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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The Best Cornbread

Uncategorized

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