Today I made three different versions of this old-time favorite, one to fit each of the tastes and needs of my family members. Normally I don't fancy myself a short-order cook but there are some meals that, given the different dietary restrictions and preferences of myself and family, I just can't get around. There's the husband that swears he needs meat and cheese in his life [I learned a bit ago to not push the matter - prayer seems to be much more effective than nagging anyway], the toddler who is going through somewhat of a picky, independent phase and whom we have chosen to raise vegetarian, and myself, the girl with multiple food allergies. It sounds like a lot of hassle but honestly the adjustments were so simple I barely noticed.
A little, but completely relevant, aside - in making this me I stumbled upon a great snack for my daughter. She loves to sit on the counter and help me cook and as I was assembling the frozen vegetables, into the dish went her little hand and out it came with a handful of veggies that was immediately plunged into her mouth. To say I was excited is an understatement. Add that to the arsenal of snacks I have to keep a child happy!
May this warm, hearty meal find your empty tummy and fill it with both nourishment and contentment.
6 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 - 2 tbsp. ghee, non-dairy butter substitute, or olive oil [more if necessary]
1 - 2 tsp. Real Salt sea salt
1 - 2 tbsp. dried chives
1/2 c. non-dairy milk [I love homemade pumpkin seed milk; more if necessary]
Place potatoes in a medium pot and add water until all of the potatoes are just covered. Cover and bring to boil. Once the water boils, remove cover and boil until potatoes are very soft. Drain cooking water and add in remaining ingredients. Mix with beaters or stand mixer, gradually moving up to a medium-high speed. Add more non-dairy milk if necessary to achieve a smooth consistency.
While the potatoes are cooking...
6 carrots [medium - large], scrubbed well [peel if anything but organic] and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
Place carrot slices in a small saucepan and add just enough water to fill the bottom of the pan [about 1/2-inch]. Bring water to boil and simmer carrots until just beginning to soften [7 - 10 minutes].
While the potatoes and carrots are cooking...
1 lb. organic, pastured raised ground beef [optional]
1 large onion, minced
Place meat in a large cast iron skillet and cook over medium heat until browned all the way through, stirring occasionally. Add onion about half way through cooking process.
Note: I specify frozen below because this is what I had in the freezer, stored from this past years garden.
Green beans, frozen and cut into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
2 large garlic cloves or 3 - 4 more medium / small cloves, minced
2 tsp. thyme
1 - 2 tsp. freshly ground rosemary [I used dried rosemary here]
Rubbed sage leaves, to taste [take dried sage leaves and rub between hands to crumble]
1 - 2 tsp. Real Salt sea salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 - 1 1/2 c. of vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place all frozen vegetables, garlic, herbs, and seasonings in glass baking dish of choice. Mix well [using hands works great here]. Add a layer of beef [if using] and carrots. Again, mix [use a spoon as the meat and carrots will be hot]. Gently pour vegetable broth over entire dish [a thin layer may or may not collect at the bottom of the dish]. Finally, top with mashed potatoes. You can lightly sprinkle with cheese if you so desire [my husband likes a blend of white sharp cheddar and Parmesan, 3:1 ratio].
Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 - 10 minutes.
This will make one large 9 x 13 baking dish or a few smaller dishes and serves appx. 6 - 8 people at appx. $1.00 - $1.50 per serving.