Kid Friendly Shepherds Pie

January 10, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Posted in Family Meals | 7 Comments
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I knew my kids would turn their noses up and fold their arms in out-right defiance to eating this Shepherds Pie.

I also knew that if I remained calm, encouraged them to try, and threatened no dinner, they would eventually take a bite.

I also knew that the biscuit layer was irresistible, so I directed them to the top….and after one bite of that familiar layer they were sold!  My son actually asked for seconds.

Yes, it is true, my son (the reformed white eater) actually ate this and asked for more!

We’ll be having this Shepherds Pie again.  I kept the flavor profiles low so there was nothing unfamiliar here.  But that biscuit layer was the true secret to the success of this dish.  I’ll happily make it again, and I know my kids will happily eat it again.

Shepherds Pie (adapted from this recipe by Paula Deen)


  • 1 small onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 10 medium red new potatoes
  • 1 cup milk, nonfat
  • 8 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cups instant biscuit mix


Ground Turkey Layer: Saute onions in 2 tablespoons butter. Add ground turkey. After turkey is browned, add tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Potato Layer: Peel and slice potatoes 1/4-inch thick. Cook in boiling water for approximately 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Mash with a potato masher. Add 1/4 cup heated milk, 1/4 cup butter, and sour cream. Salt and pepper, to taste.  Adjust thickness by adding more milk, if desired.

Biscuit Layer: Combine biscuit mix and 1/2 cup milk. The mix should be thinner than normal biscuit mix but not runny.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9 by 9 by 2-inch pan, or any similar casserole dish. Layer half way up with the mashed potatoes. Next, spread a layer of mixed vegetables. Then add a layer of the meat.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Pour biscuit mix over meat. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over top. Bake for approximately 35 to 45 minutes until top is golden brown.  Allow to cool slightly, serve warm.

Spaghetti Squash Quiche

October 17, 2009 at 7:58 pm | Posted in spaghetti squash | 2 Comments
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There’s a reason why it’s called spaghetti squash…

spaghetti squash

Just cut in half and bake at 400 degrees for an hour. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to remove the flesh and you’ve got spaghetti squash.  The possibilities are endless with this versatile vegetable.  Here’s how I used it today…

Spaghetti Squash Quiche

  • 1 prepared pie crust
  • 3/4 cup spaghetti squash
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup ground chicken sausage
  • 1/4 cup caramelized onions
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups non-fat milk

Bake pie crust.  Combine squash, cheese, sausage, and onions with flour.  Scoop into bottom of still warm pie shell.  Whisk eggs and milk in a bowl and pour over squash mixture.  Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.quiche 3


December 11, 2007 at 1:01 am | Posted in Family Meals, flaxseed meal | 4 Comments

Need Butternut Squash puree! Want Butternut Squash puree! But no Butternut Squash Puree…

So, I tried beans. Canned white kidney beans to be exact. I took the beans, rinsed them, dropped them in my food processor, added a little water, and got three 1/2 cup bags of bean mush, oh, I mean puree.

With my Trader Joe’s Cornbread mix (come on, make life easy with me, use a box) I was ready to try to make Cornbread (with bean puree).
1 box Cornbread mix
1/2 cup white kidney bean puree
2 T flaxseed meal
3 T olive oil
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

Stir puree, flaxseed meal, olive oil, egg and milk in large bowl. Mix in Cornbread mix until combined. Bake in an 8×8 baking pan, sprayed with non-stick spray, at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.And the verdict…looks and tastes like cornbread! My kids both asked for second pieces. Now, for some stats: The original recipe prepared had 290 calories per serving.

For my cornbread, I’ll add up the calories:
120-kidney bean puree
60-flaxseed meal
70-non-fat milk
360-olive oil
= 2217 total calories divided by 9 servings is 246 calories per serving. (Kath, my calorie guru, thanks for your help!) So, I saved about 44 calories per serving…I can do better than that!

Christmas cheer-us-up Cookies

December 8, 2007 at 1:05 am | Posted in Dessert | 2 Comments

In the wake of our missing Frosty and Penguins, my kids were needing some Christmas cheer. Today it came in the form of sugar and flour! One look at Ree’s cookies and I knew this would be our afternoon activity. I followed her directions to a “t”. (But being a first born, I did not double the recipe ).

Ree’s technique for decorating cookies is fool proof! It’s easy! And the results are beautiful! Just check these out. I had my kids “paint” the cookies by spooning a small amount of egg yolk coloring on their cookie and then spreading it with the back of a spoon. I love Ree’s idea to use a watercolor brush, but I couldn’t find any that weren’t first used with something crayola. My dd used Q-tips to paint her snowman. Here’s how they looked just out of the oven:Then I took a swipe with the pastry bag (mixed with powdered sugar, milk and meringue powder).Our next batch was even better…Seriously, the results are amazing. I like how it gives a color-flow look without the effort. For a slightly frazzled stay-at-home-mom to her five-year old twins, this is definitely do-able. Thanks Ree! I love this and will never go back to my old miserable ways!

I made more of these cookies after the kids went to bed, just two eggs left so I made a green and red. Here are my pretty cookies:And I really like how the candy canes turned out. They remind me of stained glass. I must admit that I haven’t even tasted one yet (no eating after 7pm). But my kids and husband thought these were great.


November 27, 2007 at 3:16 am | Posted in carrot puree, Family Meals, spinach puree | 2 Comments

Baby Spinach, so easy and so good for you! I’ve made these hamburgers a couple of times now and each time my kids raved and ate.

Hamburgers (with spinach and carrots)
1.25 lbs lean ground beef
1/2 cup baby spinach puree*
1/2 cup carrot puree
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Shape patties, some big for adults, some mini for the kids. On a non-stick pan sprayed with cooking spray, cook hamburgers 5-7 minutes per side, depending on how thick they are. Mom Tip: While the patties cook, have the kids cut out buns using wheat bread and cookie cutters. Tonight my kids used gingerbread, Christmas tree, and stocking shapes. My son refused to let me photo his tree shaped burger, but it was so cute!

*Baby spinach is super easy because there is no cooking necessary! Just grab a big handful of clean baby spinach and put it in the food processor.

sweet squash tapas

November 19, 2007 at 10:34 pm | Posted in butternut squash puree, Family Meals | 1 Comment

Okay, I really didn’t know what to call these little vegetable creations, but it didn’t matter, my kids ate them up! Filled with butternut squash and apples, these great little veggie pancakes were enjoyed with dinner the other night.1 c butternut squash puree
1 fuji apple, skinned and grated
1/2 t cinnamon
1 T brown sugar
4 T flour
1 egg

Mix the above ingredients together in a large bowl. On a non-stick pan or with evoo, drop the squash mixture by the tablespoon on the pan. Flip after 5 minutes or until brown. Cook on the other side for another 5 minutes. Put on a baking sheet and finish cooking in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

child’s play creme brulee

November 19, 2007 at 9:02 pm | Posted in Dessert | 1 Comment

My kids have been playing Remy in the backyard, mixing up weeds, dirt, and the fallen oranges from the tree. “This is how Remy cooks”, I overheard my son saying the other day. Trying to turn this play into something real and bring oranges into my son’s diet (white eater), I picked up a bag of tangerines today at the store. I wasn’t quite sure what we’d do with them, but I figured an idea would present itself…and it did.

As my son and daughter were breaking open the fallen oranges and squeezing out their juice, I got out my big bag of tangerines and asked if they wanted to make something. The tangerines were the perfect fruit. Because of their small size and thin skin, my kids were easily able to cut these in half with a butter knife. I handed my son a citrus juicer and had my kids alternate between cutting and juicing our tangerines.

After a quick search for orange creme brulee, I found a recipe that could be adapted to my ingredients at home. Here’s what I used:
Child’s Play Creme Brulee
5 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 t tangerine juice (freshly squeezed)
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t tangerine zest

Whisk ingredients in a bowl until they are all added. Pour creme mixture into a double boiler and whisk until slightly thickened. Pour creme into 6 individual ramekins. Place ramekins in a baking dish and pour water in the baking dish, until the water line comes up the outside of the ramekins, half way. Bake at 300 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the custard is set. At this point, refrigerate until ready to serve. Place a light layer of sugar on top of the custard and caramelize with a torch or broiler. Serve immediately.I missed the heavy cream and egg yolk base I’m used to in this classic dessert. But my kids think it’s great. The tangerine taste definitely comes through, and my kids were able to do most of the mixing and measuring by themselves (with supervision). Plus, my I-only-eat-white son got to handle, cut, juice, taste and then enjoy tangerines. This is really something (he won’t even drink orange juice).Next day report…no sugar on top, just the custard, straight out of the fridge, So Good!

Potato Leek Soup

November 16, 2007 at 12:09 am | Posted in Family Meals | Leave a comment

I admit that Remy didn’t sneak into my kitchen and make this soup, but a little Pixar magic never hurts! In Pixar’s latest film, Ratatouille, Remy (the rat) makes soup (Potato Leek), gets noticed by the hapless Linguine, and goes on to impress Paris’ toughest food critic.

This recipe is from Chef Robert Irvine when he visited Pixar and created dishes inspired by Finding Nemo, Cars, and Ratatouille. I followed the chef’s recipe but used just 4 leeks instead of 8 and opted for half-and-half rather that the heavy cream.

My kids reaction with their first taste, “yummm”. Serve with Mary’s Dinner Rolls.

Mary’s Dinner Rolls

November 15, 2007 at 11:49 pm | Posted in Family Meals | 1 Comment

As bride in the mid-1990’s, I was given the obligatory bread machine. Back then it seemed everyone was baking with these huge machines and I was no different. I would bake cinnamon bread and create dough for pastries, but that was about it. It didn’t take long for my bread machine to be relegated to the back of the closet. It has been, gosh, maybe 7 years since I’ve even used the machine…until today.

You see, my friend Mary brought these fantastic dinner rolls to our Girls Dinner Club in October. The dough was made in her I-was-a-90’s-bride bread maker. And these rolls are definitely worth the trouble of pulling that bread maker out, dusting it off, and turning it on. Yes, they are that good. And we are having them tonight with our Potato and Leek Soup. Yummm.Mary’s Dinner Rolls
1 cup water
2 T margarine or butter softened
1 egg
3 1/4 cup Gold Medal Better for Bread Flour
1/4 c sugar
1 t salt
3 t bread machine yeast or quick-acting active dry yeast

1. Place all dough ingredients in bread pan in the order listed.

For the yeast, dig a shallow hole in the dry ingredients and place the yeast in the hole so that there’s no contact between the liquids and the yeast.

2. Select Dough cycle on bread machine.

3. Grease cupcake pan (I used a mini). Place balls in each cup, brush with butter, cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled.

4. Heat oven to 375. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. (or 10-12 minutes if using a mini-cupcake pan.)

carrots carrots carrots

October 29, 2007 at 11:29 pm | Posted in carrot puree, how to puree | 1 Comment

First, inspiration came when I saw Megan’s recipe, “The Monkey Bread Goes Wild For Garlic”, I sat up and took notice. Come on now, this looks sooo good!

And Sara Moulton’s recipe for Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup would be oh-so-good with the bread (I just omit the mushrooms).

So I headed off this morning to my local Trader Joes and picked up the necessary ingredients for this great make ahead soup.

There, I picked up this big bag of baby carrots. Hmmm…some for the soup, some for carrot puree, and some for cruidites before dinner tonight.

Here’s how my 24 oz bag of carrots was divided into these three recipes:First is easy, just take a sandwich size ziploc bag and put in enough baby carrots for a vegetable plate, about 1/3 of the bag.

Then, take out the second 1/ 3 of carrots out of the bag and cut them up for the Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup. Finally, take the last 1/3 of carrots, microwave cook for about 4 minutes, puree, and then package them into 1/2 cup amounts in snack-size ziplock bags. Don’t forget to label the carrot puree bag with the date, contents and amount packaged.

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