Saturday, August 18, 2012

It's One of Those Days...

You know the one. Where you're literally 2 or 3 different kinds of not feeling good, everyone's irritating you, and you can't get ANY time to yourself? That's me today. I'm glad it's the weekend though and Martin is home so I have a bit of help.

But...what I do best on days like this is cook though. It makes me feel better and I highly recommend it. Unless of course, the second you start trying, you drop an egg and a glass slips out of your fingers and shatters. In that case, my professional(ish) advice is that you cut your losses and go take a bath in the dark. It's oddly relaxing. 

It seems I'm having trouble concentrating (if you couldn't tell :) ) so I think I'm going to cut this short and leave you with a recipe for Cottage Pie. Which, as you may know, is similar to Shepherd's Pie, but uses another ground meat instead of lamb. It's perfect for a winter day, and it's not terribly difficult to make! Have a great week, everyone.

Cottage Pie

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cups of any assortment of vegetables that you like (I use peas most of the time).
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
5 medium potatoes (another one or two may or may not be necessary, according to the size of the baking dish)
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp milk
3-4 cups of beef broth (also depending on the size of the baking dish)
Salt and Pepper 
Small bowl with a flour/water mixture, similar in thickness to pancake batter

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, set a lightly salted pot of water to boil and grease a casserole dish.

2. Peel (or don't) and dice the potatoes, and put them in the water to boil. They're done when easily stabbed with a fork.

2. Brown ground beef and cook onion along with it. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the mixture while it's cooking. Drain. (Note: if you feel like adding any particular favorite spice or herb to the meat while it's browning, go ahead! This is just what I use.)

3. Combine the mixed vegetables and the ground beef/onion mixture and pour into the bottom of the casserole dish.

4. Set the beef broth to a medium boil and slowly whisk in small amounts of the flour/water mixture until it's gravy thickness, sprinkling in salt and pepper to your taste. Remember to give it a chance to thicken once you add the little amounts of the flour and water. Keep adding as needed. If it gets too thick, add a bit of milk or water and whisk. Once it's done, pour over the beef/vegetable mixture.

5. Drain potatoes if they're done, put into a mixing bowl, add salt, pepper, butter, and milk. Combine by either mashing by hand or with a mixer until smooth and slightly runny (to make it easier to spread). Spread over the meat mixture and top with the shredded cheddar and parmesan. Cover with foil, place on a baking sheet (to catch spills) and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted to your liking. 

Enjoy, and have a great weekend and upcoming week. :)


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