I should be packing. I should be packing. I should be packing. The day-after-tomorrow my sweet husband and I will hit the road for a 9-day East Coast trek: DC, Connecticut, Boston, Laconia (NH), and the White Mountains will be our destinations - full of family, friends, and adventures. We're quite excited. But tonight we decided on quick dinner and last minute errand running because tomorrow will be food with family and then a pack-a-thon that will hopefully allow us decent shut-eye before our 6 am departure on Thursday.
Anyway, tonight we were debating a quick dinner out (El Torero ... best Mexican not in Mexico ... $12 every time we go ... unless we get beer, and then it's $16) or a quick dinner at home. Since we picked up a gorgeous box of CSA goodies on Sunday and I'll be deprived of a WHOLE BOX while we're gone (if anyone wants to buy it from us and pick it up ... $32.50 and it's yours!), we decided to eat at home.
Which meant we had about 1 hour to cook and eat and my goal was to incorporate as much of our CSA into dinner as possible. So I turned to a standby favorite from these past few months: Summer Shepherd's Pie.
I love it because there is no recipe. I have a loose idea of what it needs to be: something on the bottom, then mashed potatoes, then cheese. And that's about all there is to know. (This is my admittedly very liberal interpretation of traditional shepherd's pie which is something like ground lamb + corn + mashed potatoes on top. Tasty, but not exactly healthy.)
I love it because it is pretty ... different brightly colored vegetables, roasted to bring out their hues and flavors, hiding underneath the potatoes. It's delightful.
And I love it because it's easy. And fast. And truly impossible to mess up. Some nights we do all veggies, some nights we add meat (chicken, sausage, beef ... whatever the CSA brings). There are always leftovers for lunch - usually enough for both of us.
It's a good thing I love it, because we eat it a lot. But the flavor changes each time depending on what we have in our box, so it's not like eating the same old thing every week. It's a celebration of the CSA. And I love it! (In case you didn't get that the first 5 times I said it.)
Veggies to roast! Oven at 400 until everything else is ready to assemble. Red tomato, green tomato, green and yellow pattypan squash, garlic:
Microwaved corn! Easiest way to cook it (I take it to work all the time like this) - wrap in wax paper, microwave for 1:30 per ear. Voila!
And tonight I pulled some sausage from the freezer that we got a few weeks ago in the CSA, uncased it, and cooked it on the stove:
Meanwhile, potatoes were boiling away for the mashed potato topping:
Corn + Roasted Veggies + Sausage
Potatoes + cream (the real stuff) + butter (the real stuff):
Seal the veggies and meat in with the potatoes and top with cheese (again, whatever is in the fridge works fine ... tonight I had cheddar and mozzarella):
Bake for 10-ish minutes until bubbly and enjoy!
So on nights like this when the easy answer is "quick bite out," it's sometimes worth the 30 minutes that you would spend driving/ordering/stuffing your face with chips and salsa to just find whatever is in the fridge and making shepherd's pie.
And on nights like this when you don't want to cook, clean, or eat healthy, Mexican is never the wrong decision.