Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie

I came to the breakfast table one morning to find my Real Simple magazine opened to this recipe page. Somehow that struck me as maritally sexy, the fact that my husband had requested this meal in such a quiet, unassuming way. Last night I made it and we all enjoyed it! My kitchen notes follow the recipe.

1.5lb beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 C low-sodium beef broth
1 C dark beer (such as Guinness)
3 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T tomato paste
2 T flour
— Kosher salt and black pepper
2 large russet potatoes, peeled
2 C frozen peas
1/2 C milk
2 T unsalted butter

Combine the beef, carrots, onions, broth, beer, Worcestershire, tomato paste, flour, 1.5 T salt, and 1 t pepper in a 4-6 qt slow cooker. Nestle the potatoes in the liquid.

Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, on low for 7-8 hours or on high 4-5 hours. Transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl. Stir the peas into the stew, cover, and warm until heated through, 2-3 minutes.

Mash the potatoes with the milk, butter and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Serve the stew topped with the mashed potatoes.

**I dropped four medium sized russet potatoes into the crockpot for 8 hours and they still weren’t tender. Plus they had absorbed some of the reddish sauce, which I didn’t love aesthetically. Next time I’ll make mashed potatoes separately! No big deal there. Also, my husband requested a meat with more marbled fat for a more tender beef chunk at the end.

Black Bean Soup

Simple, delicious, hearty, healthy. I think you can’t go wrong with this soup! We like to put a dollop of sour cream on top and mix it into the beans for a delicious flavor. Courtesy of Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. (Note: we leave out peppers per family preference.)


1 pound dried black beans
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 1/2 teaspoons chile powder, plus more if needed
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed


Sour cream, for serving
Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving
Diced bell peppers, for serving


For the beans: Place the beans in a bowl or pot, cover with cold water and allow to soak overnight. Drain and rinse before proceeding. (Alternatively, add the beans to a medium pot and cover with hot water. Bring to a boil, and then boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and allow the beans to sit for 1 hour. Drain the beans and rinse them with cold water before proceeding.)

In a medium pot, add the soaked beans, chicken broth, 2 cups water, the garlic, onions and green, red and yellow bell peppers. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Then add the chile powder, cumin and salt and stir. Cover and continue simmering until the liquid level is to your liking, about another hour. Taste for seasoning and add more of what it needs.

For the fixins: Serve in a bowl with sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges and diced bell peppers on the side.

Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond

Read more at:

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob

You can read reviews and more specifics here. I’m posting this recipe so I don’t forget the oven temp and time needed for cooking.

Buy corn on the cob.
Preheat oven to 350.
Trim loose pieces of husk & end silks.
Place on cookie sheet (in husks); cook for 30 minutes.
Peel back husks, eat, and never go back to the work of boiling corn ever again.

Blueberry Crisp

This is a solid recipe, so I’m posting it here as a keeper. I didn’t have lemon juice on hand—vinegar (half the portion) and some lime juice did the trick just fine. Thankyouverymuch for your help, internet! I’m amazed at substitutions in recipes. Oh, I also increased the topping ingredients by about half. We like to have plenty of the crisp part to go with the fruit part.



  1. Set oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare an 11 x 7-inch baking dish (can use a 13 x 9-inch but it will not be as high).
  3. Spread the blueberries in the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
  4. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the sugar, cornstarch, water and 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice; cook and stir until thick and clear, then add in the vanilla.
  5. Pour over, then gently stir in the cooked mixture with the blueberries.
  6. In a bowl combine the flour with oats, brown sugar and cinnamon.
  7. Add in the melted butter; mix until crumbly (I start mixing with a spoon then finish mixing with my hands).
  8. Sprinkle over the top of blueberries (there will be a couple of empty spots that is okay, there may seem like a lot of crumble but it will settle when baking).
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until blueberry mixture bubbles and the topping is brown.
  10. Serve with ice cream– enjoy!

Roasted Bell Peppers

I’m pretty much obsessed with roasting red peppers. I also tried yellow and orange with good results. I have not tried green. Roasting peppers is so easy that it’s barely a recipe, but I’m putting it up here so that if I need to look up the temperature, it’s handy. And so that you can enjoy the wonder of roasted peppers. I usually make about four at a time and keep them in the fridge. 


  • Bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, green)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Bake peppers on the middle rack for 30 minutes, or until blackened, turning every 10 minutes.
  3. Take peppers out of the oven and place in a covered pot (I use my Dutch oven) for at least 15 minutes (and up to hours).
  4. When the peppers have cooled, peel off the blackened skin and remove the seeds. Cut into strips.

Peach Whiskey Barbecue Chicken

The Pioneer Woman didn’t let me down tonight! This recipe, paired with these mashed potatoes and broccoli, made a fantastic dinner. I used drumsticks instead of thighs, about half a jar of peach preserves, and added two cans of peaches with 30 minutes left on the timer. I also browned the chicken in a large pan and then moved it to a 9×13″ pan for baking.



  • 12 whole Chicken Thighs, Bone-in, Skin-on
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 1-1/2 cup Whiskey
  • 12 ounces, fluid Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 jar Peach Preserves
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Peeled
  • 3 whole Green Onions, Sliced Thin

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Heat oil and butter in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Place chicken thighs, four at a time, in the pot, skin side down. Brown both sides, then remove to a plate and repeat until all chicken is browned.

Pour off half the grease, then return pan to stove. Add onions to pan and stir, cooking for 2 minutes. Pour whiskey into the pot, being very careful if you’re using an open flame. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan, allowing whiskey to reduce for a minute or two. Pour in barbecue sauce, peach preserves, water, and Worcestershire sauce. Throw in garlic cloves. Stir until combined, then return chicken to the pot, skin side up. Cover and put pot in oven.

Cook for 1 1/2 hours, then remove from oven.

Serve pieces of chicken over a big pile of smashed potatoes. Sprinkle sliced green onions over the top.


I’ve been meaning to put this recipe up for a long, long time. It’s an oldie but goodie from More with Less. I didn’t make it for a long time because I had in my head that Jason didn’t like cabbage. It seems that’s still true, but he does make an exception for this recipe.

Jason and I are doing another Whole 30 this month, so we left out the noodles (I guess that essentially makes this “Yak,” since “soba” refers to the noodles) and when serving passed the coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.


  • 1 cup thin noodles (leftover noodles or spaghetti may be used; skip for Whole 30)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1–1 1/2 pounds beef sliced very thin (I buy what’s on sale)
  • 2 medium onions, cut in thin wedges
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced thin
  • 1/4 head cabbage, sliced in strips
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts (or 1 cup canned bean sprouts, drained; I sometimes use green beans instead of bean sprouts)


1. Cook and noodles according to package directions.

2. Heat oil in skillet.

3. Brown meat.

4. Add vegetables in order given, stir-frying each a few minutes and adding salt and pepper with each addition. Vegetables should be crisp-tender.

5. Add noodles last and cook just long enough to heat through.

6. Serve on rice (not on Whole 30) or alone. Pass soy sauce (or coconut aminos).


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