Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

30 Minute (Venison) Shepherd’s Pie

November 16, 2008

I thought when I married a boy from Kansas that I had dodged the whole hunting obsession thing. But I should have known that my Texan father would suck him in to the cult. So, before we had even used up all the venison in our small freezer from last year, he had brought home another whole deer worth of venison meat! Time to get to using that stuff up!

Shepherd’s Pie is a perfect way to incorporate ground venison, but you could easily use the more typical beef or lamb too. This is a Rachael Ray recipe but don’t hold that against it. 🙂 It was very satisfying on a cool night. And the best part is, I now have a little bit more space in my freezer.

Sorry about the picture...its not very photogenic and I forgot to take one before we ate.

Sorry about the's not very photogenic and I forgot to take one before we ate.

30-Minute (Venison) Shepherd’s Pie

*  2 pounds potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cubed
* 2 tablespoons sour cream or softened cream cheese
* 1 large egg yolk
* 1/2 cup cream, for a lighter version substitute vegetable or chicken broth
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
* 1 3/4 pounds ground beef or ground lamb
* 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 cup beef stock or broth
* 2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it
* 1/2 cup frozen peas, a couple of handfuls
* 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. Combine sour cream, egg yolk and cream. Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth.

While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef or lamb. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. If you are using lamb and the pan is fatty, spoon away some of the drippings. Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas.

Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned. Top casserole dish with chopped parsley and serve.


Hot Artichoke Dip

August 12, 2008

I refuse to post a picture of this dip for fear that it might make you NOT want to try it. It is, quite possibly, the least photogenic thing I ever make, but so worth the ugliness! This recipe is one that my mom pretty much always makes when she entertains and it has since become one of my go-to entertaining recipes. I have no idea where my mom originally got the recipe so I just call it “her” recipe.

The best thing about it is that it is oh so easy…three ingredients!! Unfortunately, two of those three ingredients are mayonnaise and cheese which makes it not exactly healthy. However, this most recent time I made it I used the new mayo made with olive oil which makes me feel better about eating it. 🙂

So if you need a quick, easy, crowd-pleasing dip for your next get-together give this dip a try! I think you’ll like it. I’d love to hear if any of you out there have a similar easy, go-to entertaining recipe. Leave a comment and let me know if you do!

Hot Artichoke Dip

Source: My Mom!

  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 can of artichokes in water, chopped into bite-size pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl until well combined. Spread mix into a medium-sized, shallow baking dish (I use a glass pie pan). Bake for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown on the top. Serve hot with crackers (like Wheat Thins, Ritz, or Triscuits).

Cream Cheese Icing (oh and cupcakes too)

April 21, 2008

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

My parents decided to throw a party with a bunch of family this past weekend. I knew it would be the perfect opportunity for me to bake something else. Yay! I wanted something that would please all ages and be easy to eat at a party. I had also been dying to make some Carrot Cake Cupcakes so I found a recipe on Food Network’s website by Ina Garten. I totally trust Ina so I knew they would be great. However, one thing I love about browsing recipes online is that you can read the reviews of people who have tried the recipe before. Most of the reviews mentioned the same problems with the recipe and offered solutions so I read them and modified accordingly.

Everyone at the party seemed to really enjoy them. The cupcakes were sooo moist and delcious but the real star was the icing. My dad and Alex are both “icing people” so I piled it on for them and I think they both appreciated it. Alex even admitted that despite thinking that he disliked Carrot Cake, he REALLY enjoyed these. He even ate the last one for breakfast this morning!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Source: Food Network (Ina Garten)

2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil (I used 1/3 c. of applesauce and 1 c. of oil)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 extra-large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups grated carrots (less than 1 pound)
1 cup raisins (I omitted)
1 cup chopped walnuts (I omitted)

For the frosting:
3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter. Mix until just combined.

Line muffin pans with paper liners. Scoop the batter into 22 muffin cups until each is 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cook for a further 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (I just baked on 350 for 35 minutes and they turned out perfect). Cool on a rack.

For the frosting, cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.

When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and serve.


Steak and Potatoes a la Alex

February 25, 2008

Ok, time to brag on my hubby! He’s a really great cook. The thing that I love about his cooking is that he does it SO differently from me. He is great at just “winging it” and he never has to follow a recipe! I love the fact that he can (and will) cook and it always turns out wonderfully. Tonight was one of those nights where I’m REALLY glad that we had planned for him to cook because I had a really rough day at work. I came home exhausted and completely frustrated and the last thing I wanted to do was cook.

Steak and Potatoes

Since he doesn’t follow a recipe so he has no idea the amounts he puts in but I’ll try to give you an idea of what he did based on what he tells me: Ok go!

Grilled Steaks a la Alex
Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Liquid Smoke

Garlic Salt

Black Pepper

Ground Cumin

Rub liquids into steak and then sprinkle seasonings over steaks. Grill to your doneness of choice.

Potatoes and Green Beans on the Grill

Green Beans (trimmed)

Red Potatoes (cut into chunks)

Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Garlic Salt

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper



Combine all and coat in seasonings. Place in a foil packet and grill until tender.

Everything turned out SO yummy and I am so proud of him for this meal.  Great job,babe! Love you!


February 12, 2008

Welcome to my brand new food blog! I am so excited to start one of these after having read so many people’s blogs over the past couple years.

I will warn you, however, that my entries may not be all that exciting over the next couple of months because my husband is in the Army and we are stationed in Ft. Huachuca, AZ for 4 1/2 months. During those months the Army is paying for us to live in a hotel for the entire time rather than getting an apartment. It’s interesting to say the least! I can’t really complain about the daily housekeeping that gets done while I’m at work everyday BUT I can definitely complain about the lack of a real kitchen. We stay in a “suite” with a kitchenette that consists of two TINY burners, a mini-fridge, no counter space whatsoever, and – the worst part – NO OVEN! That means no baking for me until April which comes at the worst possible time because right before we moved here I was really starting to enjoy experimenting with baking yeast bread. You’ll have to excuse my lack of excitement for the first couple months. I pretty much have to keep the meals to “one-pot” style things or else I just don’t have room.

My blog is named “The Spicy Skillet” because I love love love spicy foods and my hubby helped me think of the name. 🙂 That doesn’t mean that there won’t be sweet treats featured though…I have a major sweet tooth!! I hope you come back and read some of my entries every now and then and please feel free to leave comments/opinions on what I could do better, etc. Thanks for visiting and “yall come back soon now ya hear!”(That’s the Texan in me coming out now.)