Chili shepherd’s pie

Mix a batch of Betty Crocker Garlic&Herb Mashed Potatoes. In a pie plate, mix together one tube of mechanically-separated turkey meat and one can of turkey chili with beans. Layer the potatoes on top, put in a 370 degree oven until the upper tips of the potatoes are dark brown.

Result?¬†Daughter Allison’s response was “I’ll want seconds. LARGE seconds.” So I’ll take that as a success.

Published in: on April 5, 2015 at 10:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

The colonel’s shepherd’s pie

The main impetus for this own was leftovers from a Kentucky Fried Chicken meal from a couple days ago.


  • 1 lb. ground turkey which appears to have a fair amount of mechanically-separated turkey in it.
  • Leftover baked beans (not KFC)
  • Leftover KFC green beans, about half a large order
  • Leftover KFC gravy, 90% of a container
  • Leftover small potatoes, baby carrots, and “fiestaflower” (a genetically-orange cauliflower) that had been in the crockpot with Monday’s corned beef, all chopped up
  • raisins
  • one extra large egg
  • About half a container of leftover KFC mashed potatoes, which turned out not to be enough to spread across most of the top; somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 is thinly covered. Had I mashed potato mix on hand, I would’ve used it.

This is all in there for a half an hour a 375 degrees – I’ll go Fahrenheit this time. Then I’ll be turning the oven off and letting it coast, while I head out to pick up the kids; I cannot bring myself to leave the oven on in an empty house. We’ll see what it looks like when I get back, whether it needs more time or if it’s overdone. (It’ll almost certainly be moist; that was watery gravy. I wonder how the gravy flavor fights the baked beans for supremacy.)

Published in: on July 26, 2012 at 11:45 pm  Comments (1)  

The One With The Potatoes

Last night’s meatloaf was largely free of unusual ingredients, and followed the recent tradition of making them in pie form, rather than as a loaf.

Primary ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of mechanically-separated turkey
  • leftover rice
  • a mixture of peas and mixed vegetables, which I suppose leaves you with mixed vegetables, but mixed vegetables with a different ratio of vegetables than what one supposes when one says “mixed vegetables”
  • a handful of raisins
  • some garlic bread seasoning

This was all mushed together and ladeled into two glass pie plates. It is here where the differentiation began:

  • Pie A: topped with leftover pizza sauce which had been gotten with an order of calzones, and some Queso Blanco Velveeta (because they were selling big bricks of it at the 99 Cents Only store)
  • Pie B: I made some mashed potatoes from a mix – bought Betty Crocker Homstyle Creamy Butter, which says on the front “Made with 100% real mashed potatoes With butter”.¬† Then when I went to make them, discovered that one of the ingredients it’s your job to add to the mix is… butter. I guess I should feel lucky that I didn’t have to add potatoes. Anyway, layered the mashed potatoes on the pie before baking.

Both were thrown into a 400 degree oven for until-they-were-quite-baked, 25 or 30 minutes or so. Also threw into the oven some frozen green beans and some frozen King’s Hawaiian rolls.


Quite, quite good, with everyone asking for seconds. A general preference for pie B, which we were referring to as shepherd’s pie, and to the best of my knowledge not illegitimately. The baked mash potatoes worked out quite well. Certainly my favorite, and even the person who said she didn’t like B then requested B for today’s lunch. Was surprised that the chunks of Velveeta didn’t spread out and integrate itself better into pie A; the lumps of Velveeta stayed in tight little puddles that came easily separated from the meat… but still good eating.

Published in: on November 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm  Comments (2)  

Collaborative meatloaf

This meatloaf effort is a collaboration between myself and wee Miss Allison. Ingredients:


  • 1.25 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 pound mechanically separated turkey
  • leftover peas
  • leftover mix vegetables
  • a hearty chunk of leftover rice
  • one packet of taco sauce (a comes-with-a-box-of-taco-shells style packet, not a little heres-some-taco-sauce-and-ketchups-from-the-drive-thru packet)
  • raisins (4 little girl handfuls)
  • leftover couscous, of coursecourse

Suggested as an ingredient was peanut butter, but I vetoed that.

Allison wanted it pie-shaped, but we found that there was too much for one pie plate, so we had to make two. And as long as we were making two, we made them unique. One had, as a topping, a shredded 3-cheese mixture, and the other, at Allison’s urging, used a powdered garlic mixture generally intended to make garlic bread with. (I think the garlic did more for the scent of that pie than for the taste, but it was detectable with the palate.)

Results: “If you like crispy edges, then meatloaf pies are the way to go” said the reviewer, Allison. Overall, fairly good, quite edible; not the absolute best of the meatloafs, but well into the good range.

Published in: on October 11, 2011 at 9:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Goldfish Meatloaf, take 2

Last night was meatloaf night again. I now make sure Allison makes one idea contribution to each meatloaf, thus ensuring her support for it. This time, she remembered me saying that I’d used Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers in an earlier meatloaf, so she wanted that. I point out that it hadn’t worked out so well last time, as the crackers hadn’t soaked into the meatloaf, so they ended up as burnt bits. We agreed that the crackers should be ground down.


  • one school of goldfish
  • about 20 ounces of ground beef. That’s right, boys and girls – beef this time, not turkey
  • one container of leftover rice from a Pickup Stix order earlier that week
  • leftover peas
  • leftover whole wheat spaghetti, chopped up
  • two packets of light soy sauce
  • one large egg
  • a bit of spaghetti sauce
  • a lot more spaghetti sauce
  • shredded cheese blend

Mixed together everything except the more spaghetti sauce and the cheese. Put into a glass pie plate, because Mrs. Nat’s TV has decided that she likes that form better, as it has more surface area and thus more opportunities for the burnt bits that remind her of her dear mother’s overcooking. Topped with more spaghetti sauce. Put it in a getting-to-375 over for a reasonable while, adding cheese on top about 2/3s of the way through.

Result: success in the eyes of everyone but the not-quite-2-year old, who just wasn’t in to eating last night. Not as good as the previous one, and I could have let it cook a mite longer to satisfy the Mrs. and her desire for hideously charred flesh.

Published in: on June 26, 2011 at 12:44 am  Leave a Comment  

After a long pause – a meatloaf!

My 6 year old daughter has been a little reluctant about meatloaf, so to get her on my side, I asked her to join in with me on building this one.


  • 20 ounces of ground turkey
  • the last few bread crumbs in a canister
  • leftover rice from a packaged orange chicken dinner a few nights back – included either soy or lima beans, and orange and yellow carrots
  • one egg, extra large
  • half of the frozen packet of gravy we had left over from our Thanksgiving turkey
  • a 6 year old’s handful-and-a-half of golden raisins (a variation from our usual use of non-golden raisins)
  • three or four potato wedges left over from last night’s Monday Night Special – a deal at a local supermarket where we get a rotisserie chicken, a pound of potato salad, a pound of potato wedges, four rolls, and a 2-liter soft drink for $7.99. My young assistant wanted to add pieces of the chicken, but remembered that too late.
  • the remnants of a bottle of Classico Tomato & Basil sauce, at her urging.
  • whatever was remaining in a packet of Trader Giotto’s Quattro Fromagio

We put this all in a pie plate, to make a pie-shaped meatloaf (which I’m actually wary of, as it’s too much surface area for the volume, too much crunchy edge for the soft innards), spreading the tomato sauce across the top, and adding the cheese to the top in mid-cooking (making it arguably a cheeseburger pie rather than a meatloaf). Cooked at 375 until it looked like it didn’t need any more cooking.

Result: quite yummy! The best meatloaf in a long while, with my collaborator judging it to be the best she ever had.

Published in: on June 8, 2011 at 1:25 am  Leave a Comment  

A fairly basic meatloaf


  • Two one-bound tubes of cheap ground turkey from the 99 Cents Only store
  • One container of brown rice left over from Sunday’s Pick-Up Stix takeout
  • Some leftover peas
  • Some raisins (also from 99 Cents Only)
  • One medium egg (again, 99 Cents Only)
  • Whatever was left of the Trader Joe’s Marinara sauce (quite low sodium) – not very much

Result: nothing genius, but quite edible, no problems, generally quite good considering the cheap, probably mechanically-separate turkey and the lack of a sodiumy sauce. No complaints. Well, Ben did throw some, but that’s the Benster.

  • Whatever was left of some mild salsa – not very much
Published in: on October 28, 2010 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

The one with too much rice

I had too much ground turkey in the freezer, so I let one 20-ounce package defrost for a few days. It’d been too long since I did a meatloaf anyway (except for a store-bought -pre-mixed together salty bit of ho-hum I did a month or so back.)

This one:

  • The ground turkey
  • Leftover rice, which didn’t look like much but really overwhelmed the small amount of meat.
  • Some Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal
  • Two eggs
  • Raisins
  • Left over salse from the Mexican deli where we’d gotten authentic tacos a week or earlier
  • Sweet and sour sauce left over from some Trader Joe’s tempura chicken we’d had the night before, poured over the top.

The result? lackluster. A surprisingly white loaf with a vague spice heat and vague sweetness but neither winning or making an impression. Excessive rice. Food, okay food, but certainly not good food.

Published in: on June 4, 2010 at 5:24 am  Leave a Comment  

The one with the gravy

Tonight’s meatloaf:

  • 16 ounces of ground turkey, in burger form (it was cheaper)
  • 12 ounces extra firm tofu
  • a pint of brown rice left over from a Pick-up Stix order from a couple days back
  • raisins
  • one medium egg, raw
  • two sticks of mild cheddar cheese that my daughter requested we buy and then didn’t like
  • about half a packet of gravy that came with a frozen turkey we ate at least half a year back, probably closer to a year.

Result: yum. Yes, yes, the gravy probably made it horribly evil for me in terms of sodium, but still, yum.

Published in: on October 20, 2009 at 6:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Meatloaf log: the one with thrice-cooked chicken

Well, the in-laws were staying in town for about a week, supporting us with the birth of Ben and bringing in a lot of take-out food. Which means that it was time for a meatloaf, to help empty out the fridge from the stray little bits left there.


  • 16 oz of ground turkey, in the form of turkey burgers; on sale, 32 oz of turkey burgers cost a penny more than 20 oz of ground turkey.
  • 12 oz of extra-firm tofu, chopped
  • about a pint of leftover white rice
  • about three ounces of chicken that had already been cooked twice. It came from the Chinese place steamed, then I had woked up with a mix of sweet-n-sour sauce and what I think was a ginger sauce, both left over from the Chinese food order as well. The mixing of these two sauces had a notable effect – it left the cooked chciken almost exactly the same color pink that raw chicken normally has, which meant that eating it required fighting off some deep-seated alarms. Chopped up, and included a couple chopped peapods and one broccoli. (Ate out the pineapple pieces during prep.)
  • two half-pints of differing mysterious sauces left over from the Chinese order, one mixed into the loaf, a somewhat spicier one used as topping.
  • About a dozen raisins, because that’s all we had.
  • A little plastic thing of salsa, left from a Baja Fresh order
  • An even littler plastic thing of parmesan cheese, from Presto Pasta, the only drive-thru pasta place I can recall ever seeing (and even then, only one of their five locations has a drive-thru.)
  • An almost indetectible amount of crouton dust.

Forgot to add my usual egg, which helps hold it all together. Also remembered too late where the rest of the salsa packets were. Couldn’t find my loaf pan, so it’s all in a circular casserole dish, cooking uncovered.

Results: pretty good, I’d say. A bit rice-heavy; one could argue this was actually Rice Helper. But pretty good, hearty. The top was a bit spicy, too spicy for Allison, but all quite food.

Published in: on August 15, 2009 at 7:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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