Quick Tip: Adding Corn and Peas to Cottage Pies

I recently added a post here about making cottage pies and, back in 2013 I had posted one about making shepherd’s pie. I’ve had a few questions from readers, and thought I would answer them here.

  1. When using canned vegetables, I use one to three tablespoons of the liquid from the can as the liquid in my pies, depending on the pan size. Then I drain the vegetables before adding them to the pie. When adding the liquid to the pan, I do so either before or after I put in the ground beef. It doesn’t seem to make a bit of difference which.
  2. You could also add the liquid after the corn or peas.
  3. You can add frozen vegetables strait to the baking pan, pouring them directly over the ground beef along with whatever liquid you use. But…
  4. You could also cook the veggies in water, using a few tablespoons of that water after cooking as the liquid in the pie, and then draining the vegetables and pouring them over the meat.

Happy days!

~ Shannon

Limited Time Only: 50% off Organic Produce

(Referral Post: From now until 11:59 PM ET January 4th, 2020, you get 50% off your first subscription box and I will get 50% off a future box of my own. Win-Win! Thereafter, we’ll both get a discount still, it just won’t be as good. The amount changes from time-to-time.)

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to begin blogging more. I hope you enjoyed all the recipes I’ve shared, as well as the descriptions of the Misfits Market boxes I’ve been sharing. The second type of post takes a great deal of time to write. This year I’m skipping the second type, unless I here from a number of you asking me to continue with them. I want to mainly share recipes and articles about food. I’ll still mention the boxes in posts that include a recipe using the Madness Boxes I receive, and let you know when particularly amazing discounts occur. But I don’t plan to post specifically about every box.

In case you missed them due to extreme holiday busyness, my recent recipes have included: Roasted potatoes & carrots, spiced almond nog, cottage pie with Italian herbs & baked collard green chips, and cottage pie variations.

Now, on to this hefty discount from Misfits Market!

What exactly is 50% off?

There are two boxes to choose from. The Mischief Box is filled with 10-13 pounds of organic fruits and vegetables. This box usually goes for $22. At 50% off, the box will cost $11 plus tax and shipping for the duration of this offer.

The Madness Box sells for $35. At 50% off you will pay $17.50 plus tax and shipping for 18-22 pounds of organic fruits and vegetables.   –   To put this box in perspective, I receive a box every two weeks. After giving some of the produce two my daughters, I still have enough produce left over to last me that long. I am single. I dry herbs and freeze some of the produce so it doesn’t go bad before I can eat. I get mostly vegetables, which is what I need. I do not receive bananas, so I buy these separate. Usually the fruit consists of apples, pears, mangoes, lemons, and/or limes. I have also seen grapefruit, berries, and other types of fruit on occasion. It’s a substantial amount of food that fills a couple of reusable shopping bags every other week.

What you get?

Ten to twenty-two pounds of organic produce delivered to your door, which, depending where you are from, can normally amount to about 40% off the store-bought version. Plus, you’ll get 50% off for the next few days only, ending at 11:59 PM ET on January 4th, 2020. This deep a discount doesn’t happen every day, so now is the time to use it.

What do I get?

Full disclosure, even I can use a discount on my grocery bill. Food is expensive no matter how you look at it. When you order your first box by January 4th using my referral code, COOKWME-PI4FFE, I will get 50% off a future box. The discount normally isn’t this good for me either. I don’t get paid to blog, so these referrals are a help when they do happen.

A little more about this company:

In 2019,

  • They shipped more than a million boxes of food.
  • They rescued more that 15 million pounds of produce. That otherwise would have gone to waste.
  • They prevented more than 1 million tons of CO2 emissions with eco-friendly packaging choices.
  • Expanded their delivery to more states.
  • Customers get the chance to refer friends and family, so they can get discounts.

This year they will:

  • Expand delivery to even more states.
  • Work toward giving more customers the ability to customize parts of their orders.
  • Offer Monday deliveries.

They are working toward getting to know our needs and catering to as many of them as they can.

How to get your first box:

  1. Use referral code: COOKWME-PI4FFE – This is an important step!
  2. Go to Misfits Market to make your first order!
  3. Let me know how you enjoy your Misfits Market box, and how you use the produce. You can do this by emailing me at shannonlbuck@gmail.com, or by commenting on any posts here on the blog.

Enjoy!

~ Shannon

Cottage Pie Variations

I posted this shepherd’s pie and the variations back in 2013. I still love the original recipe and those variations, but there is more you can do with these pies.

Also, my daughter Zowie pointed out to me that, while these were called Shepherd’s pies while I was growing up, and therefore while she and her sister were growing up, they are actually cottage pies. Why? Because our versions are not made with lamb. If yours are, please continue to call them shepherd’s pie.

These pies can be baked in pans of varying sizes, and they allow for some amount of experimentation. I recently decided to make some for work meals, and these are some of the food combinations I came up with. They are so easy to make.

 

 

  • Ground beef, peas, mashed carrot, and mashed potato.
  • Shredded chicken, corn, mashed squash, and mashed sweet potato.
  • Ground beef, corn, peas, mashed carrot, mashed squash, and mashed sweet potato.
  • Shredded chicken, corn, peas, mashed squash, mashed potato.

I’m trying to get in as many vegetables a day as I can.

I love the little pie plates I bought. They allow you to make serving size pies for easy lunches, and can be packed into lunch sacks once covered. I use reusable methods for doing this, such as bees wax wrapping. I’d like to find some mini baking pans with lids.

Making a cottage pie is easy.

First, cook the meat and add some to the bottom of the baking dish with 1 or more tablespoons of water, broth, stock, or vegetable cooking liquid. Then add mashed, frozen, or canned vegetables, like this:

cottage pie 14

Next you want to add a top layer of your choice: squash, white potato, or sweet potato. And sprinkle on any herbs you want.

cottage pie 9

You can also add a dollop of another topping if you’d like. Be creative. Try new things.

Last, you’ll want to bake the pie(s) at about 350 degrees until they are warmed through. At least 15 or 20 minutes.

Tips

  • Grow what you can to save money.
  • Use store coupons or wait for sales to save money. Better yet, use sales and coupons together.
  • Eat in-season when possible for the freshest food, and to maybe save a little money.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy the recipe!

Shannon

Sausage & Apple Stuffed Squash

I used leftovers from my Sausage & Apples One-Pan Meal to make stuffed squash today, and it was delicious. I often make extras at one meal to use for other meals over the next couple of days. It makes meal prep a little easier.

I’ve done a few different stuffed squashes, and I just love them. I think my favorite was a chili stuffed squash. I’ll try to remember to post it here sometime. But this one was simply delicious. I love the paring of sausage and apples.

There is a long bake time for these, but it’s well worth it, and it gives me time to start a blog post or do something else.

This recipe actually gives me two meals. I’ll usually eat one for lunch and the other for dinner.

Ingredients

Serves 2

leftovers from yesterday’s Sausage & Apple One-Pan Meal

acorn squash

oil

sea salt

pepper

seasonings of choice

  1. Wash the squash and pat dry.
  2. Take the stem off, and cut in half from top to bottom.
  3. Take out the seeds and the stringy stuff, reserving the seeds for roasting.
  4. Drizzle oil over cut sides of squash and smear it to cover. Not too much oil, but just enough to cover.
  5. Grind salt and pepper over top.
  6. Place cut side down on baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 to 60 minutes, until tender enough to scoop out.
  7. Carefully place each squash on your work and scoop out the inside, leaving enough to create a sturdy bowl.
  8. Put the scooped out squash into a medium size bowl, and put the “bowls” back on the baking dish cut side up.
  9. Add 1/2 of the Apple & Squash One-Pan Meal leftovers to the bowl, covering the rest and putting it back into the refrigerator for another meal.
  10. Grind some salt and pepper over the contents of the bowl, and add any seasonings you like.
  11. Scoop into the squash “bowls”. If there are any leftovers, add them to the leftovers already in the refrigerator.
  12. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so, until heated through.
  13. Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before placing on a plate or in a bowl to eat.

Tips

  • Use fresh, organic garden produce when available for the best taste.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve this with fresh, raw vegetables and fruit water for added nutrients.
  • If you have access to an oven or a microwave at work, wrap the second stuffed squash and bring it with you.

 

Sausage & Apple One-Pan Meal #2

At this point, I have a good little stash of squash going. A couple straight from my parents garden. I’m hoping to acquire enough for use this fall and through the new year. One thing I love is stuffed squash, and I’m planning one for tomorrow.

I also have a steady stream of potatoes and apples coming in. It’s great. I’ve made apple and apple-pear sauces for my work meals recently. And now I am ready to utilize more of the potatoes and squash.

The upcoming change of season is the reason. Right about this time every year I start making more and more heartier meals. As I sit here writing, I’m full from one such meal. This is that recipe.

By the way, when I say large potato I mean a huge one. Not sure how much it weighed, but it was a hefty one. Also, I left the peel on the potato, cutting out a couple of small bad parts. And I left the apple peeled, but cored it. Peels have important nutrients too!

Ingredients

oil, ghee, or butter

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 large potato, chopped

1 large apple, diced

1/2 lb turkey sausage, chopped

sea salt

pepper

  1. Allow oil, ghee, or butter to heat in a skillet, then add crushed garlic and stir. Allow to cook for a minute.
  2. Add the potatoes and allow to cook down about half-way.
  3. Sprinkle the apples over the potatoes and stir.
  4. Add the sausage, salt, and pepper, and stir again.
  5. Stir occasionally while it all continues to cook, until the potatoes are done to your likeness.

Tips

  • Use whatever potatoes and apples you like.
  • Try using other seasonings, such as parsley, rosemary, or oregano.
  • Buy fresh from a farm stand if there is one nearby, or a farmer’s market. Or, try a Misfits Market box. (This is an affiliate link. You get a discount on your first order, and I get one on a future one. A win-win! Use this referral code so we can both get a discount: COOKWME-PI4FFE ) This is where I get most of my produce.
  • Plant a garden. This would be the ultimate in savings, and exactly what I would do if I wasn’t renting.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy the recipe!

~ Shannon

 

What’s-on-Hand Salad

Because I’ve been getting the Madness Boxes from Misfits Market every couple of weeks, I’ve come up with a few salad combinations. All I’m doing is using what I have on hand that week for fresh produce. I’m not adding meat, seeds, or nuts, unless I want something with it when I am actually eating.

This type of salad is also good for using up those odd bits of produce leftover from other meals.

Don’t feel like you have to follow this recipe closely. Just use what you have available.

What’s-on-Hand Salad

Ingredients

mixed lettuce

spinach

cucumber

broccoli

  1. Rinse the produce well. Place on a towel and cover with another one. Press gently to dry produce.
  2. Break the lettuce and spinach up using your hands. There’s no kneed to use a knife.
  3. Slice the cucumber into rounds, then cut into halves or quarters.
  4. Chop the broccoli.
  5. Add everything to a bowl.
  6. Enjoy!

I take this a little further by breaking out the reusable containers and filling each of them with enough salad for a meal or a snack. With these in the refrigerator like this, I can just grab a salad when I want one. Easy-peasy!

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with soup on a cool day.
  • Serve with a meal of meat and potatoes.
  • Add some grilled chicken and seeds or nuts and call it dinner!

Tips

  • Use scraps so nothing goes to waste.
  • Use produce from your own garden to save money.

~ Shannon

 

Building Memories: Baking with My Grandson

Oh how I love this Little Man. ❤ My grandson is a big helper, and he has mad stirring skills! Just look at him. Little Man likes to help in the kitchen sometimes, so I asked him if he would want to help me bake some chocolate zucchini cake.

I needed to make some for my coworkers, and told him I’d leave a cake at his house as well. He was good with helping so, while his mom was looking for a job not long after they moved to the area, Little Man and I baked.

He was so good about washing his hands. I measured out all of the ingredients and he showed me his crazy good dumping skills.

Little Man was very impatient while spreading the cream cheese frosting. I’d put a scoop on the cake, he’d move the butter knife over it once, then stick his hand through the frosting and into the cake to taste it. What a goober! I had to finish that part on my own.

We chatted about a lot of things while we were making this cake, and we laughed so much. I’ll always cherish our baking time. The memories will, hopefully, stay with me forever.

Little Man is a hoot to bake with. We’ll be making a chocolate mayonnaise cake with peanut butter frosting next. I know these things are not healthy, but they are a nice treat once-in-a-while, and my coworkers appreciate a treat on occasion.

Shannon

I’m Picky about Cooked Veggies, But I Love them Raw!

Okay, I do like some vegetables cooked. Mainly things like peas and potatoes – of course, I like white potatoes raw as well as cooked. I’m aware that it is said to be, nutrient-wise, better to eat certain vegetables cooked, but I just can’t stomach most of them that way.

I can only eat carrots cooked if they are mashed in with white or sweet potato, or shredded into chili or meatloaf.

So, you see, I really am picky. But…

…I eat a lot of raw veggies. I do different things with them, so I’m not always eating the same things.

  • I make veggie jars.
  • I love salads.
  • I make wraps, veggie and otherwise.
  • I always get or make vegetable platters for parties.
  • I have always loved stuffed celery. My sister makes it for me, stuffed with peanut butter, for get-togethers – because she loves me. I also like them stuffed with almond butter.
  • I like to snack on raw cabbage. Just raw cabbage. Yum.
  • Pickled beats are amazing.
  • I like to add vegetables to smoothies. Not just greens. I’ve also put carrots, broccoli, celery, and cucumber in them. I’ll likely try other veggies in them as well.
  • I like to add extra vegetables to meals as well, such as shredded sweet potato to meat loaf or chili. Or making a shepherd’s pie by layering beef or chicken, peas, white potato, sweet potato, and squash. Sometimes I use fruits and vegetables interchangeably. They’re both so good for you!

I am aware that some of my tactics are a form of manipulation, and I think it is funny that I can do that to myself successfully. What can I say? I am good! LOL

Are you a picky eater? How are you getting your vegetables in?

Shannon

I’d Like to See More Foods Packaged for Singles

I don’t need family size packages of food now that it’s just me at home. An already refrigerated quart of almond or coconut milk would be perfect. A package with just four slices of cheese. One-quarter pound of pre-packaged ground beef. Just enough for one or two meals for one would be perfect, without the jacked up prices because you’re buying less.

There is a little of this going on, but at a cost greater than with the bigger packages. You can get three string cheese for $1.00, but you’re going to spend more per string cheese than if you bought a package of 12. Why? I won’t eat 12 string cheese quickly enough to warrant that purchase; some would go to waste.

Let’s talk spinach. It comes in a big package, and half of it goes to waste before I can use it all. Why not offer the single person half the quantity for half the price. Help a girl out.

Seriously. A girl could eat healthier more consistently if she could get half the amount for half the price. So she can have more variety. How about letting me choose how much fresh spinach I want to buy, like when I buy my cucumbers, apples, and pears.

But please, don’t make me have to pay more to get just what I need. If you can package three cucumbers for a dollar, why do I have to pay $0.68 cents just for one. I mean, it should be cheaper just because there is no packaging.

Just some ponderings from a girl who wants to save money on her grocery bill.

Have a great winter.

Shannon

Veggies as the Main Meal Component

Now that the holidays are over and our new year goals have been set, I bet I’m not the only one eating better than I was during the holiday season. One thing I’ve been considering is the amount of meat I eat during a meal. I can easily load half of my plate with meat, but I’m not sure that’s what we should be doing.

Not that meat is bad. I love beef, chicken, pork, and turkey. However, I think we are seriously lacking the nutrients we need from fresh fruits and vegetables. I want to be eating more fresh produce and less meat, so I’m going to be switching things up a bit.

My goal is going to get in more fruits and vegetables each day. To accomplish this, I’m going to make the sides the main part of my meal, and have less meat at each.

Protein is an important part of every meal, and I don’t want to skip on that, but I think I’ll get enough if I use vegetables that have the nutrient alongside a little meat. Broccoli, green peas, asparagus, cauliflower, black beans, and broccoli raab are just a few of the vegetables that contain protein. I figure, if I can pair a protein-rich vegetable with the little bit of meat cooked in a healthy fat, and then add more veggies to the plate, I’ll be doing good. What do you think?

Shannon