Here it is. Are you ready for it? The first of 2013's ACTUAL recipes. I wasn't sure last week counted... though if you ask bug, it totally does.
The fortunate part of tonight's recipe? I mean, aside from being really easy. bug loved it almost as much as the grilled PB&J's. And by loved I mean ASKED FOR SECONDS AND DIDN'T COMPLAIN ABOUT LEFTOVERS THE NEXT NIGHT kind of love. If you know my children (and quite possibly your own) you know this is A BIG DEAL. And though mini didn't give it the same rave reviews as her brother, she still ate most of hers (the first night anyway) and that seems to be about all we can ask for right now. So what is it, you ask?
Let me just give you a bit of exposition here before we get to the recipe. I've been noticing for some time that my Yummy Monday dinners tend to lean in one direction - that being the either chicken and vegetable, pasta and vegetable or all three direction. And while I'm not discounting the delicious dinners that can be created with a good boneless, skinless breast straight from the tree, it seemed I was ignoring a vast array of recipe goodness. Sure I throw in fish from time to time. I've even been known to whip up a shrimp entree. But as far as other meats are concerned - I'm talking mainly BEEF here - there is a distinct LACK around these parts.
Why? I don't eat much, that's why. I've never been a huge fan of most meats, mainly cooking them - and not because I'm a vegetarian (not that there's anything WRONG with that - name that show) but because I have a consistency problem (which I believe I've spoken of before).
In any case, I've decided to remedy the glaringly obvious HOLES in my cooking repertoire this year and this recipe is my first attempt. Generally, when I buy a pound of ground beef it goes into this recipe, which is in our weekly rotation because the kids can't get enough of it. Recently, I found a sale on some ground beef TUBES (have you seen these guys? I don't rightly think beef should come in this form, but it does allow me to think less about what it actually is:
and more about where I daydream it originated:
(Much like the chicken breast tree, obviously).
Anyway, so I had some extra ground beef laying around. (well, in the freezer, not just AROUND. That would be gross). And I googled "yummy ground beef recipes" and looked through a bazillion that did not in any way appeal to me AT ALL.
I almost gave up - ALMOST. And then I stumbled upon this gem.
And it will hence forth and forever be known around here as:
Because that's what it reminded us of. A lighter, minus the gravy, easier version of Shepherd's Pie.
Now, I changed the recipe, of course, in true Kim style... because I am a Wisconsonite, I added sour cream and a second type of cheese (but only a tiny bit). And the crowds RAVED! They went WILD! There was an ENCORE!
And quite honestly the best part was that not a smidge went to waste - and I don't normally like leftovers any more than the kids do, really. Don't you feel guilty when half the dinner goes in the garbage about 5 weeks later when you discover it congealed and molded over and practically walking around in the back of the fridge? I do. No worries with that here! I bet you want me to stop talking and just give you the recipe already... oh, ok.
Now, here are a few helpful notes. I used what I happened to have on hand, because I couldn't bear to make one more stop at one more store last week. That means I had kind of a strange array of vegetables to use. frozen beans, canned corn, a few fresh carrots... yep. Why not? Here's the thing: you can use whatever the heck vegetables you want. Canned stuff from food storage? Throw it in there. Frozen MIXED veggies? Awesome. All fresh from the farmer's market? Get out of here right now, you're making me guilt-ridden. Just kidding. The point is, to use different kinds of veggies than I did in the recipe is completely acceptable, you just may have to adjust cooking times. Make sure the veggies are cooked through (but not mushy) before you add the potatoes on top. That's it. Don't you love a recipe as versatile as all that?
ALSO: you can make this meal EVEN EASIER than I did. How? Use instant mashed potato flakes! Ever since I learned how easy and delicious it is to make my own mashed potatoes (and that potatoes are only 38 cents a lb at the gas station) I don't keep the flakes onhand anymore. But that WOULD be easy, wouldn't it?
Why We Love This Meal and Will Make it Again (And Again)
1. versatile. This means I don't have to actually shop and can get rid of the old, freezer burned beans.
2. cheap. Just the way I like em.
3. CHEESE. And on the top? CRISPY CHEESE.
4. Easy. Just the way I like em.
5. Hidden veggies. Ok, not SUPER hidden. But hidden enough that NO ONE complained.
6. EVERYONE loved it. And my kids are self-proclaimed vegetarians. But though the meat played a prominent role, they ATE IT ANYWAY.
7. Even I could stomach the leftovers.
I think that about sums it up.