Feeling considerably better this morning, I make a trip to the store to find something worth while to make. Somehow, I find myself back at home an hour later drinking orange juice and eating roasted garlic potatoes chips.
This is what my breakfast has become...
Feeling like I underachiever, I try to rationalize the situation. I've been too tired to do much of anything, but yet found myself awake before the sun came up and made a trip to the store to buy supplies and get some light exercise walking around, so that's a decent accomplishment. Although I didn't do anything extravagant for my first meal of the day, I figured I could write an article on one of my favorite dishes and that would make up for it. Its been two weeks since we've done a follow up podcast, and it may be another week and a half before I get around to it, since I will be in Denver soon (hopefully recording an episode). All of this is more the reason to write to you now.
My friends and I spent a weekend up in Starkville this past week with our friend Jacob (check out CNP #13) for one of his school's biggest football events. We all made food to bring to the day of tailgating and it was quiet the spread I must say. There were boudin balls from Louisiana, two kinds of bean dip (one I made by taking a hummus recipe and modifying it with white beans), Oreo cake, chicken, and Jacob's contribution of two Shepherd's Pies baked in pie crusts and they were damn good. It's funny however, because despite having eaten this dish for my whole life, I still meet people (including one or two in Starkville) who have never heard of it. It's crazy to me, especially given the fact that it is very simple and fairly easy to make. Here, I will outline one of my takes on this classic dish.
I discovered this recipe a few months back on allrecpies.com when I was going through a six month vegetarian stage. It is actually a vegan dish but I will highlight the section where you can feel free to add or modify the meat (I recommend the latter). Here is what you need:
Original recipe makes 6 servings-
* Mashed potato layer:
* 5 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
* 1/2 cup mayonnaise
* 1/2 cup soy or almond milk
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 3 tablespoons cream cheese
* 2 teaspoons salt
* Bottom layer:
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1 large yellow onion, chopped
* 2 carrots, chopped
* 3 stalks celery, chopped
* 1/2 cup frozen peas
* 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
* 1 clove garlic, minced, or more to taste
* 1 pinch ground black pepper to taste
* 1 (14 ounce) package vegetarian ground beef substitute (This is where you can modify if you wish but I recommend you take the high road for this. You may find it pleasantly surprising. There are many soy "meat" products out there that taste great cooked into this dish. You could also keep it vegetarian by substituting black beans for a "western" style shepherd's pie. If you just have to have your meat though, I suggest a lean turkey sausage. Alternatively, you can go without this step all together and just load it down with vegetables.
* 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar-style cheese
Place the potatoes in a pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat to medium-low, and boil the potatoes until tender, about 25 minutes; drain.
Stir the mayonnaise, soy milk, olive oil, cream cheese, and salt into the potatoes, and mash with a potato masher until smooth and fluffy. Set the potatoes aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C), and spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook and stir the onion, carrots, celery, and frozen peas until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the Italian seasoning, garlic, and pepper.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, and crumble the vegetarian ground beef substitute into the skillet with the vegetables. Cook and stir, breaking up the meat substitute, until the mixture is hot, about 5 minutes.
Spread the vegetarian meat substitute mixture into the bottom of the baking dish, and top with the mashed potatoes, smoothing them into an even layer. Sprinkle the potatoes with the shredded cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted and slightly browned and the casserole is hot, about 20 minutes.
AND THERE YOU HAVE IT
Now you don't have to resort to an evening of potatoes chips and whatever falls into your glass. I've made shepherd's pie using this recipe several times (sometimes two or three times in one week it's so good) and I can assure you if your a fan of this traditional dish, this route will not disappoint. Give it a shot and I'll be back with other great finds in the future. Stay full my friends.
(Update: Just thought wanted to give an update in regards to my last post "The Weight Gainer Green Smoothie". I've remained dedicated to a steady diet involving two peanut butter protein shakes a day with olive oil added to the mix and have found great results. In the past 14 days, I am up by 5 lbs. and plan on continuing.)