Monday, March 1, 2010

Cottage Pie & Cookies

Cottage Pie & Cookies

This morning I knew I had to get some food in the freezer. I had clearance meat in the fridge that needed to be cooked, and I had enough ingredients to make Cottage Pie. I started at 9, and since I had the oven on (later in the day) I also did another batch of pretzels and some oatmeal cookies.

If you make "Shepherd's Pie", but don't make it with lamb meat, it's called Cottage Pie. There are 101 ways to make this comfort food, which is why it's so well loved - you can add your favorites, snuggle up on a cold day, and dig in!

I made 3 massive trays of Cottage Pie today, enough to feed our family of 6 for dinner and enough for either the adults or kids lunches the next day. Cottage Pie is time consuming (or it can be) so I like to make a few meals at the same time so it's not so tiresome.

Look up any recipe online, or a recipe from your favourite chef (we like Gordon Ramsay's recipe) and double or triple according to your family size and what you can buy on sale.

What I did today was:

Cook onions and garlic until soft, add celery carrots and peppers (frozen peppers from when they were DIRT cheap). I added a little vegetable stock to help it all soften.

Simultaneously browned ground meat (I did a chicken/beef mixture), strained grease and continued to brown. Added port and balsamic vinager and let it simmer down. I saved the ground meat drippings for gravy.

Add vegetable mixture to cooked meat, add tomato, herbs and spices and continue to cook for 1/2hr-1hr.

Steamed cauliflower and boiled potatoes. Because I got cauliflower on sale it was a 2/3 cauliflower to 1/3 potato ratio. I had half a brick of cream cheese and a bit of sour cream in the fridge so I threw that in to the hot veggies, and mashed with my hand mixer.

I reuse tin caserole dishes, so I filled them with the cooled meat and topped it with the cauliflower potato mixture. I covered the pies and wrote what was in it and how long to cook it for (do according to recipe plus 1/2 hour to defrost, my off teh cuff pie takes 1hr from room temperature)

Between making the Cottage Pie and dinner time I had a few hours, so because I hate to turn the oven on for one food item I decided to whip up another batch of pretzels and some oatmeal cookies. I'm happy to announce I found my FAVOURITE recipe for pretzels and have replaced the other recipe I had posted. This recipe is AWESOME and amazing and all things good. Try it, and send me a hug in the mail.

My Mom gave me a Depression Era cookbook for my birthday, and it has the BEST oatmeal cookie recipe in it. The cookies are crunchy and perfect and so good. I've changed a few things (butter instead of lard, etc.) but I think it's pretty true to the original:

Aunt Minnie's Oatmeal Cookies

1c butter, softened

1c brown sugar, packed

1c white sugar

2 eggs

1tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2c flour

3c oatmeal (oats)

1/2 cup of anything you'd like to add (or keep it plain)

Cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients and add to wet ingredients. Roll the dough into a log on a piece of wax paper (or parchment, but it's more expensive) and cover with waxed paper (including ends) Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 350F. Slice log of dough into cookies and place on greased cookie sheet (I always use parchment). Bake 10-12 minutes until light brown. Do not over cook. Eat. Do not over eat.

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