Archive | January, 2012

Avocado Salad/Salsa

30 Jan

Avocado Salad

This can be a side or a starter, depending on your mood. I’ve only made it this one time and I ate like a salad.

It is so simple. And tastes so fresh, even though these are summer ingredients.

  • two avocados
  • two medium tomatoes
  • one small can of white shoe peg corn
  • one can of black beans
  • garlic pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • lime juice, to taste

Dice the avocados and tomatoes. Open cans. Toss everything together.

That’s it.

Avocado Salsa. Serve with tortilla chips.

I recommend making it the same day as you serve it, as avocado turns a little brown the next day (I still ate it and it was still delicious!).

I added just a bit of regular yellow corn left over from another recipe I made that day.

Next time I may add some cilantro and/or green onions, just to spice things up a bit.


Shepherd’s Pie

20 Jan

The only time before making this recipe that I had eaten shepherd’s pie was in Boston back in late December of 2003. I had gone there with some friends to visit another friend for New Year’s Eve. It was, of course, freezing. We had gone sightseeing through the city and stopped to grab a quick bite in Quincy Market Colonnade in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

I wanted to eat something that wasn’t common back home. The warm, rich and comforting shepherd’s pie seemed right up my alley. And it was. Loved it. But never tried to make it until about a year ago when I found this recipe from Southern Living.


I’ve only made this a couple of times as it would take me a while, like an entire morning or afternoon. Who has time for that?

But it does seem to take me less and less time each time I make it. Probably because I don’t stress so much on getting every measurement and ingredient right. This last time took me about an hour.

Bear with me. There’s more to this recipe than most of my others. Here’s my adapted recipe:

Meat filling:

  • 1 lb ground round
  • 1/2 (8-oz.) package fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (or to taste)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (I omitted this as I didn’t have one on hand)
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 4 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 (14 1/2-oz.) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Mashed potato crust:

  • 1 package of refrigerated mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

The meat filling simmering on the stove while I fix the potato crust.

Brown beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove beef from skillet using a slotted spoon; reserve drippings in skillet. Reduce heat to medium.

Sauté onion, carrots, mushrooms and garlic in drippings until tender.

Stir in ground beef, thyme, salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute.

Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf and vinegar, breaking up large tomato pieces with a spoon. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Remove bay leaf. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased baking dish or pan.

Heat potatoes as described on package. Stir in cheese, thyme, salt and pepper.

Spoon potatoes evenly over meat mixture, smoothing with back of spoon.

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

There was some “gravy” leftover in the skillet and I drizzled that on top.

I served it with only a glass (or two) of red wine. It’s absolutely delicious and perfect for winter evenings

First and Long

19 Jan

Wow – I didn’t realize it had been so long since my last post!

Fall here in Alabama is cray cray busy. I live and work in college town so there’s an increase in traffic and stuff going on as the college kids come back in town.

If you don’t know, college football is BIG down here. Huge.

And if you haven’t heard, my University of Alabama Crimson Tide won the BCS National Championship! Roll Tide!

While I do enjoy a football game, I enjoy more the tailgating – mostly the food, drink and fellowship that accompany tailgating. There was a lot of that this fall. I’m bummed with myself because I didn’t take notes and photos of some of the dishes and drinks made. Lesson learned.

I do have a few recipes (with photos!) I’ll be sharing in the next few days (I hope). Stay tuned.