Welcome to another instalment of Burned Cornflakes! Not a whole lot has happened since my epic feast was served on the big holiday however I nearly screwed up an “old faithful” of mine. Growing up I watched meal after meal with any leftovers they would be placed and labelled in a container and placed in either the fridge or freezer for future use, I was always lectured on the importance of NOT WASTING. Let me just say that this lecture didn’t really sink in (sorry mom… in ways it did! Promise!). I am absolutely NO SAINT in this area; I bin a lot of food, some of it is still good, some beyond rotten from the depths of a lunch bag or worse. I get upset about it, whine or nag only sometimes but mostly I just methodically toss things in the bin with a pursed lip and a guilty conscience.
After the “epic holiday feast” was done there were leftovers which we mostly took care of in the amazing turkey soup I helped hubs make. Further down the list of leftovers were potatoes, I didn’t know what to do with them and having a family audience (read this as “my mom has eyes like a hawk and would BUST me for wasting if I dared“) so I squashed them between 2 gently used pie plates (yay for recycling!) and tossed in the freezer. Yes, IN THE FREEZER. I figured they would be alright because I saw advertised a big company preparing mashed potatoes to whip out of the freezer on a whim and show off to your relatives. (side note: I do find the ads very annoying). That aside when in doubt I toss EVERYTHING in the freezer, if it ends up freezer burnt it will probably either have one of 2 fates… tossed into a dish that over cooks everything or in the bin. LOL.
Once that was all done I kind of forgot about them until hubs asked for dead shepherd for dinner. I could imagine the light bulb going off over my head as I remembered the potatoes. So I set on my merry way to preparing a beloved family dish. I sliced up 8 extra potatoes to ensure I had enough coverage as when I make my dead shepherd it is usually fit to serve about 10 people. There I was happily cooking away listening to my potatoes & parsnips boil, the meat brown and the microwave struggling to defrost 2 lbs of pre mashed potatoes. Once my meat & onion had browned completely I drain the fat off and add in the rest of my ingredients. I went to my faithful freezer of random food and started pulling out random chopped things to add in; I noticed this little Tupperware container in the back with something unknown in it, with a shrug of the shoulder and not a second thought I tossed the puppy in with my other random finds. Not until this mystery substance melted and created a large liquid content did I start worrying. Then came the aroma (it smelled pleasant) and I got to thinking….. what the heck did I just put in the dead shepherd?
Until I realised with a sweet wave of relief that we had saved of my epic experiments making Au Jus for gnarly beef dips, this one in particular was roasted garlic au jus (yum!). With a (small) leap of joy I happily finished up and served the “Frankenstein” dead shepherd. (I have a dear friend who calls experiments Frankenstein’s, I loved the term so much I added it to my vocab). So I got lucky….this time. It could have possibly still lead to disaster as one of the sauces I had put in as part of my “wild card” flavorings was a brown sugar flavour, so I passed this one by the hair on my chinny chin chin.
As for the potatoes they were a tad obscene, I may have made too many. Actually, I will admit it I did make too many as the topping was HUGE. I had about 2-1/2″ thick worth of potatoes (I had combined the left over mashed potatoes with 2 parsnips and 8 freshly boiled potatoes mashed with unsalted margarine). So a lesson learned from an old classic recipe we adore.
As a treat I’ll sound off my classic “un-Frankenstein-ed” version of Dead Shepherd.
NOTE: makes approx. 10 servings! (good for making a big batch and freezing mini meals for later).
What else is great about this is you can add or subtract anything you like and you’re almost guaranteed a great dish. Experiment with different ground meats, ingredients and toppings!!! Though I have no idea what one would do for a vegetarian version of this…. Possibly mashed beans/lentils and Portobello mushrooms (?)…. Have to brainstorm on that one!
Thinking about it, this is almost the un-recipe of recipe’s as there are no real set rules! Dare I say an anarchistic dish?! *gasp*
Kitchen Stuff you will need:
Set oven to “broil” (my oven defaults the broil temp to 500 degrees and I don’t change it.) ensure your oven rack is set to the right height to accommodate your oven dish.
Place potatoes and parsnips in large pot fill water to cover them and place on high heat to boil. Once they bubble violently turn down the heat to medium. The potatoes will be cooked when they slide off the fork.
While the potatoes are boiling brown the meat in the other large pot with the onion on med-high heat. Sprinkle with Montreal Steak seasoning (or not!). Once the meat has browned drain the fat into safe container and dispose of the fat safely. DO NOT POUR IT DOWN ANY DRAINS!!!!
Return the meat pot to the stovetop and add in the worstershire sauce, the bbq sauce (if you are using) and the baked beans. Stir. Add in your veggies stir and let them soften/warm through. Once this is done remove from the heat (turn off your burner). Slide all your ingredients into your waiting oven dish.
Once your parsnips and potatoes have finished boiling, remove them from the heat, drain and begin mashing. Once the mashing is on its way add in the margarine and continue mashing to your desired consistency. I like to sometimes add sour cream and mash it in too. It is up to you and your taste buds.
When you have your desired mashed potato awesomeness grab a spoon and top your meat base with them. I like to draw a pattern in mine so when the potatoes brown in the oven it makes a cute picture. If you so desire sprinkle the cheese top of your potatoes for a kid pleaser (and cheese lover!)
Place in the oven for about 15 minutes until the potatoes reach your desired browned/crispyness.
This recipe is great to refine to your particular tastes and what your guests, family likes or make it the way your family did. Plus it is super easy!
Remember to label your leftovers (with everything) to avoid disasters in the future!
Happy Eating J
Well I did it. A feat on a rather simple dish, I cooked with out a recipe, no guidelines no referencing.
Just me, my ingredients and cookware.
In my world not only is it terrifying, it borders on disasterous.
However I lucked out, dinner was DEEEEEEE LICIOUS!
What did I make??? Well I made lasagne, but not my “usual lasagna.”
My usual lasagna is basically browning beef, tossing it in sauce, sorting out glued cooked noodles and putting an obscene amount of cheese on top (I think I maxed out one time at 3 packages of shredded cheese.)
So this is what I did with what I had:
What you’ll need: stovetop or hot plate, oven or convection toaster oven, sharp knife, cutting board, spoon, pot, 9×13 oven safe dish.
2 lbs of ground turkey
1 red onion chopped
2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
fresh oregano (season to taste)
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 10 oz box of frozen chopped spinach
1-2 jars of Classico sauce (I use these because they don’t add sugar to it and the ingredients are in English not strange scientific gibberish.)
2 cups shredded cheese (or 1 package of shredded cheese) preferably mozza
1 box of lasagne noodles (I used the “oven ready” kind however if you prefer the regular kind make sure you pre-cook the noodles)
pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a pot on med-high heat add the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the cut up onion, the oregano leaves and the ground turkey. Once the turkey is browned add to the sauce, mix well.
Line the bottom of your 9×13 pan with noodles, top with sauce, then dollop the ricotta cheese on top, sprinkle the spinach on then place another layer of noodles, repeat in any order you wish. Once you have layered to your desire load up the top with as much shredded cheese as you like.
Pop in the oven for about 30 minutes and Voila! A delicious dinner.
Helpful tidbit: clean up the cookin dishes while the lasagnes a bubbling away in the ol oven.
Again it has been a while since my last posting here on burned cornflakes however I assure you I have been creating in the kitchen from delicious homemade soups, to chilli experiments and discovering how hard it is asking for help. Quite frankly when I get the help (whether asked for or not) I realise now just how awesome it is to have it. I broke my hand just 2 weeks ago, it has been a learning curve to get things done one handed and asking for help on the simplest of tasks and I have been dealing out gratitude by the truck load. Some of the many things I needed help doing have been cutting, slicing, grating, turning lids, pulling lids off, holding the plate/pot/misc item still while I work which probably looked a tad ridiculous….. Which is why sometimes the task was simply lifted from my fingers, which I gotta admit, is kinda nice.
So I have a recipe for you that hubs has recently perfected, taste tested by the family and has an overall 5 star rating for ease, simplicity and yumminess. It is a pork rib recipe I was taught by my cousins and hubs nailed the new cooking process.
This is how it goes:
Kitchen stuff you will need: sharp knife, cutting board, large bowl, tongs, grill, large pot, stove top (possibly hot plate depending on its heat abilities)
In a large pot bring ribs to a boil and bubble on med-high heat for 45 min
During the last 5 (or so) minutes preheat your BBQ to high (about 500 degrees)
Remove ribs from pot and take out to your hot grill, cook 10 minutes per side for a total of approx. 20 min.
On cutting board slice ribs to individual pieces and place in large bowl. Douse in lemon juice and salt (and pepper), toss and mix (careful these will be hot)
Place on table and bask in glow of awesomeness as the “mmmmm’s” and “nom nom nomming” start rolling in!
I recommend serving with corn, green beans and mini potatoes.
My mom told me a story the other day over a soup I made that reminded her of being a little girl. The soup I made for the family and took over to my parents place reminded me of being a little girl, how much I hated it when mom made that soup and how much I crave it now as a grown up (or at least most days I am). It also reminds me of the first time I threw up because I think it was what we had for dinner that night….. which could also explain why I hated it so much.
Anyhow my mom came from a home where Mondays there was a little more food in the house and come Friday, dinners were made with whatever was left from the week. Hence soup made from fresh ingredients straight from the garden, to the cutting board and into a pot into what her mother called “Manestra” or as most know it as “Minestrone.” Like me mom didn’t like the soup all that much though for entirely different reasons, her mom put in many of the ingredients below, celery, carrots as well as cabbage all from the garden. Sometimes there were other additions to the soup which my mom and her sisters discovered on their own like noticing that celery when chopped looks like caterpillars and sometimes that spoonful of celery really wasn’t a spoonful of celery, it ended up being a spoonful of caterpillars thus beginning my mom’s distaste for the soup which as time passed on became a soup that became a reminder of home, being a little kid and being with her mom, dad and siblings.
And so I learn of this tale over a warm bowl of my own version of the soup, greatly enjoyed and has now nestled a little corner of my heart where I have warm loving thoughts of being a kid, sharing in our heritage, memories of my mom and nana all wrapped into one cozy and delicious package.
Happy Eating and Enjoy
Caterpillar Soup (Minestrone Soup)
Kitchen Gadgets required: Stove/hot plate, large pot, cutting surface, and knife, can opener, grater (unless cheese is purchased grated and a vegetable peeler if you have one.
Heat the large soup pot over med-high heat add Extra Virgin Olive Oil (about 2 tbs) red pepper flakes, garlic, onions, carrots, parsnip, celery, cook until they start to go soft about 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, add rosemary, bay leaf and zucchini until they soften. Add the beans, tomatoes and stock, put on the soup lid & bring to a bubble.
Cook soup for 8 minutes @ a rolling simmer add the pasta and cook until el dente’ (approx 7 minutes). Remove pot from heat, take out rosemary twigs (leaves will have fallen off while cooking) and bay leaf.
Ladle into soup bowls and serve with flakey buns and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
Serves 5 with seconds and maybe thirds.
*optional – cook the soup with the rind of fresh parmesan cheese to create a cheesy taste, remove prior to serving.