Shepherds Pie with a Thanksgiving Twist

Lucky me, I received this for Christmas:

It is the grinder attachment for my KitchenAid Mixer!  Well I watched a few videos online and decided to give it a whirl.

Which got me thinking about making this:

Didn’t occur to me to take a picture before we dug in!

Christmas dinner was pretty much a Thanksgiving repeat.  We had turkey, stuffing, potatoes, green bean casserole, you get the drift.  As of today, I was done with those leftovers.  I’m not saying they were all gone, I was just done eating them as is.

I plugged in my grinder attachment and put the rest of the turkey in.  From two full drumsticks came about two pounds of shredded turkey!  I was quite surprised.

I put half in the bottom of my pie dish (the rest is in the freezer for when I am ready for turkey again).  Added some powdered gravy mix to a little over a cup of chicken broth and poured over the meat.  I topped that with the remainder of the green bean casserole, a wee little bit of the stuffing and topped the entire thing with mashed potatoes.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for a half hour.

I should’ve grabbed more pictures but I wasn’t really thinking about blogging it.  That is until I tasted it!  I have always loved shepherds pie.  If I have left over taters, I usually will make it.  This was a different twist and it turned out pretty darn tasty!

How about you, have you made any accidental, really good recipes lately?  I’d love to hear about them!

-Ginal

Sew Happy!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  The only thing left to complete my Christmas joy is to watch the Dr. Who Christmas special.  I will be doing that as soon as I am done with this post!!

I received an adorable sign for my sewing room from my daughter:

Which inspired me to clean up, organize and beg my darling husband to build a pressing table.  Thankfully he is incredible and made it in two shakes!!

First we had to determine what would support the tabletop.  I thought shelves would be best because I never seem to have too much storage space.  We picked up two Closetmaid shelves.  They measure 31.5″ x 12″ x 11.6″.  Next, we bought a precut laminate board that was 2′ x 4′.  You wouldn’t need to get a laminate piece but it was all they had and it was cheap – so that worked!

After assembling the shelves, we layered some felt I had in my fabric closet and some cute “sewing notion” fabric I have been saving for years.  We cut, folded the edges and simply stapled it to the bottom of the shelf.  Tuck in the raw edge of the fabric (by folding twice) so it will not unravel later.  When you do this take time to smooth out the fabric and space out the staples every 5 or so inches.  Once it is all attached and you are happy with it, you can add more staples and hammer them in so they are tight.

The trickiest part is the corners.  We played with folding them different ways.  We also trimmed a bit of the corner of felts to take out some bulk.

Last step was to put the top on the two shelves and put some screws in for stability.

Here is the final product with shelves filled:

After we were done I was inspired so, I made a new cover for my serger.  Yay!

Here are some photos of the whole room.  Looking in the doorway:

Looking at the left:
Looking to the right:

I have been wanting one of these tables for over a year.  After using it, I can say it was well worth the wait!  What projects have you been up to or are planning to do in the new year?

-Ginal







Show & Share

Deck the Halls with Chicken Balls

Chicken Balls have been a traditional Christmas treat we have made for many years.  They taste wonderful and I like the story behind the name!

I got the recipe from my best friend’s mom.  When I was about 15, I went over to their house during the holidays.  He asked me if I wanted a Chicken Ball, I thought eww, not a chance.  He laughed at my expression but everyone else there was genuinely excited to have one.

He brought out the container and much to my surprise, this is what I saw:

At this point, I sampled one and it is delicious!  No chicken in it.  It is a dessert.  I am confused.

His mom starts laughing and explains the name.  She got the recipe from her mother in law and had been making them forever.  One year she was making her third batch for their Christmas party.  She was fed up, the kids kept eating them and she needed them for the party.  In desperation, she put them in a container and labeled them “Chicken Balls”.  With no surprise, no one touched the box.  When she brought them out for the party and everyone realized what she had done to protect the Carmello Krispies, they all had a good laugh.  Well, the name stuck.

Now let me share how to make these simple, delicious treats!

Gather your ingredients.

Start boiling water in the pan for your double boiler.  Now unwrap all of the caramels (not my favorite part!).

Melt butter, caramels, sweetened condensed milk in double boiler.  Stir often.

I like to set up wax paper on the counter and make my assembly line during this time.  Then when the caramel is melted you can just put it in place and get to work.

  If you have a dipping tool, use that to dip and coat the marshmallow in caramel.  You don’t want to dilly dally at this point because the marshmallow will melt.  Just a quick plunge and remove any potential large drips.  Drop in cereal and toss about.  Take out once coated and place on waxed paper.

notes…
  • I like try to grab a little extra cereal when I transfer to the wax paper because that caramel mixture is darn hot.  
  • For me this recipe usually coats about 3/4 of a bag of marshmallows.  
  • At the end if you only have a little caramel left, not enough to coat a marshmallow…just plop it in the cereal bowl and coat it.  Very nummy.

Serve and enjoy, trust me these are way better than you would think.  Simple is sometimes best.

Software
1 stick butter
1 bag caramels
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 bag of marshmallow
Krispie cereal
Hardware
Double boiler
Bowl
Dipping tool or fork
Wax paper
As a side note, props to all you food bloggers out there!  I can’t seem to get great photos of food.  Maybe Santa will bring me a nice camera for Christmas….and a class on how to take good photos!
Merry Christmas!!

Simple Scones

During the Thanksgiving holiday my aunt Roann taught me how to make scones.  I was very excited about this because they are one of my favorite items to eat with coffee.  Not to sweet, dry enough to make you want to have another sip of coffee. mmmm

The best part is they are simple and quick.  If you have 20 minutes, you can whip these up.

First mix 2 cups flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.

Now cut in 1/3 cup cold butter (this part I love because I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to make something NOW and it calls for softened butter).
It will resemble coarse meal when you are done.
Her recipe calls for sour cream but since we have lactose intolerant folks at my house and realistically I hardly ever have sour cream, I use yogurt.  I have used plain and vanilla flavored and can’t tell the difference. 
Mix in 1/3 cup yogurt and one slightly beaten egg.

At this point you can mix in optional dried fruit.  I hardly consider this optional.  I mean a scone without a little treat in it is just well, lame.  Aunt Roann says only use dried fruit.  She has tried fresh and it didn’t work out so well!  The recipe calls for 2/3 cups but I have yet to measure it.  I just throw in the fruit until it looks fairly distributed.
After you have it mixed, push it together with your hands in the bowl so it all sticks together:
Turn the dough out on to a slightly floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times.  It isn’t a pie crust so you don’t have to be super gentle. 🙂
Sprinkle a little flour on your pizza pan and smush the dough into a circle.  It doesn’t need to be perfect but a uniform height is desired for even baking.  Take a butter knife and cut into the size pieces you would like.
Now run the butter knife under a slice and use as a spatula to pull each one out to the edge of your pan.  They will rise and take up more space while baking.  I forgot to grab a picture of this but you can tell in the next picture what I mean.
Brush the tops and sides with milk.  Apparently I need a smaller pastry brush, the only one I could locate was for grilling! 
Sprinkle with sugar…or cinnamon and sugar….use your imagination.  🙂
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 14-16 minutes.  The milk and sugar will brown the edges and give them a slight sweetness.
Most importantly, enjoy with a hot cup of coffee!
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup yogurt or sour cream
1 egg, slightly beaten
2/3 cup dried fruit (optional)