So, it seems that comfort food is still the order of the day, at least in my house it is. But along with that, I really need things to be affordable, and healthy. When I cook I prefer to use fresh ingredients and I do try to avoid Cream of Mystery Ingredient Soups. Most of those canned products, while very convenient are packed full of sodium and other things we really don't need.
The other thing I prefer in a meal is make ahead recipes. By the time dinner time rolls around I am pretty much done for the day. the last thing I want is to faff around cooking something complex. Being able to take something out of the fridge that I prepped in the morning when my energy levels were higher and toss it in the oven is blissful. Knowing that it is healthy and tasty and I have 30 minutes to sit and relax while it cooks is heavenly.
Last night, I hit the Jackpot!
Cheesy Cottage pie. It was tasty, the lack of left overs attests to that. It was cheap, coming in at under $10 for the entire recipe. It will easily feed four adults and is endlessly customizable, I used Green Beans, Mushrooms and a little green pepper last night. You can use any vegetables you like, so long as you have around 3 cups worth. Oh, and clean up was a breeze, I cooked the filling in a cast iron skillet, topped it with the potato and baked it in the same skillet.
- 2.5 lbs. russet potatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 oz. shredded cheddar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 lb. ground beef
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 8oz Mushrooms
- 1 1/2 cups Green Beans
- 1/4 Green Pepper (Finely diced)
- 1/2 tsp salt
Peel and chop the potatoes into small chunks. Boil the potatoes until very tender, about 7-10 minutes.
Drain the potatoes then rinse them again briefly with hot water. This helps give the mashed potatoes a light and fluffy texture. And yes, it is WELL worth this extra step.
Mash potatoes with butter and milk until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the shredded cheese. Set aside.
Add the diced onion and minced garlic to a large skillet along with the olive oil and sauté over medium until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the beef to the skillet and continue to sauté until the beef is fully cooked. Add flour and continue to stir and cook for about 2 minutes more, or until the flour coats the bottom of the skillet.
Add the beef broth and stir to dissolve the flour from the bottom of the skillet. The broth will come up to a simmer fairly quickly and thicken.
Add the Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, and vegetables of choice to the skillet. Heat through, then taste and add salt if needed.
Transfer the cooked beef and vegetable mixture to the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish (or if using an oven proof skillet, top the beef mixture in that same skillet). Top with spoonfuls of mashed potatoes, spreading it out to cover the surface.
Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated 350ºF oven. For extra browning, pop under the broiler for a few minutes at the end of the cooking time. Let the casserole rest for 5-10 minutes before serving, this allows the gravy to thicken up a bit.
butter - spirituality, communication, reconciliation, enhancing energies
milk - Prosperity, Nurturing, Protection, Success
cheddar - completion, enhancing energy
olive oil - Fidelity, marriage, peace, protection
onion - oaths, promises, warding, protection, health, banishing, virility, potency, male fertility, energy, psychic, spiritual
garlic - protection, health, strength, endurance, male fertility, male potency, courage, inspiration
beef - energy, excitement, strength
Wheat - nurturing, prosperity
rosemary - remembrance, memory, love, loyalty
thyme - dreams, sleep, healing, protection, emotions, love, purification, psychic, awareness
Mushrooms - psychic awareness, physical strength, hidden truths, courage, healing, health
Green Beans - money, sex, protection
Green Pepper - prosperity, security, strength, energy, comfort
black pepper - cleansing, purification, banishing, protection
salt - protection, banishing, exorcism