It’s that time of year again! Every year for the past 10 years, it has been my New Years resolution to go on a diet. Lose those 10 pounds I gained over the holidays and then try to lose those 10 pounds that have been just hanging on…So every year between Christmas and New Years, I think I have to have all of the things I’m not going to eat once the New Year rolls in (ha)…
First on the list this week is going to be SHEPHERDS PIE – we must use those leftover mashed potatoes from Christmas dinner. After the first of the year there will be no more white potatoes in this house…
There are so many variations that you can make with shepherds pie. Growing up, we ate it after large holiday meals. We used the leftover mashed potatoes and vegetables and gravy, sometimes Dad would cut up leftover roast beef instead of using ground beef.
Shepherds Pie is enjoyed in several parts of the world! In England it is called Cottage Pie and they use ground lamb instead of ground beef. It doesn’t matter where you eat it, it is always loaded with lots of meat, vegetables and those wonderful mashed potatoes on top!
Here is my version of SHEPHERDS PIE:
Brown together 1 1/2 #’s of lean ground beef with 1 chopped onion and salt & pepper to taste. Skim off any excess grease from the ground beef. Add 1/2 cup beef broth and a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in some sliced carrots (about 3), 1 cup of corn and 1 cup of peas. Give it a taste, you might have to add some more Worcestershire sauce and pepper! Spread out in a 9×13 dish. Melt 4 T. of butter and stir that into your 4 cups of mashed potatoes, spread over meat/vegetable mixture. Sprinkle some Parmesan Cheese over top and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until potatoes have a nice golden brown crust on top.
The next item is going to be MARTHA STEWARTS MACARONI AND CHEESE. If you like macaroni and cheese at all, this is the best! I used to eat the Kraft mac and cheese in the blue box growing up; but Martha, you out did yourself on this one! Lots of carbs; just try not to think about it when you are indulging. To erase the calories, just eat some steamed broccoli on the side
MARTHA STEWARTS MAC AND CHEESE:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for casserole
6 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to l/2-inch pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for water
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyère or 1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place the bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour the melted butter into the bowl with the bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside.
2. Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
3. While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 12 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyère (or 1 cup Pecorino Romano); set the cheese sauce aside.
5. Cover a large pot of salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook the macaroni until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyère (or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano), and the breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes (though we needed a bit more time to get it brown, but your oven may vary). Transfer the dish to a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve.
The third and final carb overload item is going to be a CHOCOLATE GANACHE CAKE – thank you Barefoot Contessa!
I just made this cake recently for a dinner party. The hostess of the party kept eating the frosting, she asked me what was in it. When I told her instant coffee she said she couldn’t believe it! It really makes the frosting! The beauty of this cake recipe is that you can make it into a 8 inch round pan like I did or cupcakes or even bite size cupcakes! I prefer to make it in the 8 inch pan – I then flip the cake over onto a large dinner plate and let that good ganache fall all over the cake!
CHOCOLATE GANACHE CAKE:
1/4 # butter @ room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs @ room temperature
16oz. can of Hershey chocolate syrup
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 8 inch round cake pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in the syrup and vanilla. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Over mixing will result in a tough cake!
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until just set in the middle. Don’t over bake or the cake will be dry! Let cool completely in the pan. Take a knife and loosen the cake from the pan and flip over onto a large dinner plate.
For the ganache, cook 1/2 cup of heavy cream 8 oz of semi sweet chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of instant coffee granules on low heat, stirring constantly until smooth and warm. Pour over the cake!
Well, this could be the last post of really bad comfort food for a while. Next week I am going to share some great green salad, chicken & seafood recipes! I can’t wait!
Happy New Year Everyone!