Tag Archives: hearty


Easy Shepherd’s Pie


This meal is perfect to make on a weeknight. It is super easy to make and requires just a few flavorful ingredients.  The most time consuming part is boiling the potatoes.  Using box mix potatoes would make it ready in a flash, though I used some good old fashioned potatoes.  The potatoes in this dish were like the icing on the cake.  These mashed potatoes were mixed with butter and cheese, scooped on top with an ice-cream scoop and then broiled to create a nice brown look and flavor. Yes, potatoes, please, get in my belly. I did use smart balance butter (less saturated than regular butter), sharp cheddar cheese, and unsweetened almond milk in the potatoes to make me feel better about eating this hearty comfort food. IMG_2149 A few months ago, my husband went out to eat with a friend and reported enjoying this dish called shepherd's pie at a restaurant downtown.  I tucked that little knowledge nugget away in my mind and decided to make it for our Valentine's Day celebration dinner, along with some gooey dark chocolate brownies.  I know, it's a little early to be celebrating, but I have to work Valentine's Day and the rest of the weekend. With 12 hour long night shifts, that means I will be MIA. No cooking those days. IMG_2154 Our little early celebration was a smashing IMG_2074success.  Between bites of pie, he told me this was so much better than the shepherd's pie he previously thought was so good. He ate so much, his stomach bulged.  Haha, mine did too, especially with a dark chocolate brownie for dessert!  I just love being able to make the man I love, love coming home to a lovely dinner. That's a lot of love, but hey, its Valentine's! IMG_2173IMG_2184  
Easy Shepherd's Pie
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Irish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
Makes two large portions of a savory beef, vegetable, and gravy mixture that is topped with cheesy mashed potatoes. The ultimate comfort food.
  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 can, 14.5 oz, peas & carrots
  • 1 can, 6.5 oz, mushrooms
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp Mrs. Dash seasoning
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • pepper to taste
  1. Boil halved potatoes and start browning meat
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F
  3. When meat is no longer pink, add salt, Mrs. Dash seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir well.
  4. Turn beef burner down to low and add flour, stir, then add water. Then add cans: drained mushrooms and drained peas & carrots.
  5. When potatoes done, or easily able to be pierced with fork, removed from water and take skins off. Mash and mix in milk, cheese, butter, and pepper to taste.
  6. Add meat and veggie mixture to casserole dish(es) then top with mashed potatoes
  7. Bake at 375 F for 15 minutes. Serve. Will need more oven time if dish prepared ahead of time and refrigerated.
  8. (optional) Broil for 2-3 minutes to brown top
I used two large individual serving sized casserole dishes and then used an ice-cream scoop to top meat with mashed potatoes. After baking, I broiled for a couple minutes to make the potatoes brown on top. Be careful broiling because it will burn in a skinny minute.




Cabinet Raid Chili


We had another snow day. An the WiFi was out. Look at all that snow.  Our southern infrastructure just wasn’t prepared.


So that meant no hunting on the internet for a chili recipe.

I had beans and ground meat so the cabinet was raided for the rest.

IMG_1740 IMG_1743

I have made dozens of variations of chili, and this one turned out to be my favorite. It may be because I sneaked in an extra can of veggies (zucchini), or because I simply used many of my favorite spices including cocoa powder (shush, my husband doesn’t know yet) and kept tasting until perfection.


I served it with shredded cheese, sour cream, and bread made with greek yogurt. It was nice and spicy, but the sour cream cooled it down.  The hubby gave his seal of approval. IMG_1769

And Kindo wistfully sniffed the air.

IMG_1522 That pup is just so gosh darn precious, I can’t stand it.

Cabinet Raid Chili
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Copious amount of hearty spicy chili, freeze left overs in single serve containers for easy lunches or quick dinner.
  • 1 onion
  • 8 oz cooked zucchini (1 can)
  • 16 oz diced tomatoes (2 cans)
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 2 tbls tomato paste
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 lb. ground meat
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (spicy)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp powdered sage
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • shredded cheese (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  1. Dice onion and brown with meat until meat no longer pink and onions translucent
  2. Add spices cocoa powder, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne, basil, sage, chili powder, and pepper then brown for 5 more minutes
  3. Add zucchini (this is the only can you should drain the liquid off), tomatoes, Rotel, tomato paste, black beans, pinto beans, and spiced browned meat to crock pot
  4. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours
  5. Serve with shredded chesse, sour cream, and warm bread.
You can also cook this in a soup pot on low covered, stir occasionally-every half hour or so for 4 plus hours.


Taco Soup

IMG_1352My dad brought this recipe home from work one day. I honestly don’t know where it orignially came from, but it has been a family favorite for at least a decade now.  It has a HUGE number of pros and very few cons. In fact, it is like green eggs and ham, there are no cons. Once you try it, you will love it.  It can be made stove top or in a crock pot. It can be served with cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips or it can be eaten plain and still delicious. It is very easy to make, is filling, has protein and vegetables, serves a lot of people or can be frozen, and is most important, is ridiculously delicious.  My sister-in-law, who does not like ground beef, even liked this. Whew.  The flavor is so good. Okay, that’s enough of that, now go make this soup 😀



Taco Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 1 lb ground meat
  • 1 onion
  • 1 pack Taco Seasoning
  • 1 pack Ranch Seasoning (dry mix)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans or chili beans
  • 1 can yellow whole kernel corn
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (all cans are standard size)
  • optional- shredded cheese, sour cream, & tortilla chips
  1. In non stick pan, brown diced onion until caramelized and then add meat and brown until no pink is left in the meat.
  2. Add taco and ranch seasoning to pan, brown 5 more minutes.
  3. Add cans including all juices , 2 cups of water, and browned meat/onion/seasoning mixture to crock pot or soup pot. Simmer 4-6 hours. *
  4. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.
*Note: Technically, you don't have to wait 4-6 hours for the soup to cook. Since the meat is cooked, as soon as everything is warmed up in the pot, you can eat it. However, I think it tastes better after simmering half a day and the spices have had a chance to saturate everything with flavor.



Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

Sick Day SoupIMG_1278

I had celery, carrots, and chicken in the house so I decided to whip up some soup with some spices from the cabinet. It turned out hearty and savory with Scott’s seal of approval. I just had to add way more water than I previously thought necessary because simmering for a long period of time tends to make it evaporate. haha.

Anywho, this soup is perfect for a sick day. Not only is it hydrating,  but it has enough spice to clear up the sinuses. It is loaded with flavor, yet is lean because I only used 1 boneless skinless chicken breast.  The ingredient that I think really makes this chicken soup is the type of stock I use, and I am about to give it some unsolicited praise. Korr’s homestyle stock comes in a pack of 4 small gel packs so it is easy to store and also is rated high in by  consumer report for real chicken flavor. Basically, it is as close in deliciousness to real chicken stock as you can get, maybe even better.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes             Cook time: 2 1/2 hours                  Serves: 4


  • 2 small onions
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 container chicken stock
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup dry pasta, any type you prefer
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, makes it spicy)
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric



^Just look at all that flavor!


  1. Dice carrots, onions, and celery and saute in olive oil on medium heat in non stick pan until onions translucent, about 20 minutes. Stir every minute or so.
  2. Add garlic, salt, parsley, pepper, cayenne IMG_1261pepper, ground sage, and tumeric to pan and saute 5-10 more minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Cook pasta according to box, drain, set aside in bowl. Boil chicken until 160 degrees Fahrenheit  inside, about 15 minutes. Dice chicken, put in bowl with pasta and put in refrigerator.IMG_1245
  4. Add chicken stock gel to 2 cups of water. Microwave on high 2 minutes. Stir and add to soup pot along with saute mixture. Add 4 more cups of water and simmer on low for 2 hours.
  5. 10 minutes before serving add noodles and chicken. Just enough time for it to heat up but not over-cook.  Serve with crackers or bread. Yum!