Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Shepherd's Pie and Whoopie Pies

There are a lot of different ways to make shepherd's pie.  The first time I came across a recipe for it in a cookbook I have, it said to "throw in whatever leftovers you have."  This particular lady would just toss together whatever odds and ends she had in her fridge.  Looking up recipes online, you'll find several small differences. Some use cream, others use chicken or beef broth.  Some add cheese, others include Worcestershire sauce.  Some use ketchup, and others include oil.  Rachel Ray's recipe has 17 ingredients, while Alton Brown's has 21, and Martha Stewart's has only 9.  What they all have in common is that they are a meat pie with a mashed potato crust.

After a little experimentation, I landed on a simple, tasty shepherd's pie that my family loves.

I brown a pound of either ground beef, turkey, or pork (I prefer the pork), and then season it by sprinkling with onion powder, cumin, thyme, pepper, salt, oregano, nutmeg, ginger, basil, and sage.  Then I mix cooked peas, corn, and green beans in with the meat and pour it into a casserole dish.

Then I cover it all with mashed potatoes:

And I bake at 350 for an hour.

I forgot to take a picture of it when it came out of oven, but here's what it looked like fifteen minutes later:

Almost.  Gone.  It wasn't long before the kids cleared the whole pan.  It's not the fanciest shepherd's pie recipe out there, but it is so simple and it's something my kids always devour!  There are never leftovers.

For dessert, I made whoopie pies.

Whoopie Pie Cakes:

2 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 egg lightly beate
1 tsp vanilla extract

Warning: if your coconut oil is unrefined (like mine), these will have a detectable coconut taste.

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth.  Drop 1 tablespoonful batter onto prepared sheet.  Repeat with remaining batter, spacing 1 inches apart (cakes will spread).  Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until cakes spring back when lightly pressed.  Cool completely on cookie sheets on wire racks.

Whoopie Pie Filling 

1/2 cup butter at room temp
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup marshmallow creme
1 tsp vanilla extract

Tip: You can make the marshmallow creme at home if you want to!  This is the recipe I used: DIY Marshmallow Creme.

Homemade marshmallow creme.

With mixer on high speed, beat butter, confectioners' sugar,marshmallow creme, and vanilla until fluffy.  Spread filling on flat side of half the cakes and sandwich together with remaining cakes.

Store whoopie pies in airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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