Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Sweet Potato with Banana Casserole

One trick of my new pantry system is that some ingredients can pile up as my menu mix shifts. Sharon found a good recipe to use up some canned sweet potatoes as well as some bananas that were aging on the counter.

I drained one big can and two little cans of sweet potato which made for 2.5 pounds. These I smashed with a potato smasher.

In a bowl, I beat two eggs, 1/3 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup brown sugar, some spices--1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1 tsp powder forte (for cinnamon), and 3 Tbs of melted butter. This was mixed into the mash.
I diced two bananas and folded them in at the end (if they were over-ripe, I'd have mashed them).

I poured the goop into a buttered casserole dish.

I opted for the pecan crumble topping:
Mix 1/2 cup each of brown sugar, flour, chopped pecans, with 4 Tbs of butter. Then crumble over the top.
Cover with foil, then bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes covered followed by 10 minutes uncovered.

It looked nice in the dish, but didn't serve up very elegantly with a spatula. Next time I might try serving with a large scoop. It would definitely be nice to have something deep green to serve alongside.

The banana worked well in the flavor/texture profile. I could pick out the taste, but it blended in well, certainly better than I initially expected. Would make a nice side dish for a party where you want to change things up a little.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Cottage Pie

Snowy day, ground beef in the fridge, and half a bag of potatoes -- what a nice day for a shepherds cottage pie! Based loosely on a recipe Sharon found for me. [Update: Evidently a "Shepherds pie" is made with lamb or mutton, as the name implies. If made with beef, it is a cottage pie.]

I browned ground beef, minced garlic, two slices of bacon (diced) and some random stuff from the freezer (roasted beets, squash) until well browned in some bacon drippings and olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, in the instant pot, I made mashed potatoes by scrubbing and chunking half a bag of russet potatoes and adding a cup of beef broth and a dollop of minced garlic. Cooked on "manual" (pressure cooking) for 6 minutes, releasing the steam when complete.

I had several breaks to take in the beautiful day.

Please brown
When the beef mixture was browned I admixed a can of cream of something (in this case, chicken) soup, a tablespoon of BBQ sauce, a generous pinch of salt, and some ground pepper, long pepper, and grains of paradise.

This was poured into a pyrex pie pan.

The potatoes and stock were mashed with some butter and half-and-half. Maybe a little too much liquid (see later).

I used half the potatoes for the pie topping.
Finally browned

Baked at 400 degrees for 16 minutes.

This was not long enough (see picture). Didn't have any browning to speak of.
I kept checking the oven, then wandering off to check the snow, and twitter, and facebook, then back to the oven. Eventually, it browned.

Sliced up well and tasted delicious and comforting.

Next time: A little more peaking on the topping would make for nicer browning.
I also wonder about a little grated hard cheese either on top or mixed in with the last half cup of potatoes to form the top-most layer.