SHEPHERD’S PIE WITH GROUND TURKEY

IMG_2709Now that the weather is getting a bit cooler the comfort foods are coming out.  I have several old favourites that are on repeat during the fall and winter.  Shepherd’s pie is one of them.  This is one of the first recipes I learned to make when I was 10 years old. There was no recipe, I just watched my mom.   My mom was in the hospital and I was in charge of supper and laundry and helping to look after my younger sister and brother.  I don’t really remember what else I made during that time 🙂

I used to use ground beef but we tend to use ground turkey for most dishes now. Leaner and healthier!

Ingredients:

Russet potatoes –  5 medium size

1 pound lean ground turkey

1 cup of peas (frozen)

2-3 carrots peeled and sliced into coins

2 packages of Gluten free turkey gravy

1/2 cup milk

1 tblsp of butter or margarine (I use Becel)

salt/pepper to taste

paprika to sprinkle on top

First I peel and cut up the potatoes and put them into a large pot of cold water. I never salt the water. We have too much salt in our diets as it is 😦

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Boil the potatoes until a knife or fork goes into them easily. Drain them and reserve some of the water.  Add the milk and butter and mash them well.

Steam the peas and carrots together just until they are bright and just cooked through.  They will continue to cook once in the casserole, so don’t cook until mushy.  Reserve some of this water as well.

Brown the turkey in a non stick pan. I will sometimes add a tablespoon of olive oil just to keep it from sticking. (maybe its just my frying pans haha)

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Cook until starting to brown.  This is where I use the reserved vegetable water…to mix up the gravy packages. It gives it a bit more flavour and substance.  I used to make my own gravy until I had to be gluten free.  Feel free to make your own if you so desire.  I would use chicken broth/and or the vegetable water,  flour and bouillion cubes to give it flavour.

Add the gravy to the cooked ground turkey and stir well.  Add the peas and carrots to the meat/gravy mixture and stir it all together. Then add to a oven proof casserole dish.  Make sure its deep enough as it will bubble over when cooking.

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Once its in the casserole dish you can start layering the mashed potatoes over the entire top of the casserole.  Leave it rough looking as the little peaks of potatoes get brown when its cooking.  Sprinkle with paprika.  It’s just something we’ve always done haha.

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Put in oven for 25 – 30 min at 350 F  until it is bubbling at the edges. YUM!!

I eat it with a big dollop of ketchup, but to each his own 🙂

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!!

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤

VEGETABLE CHICKEN SOUP

fall    Well, since yesterday was the first official day of fall, and today it’s been raining, it seemed like a great day to make soup!

I actually made this soup last week (on another rainy day) without a recipe and it turned out so tasty that I decided to try it again.

INGREDIENTS:

2 Tblsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 cup of  onion

2 stalks of celery

1-2 carrots (depending on size)

1/2 bulb fennel

1 cup of mushrooms (I used Cremini and then Shitake)

1/2 of a medium sized Red Kuri or Kabocha squash

1 cup canned chopped tomatoes

2 quarts of chicken stock

1 pre cooked chicken

1/2 can of coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp of crushed pepper flakes

Start by adding the Olive Oil to the stock pot and setting the element on medium heat.  Chop the onion, celery, carrots and fennel and cook until softened and starting to carmelize very slightly.

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Peel and chop the squash into small chunks. Add to pot once first 4 ingredients have softened. Cook for a few minutes so that the squash starts picking up some of the carmelization from the bottom of the pot.

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Add sliced mushrooms and chopped tomatoes and stir to incorporate.

Pour 1 litre of the chicken stock into the pot. At this point I add 2 legs and 2 wings from the cooked chicken. Stir all together and then simmer on low for 30 – 40 min until thickened and liquid is reduced.

Remove the wings and legs and take off the meat and put back into soup.  Add some more of the chicken to the pot depending on how much you  want. At this point I add the 2nd quart of chicken stock. Cook for another 20 minutes or longer if you like the soup to be a bit thicker. The squash disappears and you just have the colour and flavour left.

Just before serving I add 1/2 can of coconut milk and stir. Heat on low until heated through.

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Ladle into bowls and serve with crusty rolls.

This soup can also be made using vegetable stock and omit the chicken and you have a vegetarian option.

Enjoy!

LIVE LIFE FULLY ❤

OUR SUNDAY DINNER

Bear with me as I just have to talk about how much I love being a mom and grandmother 🙂

I always knew I wanted to have children from the time I was little. It was never something that I flip flopped about. I just always wanted to be a mom.  I looked after my younger sister and brother from the time I was 10 years old. I started babysitting when I was 12 until I was finished high school.  Looking back, I envisioned myself having 2 kids shortly after being married at 21.  In reality I met my husband when I was 25 and we didn’t get married until I was 29 and then had my first child at 31.  Ten years after what I thought was my ideal age 🙂  My kids are all approximately 2 years and 9 months apart. (just lucky)  I wanted them to get along and not fight.  I think I managed that pretty well. They all talk and get together on a fairly regular basis either at home or at their respective homes and they all have a terrific sense of humour. We regularly have running family chats on “Whats App”. In our family if you are thinking of joining it, you have to have a good sense of humour and be ready to give and take.

Now that my kids are starting to get into relationships and having children themselves it’s really wonderful to see how they’ve grown into such wonderful people.  Even though they will always be my kids and I will always worry about them, my greatest joy is becoming a grandmother.  Some people look at it as being seen as old, but I am absolutely thrilled to have that added to my list of names.

I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, niece, and now grandmother. My greatest accomplishments!!!

I’m sitting my grandson for the next 5 days. I’ve done this before and we’ve had a couple of sleepovers. It really is so much fun. You get to re-live all of those milestones. He is almost 11 months old and such a little gem!!!  His mom and dad (my son) are such good parents and “little man” is so loved and the happiest little fellow around. 

I love having my kids and grandson over for a family dinner on Sunday or even during the week.  We talk and laugh and laugh and talk some more and it really is the best having family around. 

My kids love coming over especially for a home cooked meal ha ha.  I try to make meals that I can prep before, cook quickly and not spend too much time away from the visiting. I always have offers to help with prep and serving and cleaning up and of course offering to take leftovers off my hands ha ha.  The only stipulation is bring back the containers!!!

So here is one of our faves…

Barbequed chicken and roasted vegetables and usually a salad of some sort. Dessert will be for another post.

For the CHICKEN I will either use boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs. Thighs are very forgiving and stay tender and juicy (but not too juicy 😦 )  I make this type of chicken at least 2 times a week.

So the amounts are approximates. I’m not a measurer for this type of thing so adjust if required.

4 Tblsp of Extra virgin olive oil

Juice from half a small lemon

1 1/2 tsp of Dijon mustard

1 tsp of Cavenders Greek Seasoning (not sure if this is a Canadian thing)  If you can’t find this you could just make a mixture of dried Oregano, salt and pepper, garlic salt, dried rosemary and anything else you feel like adding 🙂

Then depending on what herbs I have growing, I will add fresh parsley and fresh rosemary. 

Mix it all together and coat the chicken with it.  I use a Weber barbeque so I will put all 3 elements on medium and grill on one side for 5 – 10 min until it’s golden brown and carmelized and then flip it over and cook another 10 min until that side is golden as well. It turns over easily if you’ve let it cook long enough. The secret to juicy chicken is to not keep flipping it over and over and not poking it with a fork. If you push it with your finger it should still be a bit spongy.  I never use a meat thermometer but you could do this as well.

ROASTED VEGETABLES

Potatoes cut into bite sized pieces. I like using the new potatoes that are available in the market gardens right now.

Carrots cut into the same sized pieces as the potatoes. This ensures they all cook at the same time.

Onions (I like Walla Walla when in season) I just use maybe 1/4 of one sliced thin.

Cauliflower, This is something new I’ve tried and it really gives a wonderful taste to the cauliflower.

Depending on what I have in the fridge or what’s in season I will sometimes add Parsnips, Mushrooms, Beets.

The amounts of each vegetable depend on how many you are serving and how many leftovers you want.  I ad lib all the time.

Then put everything into a pan that can sit on the barbeque and drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and salt and pepper to taste and mix so all the vegetables are coated. I will sometimes start the vegetables ahead of time so that they have time to cook and will be finished at the same time as the meat. These you can turn frequently so that they carmelize and crisp up.

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I used chicken breasts and they are dressed and ready to go as well.
I used chicken breasts and they are dressed and ready to go as well.

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And there you have it. A tasty and easy meal. With this one I made a quick caprese salad made with this lovely bocconchini cheese from Beast and Brine, a local deli.

Enjoy your meal and your family!!

Live life fully ❤