Anniversary Dinner

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So we didn’t end up going to the movies or out to dinner for our anniversary this past Sunday. We decided to stay home and make shepherd’s pie. I know. Not particularly romantic or exciting. What can I say? We’re a pretty boring couple most of the time. Even before we had kids we didn’t go out a ton.

What would I have liked to have done? Well, funny you should ask.

Here are several things that I would deem anniversary worthy.

  1. Going to Paris for a month. Not just a week, but a month. Hey, it’s not like we could or would actually do this. Just let me dream a little.
  2. Going on an Alaskan or Mediterranean cruise. I know some of you may think cruises are just for newlyweds or senior citizens, but they’re actually super fun. As long as you don’t get sea sick.
  3. Going on a culinary tour in Italy. Beautiful landscapes and delicious food. What more could you ask for?
  4. Taking “wedding” pictures. We didn’t get to do any professional style pictures. I think that would be fun. Plus it would give me an excuse to buy a super cute vintage style dress.
  5. Going to New York City. I desperately want to watch The Book of Mormon.

Anyway, before I bore you with more of my wistful thinking, here are some pictures from the shepherd’s pie we made.

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How do you celebrate your anniversary?

Shepherd’s Pie adapted from Alton Brown

Ingredients

Mashed Potatoes

5-6 medium potatoes

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Splash of milk

1 egg yolk

¾ cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Filling

1 ½ tablespoons oil (canola, vegetable, or olive)

1 lb. ground beef

¾ cup red bell pepper, chopped into half-inch pieces

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 teaspoon salt (1 ½ teaspoons salt if using water instead of broth)

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 cup chicken broth, beef broth or water

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, chopped

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon fennel seed (optional)

Directions

Peel and dice potatoes into ½ inch cubes. Place into medium-sized saucepan and cover the potatoes with water. Place on stove, cover with lid and heat on high to boiling. Once water is boiling, remove lid and boil for 10 minutes. Drain potatoes in a colander and return to saucepan. Mash potatoes to desired consistency. Add butter, salt, pepper, milk and mash everything together. Stir in the egg yolk until combined. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400⁰F.

While your potatoes are cooking, prepare meat filling. Put oil in deep sided skillet or sauté pan, place on stove and heat to medium high. Once the oil is heated, add the onions and bell pepper and sauté for approximately 4 minutes. Add garlic and stir to combine. Add ground beef, salt and pepper. Cook until meat has browned, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle flour over meat and stir. Cook for about one minute. Add ketchup, broth or water, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and fennel. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened a bit.

Pour meat mixture into 9×13 inch baking dish. Spread mashed potatoes over the top of the meat mixture making sure to thoroughly cover all the meat. Top with cheddar cheese. Place dish on baking sheet and put on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

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