Laziest Shepherd’s Pie EVER

It’s not really a Shepherd’s Pie – no mashed potato!

But for something quick and easy when you are pushed for time, or really can’t be bothered – it is tasty, even if a little sloppy. You could cook it in individual ramekins if you are worried about the “plating experience”. It serves four with some yummy bread to mop up the sauces.

Ingredients:

500g beef mince (you could use lamb or chicken, but I preferred the beef for this);

A handful of finely chopped veg (something that will soften quickly);

1 jar (500g or thereabouts) of a tomato based sauce such as a bolognese or similar (gluten free of course);

1 jar (500g or thereabouts) of cheese sauce – the type for pasta bakes is best (again, read the label and choose the gluten free one);

Two big handfuls of grated cheese of your preference.

Method (really easy here!)

Brown the mince & chopped veg. Stir in the bolognese sauce. Place into a casserole dish of about 1.5 litre capacity (I like my cast iron for this – then it is truly a one pot dish – you can brown the mince, assemble the dish and put it under the griller all in one). Cover gently (you don’t want them to mix in) with the cheese sauce, then sprinkle the grated cheese over.

Grill until the cheese is golden, or as I prefer it, golden with some browner bits. This should take 5-10 minutes, depending on your grill. Even if you use individual ramekins, the mixture should still be warm, you are just heating up the cheese sauce and melting the cheese, so it should take a similar time – just monitor it to make sure the cheese doesn’t burn.

Eat. See – how easy was that?

Steak, pumpkin and sweet potato casserole

This is so easy to make, and your house will smell wonderful while it is cooking in the oven. Serves four.

1 tbs olive oil

1/4 cup gluten free plain flour

600g gravy beef, trimmed and cut into 2 cm pieces (this part was fun, I had a cat a two dogs begging for the trimmings as I cut the meat, I’d throw a bit of fat into the air and see who could catch it. Obviously the tallest dog won the most, so I had to slip some to the smaller dog and the grumpy cat, or I would have paid the price later, but I digress…)

1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped;

2 tsp ground paprika (I used the sweet, but if you like the hot variety, go for it)

1 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger

2 cups of chicken stock

1 small sweet potato, your choice of variety, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks

500g pumpkin, your choice of variety, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks

1 tin (approx 400 – 440 g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/2 to 1 cup frozen peas

Preheat the oven to 140 celcius

Put the flour into a plastic bag, place the cut meat into it and shake, knead etc… well until you can see the flour has coated the meat. Put half of the oil into an oven & stove top safe (I used cast iron) casserole dish, heat and cook the meat in two batches (using the rest of the oil) until browned, removing and putting in a bowl when done.

Place the onion into the hot pan, deglaze with a little recently boiled water and cook for about two minutes. Add the garlic and cook a further two minutes, adding a little more water if needed. You don’t want to boil the flavourings, just stop them sticking to the pan which will have remnants of the meaty flour in it. Add the spices, then return the meat to the pan and mix, add the stock and stir well.

Cover the dish and put in the oven, let it cook for one and a half hours.

Remove and add a little water if you need to deglaze, making sure the dish is scraped as clean of flavourings as possible. Add the potato, pumpkin and chick peas, cover again and return to the oven for half an hour.

Take out of the oven and add 1/2 to 1 cup of peas, depending on your preference (I like peas so I always err on the side of generosity), stir through making sure they are immersed in the gravy, as they don’t need to be cooked but will cook through from the heat of the casserole.

Leave dish to stand for five minutes before serving.

BBQ chicken, ham & haloumi bake – gluten free

Of course you need a gluten free bbq chicken to make this gluten free, but if you can source one of those, life is easy!  I love the squeaky texture of haloumi, I know not everyone does, but as this cheese doesn’t melt it suits a “bake” type of recipe.

This is not really a recipe, just a way of ‘using up’ a lot of that stuff I had hanging around the fridge – I was tired and didn’t want to cook, so this was dinner.  Depending on how long your oven takes to heat up, if you put the oven on before you start assembling and chopping, you could have dinner done in little more than half an hour after walking in the door.

It was actually very tasty, but I have categorised it as a light meal as it wasn’t very substantial.  This will only serve about two people.

BBQ chicken, ham and haloumi bake

1/2 a bbq chicken;

250g haloumi cheese;

3 to 4 slices of ham (I had the triple smoked, it adds a good flavour, but whatever you have in the fridge);

1/2 cup of frozen peas;

1/2 cup red wine & garlic marinade (the gluten free one that comes in a bottle), mixed with 1/4 cup water.

 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius (fan forced).

Chop the chicken and ham, dice the haloumi.

Pour half of the marinade & water mixture into the bottom of a 4-6 cup covered casserole dish (or use a small baking dish which you will cover with foil later), toss in the chicken, cheese, ham and peas, pour the rest of the marinade over the top.  Mix well, cover and place in oven for 20 minutes.

As the chicken and ham are already cooked, only the peas need to cook, and they should steam as the liquid is trapped by the lid of the dish (or the foil).

 

Serve with crusty bread.

 

Corn relish chicken

As I may have mentioned once or twice before, I love a one pot dinner.  This isn’t exactly that as you will need to cook some rice to go with, but I can do that in the microwave so that is easy enough.  I came up with this idea as I was looking for something to deal with the “not chicken again” cry that tends to go up in my house – I like chicken but need to find new flavours to stave off the boredom.  I had a rummage in the fridge to see what I had, and came up with this – and it smelt amazing when it was cooking, and tasted good too!

Corn relish chicken

1 tbsp oil (I like olive oil with chicken);

500g chicken breasts, chopped;

1/2 cos lettuce, sliced from the top down into ribbons;

3 sticks celery, finely sliced;

1 spring onion, finely sliced;

3/4 of a small jar of corn relish (check the label but these should be gluten free);

1/2 cup cream;

2 cups frozen corn kernels (you could use tinned so long as you drained them well).

Preheat a large, heavy based pan on medium high, add the oil and brown the chicken.  Add the green vegetables and stir to mix.  Stir through the corn relish and cream, turn down to a simmer.  Add the corn kernels and simmer for about 10 minutes more.

Serve with rice.

Honey & mustard chicken with gluten free noodles

This recipe is based on my Chicken in mustard cream sauce  recipe.  I decided to add honey to this one and to use gluten free rice noodles (you know, those ready to reheat ones you find in the international section of the supermarket).  Serves four.

 

Honey & mustard chicken with gluten free noodles

1 tbsp oil;

500g chopped chicken thighs or breast – your choice;

1 tbs honey;

1 tsp ready made mustard (the type with the seeds visible);

1 cup cream;

1 cup mixed frozen vegetables;

1 packet ready to heat gluten free noodles;

1 handful of salad leaves.

Preheat a heavy based frypan on medium high.  Heat the oil and brown the chicken.  Pour over the honey, mustard and cream, and mix together.  Add the frozen vegetables (use the ones that are finely cut, not the big chunky ones as this is a quick meal) and stir to combine.  Turn down the heat to a simmer and simmer the chicken mixture for a few minutes – if you have cut the chicken into small cubes this won’t take long at all.  While you are waiting, either using kitchen scissors, or a knife and cutting board, cut the wedge of noodles into small parts, so that when you put them into the hot mixture they break into small pieces rather than long noodles.  Add the noodles and stir until well combined.  Wilt through the salad leaves and serve.

You won’t need rice as the noodles should provide the starch.

Thai red curry sausages

I thought I would jazz up the old faithful curried sausages a bit.  I treated this as a fusion type dish, I used the standard vegies that you would normally put in a curried sausage dish, but added the flavours of a red curry.  I serve this with rice to mop up the sauce, but you could also use mashed potato if you wanted to really mix things up.  Try making this the day before you need it, to give the flavours time to develop.  It also makes it a really good cook ahead meal, you can do it in the one pot on Sunday, let it cool, put it in the fridge, then reheat it on Monday night for an easy dinner.

Red curry sausages

Red curry sausages

 

1 tsp olive oil;

12 gluten free thin beef sausages, cut into lengths of about 2cm each;

1 brown onion, wedged;

1 large carrot, peeled and cut on the slant;

3 stalks celery, sliced finely;

1 tbs red curry paste;

1 420g can coconut milk;

1 tsp gluten free soy sauce;

1 tsp sugar;

1 tsp lime juice;

1 tsp minced ginger;

1 tsp minced lemongrass.

 

Heat the oil in a large, heavy based flame proof casserole dish (such as a cast iron pot) over a medium heat, and brown the sausages, together with the vegetables.  Add the curry paste, and other flavourings, then mix through the coconut milk.  Simmer until sausages cooked through (about 20 minutes or so).  Either eat straightaway, or refridgerate and enjoy as an easy meal the following day.

Chicken pasta with cream cheese sauce (can be gluten free)

This was one of the rare times when I made a pasta with non gf noodles, hubby wasn’t eating with us that night and I had a packet of the ‘regular’ variety in the pantry.  But of course, if you make it with gluten free pasta, there is nothing else in it to worry about.  This is one of those easy meals, you can feed four people comfortably in less than 20 minutes once your water has come to the boil.  You can tone down the garlic if you like, but I like creamy sauces to be garlicky.  Of course, salt the water once it is boiling, as putting the salt in cold water apparently makes it take longer to come to the boil, and we couldn’t have that, could we?

Chicken pasta with cream cheese sauce

Chicken pasta with cream cheese sauce

500g packet dried pasta of your choice;

1/4 barbecued chicken, skinned, deboned and cut into small pieces;

250g block of cream cheese, cut into small cubes;

1 tbs dried garlic granules;

1 tsp dried parsley;

Boiling salted water for the pasta.

 

Cook the pasta, and drain, reserving a cupful of the water.  Place the pasta and reserved water back in the pot and stir, add the chicken, cream cheese, garlic and parsley and stir until the cheese has melted.  That’s it!

BBQ chicken and cauliflower bake

I hate having leftovers in the fridge, and as you know I love a one pot dinner, so I thought of this for an ‘end of week’ special to clean out the fridge of all those bits and pieces that might still be hanging around.  This will feed 3 – 4 (depending on how hungry everyone is).

DSC_0001

You will need a large baking dish, and preheat the oven to 180 celcius (fan forced) while you are assembling the dish.

1/2 bbq chicken, chopped;

1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets;

500g greek yoghurt;

Salt and pepper to taste;

2 cloves finely chopped garlic;

4 sprigs of oregano, leaves stripped;

3 handfuls of shredded cheese.

Place the cauliflower in a large heatproof bowl with a lid, and cook in the microwave for 12 minutes or until softened, then drain. Place the bbq chicken and drained cauliflower in the dish.  Mix together then yoghurt, salt, pepper, half of the oregano and garlic and stir through the chicken and cauliflower in the dish until well combined.  Sprinkle the cheese over and place in the hot oven for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with the remaining oregano and enjoy.

Spicy one pot chicken

Assuming you have some leftover cooked rice, this is a one pot dinner – everything is cooked in the pot and the rice is put in towards the end for reheating.  This serves four.

Spicy one pot chicken

Spicy one pot chicken

3 large single chicken breasts, cut into strips (small enough for your fork though)

1 tbs olive oil

Aromatics

1 tsp finely chopped fresh chilli

1 cm finely chopped fresh ginger

2 cloves finely chopped garlic

3 spring onions, white part, cut into small pieces on the diagonal (reserve the green parts for later)

1 large carrot, sliced into small pieces on the diagonal

1 tbs finely chopped celery tops (the leaves are more aromatic than the stalks)

Vegetables

1/2 red capsicum, finely sliced

1 green capsicum, finely chopped

4 small tomatoes, quartered

Green parts of the spring onions, cut into 1 cm pieces

 

2 cups leftover cooked rice

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 tbsp gluten free cornflour

1 tbsp gluten free soy sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 tbsp sour cream

 

Heat the oil in a large heavy based pan (I use a french oven, but you can use a large frypan if you prefer), fry the aromatics until carrot is just starting to soften.  Fry the chicken until browned.  Add the stock, a little at a time, reserving 1/4 cup to mix with the cornflour.  Fry the vegetables until just starting to soften, add the rice and stir to break up.

Stir through the soy sauce and stock/cornflour mix, make sure it is mixed and well blended, cook for two minutes to cook out the floury taste, then season to taste.

Garnish with the sour cream and some parsley or coriander.

Cream of mushroom soup – gluten free

This soup doesn’t have much actual cream in it, if you like a creamier soup you can add more, or you could put a mixture of milk and cornflour in if you wanted to keep the fat level down.  As there is such a small amount of cream in it, it isn’t all that naughty.  The oil you can see floating on the top is the oil used to start the frying process.  This provides four small to average sized bowls, or two very big serves.

Cream of mushroom soup

Cream of mushroom soup

1 tbs butter

1 tbs garlic infused olive oil

3 tbs of the leafy ends of the celery, sliced finely

500g thinly sliced mushrooms

2 tsp beef stock powder (gluten free)

1 tbs gluten free plain flour

500ml hot water

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbs thickened cream

 

Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy based pan and saute the celery until slightly softened.  Add the mushrooms and saute for about 15 minutes – the liquid should come out of the mushrooms and they will simmer in it and turn brown.  Sprinkle over the stock powder (if you want a vegetarian version, just use vegetable stock powder) and plain flour and mix.  Slowly add the hot water, and salt and pepper, adjusting to taste.  Bring the soup to a simmer, then add the cream and allow it to heat through (don’t let it boil) and serve.

The thing I like about this soup is that if you buy the pre-sliced mushrooms, there is very little chopping to do, and prep time is minimal.  You can have this on the table about half an hour after you start.