Monday, December 27, 2010

Lovely Meat and Veggie Pies

We had meat pies at Dickens Fair in San Francisco this year and loved them so much that I decided I wanted to try to make them. My husband even helped out a little! It was fun and not as hard as you might think. The baby loved them too! We bought small ramekins at World Market for $4 a 4-pack to make individual pies.


1-2 pounds ground meat (we used a mix of lamb and beef)
1 sweet onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 small/medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 red potatoes, chopped small
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper


2 cups flour
2/3 cup softened butter
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold water

Brown the meat in a large pan on medium heat, breaking up into bits as it cooks, while you chop the vegetables.

Put carrots and potatoes into a small pot and cover with water, then boil about ten minutes until softened.

Drain meat once it's cooked. Add butter to pan and throw in the onions and garlic to brown up a bit. Then add the meat and the cooked potatoes and carrots and mix it all together. Turn the heat to low and throw in the peas, milk, flour, parsley, and as much salt and pepper as you like the taste of. Mix it all together until it's creamy, adding more milk if needed.

Mix the dough with your hands and roll out thinly. Use a bowl as a cookie cutter to make a circle large enough to fit into the ramekin. Spray inside of ramekins with cooking oil and push the dough circles into them, tucking loose ends in neatly.

Save enough dough to make smaller circles of dough for the tops of the pies. Fill each crust with the meat mixture and then top with another crust, pinching closed at the edges. Cut a small cross in the top of each pie to let out steam.

Place on a baking sheet for ease of removing from oven and bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

So I've been using jarred spaghetti sauce for about 4-5 years now, and finally thought I'd try a cheaper way out. The baby is 15 months old now, can you believe it? So I am able to sit her in her play area and let her watch one of the Your Baby Can Read dvds while I prepare a meal. Since I just threw this one together in the crock pot, it took no time at all and will be very easy to throw together come dinnertime.


1 14oz can tomato sauce
1 14oz can diced tomato (mine was flavored with olive oil and garlic)
1 pound ground meat (I used turkey this time)
1 can artichoke hearts or quarters
2 fresh scallions/green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
a few shakes of seasoned pepper and onion powder
1 Tbsp each fresh chopped sage and oregano
1/2 tsp fresh thyme

Throw all ingredients into the crock pot. Mix together if you can; my ground turkey was still partially frozen when I put it in so I'm going to have to stir it all together in a few hours once it's cooking. Cook in slow cooker on low for 6+ hours or until dinner, then serve over freshly cooked pasta of your choice.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Atrocious Frozen Beef Makeover

I realized it was my night to make dinner close to noon today, so I hope I'm not cutting it too close using the crock pot. I'm going to start it on high for a few hours before turning it down to low later on... though I'm sure whatever this is would taste better cooked on low for 8-10 hours. I found a package of badly freezer-burned thin beef steaks in the freezer and am trying to reconcile them with the beef gods for dinner tonight.


1 1/2 pounds of old, frozen beef something-or-other
2 shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 bag of baby carrots
2 medium/large red potatoes, chopped
1 tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
a few shakes of seasoned pepper and seasoned salt
1 cup leftover red wine (ours was a zinfandel)
1 cup frozen green beans

Unwrap the beef atrocity, thawing a little under warm running water to get the wrapper off and using leverage to break the frozen meat in half, or however it will fit into the crock pot. Add all the other ingredients on top of the meat, and cook either on low for 8-10 hours or high for 3 hours and then low until dinner time (another 3-5 hours) In the last 20 minutes of cooking, toss in the green beans and then mix in with the rest of the stuff before serving.

Let's hope this turns out well and rescued... it looks like it'll serve about 3-4 people.
UPDATE: Though it could have used a little more salt, it was actually pretty decent, as a sort of stew/potage.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Veggie Stir Fry Over Rice

This was a quick meal, thrown together for lack of any thawed meat in the house. Hooray for the local Farmer's Market!


1 cup rice
2 cups water
2 Tbsp sesame or olive oil
1 zuchinni, sliced into 2 inch strips
2-3 small heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1 shallot, sliced thin
2 garlic clove, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, cored and sliced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
sprinkle of fresh thyme

Prepare the rice as directed; bring to a boil then simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes until all water is absorbed. Saute the vegetables in a large frying pan with about 1-2 Tbsp sesame oil, adding the soy sauce, thyme and pepper once the veggies begin to wilt. Push the veggies to one side and drop in the beaten egg, stirring around til it fries, then mix in with the veggies.

Put a big scoop of rice in a bowl and top with the veggie mix. Quick and simple, and feeds 2.