Hearty Shepherd’s Pie Recipes

 Shepherd Pie

Shepherd’s pie is a classic and hearty dish that is guaranteed to satisfy your tummy as well as your taste buds. This delicious English dish graces tabletops all over the nation when dinner is served. Shepherd’s pie contains nearly everything that you could ask for in a food for it covers most of the food pyramid. In order to make the best shepherd’s pie, you need to make sure that it’s packed with nutrients and flavor.

Shepherd's Pie Filling

Shepherd’s pie consists of a filling and a topping. In order to make the filling, you’ll need the following ingredients: olive oil, butter, a pound of ground beef or lamb, a cup of beef stock, tomato paste, 2 garlic cloves, 1 can of creamed mushroom soup, an onion, 2 tablespoons of flour 2 carrots, a cup of peas, ¼ cup of water, ¼ cup of sour cream, a tablespoon of rosemary and/or marjoram, worcester sauce, black pepper, 2 tablespoons of Worcester sauce, 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 cup of cheddar or parmesan cheese, and most importantly, tons of love!

Shepherd's Pie Topping

To make the topping, you’ll need to peel and dice 6 large potatoes. You’ll also need ½ cup of milk, ¼ cup of milk, 6 tablespoons of either cheddar or parmesan cheese,½ teaspoon of black pepper, a dash of salt, and any other herbs that you would like to add in. You’ll also need paprika to sprinkle on the topping’s surface.

You will also need a large baking dish along with a skillet large enough to contain the contents of the filling. Modify the recipe as you see fit. Oh, don’t forget to add tons of love!

Chop up all of the vegetables and put them in a bowl. Be sure to stir them up. Lather up the skillet with olive oil and/or butter and cook your meat of choice. Once the meat looks three quarters done, add the vegetables to saute them until they are browned and soft. Once they look brown enough and around halway done, add Worcester sauce, creamed mushroom soup, tomato paste, and herbs onto the vegetables. Add the flour as well before blending them together.  Sprinkle black pepper over the vegetables as generously as you like as they simmer for 10-15 minutes.

While the filling is cooking, boil the potatoes in salted water. Let them boil until they’re fully cooked. Once they’re fully cooked and softened, mash them. To the fully mashed, add the ½ cup of milk, 4 tablespoons of butter, black pepper, and 6 tablespoons of either cheddar or parmesan cheese. Mix them together until they are fully blended.

Cooking Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the ½ of the shepherd’s pie topping onto the bottom of the baking pan, then pour all of the filling on top of it. After spreading the rest of the topping mix onto the filling, sprinkle the top of the pie with paprika, and place it in the oven.

This recipe takes around 35-40 minutes to cook. Enjoy!

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Healthy Party Appetizers

Party Appetizers

Appetizers are delicious, but they can be a pitfall for diets. Trays of cheese, cookies, and candies can make you feel full before a meal and also give you a whole day's worth of calories. If you're throwing a party or dinner for family and friends, you can always add some healthy party appetizers in there. These appetizer ideas are sure to provide lots of taste, nutrients, and minerals without the added sugars and fats from many holiday snacks.

Fruit Kebabs

These are cute, fun, and don't fill you up before a meal. You can use a variety of colorful fruits for these: melons, grapes, kiwi, pineapple, strawberries, or blueberries are all fair game. Skewer the fruits with kebab sticks and arrange them on a platter. These are also great for kids, who love eating food that's been arranged in a fun way.

Hummus and Pita Bread

This low-calorie Middle Eastern snack provides guests with a serving of vegetables (hummus is made from ground chickpeas) and heart-healthy whole-wheat pita bread. To style it nicely, you can cut the pita bread into little triangles for easy dipping. It's considerably healthier than a traditional chips and salsa appetizer, which contains high-sodium corn chips. You can buy the hummus at a store or make it yourself.

Vegetables and Dip

Vegetables such as carrots, celery, and broccoli are pretty plain on their own, but veggie trays often have calorie-heavy ranch or blue cheese dips in the middle. Instead of opting for a dip with lots of unhealthy fats, you can choose one that's much healthier. Many people opt for a hummus dip, which is a great idea. You can also make your own healthy dip out of ingredients such as avocado, onions, and Greek yogurt. A low-calorie, vegetable-based dip tastes delicious and won't totally wreck your diet for the week.

Sweet Potato Cubes

Labeled a "superfood," sweet potato is both tasty and nutritious. Chop up a sweet potato and cut it into cubes, then drizzle with a mixture of cinnamon, honey, and olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes in the oven and toss with sea salt and a little extra olive oil. You can cut the sweet potato into even smaller cubes and stick a toothpick in it, then place it on a serving tray. It tastes like candy, but doesn't come with the artifical sugars.

Ants on a Log

This is more for the younger set, who are often hesitant to try new foods- especially ones with vegetables in them. Cut stalks of celery and smear peanut butter in them, then arrange raisins to look like little "ants." While it's traditionally a kids' recipe, you can serve this to adults as a tasty reminder of childhood.

Dried Fruit and Nuts

Little serving cups of dried cranberries, raisins, and nuts are another delectable option. Nuts provide an excellent source of protein and healthy fats. Make sure you get the unsalted variety, as the salt can add unwanted sodium to the appetizer.

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The Incredible Health Benefits of Collard Greens

Benefits of Collard Greens

Collard greens have long been a staple of Southern cooking. A cruciferous vegetable similar to kale and Brussels sprouts, collard greens are commonly placed on plates next to fried chicken, potatoes, and gravy. While other vegetables like kale and spinach have long held the limelight, new studies are indicating that collard greens are just as healthy.

Collard Greens Lower Cholesterol

Steamed collard greens easily bind to bile acids in the digestive tract, helping to excrete them from the body. Bile acids are formed from cholesterol, so collard greens essentially bind to and remove these acids. This effect was found primarily with steamed collard greens as opposed to raw, and had the greatest cholesterol-lowering benefit of any cruciferous vegetable.

Collard Greens Protect Against Cancer

There are four specific anti-cancer agents found in collard greens: glucosinolates called glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtian, and glucotropaeolin. These words may sound like science fiction characters, but they're actually agents that can support our anti-inflammatory systems. This can help prevent cancer through aiding the body in fighting off rogue cells.

Collard Greens Are High in Vitamin K

A cup of cooked, chopped collard greens has almost 400% of your daily recommended Vitamin K. Vitamin K is critical for blood clotting; a deficiency can lead to uncontrolled bleeding. It's also important to prevent osteoporosis and coronary artery disease. Certain populations, such as patients suffering from liver damage, bulimia, cystic fibrosis, or inflammatory bowel disease, can be prone to Vitamin K deficiency.

Collard Greens Contain A Whopping Amount of Vitamin C

Oranges, move over: a cup of cooked collard greens has half your daily recommended amount of Vitamin C. Though Vitamin C is frequently taken to ward off colds, there are additional benefits such as protection against cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and stroke.

Collard Greens Can Protect Your Eyesight

Collard greens are also high in Vitamin A, the same vitamin that's found in carrots. Vitamin A is a retinoid and is critically important in maintaining eye health. Vitamin C also helps protect your eyes as well. For healthy eyesight, eat a cup of steamed collard greens with dinner.

Collard Greens Are High in Fiber

There's a good reason to have a high-fiber diet: it helps excrete damaging LDL cholesterol out of the body and keeps your digestive tract regular. If you've been feeling a little blocked, try some collard greens to get everything going again. Fiber also provides protection against colon cancer and hemorrhoids.

Collard Greens Can Keep Your Immune System Healthy

The greens contain a phyto-nutrient called di-indolyl-methane, which has been found to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. If you're looking to stay healthy through cold and flu season, cook a batch of collard greens and serve them for dinner. Di-indolyl-methane also has anti-cancer properties as well, potentiating Interferon-gamma receptors.

Collard Greens Contain Valuable Minerals

The leaves and stems of this wondrous vegetable contain calcium, iron, zinc, and manganese- all minerals important for the bloodstream and bones. Considering this vegetable only has 30 calories per serving, it's a great side dish for dinner.

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Delicious Blueberry Treats

Blueberry Treats

Blueberries are the second most popular berry in the United States, just after strawberries. They're also one of the healthiest "superfoods" available. They're low-calorie, low-fat, and packed with important antioxidants, Vitamin C, and dietary fiber. Best of all, they're absolutely delicious. No matter how you serve them, the beautiful sweet berry taste shines through to create a tasty treat.

Fresh blueberries can be expensive, but frozen blueberries are cheaper and can last for quite a while in the freezer. Whether you're cooking with fresh or frozen, the recipes are pretty much identical. Choose which type you'll use to create some of the yummy recipes listed below.

Blueberries and Cream

This is the simplest (and most traditional) way to serve blueberries. If you're ever in an antique shop, you may notice a blueberry or strawberry serving platter. The platters have three containers: one for blueberries, one for heavy cream, and one for sugar. For hundreds of years, the tradition has existed to dip blueberries into cream and sugar. If you're looking to recreate an older tradition, you can serve this as a dessert.

Blueberry Smoothies

This is the newest way to serve blueberries: in a healthy smoothie. You can add blueberries to any type of smoothie for a sweet, tangy finish. It's a great ingredient for smoothies because its powerful taste hides the bitter vegetables like kale and spinach. A smoothie of soy milk, spinach, and blueberries is a great breakfast for you or your family. And you don't have to tell the kids that the soy protein or spinach went in there- it just tastes like blueberries.

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberries are also versatile for baking. Whether it's muffins, cupcakes, breads, or bars, fresh or frozen blueberries work very well. You can make larger blueberry muffins topped with sea salt and sugar, or smaller mini muffins for classroom parties, depending on your baking pan. It's a fun afternoon snack that's easy to make and gives kids a little extra fruit in their diets.

Blueberry Jam

If you're into canning, blueberries are terrific for jams and preserves. You'll need a few ingredients like sugar, nutmeg, and pectin, as well as a stockpot and the ability to seal the lids. This is a fun idea to do with your kids; the next time they eat some blueberry jam, they'll be thrilled that they made it. You can serve blueberry jam on a variety of healthy whole-wheat breads to give bland wheat a sugary, tangy kick.

Blueberry Popsicles

These are incredibly easy to make and fun to eat as an all-natural dessert. One pound of frozen blueberries, a cup of sugar, and a little lime juice will yield 8-12 Popsicles that don't contain any extra harmful preservatives or sweeteners. If you want, you can substitute the lime juice for fresh orange or pineapple juice. These create a delicious, fruity blend that take very little time to make and can serve as a yummy dessert without tons of empty calories or carbohydrates.

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Great Fall Sandwiches

Great Fall Sandwiches

Wondering what to bring for lunch or pack in your kids' lunchboxes? The mighty sandwich can provide a healthy, filling main staple of the midday meal. Containing your necessary fiber, nutrients, and proteins, it's a balanced and hearty option for sustaining your busy day. And it doesn't have to just be peanut butter and jelly; you can get creative with your sandwiches. Here are a few ideas:

Thanksgiving Sandwich

It's not Thanksgiving yet, but you may be craving some turkey and cranberry sauce ahead of time. In between two slices of whole-wheat bread (these contain fiber, iron, and healthy carbohydrates), you can add elements of the Thanksgiving meal. We recommend slices of roast turkey, mashed sweet potato, and cranberry sauce. It's a delicious reminder of the holiday to come, and it packs all your necessary vitamins, nutrients, and lean proteins into one incredibly tasty lunch.

Smoked Salmon Sandwich

A famed New York treat is bagels, lox, and cream cheese, but you can substitute the bagel for more complex carbohydrates in whole-wheat bread. Slather cream cheese on a slice of bread, then place a tomato, slices of onion, and some smoked salmon on top. You're getting a valuable helping of omega-3s, which aid your heart and your brain function- especially important for work and school.

Apple and Chicken Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is a tasty reminder of childhood, but it's not particularly filling. Spice it up by placing tiny slices of apple and cooked chicken atop the cheese before grilling. This is a great way to sneak some protein and fruit into your kids' lunches. Small pieces of chicken and apple will go virtually unnoticed as your child munches on a nutritious lunch. For adults, the crisp taste of apple will really add to the sandwich. Another variation of this recipe uses bacon instead of chicken.

Tuna and Avocado Sandwich

Tuna fish sandwiches are an office staple, but they can taste bland when just mixed with bread and a bit of mayo. Thankfully, they can be boosted to higher levels of flavor and nutrition when you add slices of tomato and scoops of avocado. This gives you healthy fats and omega-3 nutrients sandwiched in between your bread, courtesy of the avocado and tuna.

Monterey Jack and Pear Sandwich

There's just something about fruit and cheese: they pair so well together. A few slices of Monterey Jack cheese, topped with some thinly sliced pear, will add a delicious spark to your sandwich. You can also add a protein of choice, such as chicken or turkey, that's either roasted or deli style. The trick is to use a protein that doesn't have much flavor, so it doesn't contrast with the existing cheese and fruit.

Steak and Spinach Sandwich

If you have leftover steak from dinner, you can cut it into small slices for a sandwich. Add some spinach and the condiment of your choice, such as chipotle mayonnaise, for a sandwich that gives you plenty of iron, minerals, and nutrients.

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