Ground Turkey Shepherds Pie in the Crock Pot

Ever since I made my first corned beef and cabbage in the crock pot 10+ years ago, I’ve been hooked on slow cooked St. Patty’s fare.

With limited staples on hand, I decided to try my hand at this Shepherds pie recipe using ground turkey, baby Yukon Gold potatoes, carrots and broccoli. It turned out well! Luck of the Irish perhaps?

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First, prepare mashed potatoes using your preferred technique and scoop into a bowl so you can use the same pot for the meat to cut back on dishes. 

Brown ground turkey and 2 cloves of garlic, and then add the following:

  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 generous handfuls of sliced baby carrots (or 2 regular chopped carrots)
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli (or peas)
  • 1 cup broth (I used chicken)
  • 1/4 cup wine (I used white)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Generous sprinkling dried thyme

Stir and simmer until liquid is almost fully absorbed. Add to a greased crock pot in an even layer and then spread the mashed potatoes over the top. Season with salt and pepper.

After cooking on low for about 3-4 hours, grate cheddar cheese over the top. Slainte!

Thai Peanut Crock-Pot Pork and Coconut Milk-Steamed Potatoes

Tonight’s dinner was a Thai spin on slow cooked meat and potatoes, minus the caloric unknowns of takeout. Even with my simplified and somewhat clumsy hybrid of Domestic Superhero’s Crock Pot Thai Peanut Pork and Eats Well with Others’ Coconut Potato Curry, the crock pot generated heavenly smells all afternoon, and the potatoes turned out oh so tender.

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Here’s what to do:

In the crock pot, place a pork tenderloin followed by a jar or so (drained) of roasted red (bell) peppers, 1/2 cup of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Sprinkle 2 minced garlic cloves and 1/2 cup of peanut butter around the liquid. Set the crock pot on low for 6-7 hours.

Midway through, turn loins over and distribute peppers over the top to keep meat moist.

Towards the end of the cooking time, shred meat in the pot and let it cook in its own juices until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, drizzle about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan or Dutch oven over medium to low heat. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon cumin, followed by 1/2 cup soaked and chopped cashews, and stir to coat. (Keep heat low so cashews don’t burn.) Add about 1 pound red potatoes and toss to coat. Next, add a mixture of 1/2 cup water and 2 tbsp tomato paste, followed by a can of lite coconut milk, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/2 bag of frozen peas.

Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender; turn potatoes from time to time. (If needed, add almond milk to bring the liquid level to the mid point of the potatoes.)

Serve shredded pork in a bowl with the potatoes, peas and coconut milk broth. Enjoy the clearing of your sinuses!

Smashed Potatoes with Lox

Smoked salmon is one of my all-time favorite indulgences. Here’s an easy way to enjoy it guilt-free with smashed potatoes and goat milk yogurt.

Steam red potatoes in a microwaveable bowl, covered by a plate, for 5-10 minutes – until potatoes can be pierced with a fork. Then, simply smash potatoes with a fork in the same bowl, and top with sliced lox and goat milk yogurt. Super satisfying and satiating!

Red, White and Chicken Apple

The same one-pan dinner I turn to on weeknights when I need to squeeze in a workout, can also be used for summer gatherings. While it bakes, you get a half hour or so of freedom from the kitchen to enjoy the festivities.

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Simply toss potato wedges, roasted red peppers (sliced into strips) and chicken apple sausage (cut into slices) in an oven-safe casserole dish with olive oil and seasonings of your choice. Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes; cover with foil towards the end if the potatoes aren’t tender enough.

Bonus: only one dish and cutting board to clean!

Healthy Crock Pot Bangers & Mash

My favorite part of summer is eating dinner al fresco with the heavenly Delta breeze in effect. In winter and spring, my crockpot became a Sunday ritual, so why I figured why not put it to use for June’s maiden dinner on the patio.

With chicken apple sausage in the fridge, onions from the farmers market, and potatoes in the cupboard, I came up with a healthy, dairy-free version of bangers and mash.

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In the crock pot, pour about 4 cups of broth (I used leftover mushroom broth from soaking dried mushrooms for Wednesday night’s quinoa) and add two sliced onions (I used yellow with 1-2 inches of the light green stems). Then place four chicken apple sausages (or other healthy, all natural brats) in the crockpot, followed by peeled russet potatoes (as many as can fit as a top layer). Sprinkle generously with salt and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

Remove potatoes and mash in a separate dish, using spoonfuls of cooked broth and almond milk, until desired consistency. Salt to taste. Serve potatoes, followed by broth and onions, and place a sausage or two on top.

Pin Real Life

This week I tried out a couple of new techniques inspired by discoveries on Pinterest. For better or worse, here’s what happened….

Breakfast Bread Bowl

Here’s the original recipe, but my attempt (cooked in a full baguette with almond milk in place of cream) took 45+ minutes to cook the eggs thoroughly, and I adjusted the heat from 350 to 400 degrees midway through.

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One Dish Potato & Sausage Bake

Inspired by pins that showed a casserole dish with a colorful collage of meat and veggies baked to glistening perfection in the oven, I decided to give it a whirl with potatoes, chicken apple sausage and green onions. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Delicious and easy for weeknights!

Starting Fresh

Fresh produce from @FarmFreshtoYou = healthy weekend kick-off. Tonight I went to work in the kitchen, chopping up all the seasonal veggies I could get my hands on for dinner. David and I both ate pretty decadently this week (hello, In-n-out) so we thought it was a good night to start fresh.

First, I shredded a head of cabbage, reserving two bowls’ worth for the base of a pseudo farmer’s market salad. Next, I chopped up tomatoes and walnuts, sliced two carrots, and diced an avocado. And a salad in the Jackson house isn’t complete without dried cranberries and Ranch. 😉

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Meanwhile, I steamed fresh corn on the cob and roasted a combo of fingerlings and sweet potatoes on a makeshift foil “tray” in the oven. I only had two sweet potatoes, so I mashed them up with ricotta and brown sugar. The fingerlings were delicious with a bit of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper.

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No guilt this Friday night! And it probably cost less than $10 given it was half my delivery from Farm Fresh to You.

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Makin’ Gnocchi

Potatoes, patience, plus a Williams-Sonoma pasta class = homemade gnocchi. I never thought I would make one of my favorite menu items at home, but I successfully made gnocchi tonight. In subsequent posts, I will give the full instruction. But for now, here’s something worth 1,000 words.

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Eggs in Heaven

Inspiration from @epicurious iPad app + @farmfreshtoyou vegetables = heavenly potato, egg, veggie casserole. For tonight’s dinner, I had 8 eggs to use up and figured some sort of potato casserole would be a good route to explore. I came across “Eggs in Purgatory with Artichoke Hearts, Potatoes and Capers” through an Epicurious recipe search, but the tomato-artichoke sauce sounded a little like heartburn hell (plus I didn’t have all the ingredients). So instead, I improvised with fresh zucchini and carrots from Farm Fresh to You, and whipping cream for what I like to call, “Eggs in Heaven.”

The result was a deliciously creamy potato, egg, and vegetable casserole. Divine!

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Accidental Gravy and Other Experiments

Buttery potatoes + leftover chicken + broth = surprise gravy! Tonight I was short on time, but had a random burst of ideas for a “hands-off” meal. First, a fresh delivery from Farm Fresh to You arrived, so I prepared “Herbed New Potatoes” from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot in Paris” cookbook (using red potatoes, even though she calls for white or Yukon Gold).

While the potatoes steamed for 30 minutes or so, I microwaved frozen corn and pulled out the leftover “honey-baked” chicken breast from last night. The potatoes left a nice frothy butter sauce in the pan, so I poured chicken broth in and added the chicken breast. After bringing it to a boil, a delicious aroma started rising. Suddenly David was asking for some of the “sauce” to pour over the chicken – and voila, gravy!

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In our quest to eat healthy in 2010, I thought I’d share some of my other recent experiments:

Honey-Baked Chicken Breast with Sauteed Peas & Baby Bella Mushrooms and Brown Rice

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Leftover Turkey & Butternut Squash Meatballs with Broccoli and Flax Fettuccini

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