Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Recipes
This is not my photo but one of the only ones with sweet potato, this recipe is also amazing!
https://minimalistbaker.com/lentil-sweet-potato-shepherds-pie/

Now that the world is ending I’m certain there are many of you at home who need to start cooking but have no idea where to start. I was the same way when I first moved out on my own but I promise, cooking and creating recipes is not as difficult and scary as you think it is.

This recipe was literally a last minute throw together with things I needed to use and had lying around the house and honestly, that’s how a lot of my recipes come to be. I start with what I want and then make adjustments for what I have. This recipe is a pretty easy and quick one to just toss together if you’re tired or low on ingredients.

Ingredients:

1lb of ground beef

4 large sweet potatoes

1/2 yellow or white onion diced

6 tbsp of butter

1/4 cup of flour

1-2 cups of milk

1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup of frozen mixed veggies

4-6 cloves of minced garlic

Caraway seeds (to taste)

Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Cayenne pepper (to taste)



1. Traditionally, Shepard’s Pie is made with ground lamb, regular potatoes and gravy but I had none of those ingredients so I improvised with sweet potatoes, and creamed ground beef instead of gravy and ground lamb. Making sure your potatoes are soft enough to mash is probably the one thing that takes the most time so that’s what I got started on first. To speed up this process, make sure to chop your sweet potatoes into smaller chunks and add a little salt to the water and boil them for about 15 minutes.


2. While your potatoes are going, preheat your oven to 375 and get started on the creamed beef by first browning your ground beef. If you aren’t using lean meat you may need to drain your meat before proceeding. Basically, you don’t want a whole lot of grease and beef liquid in the pan or the creamed part won’t come out right so use your best judgement. Once your beef is mostly browned, add your caraway, onion and garlic and cook until fragrant – about 2-5 minutes – adding 2 tbsp of butter at this time.


3. Once your onion and garlic are fragrant add the remaining butter and melt down then sprinkle a good amount of flour over the beef and butter, whisking or stirring frequently. You should start to see the flour and butter crumble up within in the pan, if not, keep adding flour and stirring until you do.


4. Now that you have your flour chunks in the pan cook for a minute or two longer and then start slowly pouring and stirring in the milk. I used 2% Lactaid but you could use whole milk if you prefer. It is very important that you slowly mix the milk into the mixture so that the flour and butter will incorporate correctly and give you a nice cream sauce not a chunky, flour mix. Keep adding milk until the sauce is the consistency you want. I added almost 1 full cup of milk because I wanted extra sauce to cook into the potatoes, but you don’t have to do that if you don’t want.


5. Your sweet potatoes, by now, should be soft enough to drain and mash. Add about 2 tbsp of butter and a few splashes of milk while you mash your sweet potatoes so that they have a velvety and smooth texture. Add salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.


6. Find a baking dish and spray with non-stick spray then line the bottom with sweet potatoes, defrost your veggies in a bowl draining excess water and add on top of the sweet potatoes, then add your creamed beef, top with remaining sweet potatoes and cheddar cheese. Place in oven for 7 minutes then broil on high for 3 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden, remove and enjoy!


And that is it! This recipe is really a very simple one to just toss together with whatever you have in the house! I hope you enjoy this and let me know if you make this and what you thought!

Easy Lo-Carb Carbonara

Recipes
Photo by Marie Dehayes on Unsplash

Here’s the thing about carbonaras, they’re easy to make but everyone over complicates it. This recipe is so easy that if you’re broke, tired, haven’t been to the grocery store in a while or maybe you’re just a terrible cook … you can still make it. Granted you have the necessary ingredients of course.

My only words of advice and caution are to constantly toss your pasta or spaghetti squash while pouring in your sauce mixture. This is very important because if you don’t the egg inside the sauce will literally begin to cook and you’ll have scrambled eggs. You don’t want that so keep that pasta moving! Also, towards the end of the recipe I would recommend taking your food off the heat about two minutes prior to pouring in your sauce mix so the pan and pasta or squash isn’t so hot that it does begin to cook the egg. I’ve found that the residual heat from all the cooking you’ve done prior to this step is more than enough to cook the sauce. Oh, one more thing, if you do choose to use squash you will need a thickening agent for the sauce so a combination of 1/4 cup of water, dash of salt and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch will give you the same consistency as pasta water just make sure to mix it well. And that’s it! So happy cooking and let me know how you like this recipe!



Ingredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash or 2 cups of low carb pasta of your choosing
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 4 cloves of chopped or minced garlic
  • 2 cups of pancetta or thick cut bacon cut into small-medium sized bits
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 4 teaspoons salt and pepper or to taste 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375, cut spaghetti squash in half and lightly cover all surface area with melted butter or olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until tender about 13-20 minutes or cook pasta as instructed
  • Slice bacon or pancetta into small-medium pieces and cook over medium heat in a large pot with butter until tender but not crispy, drain leaving some grease in pot
  • Return meat to pot and add garlic cooking on low heat until garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes, turn off heat
  • Once spaghetti squash is cooked remove from oven and shred with two forks or strain pasta reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water
  • Put spaghetti squash on cheese cloth or paper towel and squeeze out excess water
  • Place pasta or squash into large pot with meat and garlic, toss to coat evenly
  • Combine egg yolk and about 4 tablespoons of parmesan and 1 tablespoon of pasta water or cornstarch slurry, mix well
  • Slowly add the egg and cheese mixture to pasta or squash tossing constantly
  • Add more pasta water, cornstarch slurry or parmesan cheese until sauce is how you want
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste, top with parmesan, bacon or pancetta and serve

That’s it guys, it’s really that simple and honestly the thing that takes the longest is cooking the spaghetti squash if you choose to use that. This sauce can be used on regular pasta too, it’s just a simple carbonara sauce so use it whenever and use it often!

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Keto Pancakes

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The first few times I made these I failed … epically. They were more like crepes; thin and delicate. To be honest, these are not as fluffy as regular pancakes and if you find a way to get them to be thicker let me know because I am genuinely curious.

With that being said, these are both simple to make but also a little difficult. The only ingredients you’ll need are cream cheese, powdered sweetener, egg, almond flour and a dash of either vanilla or almond extract. With so few ingredients, I wonder myself how I messed these up but it’s easy if you’re not paying attention. If you want to make keto crepes though, this is the same recipe you’d use! Just add a little milk or water to thin out the batter, unless your batter ends up being thin like mine did.

I haven’t tried adding anything to this batter like blueberries or strawberries but as long as your batter is thick enough, I don’t think it would be a problem. I just top my pancakes with my favorite fruits or syrup and call it a day but get as creative as you want. If you wanted to add fruit I would suggest mashing them and them ribboning the fruit through the batter. This might work better than simply adding the fruit into the batter since it is a little thinner than normal batter. This recipe makes 4-6 pancakes.

O.K.! Now we know what we’re doing and what we need, here’s how much you’ll need:

  • 1 Block of softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 2-4 eggs (depending on how thick you want them)
  • 1/2 cup of sweetner
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla or almond extract (optional)

The first and easiest thing to do is to combine the eggs and cream cheese. I use my Ninja blender, it combine the ingredients quickly and evenly. As the cream cheese and egg begin to combine, add your almond flour, sweetner and extract. Again, if your batter feels too thick just add a little bit of water to thin it out. If the batter is too thick it may not cook right, you want the batter to cling to a spatula but be able to drip off. If you can scoop the batter out like dough, it’s too thick.

Once all your ingredients are combined, make sure to taste test the batter, I prefer my batter to be a little sweeter so that when it cooks it doesn’t develop that eggy flavor. Add some butter or non-stick spray to your skillet and add batter. I like to cook these until their lightly browned and then I just plate with my favorite toppings or syrup!

Pictures to come when I can make these without eating them right away! I hope you all enjoy this recipe!

Cheesy Hotdog Roll-ups

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If you’re looking for a super quick, satisfying and tasty snack that won’t break the carb bank, this is it.

I’ve seen this recipe floating around Instagram and decided to give it a try and I wasn’t disappointed. Though they did take some getting used, timing is key here, once I understood what I needed to do, everything was a breeze.

Now, learn from my mistake and let the cheese brown a little before rolling. I got a little too anxious and my roll-ups were just cheesy globs. Pictures to come when I do them right next time!

Ingredients:

  • Hot dogs
  • Skewers
  • Cheese (of your choice)

Heat a medium sized skillet and once hot, place either two grab-fuls of shredded cheese to the pan or two slices of cheese long-ways so your hotdog will be fully covered tip to tip.

While the cheese is melting, insert the skewers into your hot dogs. Once the bottom side of the cheese begins to brown, about two minutes on medium heat, grab your hot dog and use the edge of a spatula to lift the corner of the cheese and start rolling the hot dog in the cheese from one side of the pan to the other.

I roll the hot dogs a little slow so the cheese will stay in place once removed from the heat but the cheese should be rolled up fairly neatly to the hot dog. If your cheese is a little runny try letting it cook a little longer or try using less cheese on the next hot dog. In any case, if it’s not perfect it doesn’t matter because it’s still going to taste good!

Once your hot dog roll-ups are cooled, dip in your favorite sauce and enjoy! Sriracha-ketchup is really good on these as is a little dip in some ranch.

This recipe is as easy as it sounds so give it a try and let me know what you think!

 

The Best Cornbread

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This is hands down one of my most favorite recipes. Albeit not as healthy as some of the other things I make, but this cornbread recipe is perfect in fall with a bowl of chili or butternut squash soup!

For this recipe, I started with a basic cornbread recipe and then modified it for my needs and likes. I highly recommend everyone try this approach because any recipe, unless you want to make it exact, is a foundation for you to build off of. This recipe is not gluten free, vegan, or keto friendly but if you have a cheat meal coming up, make this cornbread. I like to use a 9-inch cast-iron skillet but you can use a bread pan, a cake pan … whatever you need to make it in, it won’t matter. Just make sure you oil your pan well. I like to use melted butter but you can use a spray or oil as well.

To begin, I would suggest prepping all your ingredients ahead of time. There’s nothing more annoying than forgetting to measure out the milk or melted butter so you frantically try to do it all last minute and knock over the bowl with the cornbread batter in it and now you have to start over. So, just do yourself a favor and prep everything ahead of time. You can mix all the dry ingredients together first and then in a separate bowl prep your wet ingredients. It doesn’t matter if you use salted or unsalted butter in this recipe but if you use salted you may want to add a little extra honey and brown sugar to this cornbread recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of yellow corn meal
  • 2/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/3 cup of neutral oil or melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of honey

So when prepping your ingredients, like before stated, you can combine all your dry ingredients immediately but with the wet ingredients I recommend holding off on the honey until the very end. If you add the honey too soon, especially to the colder ingredients, it can cause the honey to not mix as well so that should be the last thing you mix into the cornbread batter.

With all of your dry ingredients in one bowl, make a small reservoir in the center and add your wet ingredients excluding the honey, and mix well. Once the cornbread batter is well mixed, add the honey and sir that in. The batter shouldn’t be too think, it should have the thickness of pancake batter. If you stick your whisk into the batter and pull it up, there should be a thick flow of batter from the end of the whisk to the bowl. If your cornbread batter globs to the whisk, it’s too thick and if it just falls off the whisk it’s too thin.

If your cornbread batter is too thick, you can add a little extra milk or honey. If your batter is too thin though, you may need to add a combination of flour and corn meal. Just remember that if your batter is too thin, you may need to add a little extra of the other dry ingredients. The one I wouldn’t worry too much about is the baking powder unless you start to teeter on the edge of doubling the recipe.

Once your batter is mixed up and is the consistency you want, dump it into your pan of choice. Again, make sure your pan is well greased. The honey and brown sugar will make it super difficult to clean and get the cornbread out if you don’t. Put the cornbread in the oven at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted to the center pulls out clean and that’s it. You can add a little extra honey to the base of your pan if you want it to be a little sweeter or you can glaze the top of the cornbread with honey as well after the top has hardened.

This is a really versatile recipe, really just a good starting point to add other stuff to it. You can add pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice to the batter for a pumpkin cornbread that’s to die for, you can omit the honey and add cheddar and chopped jalapeños for a cheddar jalapeño cornbread (or you can leave the honey in and have a nice mix of sweet, savory and spicy all in one), you can add a can of creamed corn or some frozen corn kernels for a more authentic take or, like in the picture, you can top your cornbread with red onions, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds … however you want to customize it you can.

I use brown sugar instead of regular white sugar, I think it gives the cornbread a better sweetness and it’s a richer flavor as well and I use honey in my batter because the honey keeps the cornbread moist and just adds a layer of flavor that’s to die for. You can omit either or both as you see fit. You can try adding a little extra butter or oil if you choose to forego the honey or if you make this without the honey and the cornbread comes out a little dry, next time try a little extra butter.

It should be worth noting as well, that if you would like to make this gluten-free you would just swap the all-purpose flour out with your favorite gluten free flour on a 1:1 ratio with the current recipe. I haven’t tried this recipe with almond or coconut flour so if you do let me know how it goes!

My favorite spin-off recipe using the leftovers of this cornbread is a barbeque cornbread bake that again, is reserved for cheat meals only but is truly to die for! Stay tuned for that recipe!

If you end up using this recipe or adding your own twist to it, drop a comment and let me know how it worked for you!


Quick Cooking Guide

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of yellow corn meal
  • 2/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/3 cup of neutral oil or melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • Baking pan or cast-iron skillet 9-inches around

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Combine all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and once mixed well, create a reservoir or hole in the dry ingredients for the wet ones
  3. Add in the oil or butter, egg and milk. Once well combined, add honey
  4. Once batter is the right consistency, add batter to well greased pan and place in oven
  5. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center pulls out clean

Spanish Style Cauliflower Rice and Jackfruit Carnitas

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This is a super easy recipe which you can choose to rice your own cauliflower or you use frozen and the jackfruit is ready made too. I did alter the recipe from the picture shown above mainly to make it better so if yours doesn’t look like the picture that’s ok because they’re aren’t exactly the same. The nutritional info for this recipe isn’t 100% since I’m not sure what would constitute a serving but the approximate macros for the meal as a whole are as follows:

338 calories, 12.5g of carbs, 30.5g fat, 4.5g or protein.

The one thing to note about my recipes is that everything approximate. I don’t jot down exact measurements for hardly anything but cooking is very subjective to the chef so add more of something or don’t add other things. Adjust the recipes to your taste levels. I won’t get mad, promise. If you choose to use frozen riced cauliflower, cook that in your pan with nothing else and that is your step one and then once the water has cooked itself out, begin with step one as it is and you can skip the first sentence of step 6 where you add the cauliflower just make sure to add the spices.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serving size:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg Jackfruit Company pre-prepared jackfruit company “Carnitas” style – you can find this at Whole Foods
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 pkg of frozen riced cauliflower (1-2 heads of cauliflower if fresh)
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup chicken or veggie broth
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Cilantro (fresh or ground)
  • Parsley (fresh or ground)
  • Turmeric (optional)
  • Bay leaf
  • 1 Fresh jalapeno (optional)

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Start by getting a medium pan and put your butter in it and turn the heat on med/low to let the butter slowly melt. You do not want the heat to be too high because you don’t want to burn the butter but you do want to brown it.
  2. Chop your onion and garlic or put in a food processor. I cut my onion into fours and then cut horizontally across the onion for smaller pieces and then place small bits into the food processor at a time and pulse once or twice. You’ll want your onion to be minced and you’ll want your garlic to be chopped as finely as possible. If you don’t want to use a knife to chop the garlic then after you peel it just put it in the processor and chop it up as small as possible. If you choose to use fresh parsley, cilantro and jalapenos you’ll want to chop them here as well. Just keep an eye on your butter! How to chop garlic
  3. Get a grater and your head(s) of cauliflower and a medium bowl. Put your grater over the bowl and start grating the cauliflower. Start with just one head but if you want more of the rice just go ahead with the second head. Once done, set aside for now. How to make cauliflower rice
  4. Add your onion and garlic to your pan with the melting or melted butter. Use a spatula and spread the onion and garlic around to evenly coat with butter. During this step we’re also going to add some spices but make a small reservoir in the butter/onion/garlic and add them there. We do this because the butter and heat will bring out their flavor more. We call this toasting our spices but it’s important that the spices don’t really come in contact with the onion and garlic or their flavor may not be as strong. Add the following items to the small reservoir: ground cilantro and ground parsley (if using fresh ingredients only add the parsley during this step), 1 tsp of cayenne pepper, 1 tsp of paprika, 1 tbsp of cumin. Let the spices sit for about 2 minutes on med/low heat.
  5. Grab another medium pan and put your Jackfruit and chopped jalapenos in it and let it slowly heat up on medium heat. I chop the Jackfruit into smaller pieces with the edge of the spatula while it cooks since it softens up during the cooking process. By doing this, the Jackfruit also goes a lot longer. Let sit on medium heat for about 5-8 minutes stirring occasionally.
  6. It’s time to add your cauliflower to your onion/garlic/butter mix. Add smaller portions at a time to make sure the cauliflower is evenly coated with the spices and butter. Once all your cauliflower is added, add the broth, lime juice, bay leaf, some chopped cilantro, 1 tbsp turmeric to the mix, salt and pepper to taste, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp onion powder and about 2 tsp more of cumin and some paprika if you want the mix to have a deeper color. Mix and cover and let cook for about 5-10 minutes mixing occasionally until the broth has been cooked out.
  7. Once the broth is gone, remove your bay leaf and take the rice off the heat but continue to move the rice around until it’s cooled down a little bit. This will prevent the rice from continuing to cook and getting stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  8. You’re jackfruit has been cooking for a while now so just make sure that it’s warmed thoroughly and is cut however you want and that your jalapenos are soft. You can add a little extra salt and pepper here but that’s only if you want.
  9. Both parts of your meal are done so now just plate some rice with the jackfruit, add a dollop of sour cream and some guacamole to your plate and top with some fresh cilantro.

I hope this turns out as well for you as it did me and just remember all the spices and stuff are up to your taste. The measurements provided are just general so add more if you need or less if you need as well.

Thanks for cooking with me!