Thursday, March 18, 2010

In a Snap Shepherd’s Style Dinners

Is it safe to say that spring has sprung in Minnesota? Possibly.

I will probably be posting about a snow storm next week—who knows! But regardless of the usual crazy weather up north, spring is indeed on the way to all corners of the States. Flowers blooming, fresh cut grass, and sunshine filled days are just around the corner. Another big deal of the season is spring cleaning. So for the next few posts I will be posting some of my cleaning tips for different sections of your kitchen and pantry. Do you have any good spring cleaning tips?


  • Start at the top.  Remove everything from the top refrigerator shelf. Work your way from top to bottom 
  • Open everything, and when it doubt, toss it out!
  • Clean your refrigerator thoroughly to get rid of spills, mold, mildew, and bacteria using a diluted chlorinated solution and warm soapy water.
  • Manufacturers recommend against using chlorine bleach because it can damage seals, gaskets and linings.
  • Keep up by wiping your refrigerator weekly with a Lysol wipe to kill germs that could contaminate foods.
  • Open box of baking soda will absorb odors for at least a month or two.
  • Kitchen Sink

  • Check for repairs needed : Check the grout around your tile if you have tile. If so, do you have caulking on hand ? Is your sink functioning properly? Do you need a new sink nozzle? Should the faucet be replaced? Will you need to replace any water filters?
  • Clean your kitchen sink drain and disposal by pouring a solution of 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water down the drain. Food particles get trapped in the drain and disposal, creating the perfect environment for bacterial growth.
  • To keep your drains unclogged from grease, pour a cup of salt water and a cup of soda into the drain followed by a pan of boiling water. The grease will usually dissolve immediately and open the drain.
  • Clean the rest of the kitchen sink with a bleach solution.
  • --------------------------

    Lately, dinners have been showing up in shepherd form..

    Oops—not that style shepherd..

    There—that’s more like it!

    Growing up, I always loved shepherd's pie because it was a comfort food to the fullest! I still love it for that reason, but now I am aware that it is a well-rounded meal containing 4 food groups in one dish—score! Meat, potatoes(carb), veggies, and cheese. But sometimes the standard can get boring as with anything, so I decided to try out some different flavor combos. Pick one, or both to try soon—you won’t be disappointed!!


    BBQ Venison and Corn Shepherd’s Pie

    **Beef can be easily substituted for venison**

    Serves: 6


    • 1 pound venison or lean ground beef
    • 8 medium green onions, sliced (1/2 cup)
    • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
    • 1 can (11 ounces) Mexicorn whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained
    • 1 can (4 ounces) green chiles, undrained
    • 1 package (7-ounce size) Betty Crocker® Cheddar and bacon mashed potatoes (1 pouch)
    • 1 1/2 cups hot water
    • 1/3 cup milk
    • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine (I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter tub spread)
    • 1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese (2 ounces)


    1. Cook ground venison and 1/4 cup of the onions in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain well. Stir in barbecue sauce, 3/4 cup of the corn and the chilies. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low to keep warm.

    2. Meanwhile, cook potatoes as directed on package for 4 servings, using 1 pouch Potatoes and Seasoning, hot water, milk and butter. Stir in remaining onions and corn; let stand 5 minutes.

    3.Spoon potatoes onto center of beef mixture, leaving 2 1/2- to 3-inch rim around edge of skillet; sprinkle cheese over potatoes and beef mixture. Cover and let stand about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.


    Italian Shepherd's Pie

    Serves: 6-8


  • 1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)
  • 12 oz low-fat bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) fat free cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 package (7-ounce size) Betty Crocker® garlic mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) sharp reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • Cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Minced fresh parsley, optional
  • opie


  • Line unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake at 450° for 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove foil; set aside. Reduce heat to 350°.
  • In a skillet, cook sausage until no longer pink; drain well on paper towels. Place cottage cheese and egg in a blender; cover and process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl; stir in potatoes, sour cream, oregano, salt and pepper.
  • Place sausage in pastry shell; top with potato mixture. Drizzle with butter. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until set. Sprinkle with cheese; let stand for a few minutes until cheese is melted. Garnish with tomatoes tossed with minced parsley if desired.
  • bite


    Tina said...

    I just wanted to say hey and thanks for checking out my blog :) Yours is really nice looking as well! Love your recipes.

    Jessica said...

    The Italian pie is a great combo of ingredients. I good alternative to pasta or the usual Shepherds pie.

    Nicole, RD said...

    I love that twist you made...the Italian pie looks wonderful, Cassie!! I have a small obsession with BC mashed potatoes!!!

    Smart advice on the fridge clean out. I always forget to start from the top! Duh :)

    Have a great weekend!

    Shannon, Tropical Eats said...

    girl.. can you have your own cooking show like right now??? seriously!!! You are awesome with all of your recipes. Your blog makes me smile everytime i come on it :) Have the best weekend!

    Cool Lassi(e) said...

    I dont know which one to pick. But I am leaning towards the Italian Shepherd's pie. Looks awesome!
    BTW,I have an excellent giveaway going on at my spot. Come check my latest post if choice items like Le crueset Baking pans, platzgraff tortilla warmer etc etc might be of interest to you

    Krista said...

    Great pies! I like the BBQ sauce in the first one.

    Also, good kitchen cleaning tips

    Kerstin said...

    What a unique twist on Shepherd's pie - it looks delicious!

    Erica said...

    So excited about spring! I need to do some spring window cleaning!!!! Great tips and yummy Shepards pie. I like to make a veggie only version- still as delicious!

    Kim said...

    I love that you tried two different variations on shepard's pie. I like the bbq variation, but I think my favorite is the one with the italian sausage. It sounds super delicious!!

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