked at it and said, 'that looks like what's going to come up tomorrow morning, not what I should be eating tonight!' He's a great guy in person, so long as you don't underestimate the Wildcats when they play the Kansas Jayhawks.  When I thought that it was a little optimistic that the Wildcats would hold the Jayhawks to only 7 points, he proceeded to look at me and say, "Who're You?!"  Darren's brother said "Oh, she's from Ohio." Mr. Stonestreet proceeded to make a face and jokingly wave me off!  A great memory I will always cherish, my first celebrity shunning!**

The dip, once stirred after cooking, looks like a creamy mixture resembling the K-State powercat purple.  It's got the rich cheese taste and sweet raspberry sauce with just enough bite to  keep you coming back for more!  Great hot or cold! Try it at your next family get together or sporting event!

Here's how it goes...

1- 8 oz package Cream Cheese
1- can Black Beans, drained
1- Small Onion, diced
2 tbsp- Butter
Pinch- Cumin
Pinch- Kosher Salt
Pinch- Black Pepper
4 tbsp- Raspberry Chipotle Sauce(I use Bronco Bob's)
Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a saucepan, heat butter, add onions, and saute until translucent and browned.  Add to a mixing bowl with the cream cheese and mix.  Set aside.  In a separate saucepan, pour in the black beans.  Sprinkle in a pinch of cumin, salt, and pepper.  Mix until hot, being careful not to mush the beans.  In an oven safe dish, place the cream cheese mixture into the center. Spread the beans around the perimeter of the cheese. Using a spoon, make a dent in the cheese.  Pour the raspberry sauce in the dent.  Dust the top with a thin layer of shredded pepper jack.  Place the dish in the oven until cheese is melted and the dip is heated through (about 10-15 mins).  Mix ingredients together or serve as is.  Turn on the game and wait for Darren to start shouting.

(For Darren, and of course, Mr. Stonestreet)

Love, Lura