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SHEPHERD’S PIE

Oh man, you guys are gonna love this one! But first let me confess how I’ve been spelling Shepherd’s Pie as “Shepard’s Pie” for a while now and no one ever corrected me! As I got started typing up this food blog entry I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to double check the spelling. Glad I did! I’m kinda hoping I’m not alone in this LOL! Okay, so seriously I’m not exaggerating. You-guys-will-LOVE-this! This makes a big batch and depending on the size of your family, you could have the best tasting leftovers for DAYS.

This is truly a Shepherd’s Pie because I use ground lamb. Trust me, I tried ground beef the first time and it’s not the same as the best Shepherd’s Pie you’ve ever had wherever that may be. It must be lamb. Not half lamb, ALL ground lamb. If you’re hesitant to try lamb because you think it’s funky, let me reassure you that if you’re going to try ground lamb for the first time or give it another chance, this is the absolute way to go. I’m not just saying that, promise. Now that has been established, if you insist using ground beef or any other red meat by all means go for it… I do believe that changes it to a Cottage Pie though. This is important to know in case you do some traveling.

If you’re looking to make this meal low-carb, you just simply replace the mashed potatoes with your favorite cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe. There are tons of different recipes out there you can choose from but personally, I would just make my cauliflower mash the same way I would as my usual Red Skin Mashed Potatoes recipe. Just keep your eye on the amount of liquid when making them to get the right texture you want your cauliflower mash to be. As for using real potatoes, I keep the skin for extra fiber, vitamins, minerals, and all that jazz but feel free to peel them. Keeping the skin saves on time too!

You’ll see that I use quite a bit of Worcestershire sauce than your typical recipe. I have reasons! Any time I’ve used a few dashes or a few teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce to a recipe, I can’t taste it! It does nothing! Hardly at least. I want a big punch of flavor because that’s what comfort food is about. So just a heads up, start off not using salt at all. Maybe use half the amount of Worcestershire sauce to start, do a taste test. You can add more towards the end and also add salt to taste. It’s the only way you’re gonna master what you believe is the best Shepherd’s Pie!

One last thing, you can make this a day ahead. Just put the meat at the bottom of the baking pan, top with the mashed potatoes. When you’re ready to bake it, just pull it out of the fridge, top it with the cheese and bake. Some times I’ve made the meat filling ahead so that all I need to do was make the mashed potatoes or vice versa. It works in all ways.

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SHEPHERD'S PIE
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Ingredients
MEAT FILLING
MASHED POTATOES
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Ingredients
MEAT FILLING
MASHED POTATOES
Instructions
MEAT FILLING
  1. Saute the carrots and onion with the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Once the onions start to become softened after a few minutes, add the garlic. If the pan is starting to get dry, add a little more olive oil.
  2. Add the ground lamb, rosemary, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Using a wooden spoon break up the ground lamb into small pieces letting it brown through.
  3. Once the lamb is nearly cooked through add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, flour, and half of the vegetable stock. Stir every thing really well. Let the stock cook down most of the way and add the rest. Stir frequently, reduce the heat and let everything simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the peas and salt to taste if needed. Turn off heat and set aside.
MASHED POTATOES
  1. Place the cubed potatoes in a large pot, fill with water until it's about an inch above the potatoes. Bring to a boil and stir every so often.
  2. Strain the potatoes once they're softened. Turn off the heat. Place the pot back on the stove and add the butter. Pour the strained potatoes on top of the butter, add the pepper, milk, and half of the vegetable stock. Mash the potatoes to your desired consistency.
  3. Add more milk and/or stock as needed to avoid the potatoes from drying. Stir. Add more salt and pepper to taste as well.
ASSEMBLE
  1. Place the meat filling evenly in a 9" x 11" (or 9" x 13") baking dish.
  2. Then, top it with an even layer of the mashed potatoes.
  3. Top the mashed potatoes with an even layer of the shredded sharp white cheddar cheese.
  4. Bake at 400 F degrees for about 15 minutes or until everything is bubbling and the top is golden.

TURKEY BEAN CHILI

One pot meals are some of my favorite dishes because it doesn’t require a lot of time especially when you don’t have a lot of time to begin with. And because it’s so simple, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of the ease for all-around healthy food.

You can’t get any more well balanced in a meal than this turkey chili. Plenty of protein from the turkey and beans. Complex carbs from the beans with TONS of fiber from both the beans and veggies. And not to forget to mention, there is no flavor lacking in this chili. Don’t let the ground turkey concern you! Cumin is the secret to making ground turkey (or ground chicken) taste similar to beef. But if you must, you can simply use a lean ground beef instead.

I personally use half ground turkey and half ground turkey breast. The ground turkey breast is very lean with a little higher protein content, only about 1.5g of fat per 4oz and no saturated fat like regular ground turkey. It’s a fair compromise to really make it healthy. Actually, it’s just to make room for me to top it off with some of my Homemade Queso Fresco cheese, haha! For those who are diabetic, with 8 servings in this chili you’ll get about 16g net carbs which isn’t so bad for how filling it is. You can make your portion smaller and enjoy a side of veggies or a salad to keep the carbs down more.

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TURKEY BEAN CHILI
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Ingredients
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat cover the bottom of the pot with olive oil and sauté the bell peppers, onions, jalapeno, and garlic stirring until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the ground turkey, chili powder, cumin, paprika, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and dried bay leaf. Use a wooden spoon to break apart the ground turkey and mix everything together.
  3. Once the ground turkey is nearly cooked after about several minutes, add the canned crushed tomatoes, vegetable stock, and worchestershire sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce the temperature to a steady simmer for about 45 minutes uncovered. Stir once in a while.
  4. Add the black beans and kidney beans the last 5 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Revised: September 7, 2017

MEDITERRANEAN MEATLOAF

Meatloaf is one of my favorite meaty dishes. There’s nothing in this world that beats a good meatloaf with fantastic homemade mashed potatoes. It was one of my favorite things to have growing up. This recipe has a little flare to it and it’s all healthy. I’ve been pretty big on using ground turkey as an alternative to ground beef for years now and it’s worked wonders for me as far as flavor goes. Flavor is far from compromised. If you feel the need to use ground beef instead that’s completely fine but have some faith in me with this one! If you’re using the right spice combinations, you would be amazed what it can do to an otherwise bland type of meat.

Meals like this are so ridiculously easy to make just like one pot meals. Instead this is throw every ingredient together, plop in a meatloaf pan and have at it! I won’t keep you long on this blog but as always I encourage you to add, give or take any other ingredient that suits your fancy to this recipe to make it all yours.


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MEDITERRANEAN MEATLOAF
DIABETIC FRIENDLY: 6 servings | about 7 carbs per serving.
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine every ingredient together excluding the ground turkey. Mix all the ingredients together. Then, using your hands, fold in the ground turkey without over mixing.
  2. Spray a meatloaf pan with a non-stick spray and place the meatloaf mix inside. Smooth out the top and pour an even thin layer of the reserved ½ cup of tomato sauce on top.
  3. Place the meatloaf pan on top of a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Feel free to use ground beef with a lower fat percentage.

BEEF & ARUGULA PASTA

You can spend all the time in the world cooking in the kitchen making amazing food but you can also do so in a short amount of time too. This is one of those go-to dishes for something quick but elegant. I LOVE using filet mignon for this recipe the most but you can use any kind of cut you like. I’ve tried flank steak and it works fantastic so long as you slice against the grain. Also, if you’re watching your red meat intake, feel free to use chicken breast instead.

I’ve made slightly different variations of this recipe such as caramelized onions or none at all, saute mushrooms for more heartiness. You can replace the arugula with fresh baby spinach instead. It’s just as amazing. And as always, feel free to add or replace with any other of your favorite veggies. There’s no wrong way to make it taste good!

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BEEF & ARUGULA PASTA
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Instructions
  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packaging.
  2. In a bowl whisk together the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, the remaining herbes de provence, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Cover the steak both sides with 1 tablespoon of herbes de provence, garlic powder, salt, and pepper by patting it firmly into the meat.
  4. In an iron skillet on medium-high heat, drizzle the bottom of the skillet with olive oil and sear the steak on both sides for about 5 - 7 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the steak. Then, let it finish in the oven at 400 F degrees for about 5 - 15 minutes depending on the thickness. When done, let the steak rest for about 10 minutes.
  5. In a large, deep sauté pan cook the onions in olive oil until they become translucent. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and sauté for another 5 minutes or until the onions are caramelized.
  6. Slice the steak thin into bite sized pieces.
  7. Toss the cooked pasta, steak, and arugula in with the onions and sun-dried tomatoes. Then add the balsamic vinegar mixture together. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil generously all across the top, about 1/4 cup and gently fold everything together until everything is well coated in the balsamic sauce.
  8. Serve with pecorino Romano cheese.

ITALIAN STYLE SAUSAGE HOAGIE

Gourmet-style meals don’t always require a lot of time and this recipe proves it. In about 15-20 minutes you an make this for those days you want fantastic food but don’t want to go out. So I found these awesome Italian style chicken sausages by Aidells (Aidells.com) that taste amazing. You can find them at pretty much any major grocery store now. They may not be the cheapest sausage out there but you are paying for quality, taste and an improved ingredient list compared to many other brands. It’s not in the least bit dry nor does it taste bland like chicken actually does but what’s great about these is they aren’t overly greasy.

If you like a little more spicy than the average joe, then add more sriracha. Taste the gourmet mayo as you make it to get it exactly how you like it. Also, I love having a fresh component in my dishes which is why the fresh basil in the mayo goes amazing with the flavors in the sausage. And of course, who doesn’t like peppers and onions with their sausage? I mean, it’s a perfect pairing, you can’t go wrong and it’s a MUST. If you don’t like green bell peppers, use red instead. Heck! Add whatever you want, it’s yours!

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ITALIAN STYLE SAUSAGE HOAGIE
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Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. While grilling your sausages saute the bell pepper, onions, salt, and pepper in a skillet over medium-high heat until they soften and start to caramelize.
  2. Meanwhile in a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaisse, sriracha, garlic, and fresh chopped basil together. Set aside.
  3. To assemble, place a generous layer of the spicy basil mayo on one side of the hoagie roll, put the sausage in and top with peppers and onions.