Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

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Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and what better way to celebrate this Irish holiday than with some traditional Irish fare.  And you can’t get any more “traditional Irish” than Shepherd’s Pie.  Originally called “Cottage Pie” this hearty dish was a means to use up roasted meat of any kind.  The Shepherd part didn’t come into play until 1877, and is generally used when the meat is lamb (mutton).

However, I am not a fan of mutton, plus it’s super expensive, so I opted for a more economical, typically American choice: ground turkey.  Affordable, lean, and easy to find in any grocery store, ground turkey can be a great substitute in many recipes that call for ground lamb, wild game, or beef.  The mild flavor is like a blank canvas with so many possibilities to please your palate.  If you prefer to go the traditional route, you can use mutton or beef, or even a mixture of the two, in place of the turkey.

There are quite a few steps that take you back and forth so don’t forget to read the recipe through first!  There’s a lot going on, but all the steps are oh, so worth it!  I hope you enjoy my spin on this dish.  Enjoy!  ~Joanie

Ingredients:

Mashed Potatoes:
6-8 Medium potatoes, peeled
3 Tbs butter
1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
1/2 cup full fat sour cream
Salt to taste

Pie Filling:
1 lb Ground Turkey
1 1/2 Cups fresh or frozen corn
5 Tbs butter, divided
1 Cup onion, diced
3 Celery stalks, chopped
3 Large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 Tbs all purpose flour
2 Cups turkey or vegetable broth
4-6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tsp ground thyme
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 cup frozen English peas
Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
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Directions:

Peel and quarter potatoes.  Fill a large stock pot with water, add the potatoes and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Once potatoes are tender, drain and set aside.

In a deep skillet or sauce pan, brown meat.  Remove the cooked meat from the pan and set aside.  Keep the pan and drippings for a later step.  (If you’re using ground beef or lamb, you may want to drain it, as these meats are much fattier than turkey.)

While the meat is browning, you should have time to caramelize the corn.  Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and the corn to a skillet and cook on medium-high heat until you see it start to turn dark golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.  Caramelizing the corn brings out the sugar and adds a really yummy layer of flavor.  Adjust the heat accordingly if it starts to scorch, you don’t want burned corn ruining your yummy dinner!  Caramelized Corn.jpg

In the pan you browned the turkey in, add 2 Tbs of the butter and let it sizzle on med-high heat for about 1 minute.  Don’t let it burn.  Add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the carrots and celery all at once, reduce heat to medium and let it all cook together for about 5 minutes.Trinity.jpg

Make a well in the middle of the veggie pan and add 2 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoon of flour and whisk together to form a roux.  When the roux is golden in color, slowly begin to add about 1/2 the turkey stock, whisking as you go.  Roux.jpg

Once the mixture begins to thicken, add the rest of the stock, the fresh rosemary sprigs (whole, you’ll fish them out later), the thyme, Worcestershire sauce, English peas and salt & pepper.  Let this all cook together on medium heat for about 10 minutes.Rosemary.jpg

Now would be a good time to pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Back to the potatoes: Add the butter, garlic powder, sour cream and salt to the potatoes and whip with a hand mixer on medium speed until just creamy.  Fill your piping bag/tool using a large star tip, if using, and set aside…you’re almost there.

Remove the spent rosemary sprigs from the vegetable filling.  Make sure you get all the woody stems, those are no fun to chomp down on!  Add the browned turkey and the caramelized corn to the vegetable filling.  Filling.jpg

Transfer mixture to an oven safe baking dish, making sure to leave about an inch of clearance from the top.  I used a 2 quart round dish.  This would also be really cute in individual-sized cast iron pans, but I don’t have those.  Yet.
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Pipe the potatoes onto the top of the filling.  If you don’t have a piping bag, smooth individual spoonfuls of potatoes onto the filling mixture, starting around the edges and working your way to the center.  Whether you’re using the piping or spooning method, make sure the potatoes create a good seal over the filling.
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Into your 400 degree oven it goes, MAKE SURE to put a cookie sheet or piece of foil under it because it will most likely drip…mine does every time.  =)
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Bake for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown.  If it’s bubbling around the edges but the potatoes aren’t the color you want, you can broil it for 1-2 minutes but watch it very, very, very carefully!

The insides will be scorching hot, so let it cool and set up for at least 5 minutes before serving.  Dish up and enjoy!  This one makes great leftovers too!
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Roasted Chicken Breast with Balsamic Cream

A foody friend of mine gave me this recipe for a balsamic cream sauce and it sounded so delicious and simple that I tried it that very night with a roasted chicken breast. I was not disappointed.  In fact, that rich, creamy sauce immediately landed among my favorite recipes, not only because it is delicious, but also because the ingredients are ones that I generally have on hand, and preparation is incredibly simple.  And, although I have this paired with chicken, I think it would go incredibly well with any cut of steak or a pasta dish.

Ingredients:

Chicken:
2 chicken breast halves, bone in
2 Tbs butter, divided
Drizzle of Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Balsamic Cream Sauce:
2 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Tbs Butter
¼ cup minced sweet onion (Mayan or Vidalia work well)
1 Cup heavy Cream
2 tsp chicken bouillon granules
2 Tbs Balsamic vinegar
½ Cup grated parmesan cheese (the kind in the can works best)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry.  Gently loosen the skin to create a pocket, but don’t pull it off.  Cut the butter into 8 chunks and slip it under the chicken skin, 4 chunks for each breast.  Season the skin of the chicken well with salt and pepper and any additional herbs you prefer.  Place breasts in an oven-safe dish and drizzle with olive oil.

Roast the chicken for about 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches a safe 165 degrees.
While the chicken is roasting, heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Stir in the minced onion and cook until it has caramelized, about 15 minutes.  Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the bouillon and cream.  Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese until melted.

Note: I used fresh parmesan in this picture, which tasted great but left the sauce a little chunky.  For a smoother sauce, use the pre-grated parm in a can, the stuff you sprinkle over spaghetti.

When the chicken is done roasting, allow it to rest for about 10 minutes.  Serve it whole or slice it up, but either way, be sure to serve with a generous portion of the balsamic cream.  I LOVE this combination with Oven Roasted Potatoes.  Enjoy!

Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup

I didn’t really have much appreciation for homemade chicken noodle soup, until my niece, Lindsie, asked me to make it for her wedding.  I don’t know what changed, but ever since then it has been one of my favorite soups to make, maybe because it reminds me of her and that special day.  Now, there’s nothing more comforting to me than a big, steaming bowl, freshly made from (mostly) scratch. 
For convenience sake, I’ve opted to use canned broth and a hot & ready rotisserie chicken from the grocer.  Rotisserie chickens also (generally) happen to be cheaper than buying a whole, fresh chicken, so not only are you saving time, you’re saving money.  Of course, you can roast your own chicken and make your own chicken stock, but that’s another recipe in itself.  ~Joanie

Ingredients:

4 cans of chicken or vegetable broth
5 or 6 sprigs EACH of fresh rosemary, sage, & thyme, OR 1 pack fresh Poultry Medley herbs (usually found in your grocer’s refrigerated produce section.)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
4 large carrots, chopped
3 large stalks of celery, chopped
1 whole rotisserie chicken, or 1 lb cooked chicken of your choice
8 oz Egg Noodles
Salt & Pepper
Large stock pot

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Directions:
In a large stock pot, add broth and herbs.  Let herbs simmer on med heat for about 20 minutes or until they’re limp and have given up their flavor.  Fish out the herbs and discard.

Add onion and garlic and salt.  Let simmer while you chop carrots and celery.  Add remaining vegetables and turn heat to low.

Next, deconstruct your chicken.  Start by removing the breast meat, then the legs & thighs and last, the wings and any remaining meat sticking to the bones.  Don’t let any go to waste!  Chop up any large pieces and add all meat to the pot.  Add meat to the stock pot.  (Save the bones and skin for making chicken stock.)   

In a separate pot, cook egg noodles using package directions, until texture is al dente (slightly firm).  Add cooked noodles to the soup.  If needed, add salt/pepper to taste and garnish with chopped green onions.  Serve immediately and enjoy.

**This soup freezes really well and is perfect for lunch on the go!

Sweet Chili Cucumber Bites

This recipe is for our brother, Jamin.  I catered one of his art shows a few years ago, and he wouldn’t stop talking about these tasty little bites for a long time after that.  I was flattered!  Now every time I make them, I think of Jamin, and this recipe will forever be dedicated to him.  I hope you enjoy them as much as he does!  ~Joanie

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Ingredients:
2 Cups pre-cooked & chilled chicken breast meat, finely chopped
3 TBS Mae Ploy Sweet Chilli Sauce
2 TBS Lemon Grass Paste
2 TBS Lemon Juice
½ Cup Chopped Cilantro
2 Large Cucumbers

Directions:
Combine chicken, sweet chili sauce, lemon grass paste, lemon juice and cilantro, stir until ingredients are incorporated.

Wash, peel, and slice your cucumbers into about ½ inch thick coins.  Using a melon baller or a metal measuring spoon scoop out a portion of the seeds and flesh to make a well.

Top each cucumber with a scoop of the chicken mixture.  Garnish with cilantro or lemon zest.  Serve chilled and enjoy!

Hot Wings with Spicy Cabbage Salad

Janna:  Okay you guys, this is the ultimate football food!  These wings are so good, not too spicy…though I like a little fire!!!  They are also sweet and tangy!  Make sure you have plenty of paper towels on hand, cause it’s gonna get messy!!!  I hope you enjoy this post, it’s one of my favorite things to make and I seem to never make enough!!!

(note:  Sarah’s Spicy Cabbage Salad recipe is at bottom of page)

Ingredients:

Chicken:
4 lbs chicken wing sections and drumettes
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
48 fl oz vegetable oil for frying
Large, deep pot for frying

Sauce:
¾ cup butter, melted
1 cup hot sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot)
6 Tbs brown sugar
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs balsalmic vinegar
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

Start with thawed chicken, drain excess water or pat with paper towels.  Put both flours, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper in a gallon size zipper bag or large bowl shake or stir to combine.  Add chicken a few at a time and shake to coat until all chicken is coated in flour mixture.

Put vegetable oil in pot and heat oil to about 350* F.  When oil is hot, add coated chicken to oil, being careful not to splatter.  Fry chicken for 6-8 minutes on each side.  Internal temperature should be at least 165*F.

When chicken is cooked, drain on paper towels and set aside.

Now it’s time to make the sauce.  You can make this sauce ahead of time if you want, just make sure its room temperature or slightly warm or the butter in it will harden and it won’t coat the chicken well.

Combine melted butter, hot sauce, brown sugar, paprika, salt, vinegar and cayenne pepper in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.

Toss in chicken a few at a time, turning chicken over and spooning sauce on top to get it thoroughly coated.

Place chicken on a tray or in a bowl, however you decide to serve it.  I served mine with a side of ranch dressing and my friend Sarah’s Spicy Cabbage Salad (pictured at top of page) and she has let me share that recipe with you!  The salad goes perfectly with the wings and is super simple to make.  You can make the salad ahead of time as well, just wait until you’re ready to eat to dress it, otherwise it will get soggy.  Spicy cabbage salad recipe below, enjoy!!!

Spicy Cabbage Salad (by Sarah Goedhart)

Dressing:

Juice of 1 lime
2 dashes Tobasco
1TBSP Siracha sauce
2TBSP Ranch dressing
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3-1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salad:
1/2 head of Cabbage chopped
1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 cup celery chopped
4 radishes halved and sliced
1 bunch of green onions (green and white parts) chopped

Toss the salad ingredients together.

Mix together the dressing ingredients and then blend with an immersion blender to emulsify.


Toss salad with dressing (I usually use about 1/2-3/4 the amount of dressing, just depends on your taste). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Salad can be made a few hours in advance and refrigerated. Best served as a side to Janna’s amazing hot wings 😉

 

Crunchy Honey Dijon Chicken

This chicken really needs no introduction. Its crunchy, tangy, and delicious, and takes less than 1/2 hour to prepare.

Ingredients:

2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1 8.5oz bag Honey Dijon Kettle Chips
5 TBS Honey
3 TBS Dijon Mustard
2 TBS White vinegar

Directions:

Honey Dijon Sauce

Combine honey, dijon mustard, and vinegar in a bowl. Whisk until smooth.

**If you want extra sauce for dipping, make a double batch and reserve ½ for your meal.

Crunchy Honey Dijon Chicken:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut your chicken so that all pieces are uniform in size. This recipe is tailored toward cutting the breast into three pieces: removing the thin end first, then splitting the thick part of the breast. You can do it however you like, but remember to adjust cooking time and coating amounts accordingly.

Throw chicken and honey dijon in a bowl, stir to coat each piece, and set aside. Remove about ½ of the kettle chips from the bag and set aside. You may not use these. Lay the ½ full bag out and use a rolling pin to break up the chips into crumbs.

Coat each piece of chicken thoroughly in chip crumbs. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray or olive oil and arrange the chicken evenly. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. If it needs a little extra browning, throw it under the broiler for a minute but watch it very carefully!

Drizzle with a little of the reserved honey mustard and enjoy!!
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