Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sheppards Pie

Saint Patrick's day is upon us and the 1/4 Irish in me springs alive this time of year! In my searching for recipes for this month, I combined two old ones into one new one with a very traditional Irish dish in mind.

The bonus is this sweet blessing before your meal.
"May this food restore our strength, giving new energy to tired limbs, new thoughts to weary minds. May this drink restore our souls, giving new vision to dry spirits, new warmth to cold hearts, and once refreshed, may we give new pleasure to You, who gives us all."

You'll need:

3 pounds beef roast (cut into 1 inch cubes)
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper 
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter
1  Guinness or stout beer
1 3/4 cups beef broth (low sodium)
2  shakes of Worcestershire Sauce

1 bag frozen carrots
1 bag frozen corn
1 bag frozen English peas
1 large batch of mashed potatoes
1 small sweet onion (diced and sautéed in butter)
2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350*,

Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a large (gallon or bigger) zip lock bag.  Shake to season the meat well.  Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, about 10 -12 minutes.  Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a small pan and sauté onions until they are soft.

Add the Guinness and beef stock, scraping up any browned bits  from the bottom of the pot - add sautéed onions. Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes, then cover and transfer to the oven to braise for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and mix in the frozen vegetables.  

Mix shredded cheddar cheese in with your mashed potatoes. Fill your baking dish 1/2 full of the beef/veggie mix then top with mashed potatoes and return to the oven for an additional 20 - 30 minutes.  The tops will be a light golden when finished baking.
I have a sweet friend that is a vegetarian so her portion was made with broth, flour roux, beer and just veggies.  (No Sheppard's:)!
Garnish with parsley or green onion slices.  Serve with a crusty bread toasted and buttered.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

It's a holiday weekend (okay, it's the Superbowl but that qualifies at our house) and I need something for breakfast that will be ready to serve quickly.  Plus Valentine's day is just around the corner and this would be the perfect "Sweet for your Sweetie" as breakfast in bed! 

This was super easy!  Only 10 minutes to put it together then it sits in the fridge overnight.  Pop it in the oven the first thing in the morning, then drizzle with syrup and you are a Kitchen STAR!

You'll Need:

For the Casserole -
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 ounces day-old brioche bread cut into 1 inch cubes, (soft dinner rolls are fine too, I am fresh out of brioche! :) 
1 1/3 cups fresh blueberries
powdered sugar for sprinkling (optional but do it)!
For the Streusel -
2 tablespoons cold butter (real butter)
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Now let's get started!  Whisk together your eggs, milk, maple syrup and vanilla.  Spray your casserole dish with cooking spray then layer 1/2 of your bread cubes and sprinkle with 1/2 your blueberries on top.  Repeat for a second layer then pour the egg mix on top.  Let this sit on the counter for a few minutes for that egg mix to start to soak into the bread cubes.  Cover with saran wrap tightly and put in the fridge.  You can let this sit as little as an hour but I let it wait overnight.
While your casserole is hanging on the counter, whip up your streusel.  Get a small bowl and combine the butter with sugar and flour.  I just used a fork to make this crumbly.  Cover tightly with saran wrap and put it in the fridge beside your casserole.
When you are ready to bake, unwrap the casserole and sprinkle the streusel mix on the top.  Bake in a 350* oven for about 40 minutes.  It will puff up a bit and the top will start to turn gold.

The longer you allow the bread to soak, the softer your casserole will be end the end. On the other hand, less soaking time means a crispier top.
I sprinkled this with powdered sugar and even drizzled some warm syrup on it to serve. 
You can make the streusel just before baking, but it's better to make it ahead of time so the butter can chill again. That way the streusel bits stay crispy and don't "run away" in the oven. I doubled this recipe as I have a lot of hungry folks waiting.  It filled a 9x13 inch casserole dish.  If you are making  a small batch an 8x8 dish will do fine.