Shepherd’s Pie and Pistachio Pudding Cake

Our first failure. Well, sort of. I don’t consider it a true failure—that requires a colossal disaster, which I am perfectly capable of. This was beneath my potential and therefore more along the lines of a trial failure.

It had been a long week, but we had to have our dinner on Friday. There was no other day this month that worked for our families. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I decide on an Irish theme—shepherd’s pie, fancy green drinks, and pistachio pudding cake. On the side, I added chunky cinnamon applesauce and cottage cheese. Great, right? Well, it would have been, but I cheated, and as Ali reminded me several times throughout the evening, cheaters never win.

Quick and easy was the name of my game, and I thought I was pretty clever in using an adapted version of shepherd’s pie. Ali was kind enough to back-seat chef me and question everything that came out of a can or box. “That’s Fey food. Our dinners are supposed to be more than that. You’re going to have to do this over.” Yeah, yeah. So maybe she was right, but no way was I going to tell her that. I was cheating for a reason after all. Sheesh.

So, without further ado, following are the recipes, which even Ali agreed were tasty, that I used to cheat. But first, allow me to point out that this was also the first meal that the Fey, including the baby (with her blended version), enjoyed as well.


Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef (I substituted vegetarian ground meat)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small can peas
  • 1 small can carrots (Ali doesn’t like cooked carrots, so I substituted corn)
  • ½ cup honey barbecue sauce
  • ⅓ cup ketchup
  • 1 pkg refrigerated mashed potatoes
  • ½ tsp paprika

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Brown the meat with the onion in a large skillet. (Since I substituted vegetarian ground meat, I sautéed the onion in olive oil and added the “meat.”)
  3. Turn off the heat, and add the vegetables, barbecue sauce, and ketchup.
  4. Put into a greased 1 ½ quart baking dish.

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5.  Spread the mashed potatoes on top and sprinkle with paprika.

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6.  Bake for 30–35 minutes.

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Optional: Add shredded cheese on top before serving.


Pistachio Pudding Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg yellow cake mixPistachio Pudding Cake
  • 2 pkgs instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup club soda
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, divided
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ cup 2% milk
  • 2 tsp confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, 1 package of pudding mix, eggs, club soda, and oil. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then beat on medium for 2 minutes. Stir in ½ cup walnuts.
  2. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch fluted tube pan.
  3. Bake at 350° for 40–45 minutes.
  4. Cool for ten minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the cream, milk, 1 package of pudding mix, and confectioners’ sugar on high until stiff peaks form.
  6. Frost the cake. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts. (In our case, the kids threw the walnuts at the cake to see how many would stick.)

Minted Sake and Pineapple Cooler

This is what I had planned to make, but I didn’t have a sieve. I don’t easily give up and tried several workarounds but none really worked: taping a coffee filter to a bowl, straining the concoction through a garlic press, you know, the usual.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups loosely packed mint leaves (about 1 ounce)
  • 1 cup sake
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 cans (6 oz each) pineapple juice, divided
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • Pineapple slices (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine mint, sake, and sugar in a blender; process for 2 minutes or until mint is very finely chopped.
  2. Strain sake mixture through a fine sieve over a bowl; discard solids.
  3. Stir in 2 cans pineapple juice and lime juice. Cover and chill.
  4. Pour the remaining 1 can pineapple juice into a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Lay the bag flat in the freezer; freeze 1 hour or until frozen.
  5. Combine the sake mixture and frozen pineapple juice in a blender; process 1 minute or until thoroughly combined.
  6. Pour about ¾ cup pineapple mixture into each glass, and let stand 1 minute before serving. Garnish with pineapple slices, if desired.

 


St. Patrick’s Day Drinks

Ingredients:

  • Lime sherbetSt Patricks day drinks
  • Lemon-lime soda

Directions:

  1. Fill glass about two-thirds full with soda.
  2. Add one or two scoops of sherbet and let sit for about ten minutes.
  3. Gently stir the drink, wait for it to settle, and serve.

Adult version: Substitute white wine or champagne for the soda.