Cottage [kraut] Pie

I started to make a cottage pie today (excuse for the oven to be on….it’s day time and currently 50F / 10C indoors) but crapped out as I was trying to do about 18 things at once elsewhere.

I ended up deciding to use up what’s on hand: 2lb of sauerkraut and about 1.5C cooked spinach. This is onions and beef on the bottom, a layer of grated potatoes with vegan butter (rather than mashed) atop and apart from only coriander, salt and pepper, that’s it!

I didn’t care to cook green beans or a sauce (‘gravy’) for the meat.

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burger, deconstructed

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(hope this loads okay as I’m moblogging or doing this on my phone!)

I’m a big fan of lazy cooking (and a now-ancient, punk lolita from before punk meant Green Day–allow me to get sick) to begin with but I’m stuck home, feeling poorly, constant fever (has to be closely monitored)…

Where’d everybody go?

Right. I had almost 3oz of ‘lean’ (15% fat is cheaper than my preferred 6%, which is healthier…decisions, decisions) beef. I had some spinach from our garden and some red and yellow cherry tomatoes from the grocers.

•smoosh beef into patty shape
•heat stainless steel sauté pan (‘skillet’) over medium setting
•prep veg (cleaned and quartered)
•chuck beef in pan and brown on one side (season as desired: mine was a bit minced onion, Hungarian paprika, coriander and cumin)
•chuck veg in pan next to/ around beef as you turn it over to brown other side

When almost finished, I lightly sprinkled with salt.

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Beef and broccoli but not that kind of…

Our asparagus patch keeps producing (although checking the fencerow around the garden-proper offers the best “stray” asparagus!). I keep eating platters of it!

See what horrors I do to the poor asparagus? I know people pay a lot of money in stores. I go out and cut mine (about daily, there’s 3+ bundles worth…that I see in grocery stores) into tiny bits! Then I steam it with coconut oil and a sprinkle of salt on top:) The reason for being cut up and cooked “overly well” is because of my health conditions.

While that was steaming, I cooked up a pound of extra-lean beef (4% fat) sprinkled with Hungarian Paprika, Coriander, Rosemary and Marjoram (plus, added about 1/4C minced onion).

After it cooked-through, I tossed in “Broccoli Salad” (that’s peeled broccoli stems that have been julienned with carrots). I considered using some Worcestershire sauce but it turned out delicious as-is (after it was finished, I lightly sprinkled with salt and tossed it around before dividing into portions). Well…originally-originally, I was going to cook up the beef, then season with Tamari but as it cooked, it smelled as if it may prefer Worcestershire sauce and then decided against it. You can see how well I plan things out?

 

lazy: lean beefy skillet

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frying in background whilst making carrot salad--added carrot shreds to the skillet, too!

Cooking everything in a skillet (read: frying) is an Ozark staple. It’s cooler in summer (stovetop puts out heat but not as much as an oven; for my grandparents and parents, it meant a wood-burning stove in the kitchen!), dirties less dishes and … well, I grew up doing it. You can bring home the beef and fry it up with less fat than ever before, too!

Lazy-Lean Beefy Skillet:

  • 1lb 96% fat-free ground beef (alternately use “ground turkey BREAST”–“ground turkey” includes fattier cuts)
  • at least 1 full-sized bag frozen veg of choice (mine was “Mediterranean” plus I added some carrot shreds)
  • 2T Ranch seasoning dry mix
  • 1 tin Contadina Tomato Paste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Toss beef into skillet and fry, crumbling as you go. I didn’t add fat, although beef this low in fat doesn’t produce much melted-fat/ self-non-stickiness. Water will cook out, carrying tiny droplets of fat (which I drain and give to Bobby, once cooled). Drain when finished.

Whilst frying, microwave-steam (I said lazy!) veg. Drain veg when finished.

"secret's in the sauce"

Add 2T Ranch dry seasoning* and make sure it’s evenly distributed throughout beef. Add veg and mix well with seasoned beef. Taste. If it needs salt & pepper, have at it.

Add tomato paste (not sauce, see link above for more info) and 1 tin of water (we raise and can tomatoes but it’s grand to have a lazy, pre-made, thick tomato paste to add to quick recipes). Stir well, taste. Tomato paste is bitter/ strong-flavored. You may need to add some more salt or something else. When I tasted, I opted to sprinkle a tiny bit more of the Ranch dry seasoning.

Lower heat to simmer and let all of the skillet marry for 15 minutes or so. Serve.

* A gal at work mentioned a couple of years ago that she always seasons ground beef with Ranch seasoning mix — whether it’s meant for meatballs, hamburgers or lasagna! I do not like creamy stuff or hardly any condiments (unless vegetables, like hummus, pico de gallo, tahini, etc.) and I’d never heard of such a thing! I took a taste of one of her burgers and it was great. I hate sour cream, cream cheese, etc. but there’s something about a little bit of its zing that punches up beef. I haven’t tried it on ground pork or chicken. I bet it’s okay, too. If you try it, let me know!