Sunday dinner & what intimidates me in the kitchen

If you were to ask me what I would have my mom make me if she could only make me one meal, I would answer without a blink of an eye: Roast chicken with all the fixin’s… “fixin’s” being mashed potato casserole (pretty much the best thing ever), steamed veggies, and loaded stuffing. Really quite simple if you ask me! Just kidding… a roast chicken dinner is a very labor intensive meal, but it is worth every ounce of time put into it.

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With that said, when I looked at the garden care package from my dad and brainstormed what I could do to use up the veggies before the went bad, it came to me: make a roast chicken meal!

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I made my meal just as my mom would, except I bought a roast chicken from Market Basket that was already roasted. I know, I know. Totally a cop-out move, but the truth is, I’m scared to cook a whole roast chicken on my own! Has anyone done that before? They are so big and there are so many “gizzards” that have to come out and how do you know it’s fully cooked?! I could go on and on, but bottom line is that I realized I need to face this silly cooking fear and make a stupid roast chicken start to finish all on my own. I will do it, but maybe when I’m home and can have my parents walk me through it ūüėČ Baby steps!

Anyway, as I talked with my mom for nearly an hour on Monday, I puttered in the kitchen chopping veggies, peeling and boiling potatoes and preparing the stuffing. The kitchen was an absolute disaster by the time I finished (and I used about every pot, pan and Tupperware container by the end of the night), but it was so worth it once I tried everything!

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I didn’t measure anything, but here’s a quick run down of what I made and what ingredients I used.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

  • 5 small red potatoes, peeled and boiled until soft
  • about a 1/2 cup of 1% milk (They were out of skim, which is what I usually buy, but 1% has been a nice treat!)
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • salt, pepper, garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp. margarine

Maple Glazed Steamed Carrots and Parsnips

  • cut carrots and parsnips, steam until soft (or whatever consistency you like your cooked veggies to have)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2-3 tbsp. maple syrup- I used a pecan maple syrup that my sister brought me back after one of her site visits which was perfect!

Loaded Stuffing

  • 1 package of stuffing mix- cook according to the instructions on the box
  • green peppers & onions- maybe 1/2 cup of each? saut√©ed so that they are already cooked when you add them to the boiling water with the dry stuffing mix.
  • 1/4 cup of craisins to add in with the peppers, onions and stuffing mix. Let everything set for 5 minutes.

Serve everything with gravy, because gravy makes everything better ūüėČ

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It’s a shame I live alone because I still have so many leftovers, 3 days later. I have issues with cooking smaller portions sometimes!

Questions for you: What’s¬†a food or meal that intimidates you or makes you nervous to try? If you could have your parents (or anyone) make you one meal, what would it be?

“Shepherds Pie” {with a healthy twist}

I say “Shepherds Pie” in quotations because even though this recipe follows the general idea of Shepherds Pie,¬†I made some healthier substitutions where I could. The traditional recipe calls for regular white potatoes and ground beef and while there is nothing wrong with either of those items, I prefer to use sweet potatoes (or a combination of sweet and regular)¬†for their nutritional value (and, ok, taste- I think they taste so much better than regular potatoes) and ground turkey as I am not a huge beef person. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good, juicy burger or piece of steak every now and then, but most of the time I use ground chicken or ground turkey instead of beef since it’s a little more in line with the way I like to eat.

What made this meal even more delicious was the fact that I used carrots, onions and potatoes from my dad’s garden! There’s something about eating things fresh from the garden that makes them taste so much better. I swear, his carrots are a million times better than those “mini” carrots that are loaded with preservatives and whatnot to keep their shelf life longer.

With all that said, let’s get to the recipe!

Healthified Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients

  • 1lb. ground turkey- tip- I got the “Italian Style” version and oh my goodness was that a good choice! it was so full of flavor I didn’t have to add any extra seasonings to it!
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 3 small yellow potatoes
  • 1- 1.5 cup(s) canned corn (if you want a lot of veggies in the pie, use 1.5 cups!)
  • 1- 1.5 cup(s) chopped carrots
  • 1- 1.5¬†cup(s) chopped onions
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup milk

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Directions

1. Peel and chop your potatoes. Place into a big pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let it boil until the potatoes are soft.

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2. While the potatoes are cooking, preheat your oven to 350* and chop your carrots and onions. Heat a medium skillet with a tbsp. of olive oil and add the onions and carrots. Add in herbs/seasonings of your choice and cook until onions are translucent and carrots are soft.

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3. Once the onions and carrots are cooked, remove from the pan and set aside. Heat the pan again and add the ground turkey. Cook until no longer pink.

4. When the potatoes are cooked, drain the water from the pan, add in the butter and milk and mash the potatoes. I didn’t have a masher so I used my hand mixer and it worked great! I also added a dash of salt & pepper for flavor, but that’s optional.

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5. At this point, everything should be ready to assemble. Place the meat at the bottom of a casserole dish, then layer the carrots, onions and corn. Finally, top with the mashed potatoes. Bake at 350* for 20-30 minutes or until the top has browned up.

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Serve yourself a big heaping of this deliciousness and enjoy!

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This was the perfect meal to kickoff the cooler, fall weather that’s starting to stick around (well, except for yesterday. Where did that 90 degree weather come from?! I want sweater and boots weather!). I’ve already started to collect more fall recipes that I can’t wait to make!

Questions for you: What’s your favorite fall weather meal? What’s your favorite healthy substitution?