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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Shepherd's Pie

I have started asking J what he wants for dinner on Saturdays, then making it.  I do a weekly menu.  It is all pretty routine since I like having routines and making lists and being organized.  Mostly I just like writing lists.  I have a two week menu list which is subject to change, a weekly TV schedule list of shows we like to watch, monthly activity list, daily things to do list, creative projects I want to finish this year list, and a notebook of lists that I keep in my purse.  Here is my general weekly dinner menu list:

Sunday - Eat at my Parent's house    
Monday - Left-overs
Tuesday - Salad
Wednesday - Food storage pantry
Thursday - Salad
Friday - Fish
Saturday - Something from my Cookbooks, Food Network, or Pinterest.

J's random pizza ratio requirement throws my weekly menu off sometimes.  One of my New Years goals (one of many on the New Years Goals list) is to cook more of J's favorites.  Shepherd's Pie is one of his favorites.  And mine too. 
Shepherd’s Pie
1 lb ground beef
½ onion, diced
½ lb of carrots, diced
4 ribs of celery, diced
2 gloves of garlic, minced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Worcestershire sauce
3+/- Tbs flour
3 +/- Tbs butter
1 lb mashed potatoes (5+/- medium potatoes)

Peel and dice potatoes.  Boil in salted water for about 15-20 min until soft.  Drain, and return potatoes to the pan.  Add milk, butter, seasoning, and mash potatoes until smooth.
I like to use left-over mash potatoes or 4 servings of instant potatoes.
¼ cup Parmesan (optional)

Salt and pepper ground beef.  Add 1 – 2 Tbs olive oil to a hot pan and sauté carrots, celery, and onions until soft.  Add ground beef and minced garlic.  Cook until the meat is browned.  Add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and other seasonings.  Remove from heat.  
Make a roux by adding flour to melted butter and mix together until it forms a paste. Add this to the meat/veg and stir in until it starts to stick together.  Transfer the meat to an ungreased casserole pan (12”x 8” pan or similar size).  Scoop out potatoes and layer on top of the meat.  
Sprinkle on Parmesan (optional) and bake at 400 °F for 20 - 30 min to brown the potatoes.

I like to start with potatoes.
Wash, peel, and dice potatoes, then boil them for about 20 min until soft.
While this is boiling... Meaty ingredients assemble!
Since carrots take the longest to cook I add them first to the hot pan with some olive oil and cook them for a few minutes while I chop celery.
Then add the celery and cook those down while I chop onions.
Then add onions and cook those down while I mince garlic.
Then add garlic and saute that for another 1 - 2 minutes.
Meaty seasonings Assemble!  I like to use Italian Seasoning in EVERYTHING along with some garlic salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce.
Add the ground beef to the veggies and cook until browned, then set aside.  Everything in the pan should be nicely cooked by now.
Next I make a roux with flour and butter.
I melt the butter, then add the flour and stir it together until it forms a nice thick paste.
Add the roux to the meaty-veggie goodness and mix in.  It helps hold the meat together.
Pour out into an ungreased baking pan.
 By this time the potatoes should be done cooking.  Drain the potatoes, return to the pot and add some milk, butter, and I like chopped green onions.
Mash it.
Spread out the mashed potatoes over the meat.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 min until the edges are lightly browned.
Cut and serve hot.

I also love graphs.  J's pizza ratio requirement is currently being graphed.  More on that when I get enough data points.  I am going to make a Pie Chart.  Get it, a Pie Chart, because it's for a Pizza Pie.  Pie charts are circular graphs.  Pizzas are circular.  It's funny because it's a double entendre.
double entendre is a figure of speech in which a spoken phrase is devised to be understood in either of two ways. Typically one of the interpretations is rather obvious whereas the other is more subtle.  It may also convey a message that would be socially awkward, or even offensive, to state directly.  The Oxford English Dictionary describes a double entendre as being used to "convey an indelicate meaning".  A double entendre may exploit puns to convey the second meaning. Double entendres generally rely on multiple meanings of words, or different interpretations of the same primary meaning. They often exploit ambiguity and may be used to introduce it deliberately in a text.

And that's why it's funny.
A Pie Chart.  For J's Pizza Ratio Requirement.