Random Quote + Superheroes + Contemporary Shepard’s Pie

IMG_8318 Contemporary Shepard's PieIMG_8318

Today I was struck by a marvelous quote. No, it’s not particularly inspirational. It’s way over 140 characters long, so it’s not a good ‘tweetable’ quote and it’s probably not the type of quote you’ll find on Pinterest. It won’t change your life…but it will make you think.  I quote Gabrielle Palmer, from The Politics of Breast Feeding:

If a multinational company developed a product that was a nutritionally balanced and delicious food, a wonder drug that both prevented and treated disease, cost almost nothing to produce and could be delivered in quantities controlled by the consumers’ needs, the very announcement of their find would send their shares rocketing to the top of the stock market.  The scientists who developed the product would win prizes and the wealth and influence of everyone involved would increase dramatically.  Women have been producing such a miraculous substance, breastmilk, since the beginning of human existence.  ~Gabrielle Palmer

This quote was referred to  in a talk on The Role of Infant Feeding in the Prevention of Obesity, presented  at the North Carolina regional dietetic meeting by Lindsay Hurd, MS, RD, LDN, IBCLC.  It makes me feel good about having breast fed my own children,  supporting young mothers who want to breast feed their infants  and reminds me that women are truely superheroes!!!

But, after sitting in a meeting all day, I don’t feel like a superhero, and I don’t feel like making dinner.  It’s beautiful outside. Enough said.  Fortunately, I anticipated what I’d  feel like late Friday afternoon  and I prepped a make-ahead meal earlier in the week. Today’s post is that meal. . . I have taken a dated recipe for shepard’s pie and made it contemporary.  The origial recipe must have come out  the 50’s when it was hip to throw a can of soup in with some other ingredients and serve a casserole.  I replaced the canned tomato soup in the authentic recipe with grape tomatoes, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. The result is a less processed casserole with an ‘in vogue’ taste.

Breast feeing as a nutritionally superior way to feed our babies has stood the test of time. Casseroles made with canned soup as a quick way to get dinner on the table, not so much.

Shepherd’s Pie

serves 4-6

by Diane Boyd


  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pound green beans, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
  • 4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
  • 3 oz. sharp cheddar cheese


1. In a large skillet, cook meat and onion till meat is lightly browned and onion is tender. Drain off fat.

2. In a medium sauce pan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add green beans and steam for about 10 minutes.

3. In a second skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar; cook 3 minutes. Stir in green beans, cooked beef, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Mix to combine.

4. Pour mixture into a casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes.

5 At this point you can refrigerate for up to two days.

6. Remove from refrigerator and top with  grated cheese.

5 Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through.

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Copycat Ginger-Sesame Braised Chicken Meatballs

Copycat Ginger-Sesame Braised Chicken MeatballsIMG_8276Copycat Ginger-Sesame Braised Chicken MeatballsYesterday I enjoyed running my errands.  The sun was out. It was eighty degrees! So I purposely parked a distance from my destination to fit in a little window shopping at the Mayfaire Town Center.  I don’t know about you, but for me, gazing at the the Williams- Sonoma display is eye candy. Springtime inspired dishware, patterned linens, and pastel placemats loured me in! Resisting impluse, I left with only the April 2014 catalogue. In addition to the beautiful images, this issue has several nice recipes.  Today’s recipe is one of them. I made a few substitutions, omissions and my very own ginger-sesame braising sauce. My daughter calls it swoon worthy. Hope you enjoy!

Copycat Ginger-Sesame Braised Chicken Meatballs

Copycat Ginger-Sesame Braised Chicken Meatballs

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (serves 4)

    for the meatballs

    • 1 pound ground chicken
    • 1/4 cup panko
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
    • 1/4 cup thinnly sliced green onions
    • 1 clove minced garlic
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • nonstick cooking spray
    • 1 Tablespoon Canola oil
    • 1/2 pound baby portabella mushrooms, quartered

    for the ginger sesame braising sauce

    • 2 Tablespoons sugar
    • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
    • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
    • 1 Tablespoon Dijon style mustard
    • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

    to serve

    • steamed white rice
    • steamed snow peas
    • oyster sauce to taste
    • garnish :toasted sesame seeds and green onions


    1.In a medium bowl combine chicken, eggs, panko, ginger, green onions, garlic, and sea salt. Stir well and form into one inch meatballs.

    2. Add the meatballs to a saute pan sprayed with cooking oil, and cook over medium high heat. When browned, place meatballs into a slow cooker.

    3. Add one tablespoon of canola oil to saute pan and cook mushrooms over medium heat, until they release liquid. Add mushroom to meatballs in slow cooker.

    4. Mix ingredients for ginger-sesame braising sauce and pour over meatballs and mushrooms.

    5. Cook on high for 2 hours, stirring once halfway through.

    Serve over steamed rice and steamed snow peas. Finish with oyster sauce and garnish with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

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