Tag Archives: shepherd’s pie

Potato Palooza! My Top 20 in Spuds

This week marked two years since I started this blog. It started with a 30-day vegetarian challenge issued by my daughter, Claire.  From there it has become a fun way to share my love of food and cooking with my family and friends (even the friends I’ve never met!), an online recipe box for myself and an ongoing cooking project for me and my kids to work on together.

To celebrate, I thought I would highlight my favorite food – the potato! I know National Potato Day is in August, but let’s be honest.  If you know me, you know it’s always National Potato Day at my house.  Maybe it’s my Irish side, or maybe just because they are irresistible, but I love them.  And apparently, so do you, since some of these rate among my most popular posts over the last couple of years.  I thought it made sense to have a collection of these favorites all in one place.  So I give to you my top 20 in spuds.

One of the most fun things about potatoes are all the incredible ways to cook them.  Which is your favorite?  It’s so hard to choose! Just click on the photo caption to go to the corresponding post.

The #1 most popular potato post on my site, and in the top five of ALL my posts, you can’t go wrong with this fancy presentation of an old favorite.

Like salt & vinegar potato chips?  You will LOVE these zippy roasted potatoes!

Who says potatoes are a side dish?  Grab yourself some big spuds and let them shine as a main course.

Forget frozen french fries.  Leave the chemicals behind and make them yourself!  Easy and oh so good.

Work out your aggression and enjoy a tasty side dish with these delightful smashed and baked potatoes.

One of my very favorites and a cure-all for just about everything.  Restaurant quality hash browns right in your own kitchen.

Spanish tortilla. One of my favorite tastes of Spain and such a beautiful presentation too!

Easy to throw together for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  And you can even use up your leftovers!

My favorite camping food – but perfect for a lazy evening at home too.

Not your mama’s scalloped potatoes.  No cans of soup here.  Just unbelievably good comfort food.

Breakfast anyone?  Easy baked eggs with a little potato and cheese.

Lemony potatoes, perfect side dish for fish or chicken.  I can eat a whole batch of these by myself. Scroll down past the fish recipe for the potatoes (but the fish is worth stopping for too!).


The most perfect side dish with just about anything, but especially if you are a “meat & potatoes” type.

A very veggie version of Shepherd’s Pie.

The best – and most unusual – stuffed peppers you will ever eat.  A touch of heat and Indian spices make these irresistible.

A classic potato salad to make your grandma (and mine!) proud.

A not-s0-classic potato salad.  This hearty spinach salad features tiny potatoes that steal the show.

Put your leftover baked potatoes to good use in this hearty, comforting soup.

Cheesy, with a southwestern kick.  This is a great spin on the classic potato soup.

Who says potato soup isn’t healthy?  Get your veggies for the day without evening noticing in this delicious concoction.

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Pork-a-Palooza! Ten things you can make with leftover pork roast.

I have to say that as far as cooking on a budget goes, the big prize recently goes to the pork roast.  I picked a couple of these up when they were on sale and boy did I get my money’s worth and then some!  I’ve posted most of these recipes already, but there were so many, and they were so spaced out (since we didn’t feel like eating pork every day for weeks) that I thought I would consolidate them all in one porky place for easy reference.  Just click on the recipe you want to get all the details.

The method that works best for me is to cook the roast up ahead of time in the oven or crock pot (my basic recipe is included in all of the blog posts below), shred all the meat, and portion it out into freezer bags or containers.  Simply pull one out for an easy meal with most of the work done already.

Works for breakfast…


Or Dinner…

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BBQ Pork Shepherd’s Pie

In my arsenal of meals that appear well thought out and taste delicious, yet require almost no effort, Shepherd’s Pie reigns supreme.  The added benefit is it uses up leftover odds and ends.  In this case, more leftover shredded pork from a roast I cooked a couple of weeks ago that had been stuck in the freezer.

I wasn’t really in the mood for traditional shepherd’s pie.  I was actually in the mood for BBQ.  So I thought, why not make a BBQ shepherd’s pie?  And so I did.  In consideration of my über-lazy mood, I used a can of baked beans rather than mixing up my own, which made this come together in a snap.  Rave reviews from the troops quickly ensued.

BBQ Pork Shepherd's Pie

BBQ Pork Shepherd’s Pie

BBQ Pork Shepherd’s Pie

2-3 cups shredded pork (see below for my basic pork roast recipe)
3/4 (give or take) cup barbecue sauce
1 can baked beans (I used Bush’s country style)
3/4 cup pineapple
3-4 russet or red potatoes
3 tbsp. butter (2 for the mashed potatoes and 1 to dot on top)
1/4 cup milk
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup sliced green onions or chives for garnish

Peel and quarter potatoes.  Boil until fork tender.  Mash with butter and milk.  Season to taste with salt & pepper.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 375˚.

Heat pork in the microwave for a couple of minutes and then combine with barbecue sauce.  Spread in the bottom of a casserole dish.

Layer #1.  Shredded BBQ pork.

Layer #1. Shredded BBQ pork.

Top with pineapple.

Layer #2: Fresh pineapple!

Layer #2: Fresh pineapple!

Spread baked beans over the top.

Layer #3: Baked beans

Layer #3: Baked beans

Spread mashed potatoes over the top.  Dot with butter and sprinkle with green onions.

Layer #4: Mashed Potatoes.  Potatoes make everything even better, don't they?

Layer #4: Mashed Potatoes. Potatoes make everything even better, don’t they?

Bake at 375˚ for 30 minutes, until heated through and lightly browned on top.  Serve with corn on the cob on the side for a complete BBQ dinner in one bowl!

And there you have it.  My BBQ creation.

And there you have it. My BBQ creation.

Basic Pork Roast

Pork Butt or Shoulder Roast
1 onion, sliced or diced
2 cloves garlic
1 8 oz. can diced green chiles
Salt & pepper

Rinse pork roast and place fat side up in a dutch oven.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper, top with onion, chopped garlic and green chiles.  Put a lid on and roast at 350˚ for 3-4 hours, until tender and falling apart.  Pull apart with two forks to shred.

Alternatively you can do this in the crock pot (mine was too big this time, so I did it in the oven instead).  When I cook it in the crock pot, I turn it on high for the first hour, then down to low to cook the rest of the day.

Ready to pop into the oven or crock pot.

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One Pork Roast, 3 Dinners. Day 3: Shepherd’s Pie

The grand finale of pork week was Shepherd’s Pie.  While it’s a humble dish at heart, the presentation is beautiful and it was oh, so delicious.  I’ve never made it before, but having eaten it I knew that the basic recipe was a meat something, topped with a veggie something (usually peas) and then lots of yummy mashed potatoes.  Could you go wrong with that?  I didn’t think so, and it seemed simple enough that I decided to wing it without a recipe.  I already had leftover pulled pork and it was the perfect base for my pie.  And you thought pork pies were just an English thing, didn’t you?

Interested in Day One and Two of my pork roast saga?  Click here for BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Shredded Pork & Black Bean Tacos.  If you’re stretching the dollars, these are three easy meals that were very nice to my food budget.


Shepherd’s Pie. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Shepherd’s Pie

2 cups (or so) Basic Pulled Pork
4-6 oz. mushrooms (I used a mix of button mushrooms and shiitake)
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped into 1-2 inch pieces
4-5 medium red potatoes, with skin on
3-4 cloves garlic
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp. butter
1/4- 1/2 cup milk
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Quarter the potatoes and cover with water in a large sauce pan.  Throw in the whole, peeled cloves of garlic.  Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or so until fork tender.  Drain the water.  Add butter, milk and salt & pepper to taste and mash with a potato masher.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a skillet saute mushrooms in a little butter or olive oil with fresh thyme and a pinch of salt & pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes until softened and set aside.  Put green beans in a glass bowl with a little water, cover with a plate or plastic wrap (undone a bit to let steam escape) and microwave for a 2-3 minutes.  Drain water.  (You could alternatively boil these on the stove for 3-4 minutes if you prefer).  If your pork is cooled in the fridge, warm it up slightly in the microwave.

Preheat oven to 375˚. Assemble your pie by spreading pork (and any pork juices there might be) in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Top with mushrooms.  Then spread green beans over the top.  Pile on the mashed potatoes and spread out to cover everything evenly.  Sprinkle with green onions and parmesan.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Pop it in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until everything is hot and mashed potatoes are starting to brown on top.  Dig in!  Makes 4-6 servings.


Cutaway View of Shepherd’s Pie. Also known as my lunch the next day.

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