Do you ever feel like there just isn't quite enough time in the day to get everything done? I constantly struggle with trying to figure out what I'm going to make for dinner, that won't involve me having to spend hours in the kitchen! I love my children to death, but they seldom are willing to sit still for more than a minute or two and I don't have the energy to chase them around the house, while trying to keep an eye on the food I'm preparing. I've been looking more recently, trying to find quick dinner ideas. I found ground chuck on sale for $1.58/lb, so I was hoping to come across recipes to utilize the 6 pounds that I bought! The last few times I've been over at my sister's house, I've noticed that she had several "Rachel Ray 30 Minute Meal" cookbooks and I know she's made quite a few of her recipes and never has anything but positive reviews, so I thought I'd try one for myself.
My husband called me tonight, on his way home from work and I asked him to pick up a bag of potatoes. I told him that I had found a Rachael Ray "30 Minute Meal" that I was planning to make for dinner and he replied "it's not Shepherd's Pie is it?" It took me a second, but then it dawned on me that he's been following my blog and I had listed this in the "coming soon" section...it's been a long day and I'm not feeling too "quick"! I nonchalantly mentioned that I was going to fry the meat, before I showered (I tend to shower the night before I work, since I'm not ordinarily a happy camper to be up at 4:45am) and he immediately offered to make dinner when he got home. It's funny, because he can drive me up a wall, but he really can be pretty darn considerate when he tries :) Just as an "FYI"...if your husband tries to be as kind as mine was this evening, you may want to forewarn him that Rachael Ray's "30 minute meals" are a bit deceiving! I suppose if you have a magic fairy around to do all of the prep work, you could *possibly* get it done in 30 minutes, but by the time you cut everything up, it takes more like 45-50 minutes. It sure was well worth it, though! This is true "comfort food" and tasted especially good on such a gloomy night!
30 Minute Shepherd's Pie
2 pounds potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cubed 2 tablespoons sour cream or softened cream cheese 1 large egg yolk 1/2 cup cream, for a lighter version substitute vegetable or chicken broth Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan 1 3/4 pounds ground beef or ground lamb 1 carrot, peeled and chopped 1 onion, chopped 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup beef stock or broth 2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it 1/2 cup frozen peas, a couple of handfuls 1 teaspoon sweet paprika 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. Combine sour cream, egg yolk and cream. Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth. (My husband added some Kosher salt, as the potatoes were a bit bland).
While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef or lamb. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. If you are using lamb and the pan is fatty, spoon away some of the drippings. Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas.
Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned. Top casserole dish with chopped parsley and serve.
If you were to look up the word "picky" in the dictionary, you would see a picture of my husband off to the left. Growing up, I was exposed to all sorts of different foods and encouraged to experiment with different flavors, but after meeting my husband, I somewhat locked myself into an eight to ten meal rotation and was reluctant to deviate. I have since given birth to two of the least picky eaters on the face of the Earth, thus inspiring me to transform my cooking style. I know many people, like myself, lead such hectic lives, so I strive to find recipes that are quick and easy--especially those that you can whip up with ingredients that you ordinarily have on hand!
A bit about me...I married my husband, Marcus, on June 1, 2003 and we welcomed our son Jacob on March 22, 2005. Our daughter, Madeline, was born on March 1, 2008. I stay home with the kids for the most part, but also work occasional shifts as a registered nurse at a local hospital. I truly hope you enjoy my blog. A special "thank you" to my sister, Sarah, for giving me the idea! Her creativity is hard to live up to, but I'm a very determined person and hope to make her proud :)