Monday, December 13, 2010

Dinner Diaries - Week of Dec 13

It's going to be another busy week in our household as we try to get ready for this weekend's Christmas celebrations. I have two dinner's to make dishes for and one cookie exchange to prepare seven dozen cookies for and a lot of shopping and a dinner date in between. Thank goodness Friday is my last day of work before the holidays.

A couple of crockpot meals this week will hopefully help buy some time :)

Monday - Creamy coconut shrimp, brown rice and steamed cauliflower
Tuesday - Vegetarian crockpot chili (leftovers from the weekend)
Wednesday - Pork chops, roasted sweet potatoes and steamed beets
Thursday - Pasta with meatballs
Friday - Chicken stew with potatoes, peas and carrots

I thought I would start sharing a few recipes along the way on these posts too. Last week, I made a Shepherd's Pie. I love this classic dish and it is one of my favourite go-to comfort meals. I especially like finding new ways to add to it. Here is a simple recipe and my own Tex Mex style follows.

Shepherd's Pie

4-5 large white potatoes
1 lb ground beef
2-3 cups vegetables (peas and carrots are my favourite).
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp Woschestershire sauce (I have to omit this due to soy ingredients)
½ cup Beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown ground beef, adding in chopped onion and minced garlic. Steam vegetables until tender. Boil potatoes and mash. Layer a casserole dish with meat, vegetables and potatoes on top. Cook in oven at 400 for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbling.

You can substitute sweet potatoes for the white and for extra flavor add some garlic. Lean ground turkey is a nice substitute for ground beef or to go vegetarian you could use lentils. I love peas and carrots in my shepherd’s pie, but you can use any vegetable really.

A friend of mine gave me inspiration to make a Tex Mex version when she mentioned that she added a packet of taco seasoning mix to her meat. Here are some changes I made to the original recipe to make my own Tex Mex Shepherd's Pie.

In the meat sauce I added 1 cup of salsa, 2 tbsp of chili powder, 2 tbsp of chopped cilantro and ½ cup of black beans (left over from the previous week’s black bean and quinoa salad). I used corn instead of peas and carrots and added a layer of shredded cheese on top (Daiya cheese for our family). It was delish! Hubby and little E both gobbled it up…even though the black beans intimidated them a bit.

Do you have any other fun ways to change up this simple dish?


  1. Sorry for the short notice, Alicia, but I will be coming over TONIGHT! Don't worry, I won't bring the children. They won't appreciate all your hard work...but I sure will!!!!

    I love you Monday dinner plans! They totally make me feel inadequate...but they also give me ideas!

  2. Great, thanks Gwen. I'll set an extra spot at the table :)

    I forgot to mention that I failed to make last Friday's homemade pizza and I made breakfast for dinner instead...mmm french toast!