Beef Shepherds Pie

Beef Shepherds Pie. What’s better on a cold wintry night? Shredded beef, red wine, beef stock, onions, peas, and carrots topped with cheesy mashed potatoes. It’s a great way to use beef and mashed potato leftovers from another meal!

Beefy Shepherd's Pie with a Cheesy Mashed Potato Topping (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Beefy Shepherd’s Pie with a Cheesy Mashed Potato Topping (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

One of my husband’s favorite dishes is Shepherd’s Pie, also known as Cottage Pie. I wondered about using shredded beef this time, instead of my usual smoked chicken in my Succulent Smoked Chicken Shepherd’s Pie or the usual ground meat in the traditional beef or lamb version.

Beef Shepherd's Pie hot and bubbling from the oven (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Beef Shepherd’s Pie hot and bubbling from the oven (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

For Christmas, my husband roasted a lovely prime rib of beef. We had a lot of leftover prime rib, so I froze some of it. Also, I had a few cups of mashed potatoes left over from another meal earlier this week. Shepherds Pie for an evening meal during this seemingly unending Winter sounded good to us.

Beefy Shepherd's Pie with a nice cheesy crust on the mashed potatoes  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Beefy Shepherd’s Pie with a nice cheesy crust on the mashed potatoes (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

I used some of the pre-cooked prime rib in this recipe. You could use an uncooked pot roast. Just be sure to sear the pot roast in oil until all sides are browned, but not cooked through. If you substitute uncooked pot roast, you’ll likely need to increase your simmering time so the meat cooks and becomes tender and succulent.

A slab of cooked prime rib from a previous meal (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

A slab of cooked prime rib from a previous meal (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Slice some onions lengthwise.

Slice some onions lengthwise  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Slice some onions lengthwise (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Warm some olive oil in a Dutch oven on the stove.

Warm olive oil in a pan  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Warm olive oil in a pan (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the sliced onions and let them sweat a bit and slightly caramelize.

Add the sliced onions to the olive oil  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the sliced onions to the olive oil (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sweat the onions and let them slightly caramelize  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sweat the onions and let them slightly caramelize (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Place the prime rib slab on top of the onions.

Place the prime rib over the onions  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Place the prime rib over the onions (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add beef broth and some dry red wine to cover the meat.

Add the beef stock  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the beef stock (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add some dry red wine  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add some dry red wine (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Cover and simmer for a few hours until the meat starts to fall apart. You can help it along as it softens by separating it with a fork.

Prime rib is starting to fall apart  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Prime rib is starting to fall apart (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Keep simmering until the beef falls apart  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Keep simmering until the beef falls apart (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The liquid has evaporated from the meat  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The liquid has evaporated from the meat (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Get the onion, carrot and peas ready. Dice the onion and carrot. Set the peas aside in a bowl.

Onions, peas and carrots (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Onions, peas and carrots (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Warm some butter in a non-stick skillet. Saute the onion and carrot until they soften.

Saute the onion and carrot  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Saute the onion and carrot (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the peas and stir to warm through.

Add the peas  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the peas (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add 2 cups of the red wine braised beef to the vegetable mixture and warm through.

Add the red wine braised beef  to the vegetables (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the red wine braised beef to the vegetables (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

In another pan, warm some mashed potatoes. Stir until warmed through.

Warm the mashed potatoes  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Warm the mashed potatoes (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Transfer the beef vegetable mixture to a large greased ramekin. Spoon the warmed mashed potatoes over the beef vegetable mixture.

Spoon the mashed potatoes over the beef mixture  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Spoon the mashed potatoes over the beef mixture (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Smooth the mashed potato topping with a spatula. Sprinkle with some shredded cheeses.

Sprinkle the top with shredded cheeses  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sprinkle the top with shredded cheeses (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The Shepherd's Pie is ready for baking  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The Shepherd’s Pie is ready for baking (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

And bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour.

Bake the Beef Shepherd's Pie until the top is browned and bubbling  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Bake the Beef Shepherd’s Pie until the top is browned and bubbling (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

When the Beef Shepherds Pie is bubbling on top and the internal temperature is at least 160 degrees, remove it from the oven.

Bubbling top on the Shepherd's Pie  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Bubbling top on the Shepherd’s Pie (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Let the Beef Shepherds Pie sit for a few minutes to cool slightly.

Beefy Shepherd's Pie is ready to cool  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Beefy Shepherd’s Pie is ready to cool (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

When the Shepherds Pie has cooled slightly, plate it.

Beefy Shepherd's Pie is ready to eat  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Beefy Shepherd’s Pie is ready to eat (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Plate the Shepherd's Pie  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Plate the Shepherd’s Pie (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Healthy Serving of Beef Shepherd's Pie  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Healthy Serving of Beef Shepherd’s Pie (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

My Shepherds Pie is more of a stew than a pie. You won’t be able to cut pie slices out of it. But the flavors are there, rich and inviting. Comfort food at its best.

Our dog Atticus is keeping watch on the Shepherd's Pie plating process and hoping for a taste  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Our dog Atticus is keeping watch on the Shepherd’s Pie plating process and hoping for a taste (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Enjoy!!

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From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

Beef Shepherds Pie

Ingredients:

2 T olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 lb slab cooked prime rib (you can use uncooked beef pot roast, just be sure to season with salt and pepper on all sides, and then sear it in some oil until brown on all sides but not cooked through — you will need to increase your overall cooking time)
8 c beef broth
4 c dry red wine, divided
2 T butter
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 c green peas, thawed if frozen
2 c mashed potatoes
1 c shredded cheese (use sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a mixture of the two)

Method:

1. In a Dutch oven, on the stovetop, warm the olive oil over medium heat.
2. Add the onions to the pan and saute until they are translucent and slightly caramelized.
3. Place the prime rib slab on top of the onions.
4. Add the beef broth and half of the red wine.
5. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for several hours or until the beef falls apart.
6. When the beef is starting to shred, and you can use a fork to help it along, add the rest of the red wine.
7. Simmer the shredded beef a bit longer, uncovered, until the liquid has evaporated. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat, cover, and set aside.
8. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
9. In a skillet, warm the butter.
10. Saute the diced onion and carrot until soft.
11. Add the green peas, stir, and warm through.
12. Add 2 cups of the red wine-braised shredded beef and stir. Set aside.
13. In another skillet, warm the mashed potatoes.
14. Transfer the beef and vegetable mixture to a greased large ramekin or baking dish.
15. Spread the mashed potatoes over the beef and vegetable mixture. Smooth the mashed potatoes with a spatula.
16. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the mashed potatoes.
17. Bake for an hour, or until the top is browned and bubbling, and the internal temperature is 160 degrees.
18. When the Shepherds Pie is done, remove it from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.
19. Plate the Shepherds Pie, being sure to get some of the cheesy mashed potato topping on each of the servings.
20. Enjoy!

Serves 6 as a main course. Offer with a side salad such as my Simple Cucumber Salad and some crusty bread.

Variations: Use browned ground beef or lamb instead of using the wine-braised shredded beef. Add other vegetables to the mixture. Use a different cheese such as Havarti or Swiss. Mix the cheese into the mashed potatoes, then top the beef mixture, and use a fork to make pretty swirls in the mashed potatoes.

Leftover Beef Shepherd's Pie will reheat well  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Leftover Beef Shepherd’s Pie will reheat well (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Get your own Le Creuset Dutch Oven:

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2015)

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White Lasagna

Decadent White Lasagna. My version of white lasagna is a succulent layered lasagna with cheeses and crispy proscuitto in a creamy white sauce that is perfect for an upscale dinner party or a special celebration dinner at home.

Decadent White Lasagna full of gooey goodness  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Decadent White Lasagna full of gooey goodness (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

This lasagna is a take off of the usual red lasagna for those who aren’t tomato fans. I’m not promising that it’s calorie or fat free. But then, I don’t eat it regularly either, and when I do, I just have a small slice. White Lasagna is a nice treat to go along with a healthy salad. For more ideas on how to keep your weight at a manageable level, please refer back to my “Eating Healthier” posting. I make White Lasagna maybe twice a year.

Close Up of the White Lasagna Layers  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Close Up of the White Lasagna Layers (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

White Lasagna bakes very nicely. The sauce becomes creamy and a bit custardy which I love. The white sauce is traditional with a bit of parmesan cheese added to it. The three layers contain two layers of prosciutto ham, shredded mozzarella, caramelized onions, and a separate center layer of fresh nutmeg-scented ricotta cheese filling. The lasagna is not super salty even with all the prosciutto ham in it.

Prosciutto is a dry cured ham that is usually from Italy. We buy our prosciutto in bulk at Costco. Then I repackage it using our FoodSaver into smaller portions and then freeze it.

Our dog Atticus is quite a fan of fancy Citterio prosciutto ham (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Our dog Atticus is quite a fan of fancy Citterio prosciutto ham (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Remove 10 slices of prosciutto from the container.

Prosciutto Ham slices (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Prosciutto Ham slices (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Start out by crisping some chopped proscuitto in a non-stick pan. Drain the prosciutto on a paper-towel-covered plate. Using the same pan with the proscuitto’s grease, saute some finely chopped sweet onion until the onion is translucent. Set aside.

Saute some diced prosciutto until crispy  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Saute some diced prosciutto until crispy (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Finely chop some sweet onion  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Finely chop some sweet onion (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Lightly caramelize the onions  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Lightly caramelize the onions (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

In another pan, make a creamy white sauce. I use butter and flour to make a roux.

Make a roux with butter and flour  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Make a roux with butter and flour (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Then add some milk and stir together to thicken. Add some very finely chopped shallots, a bay leaf, and then some grated parmesan cheese. Let the white sauce simmer for a bit over low heat until it thickens, while you stir it occasionally.

Add the bay leaf and shallots to the white sauce  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the bay leaf and shallots to the white sauce (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the grated parmesan cheese to the white sauce  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the grated parmesan cheese to the white sauce (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Simmer the white sauce until it thickens  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Simmer the white sauce until it thickens (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Meanwhile, make a ricotta filling by mixing a beaten egg, shredded parmesan, and some grated nutmeg into fresh ricotta cheese.

One of my favorite ricotta cheeses (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

One of my favorite ricotta cheeses (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Lightly beat an egg for the ricotta filling  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Lightly beat an egg for the ricotta filling (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Mix the ricotta, grated nutmeg, and shredded parmesan into the beaten egg  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Mix the ricotta, grated nutmeg, and shredded parmesan into the beaten egg (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Stir the ricotta filling  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Stir the ricotta filling (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

When the white sauce has thickened and you have removed the bay leaf, spoon some sauce into a greased baking pan. I like to use a regular glass loaf pan because it is deep and you can make a lot of layers.

Coat the bottom of the greased glass loaf pan with white sauce  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Coat the bottom of the greased glass loaf pan with white sauce (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Place a no-boil lasagna noodle on top of the white sauce.

Whole Foods Market's 365 Brand No Boil Lasagne Noodles  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Whole Foods Market’s 365 Brand No Boil Lasagne Noodles (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Cover the first lasagna noodle with sauce (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Cover the first lasagna noodle with sauce (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Ladle some more sauce onto the lasagna noodle and sprinkle half of the prosciutto, half of the cooked onion, and some shredded mozzarella and parmesan on top. Add some more white sauce.

Sprinkle the caramelized onions over the white sauce  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sprinkle the caramelized onions over the white sauce (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sprinkle the crispy prosciutto over the onions  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sprinkle the crispy prosciutto over the onions (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add some shredded mozzarella  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add some shredded mozzarella (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add another no-boil lasagna noodle on top of the white sauce.

Add the second lasagna noodle  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the second lasagna noodle (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Spread the ricotta mixture over the lasagna noodle.

Spread the ricotta mixture over the lasagna noodle  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Spread the ricotta mixture over the lasagna noodle (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add another no-boil lasagna noodle.

Place the third lasagna noodle over the ricotta mixture  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Place the third lasagna noodle over the ricotta mixture (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sprinkle the remaining prosciutto, onion, shredded mozzarella, and some parmesan over the top.

Add the rest of the crispy prosciutto and onions  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the rest of the crispy prosciutto and onions (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add more shredded mozzarella  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add more shredded mozzarella (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add some more sauce. Finally, add the last no-boil lasagna noodle. Add the rest of the sauce and smooth out with a spatula.

Spread the remaining white sauce on top of the fourth lasagna noodle  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Spread the remaining white sauce on top of the fourth lasagna noodle (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Cover the sauce with smoked provolone slices and more shredded mozzarella and shredded parmesan.

Add the rest of the shredded mozzarella and shredded Parmesan to the top.   (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add the rest of the shredded mozzarella and shredded Parmesan to the top. (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The white lasagna is ready for the oven!  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The white lasagna is ready for the oven! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour, checking to see that the top has browned, the interior is about 170 degrees Fahrenheit (use a quick check thermometer) and the bottom has not burned.

Put the white lasagna into the oven and bake  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Put the white lasagna into the oven and bake (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The white lasagna is done!  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

The white lasagna is done! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Remove from the oven and let sit a few minutes before cutting. I use two spatulas, one on each side, to cut and lift the slices out of the pan.

White Lasagna fresh from the oven  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

White Lasagna fresh from the oven (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Plate and serve!

Plate the slice of white lasagna and top with a sprig of parsley  (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Plate the slice of white lasagna and top with a sprig of parsley (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

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From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

White Lasagna

Ingredients:

10 slices prosciutto
1/2 c finely chopped onion
3 T butter
1/4 c flour
2 c milk
1/4 c finely chopped shallots
1 bay leaf
1 c grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 c fresh ricotta cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c shredded parmesan, divided
1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg
4 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 c shredded mozzarella, divided
3 slices smoked provolone cheese, Havarti, or Swiss

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Chop the prosciutto into small pieces.
3. In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, crisp the prosciutto. When the prosciutto is crispy, remove it to a bowl and set aside.
4. In the same non-stick skillet with the proscuitto grease, saute the finely chopped onion until it is just translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Make the white sauce by heating the butter in a chef’s pan over low heat.
6. When the butter is melted, whisk in the flour. Cook two to three minutes, stirring with the whisk.
7. Add the milk and continue to whisk until smooth.
8. Stir in the chopped shallots, the bay leaf, and the grated parmesan. Let simmer over medium low heat until the white sauce thickens. Remove the bay leaf and set the sauce aside.
9. Make the ricotta filling by mixing the ricotta with the lightly beaten egg, 1/4 cup of the shredded parmesan cheese, and the grated nutmeg. Set aside.
10. Lightly grease a loaf pan with cooking spray. Spoon some of the white sauce into the bottom of the loaf pan.
11. Place a no-boil lasagna noodle on top of the white sauce in the loaf pan.
12. Ladle some more sauce onto the noodle. Then sprinkle half of the prosciutto, half of the onion, and a third of the shredded mozzarella over the sauce.
13. Place a second no-boil lasagna noodle over the prosciutto layer.
14. Evenly spread the ricotta mixture over the second lasagna noodle. Top with a third lasagna noodle.
15. Ladle some more white sauce over the third lasagna noodle.
16. Sprinkle the rest of the prosciutto, onion, and another third of the shredded mozzarella over the white sauce.
17. Top with the fourth lasagna noodle. Ladle the rest of the white sauce over the top of the fourth noodle. Then spread the smoked provolone cheese slices and the rest of the shredded mozzarella and shredded parmesan over the white sauce.
18. Put the pan of lasagna onto a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil (dull side up) to catch any overspills.
19. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour, checking to be sure internal temperature reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit, and the top has browned. Check from time to time to ensure the bottom has not over-browned or burned.
20. When the lasagna is done, remove it from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes for ease of cutting and pan removal.
21. Cut into slices, and serve!

Makes 4 portions as an entree. This lasagna is great with a side salad such as my Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Peppered Goat Cheese or my Simple Cucumber Salad. This lasagna pairs nicely with red or white wine.

Variations: Add some sliced mushrooms to the onions while they are cooking. Cut back on the milk fat by using 1% or 2% milk. Use Swiss or another white cheese along with the ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan if you are not a fan of the smoked provolone. You can use pre-cooked lasagna noodles if you prefer. I don’t use them because they tend to fall apart when I’m trying to assemble the lasagna before cooking. You can definitely double or triple this recipe in a larger pan, or make individual white lasagnas in ramekins.

Get your own FoodSaver from Amazon.com! I love mine!

Decadent White Lasagna (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Decadent White Lasagna (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2015)

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Shrimp Caesar Salad

The Caesar Salad itself is very versatile. Grilled chicken, baked salmon, seared steak, and “just plain Caesar” salads grace restaurant menus at all levels. My favorite Caesar Salad is topped with tender cooked shrimp. Try my simple Shrimp Caesar Salad as an alternative to your favorite!

Caesar Salad with Chilled Cooked Shrimp and plenty of Shredded Parmesan (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Caesar Salad with Chilled Cooked Shrimp and plenty of Shredded Parmesan (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

My husband makes a killer Caesar salad dressing. We generally always have his Caesar dressing on hand, as well as my tarragon balsamic dressing. Packages of organic Romaine lettuce keep pretty well in the refrigerator, so I usually have some on hand most days.

Organic Romaine Lettuce Hearts (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Organic Romaine Lettuce Hearts (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

This Shrimp Caesar Salad is very simple to make. For us, it’s a quick “no-cook” meal in the summer and all year round. This recipe uses pre-cooked shrimp. You can purchase raw shrimp to de-vein, shell, and cook yourself. Or, you can purchase pre-cooked tail-on deveined and shelled shrimp at your local grocer. The pre-cooked shrimp is sometimes frozen. I purchase mine in bulk in large packages at my local Whole Foods Market in the frozen section. Be sure to select some nicely sized shrimp for your salads.

Whole Foods Market's Whole Catch pre-cooked shrimp (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Whole Foods Market’s Whole Catch pre-cooked shrimp (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Wash, dry and chop some Romaine lettuce leaves. Toss the Romaine with my husband’s Caesar dressing and some shredded parmesan cheese and divide amongst your serving plates.

Mixing chopped Romaine Leaves with Caesar Dressing (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Mixing chopped Romaine Leaves with Caesar Dressing (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Toss the cooked shrimp in a bit of the Caesar dressing. Arrange the shrimp over the dressed Romaine lettuce, and sprinkle on a bit more shredded parmesan.

Decadent Shrimp Caesar Salad (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Decadent Shrimp Caesar Salad (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add some crispy croutons if you like, and your main course salad is ready to be served!

+++++++

From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

Shrimp Caesar Salad

Ingredients:

4 Romaine lettuce hearts, damaged outer leaves removed, cored, leaves separated, then washed and dried
1 c Caesar Salad Dressing plus 2T, divided into 1 c and 2 T portions
24 deveined, shelled, and cooked shrimp, tails on
1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
Homemade croutons, optional

Method:

1. With a sturdy kitchen knife, chop the clean and dried Romaine lettuce leaves into bite-sized pieces and put them into a large salad bowl.
2. Toss the lettuce with the 1 cup of Caesar dressing and 1/4 cup of the shredded Parmesan cheese.
3. Divide the dressed lettuce amongst four serving plates.
4. In a medium sized bowl, toss the shrimp with the remaining 2 T of the Caesar dressing.
5. Divide the dressed shrimp amongst the four serving plates, 6 shrimp to a salad.
6. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and optional crispy croutons.
7. Serve!

Serves 4 as a main course or 8 as a salad course. Offer with toasty garlic bread and a cup of my Velvety Butternut Squash Soup.

Variations: Use a different kind of greens such as red Romaine or perhaps some chopped iceberg lettuce. Add the cooked shrimp “undressed” for a different presentation. Omit the shredded parmesan if you are watching your fat intake. Of course, this is not a low calorie salad! For additional decadence, add some diced avocado to the salad. Avocado is one of my favorite additions and it goes great with the shrimp.

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2015)

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Prosciutto Asparagus Ricotta Pizza

A slice of prosciutto asparagus ricotta pizza with parmesan! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

A slice of prosciutto asparagus ricotta pizza with parmesan! (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

My Prosciutto Asparagus Ricotta Pizza is one of the best things I’ve ever created — just ask my husband. Crispy prosciutto, tiny fresh asparagus spears, creamy ricotta, shredded mozzarella, and my roasted tomato sauce spiked with roasted garlic cloves piled onto a homemade pizza crust with grace and gusto! This pizza is extremely flavorful with just the right amount of sweet, savory and salty.

Prosciutto, Asparagus and Ricotta Pizza fresh from the oven (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Prosciutto, Asparagus and Ricotta Pizza fresh from the oven (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

I’m not a huge fan of asparagus. Never was. Years ago, the only widely available asparagus was canned or jarred, brownish mushy and limp, and not at all like my favorite slightly crisp tiny bright green fresh asparagus spears. No wonder few kids would eat asparagus. A lot of restaurants use asparagus as a “filler” for the plate. Those giant asparagus spears that accompany industrial-sized grilled steaks and baked potatoes at your local steakhouse are just not my idea of tasty. I prefer the teeny tiny thin spears, perhaps with a nice lemon sole wrapped around them. Now THAT is how to eat your veggies.

Cut the asparagus spears in half and discard the tough bottom halves. (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Cut the asparagus spears in half and discard the tough bottom halves. (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

If you want to retain the bright green color of your asparagus after it has cooked, you will need to blanch it first. Cut the bottom halves off the asparagus spears, keeping the top halves. Start a pot of boiling water and add the top halves of the asparagus. Cook the asparagus spears for about 4 minutes and then plunge into a bowl of ice water. The asparagus spears will keep their pretty green color.

Blanch the asparagus spears and then plunge them into ice water to retain a bright green color (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Blanch the asparagus spears and then plunge them into ice water to retain a bright green color (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

You’ll need a prepared pizza dough. Use whichever recipe you like, or purchase a fresh or frozen dough from your local grocer. The dough will need to be thawed and rolled and stretched out on to a greased pan. I’m still experimenting with several doughs that I make in my Vitamix.

Whole Grain Pizza Dough is rolled onto a greased baking sheet (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Whole Grain Pizza Dough is rolled onto a greased baking sheet (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Chop some sliced Italian prosciutto ham. We buy ours in bulk and freeze it. Prosciutto is a salty dry-cured ham that adds a lot of flavor to a dish. A little goes a long way.

Italian Prosciutto ham (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Italian Prosciutto ham (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sprinkle some shredded mozzarella over the pizza dough.

Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella across the pizza dough (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella across the pizza dough (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Fresh ricotta cheese is a heavenly addition to a pizza. Just spoon it on in tablespoon-sized dollops and it will melt into sweet, wonderful goodness.

Fresh Ricotta Cheese by Sorrento (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Fresh Ricotta Cheese by Sorrento (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

I like to use my roasted tomato sauce as a pizza sauce. Even simpler, you can take some roasted grape tomatoes and coarsely chop them in a food processor with some roasted garlic cloves adding a bit of sugar and some dried basil. Drop the thick chunky sauce in spoonfuls across the dough instead of spreading it. That allows the concentrated sauce to spread out slightly but not cause the dough to become soggy.

Add dollops of Roasted Tomato Sauce and Fresh Ricotta (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Add dollops of Roasted Tomato Sauce and Fresh Ricotta (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Drain the asparagus spears. Arrange the asparagus spears across the pizza dough. You could make a pattern or just arrange them randomly. And sprinkle on the crispy prosciutto pieces and top with the rest of the shredded mozzarella.

Arrange the asparagus around the pizza (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Arrange the asparagus around the pizza (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Bake the pizza for 10 – 15 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, being careful to watch the crust bottom so it doesn’t burn. The center should be hot and bubbly.

Bake the pizza until the crust is brown and the center is bubbling (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Bake the pizza until the crust is brown and the center is bubbling (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool a bit so it’s easier to slice.

Fresh from the Oven: Pizza with Crispy Prosciutto, Fresh Asparagus, and Creamy Ricotta (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Fresh from the Oven: Pizza with Crispy Prosciutto, Fresh Asparagus, and Creamy Ricotta (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Slice the prosciutto asparagus ricotta pizza into hearty portions.

A slice of prosciutto, asparagus, and ricotta pizza (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

A slice of prosciutto, asparagus, and ricotta pizza (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Top the pizza slices with a bit more shredded parmesan and serve!

Have a slice of pizza with prosciutto, asparagus, and creamy ricotta (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Have a slice of pizza with prosciutto, asparagus, and creamy ricotta (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Enjoy!

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From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

Prosciutto Asparagus Ricotta Pizza

Ingredients:

1 prepared pizza dough
6 very thin slices prosciutto ham, chopped
20 thin asparagus spears, cut in half, bottom stems discarded or reserved for other use
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 T shredded Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
1 c roasted tomato sauce
1/4 c roasted garlic cloves
2 c fresh ricotta cheese
Bowl of ice water

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Roll out your prepared pizza dough onto a greased pizza pan or baking sheet and set aside.
3. In a non-stick skillet, over medium heat, saute the prosciutto until it is crispy and then set aside.
4. While the prosciutto is crisping, lightly cook the asparagus spears in boiling water for 4 minutes. Plunge the asparagus spears into a large bowl of ice water to cool.
5. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the pizza dough on the pan.
6. Spread half of the shredded mozzarella cheese over the pizza dough.
7. Sprinkle the 2T of Parmesan over the mozzarella.
8. In a small food processor, combine and coarsely chop the roasted tomato sauce and roasted garlic cloves. Spoon the sauce over the pizza in dollops.
9. Using a large spoon, drop dollops of the ricotta cheese over the pizza.
10. Arrange the blanched asparagus spears over sauce and cheese on the pizza.
11. Sprinkle the crispy prosciutto on the pizza.
12. Sprinkle the rest of the shredded mozzarella over the pizza.
13. Bake the pizza for 10 – 15 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit until the crust is brown and the pizza center is bubbling.
14. Remove the pizza from the oven and let it sit a few minutes before cutting into pieces.
15. Serve the pizza with additional shredded Parmesan as garnish.

Serves 4 – 8 hungry pizza eaters. Serve alone or with a mixed green salad tossed with my Tarragon Balsamic Dressing.

Variations: You can use fat free cheeses on this pizza. Also, you can omit the roasted tomato garlic sauce for more of a “white pizza” taste. If you don’t have proscuitto, you can use crispy bacon although the flavor is not as delicate. Add some sliced mushrooms or bell pepper rings. Pitted Kalamata olives are another good addition.

Top the pizza with some shredded Parmesan (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Top the pizza with some shredded Parmesan (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2015)

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Asian-spiced Chicken Meatball Stir Fry

Rather than ordering out, try my colorful Asian-spiced Chicken Meatball Stir Fry. It’s far healthier than take out food, and tastier too. Ground chicken, minced onion, salt and Asian Five Spice powder flavor the meatballs. Red bell pepper, carrots, celery, onions, broccoli, snow peas, cashews, and mini cucumbers add to this healthy dish. Freshly squeezed orange juice, soy sauce, honey, chicken broth, salt, white pepper and cornstarch make the sauce. Served over basmati rice and topped with thinly sliced green scallions, it’s a simple and tasty weeknight meal.

Asian Chicken Meatballs with Vegetables in an Orange Soy Sauce over Basmati Rice (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Asian Chicken Meatballs with Vegetables in an Orange Soy Sauce over Basmati Rice (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

To start, form some meatballs from a mixture of ground chicken, minced onion, Asian five spice powder and salt. In a skillet, saute the meatballs in some canola oli until they are browned on the outside and cooked through. Set aside and keep warm.

Cook some white basmati rice according to the package directions while you are making the rest of the recipe. When the rice has cooked, set it aside with the lid still on the pan.

A warm and tasty meal, Asian-spiced chicken meatballs and vegetables in an orange soy sauce over white rice (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

A warm and tasty meal, Asian-spiced chicken meatballs and vegetables in an orange soy sauce over white rice (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

Stir together some freshly-squeezed orange juice, soy sauce, honey, chicken broth, salt and white pepper to make the Orange Soy sauce. You will need some cornstarch to thicken the sauce so have that ready in a small bowl. Add a tablespoon of Orange Soy sauce to the cornstarch and mix well with a spoon.

Saute the onion, carrot, and celery in canola oil until the vegetables are translucent. Add the red bell pepper. Stir around until the red bell pepper is cooked but still crisp. Add the Asian-spiced chicken meatballs and warm through. Add the sauce to the meatball veggie mixture and cook a minute or so until it starts to thicken. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir some more. Then add some snow peas, broccoli florets, mini-cucumber slices, and cashews. When the sauce has thickened, use a fork to fluff the rice. Plate the rice and then top with the chicken meatball and vegetable mixture. Garnish with some thinly sliced scallions and serve!

My favorite Vegetable Stir Fry with Asian-spiced Chicken Meatballs and Cashews in an Orange Soy Sauce over White Rice (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

My favorite Vegetable Stir Fry with Asian-spiced Chicken Meatballs and Cashews in an Orange Soy Sauce over White Rice (Photo Credit: Adroit Ideals)

See my Eating Healthier posting for more ideas on how to eat healthier this year!

Enjoy!

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From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….

Asian-Spiced Chicken Meatball Stir Fry

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

2 lb ground chicken (or grind your own)
1/4 c minced sweet onion
1 t Asian five spice powder
1/2 t salt
2 T canola oil

For the Orange Soy sauce:

1 c freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 c soy sauce
1 T honey
1 c chicken broth/stock
1/4 t salt
Dash of ground white pepper
2 t cornstarch for thickening

For the stir fry:

2 T canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, halved, then sliced longwise into 1/4 inch strips
2 carrots, cut into coins
1 rib celery, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips
20 pre-cooked chicken meatballs (recipe above)
Orange Soy sauce (recipe above)
2 c snow peas
2 c broccoli florets
2 mini cucumbers, skin left on, sliced into thin rounds
1 c cashews

2 c cooked white basmati rice (cook according to the package directions)
3 scallions, tops and bottoms, sliced longwise into thin strips, about 4 inches long by 1/8 inch wide, for garnish

Method:

1. Start the rice in a separate pan according to the package directions. Continue with the rest of the recipe and when the rice has cooked, set it aside with the lid still on the pan. Keep warm.
2. To make 20 one-inch Asian meatballs, combine the ground chicken, minced onion, Asian five spice powder, and salt in a large bowl. Form the meatballs into 20 one inch balls. Heat 2 tablespoons of non-GMO canola oil in a Chef’s pan. Saute the meatballs in batches until they are browned on all sides and cooked through. Remove the meatballs as they are cooked to a foil-covered platter to keep warm.
3. In a non-metallic bowl, combine the orange juice, soy sauce, honey, chicken broth/stock, salt and pepper and set aside. Put the cornstarch in a tiny bowl and combine well with a tablespoon of the orange soy mixture. Set aside.
4. In a Chef’s pan or wok, warm 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium high heat. Saute the onions, carrots and celery until the vegetables are translucent. Add the red bell pepper and saute a minute more. Add the chicken meatballs and warm through, stirring constantly.
5. Add the Orange Soy sauce to the vegetables. Cook on medium heat and stir constantly so the sauce does not burn. Add the cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce and stir.
6. When the sauce has thickened, add the snow peas, broccoli, mini-cucumber slices, and cashews. Stir until the snow peas and broccoli have cooked but are still slightly crisp, being careful not to burn the sauce.
7. Fluff the rice with a fork. Divide and plate the rice on your four serving plates.
8. Top the rice on each plate with a quarter of the Asian chicken stir fry mixture.
9. Garnish with the scallions and serve!

Serves 4 as a main course.

Variations: Use ground pork or turkey instead of ground chicken in the meatballs. Use other vegetables such as cabbage, bok choy, Shiitake mushrooms, etc. Add some minced garlic if you like.

Order your Asian Five Spice Powder at Amazon.com:

www.afoodloversdelight.com (Copyright Adroit Ideals 2015)

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