Quickie Dinner- Mike’s Shepherd’s Pie

Ally’s note: Oh man, I love it when Mike cooks. He always makes something spicy, comforting and quick. It’s the perfect dinner, every time. Hmm…why don’t I have him cook more often?

Anyway, this is one of our favorite recipes. Try it and I promise, you’ll love it.

Spicy Shepherd’s Pie

Preheat the oven to 350f.

Peel, cube, and boil 3 potatoes or sweet potatoes. Drain and mash. You can add milk or butter, we like to add low-fat cream cheese. Set aside.

In a frying pan, add one chopped onion, two cloves of chopped garlic and 1 lb. of ground beef or turkey. Cook until it’s brown. Drain, if there is any liquid. Season with some cumin, chili powder, garlic powder- whatever spices you like. Or you could add half of a package of taco seasoning in there. Move to a bowl and add 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of flour to the pan.

Stir until it’s combined and add a cup of chicken broth. Make sure you stir this really good or else it will get lumpy. When it’s thickened, add meat back in. Now put in some frozen corn, peppers or whatever else you like.

Pour into a baking pan and top with the potatoes and some grated cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is nice and melted.

We top this with salsa or pico de gallo (recipe here) and some sour cream. Read also my post on Chicken Tacos.

The BEST Chocolate Cupcakes, Ever.

I decided, after a few days of being knocked out by a not so fun cold, that I would resume holiday baking today by making some cupcakes to bring to our family’s Christmas Eve fiesta.

After paging through a book of cupcake recipes, a few bookmarked websites and of course, The Joy of Baking, the lightbulb clicked on in my brain and I remembered a recipe I had seen on Tasty Kitchen a while back.

It was aptly titled, “The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever.” and it truly lives up to that name. Even the batter was absolutely delicious. We’re topping them off with peppermint buttercream, but this cake would be just fiiiine on its own. Enjoy!

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes, Ever:

Makes 2 Dozen or 1 Dozen and 1 8-inch Cake

2 c. all-purpose flour

2 c. sugar

¼ tsp. salt

4 heaping tbsp cocoa powder

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed

1 c. hot water

½ cups buttermilk (or whole milk)

2 eggs

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°f. Melt butter over medium heat and whisk in cocoa powder. Add hot water and bring to a boil for 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt.

Add into chocolate mixture and stir until well-combined.

In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, soda, and vanilla. Add to chocolate mixture and stir well.

Pour evenly into lined cupcake pans or two 8-inch round cake pans buttered and floured. Bake for 15-20 minutes (15 for cupcakes, 20-25 for cakes). Let cool…if you can.

These are so wonderfully soft and pillowy. Deeply and richly chocolatey. Topped with frosting, they are over the top. You must try these soon- they’re so easy but so perfect.

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