Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Guinness Hunter’s Pie March 17, 2013

Filed under: Casserole,comfort food,Fall/Winter — hmills96 @ 7:14 pm

The man I’m marrying lives and breathes Notre Dame. He’s got auburn hair and green eyes (Yes, Jen. Green eyes. Not blue.) He’s stubborn, opinionated, and loving. He’s about as Irish American as you get in Indiana.

I have some Irish blood somewhere along my mutt pedigree but I’ve never taken St Paddy’s day very seriously. The last few years, it’s just meant a couple of beers at one of my favorite old pubs up in Muncie, where they always have some live bluegrass music playing.

This year, and probably every year from here on out, it meant waking up to Guinness instead of orange juice. A tradition I am quite OK with. And normally, he would make corned beef hash…a tradition I am not quite OK with yet. We had biscuits and gravy this morning because we forgot to stop by the store last night.

A friend of mine was given some venison yesterday and, luckily for me, found out that she’s not such a fan. Knowing that I have a much more adventurous palate, she knew I’d probably like it. YES! What a better way to use it on St Patrick’s Day than in a Shepherd’s Pie!

This was sooooo yummy. For those of you who enjoy the gaminess of venison, this dish is perfect for it. It makes the gravy even more savory than it normally would be with lamb or beef. If you don’t like the gaminess, you can certainly make this with “normal” meats.

Guinness Hunter’s Pie
Adapted from

1 Tbsp olive oil
4 medium carrots, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 lb venison
1 cup frozen peas
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup Guinness
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup beef broth
6 cups mashed potatoes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat olive oil over med high heat. Cook carrots until just tender, add onion and cook for another minute.

Add venison and cook until browned. Season with salt and pepper.

Add butter and peas.

Sprinkle with flour and stir.

Add tomato paste, Guinness, and Worcestershire.

Let reduce slightly, then add broth. Reduce until sauce is thick. Remove from heat.

Grease casserole dish. Pour in meat sauce. Spoon mashed potatoes on top.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes or just browned on top.


Homemade Mac & Cheese April 26, 2010

J & I had a lazy day today. He worked late last night, and I stayed up watching a movie, so we slept in. We did get some dishes and laundry done, but for the most part, the day was spent killing droids on our favorite video game- Star Wars Battlefront II. We are nerds, what I can say? This just means that I really do need to be productive tomorrow. These past few days of dreary weather have made me into a sloth.

After a long, hard day of doing nothing, especially when it’s cold and rainy, is there anything better than comfort food? Plus, I always have cheese, milk, and pasta in my pantry.

This recipe was really good, J loved it and I’m sure he’ll be begging for this one quite often. It’s smooth and creamy, and I really liked the bread crumb topping, which isn’t really popular around here (our potluck macs usually have cheesy toppings).

This is one of those recipes that you can play around with a little bit. Once you have the base cheese sauce, you can mix and match your spices–tonight I used that sun-dried tomato spice you see me use all the time, and a little nutmeg. Some other night I might use thyme or rosemary. An Italian mix would be good in this as well. Guys, this is the great thing about cooking. You may see me do some fancier recipes on here. But if you’re not comfortable with those yet, grab a few of the simpler ones, get comfortable with them, and mix up the spices. Most groceries carry ALL KINDS of spice combos now, so does Pampered Chef. Play with your food!

mmmm warm and creamy!

Mac & Cheese

Adapted from Ella says Opa!


2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 shredded parmesan
1 tsp sun-dried tomato spice mix
2 oz shredded cheddar cheese


1/2 stick butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp nutmeg
2 cups milk
1/2 cup cream
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt & Pepper
1 tsp Sun-dried tomato spice mix

1/2 lb elbow macaroni pasta

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

For the topping–Mix together all the ingredients in a small bowl with a fork. Set aside for later.

Boil water, salt. Add pasta. Cook for only 3/4 the recommended time. Pasta should be VERY al dente, so it does not get soggy while baking.

In a Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and nutmeg, and continue whisking over heat for about 3 minutes until slightly browned.

Slowly whisk in milk and cream. Bring to boil, then lower heat to medium low and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until thickened.

Add handful of cheese, whisk until smooth. Add more cheese, whisk until smooth. Continue until all cheese is added. Add mustard, Worcester, and spices; stir until smooth. Add macaroni. Sprinkle topping over the pasta.

Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, until topping is golden brown.

**Note–If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can make the sauce in a large sauce pan, then transfer everything to a baking dish before putting it in the oven.


Taco Pasta with Boom Boom Sauce February 26, 2010

Filed under: Beef,Casserole,cheese,Freezer Meals,Mexican,pasta — hmills96 @ 10:20 pm

I could not believe how much better I felt today! I always hate taking time off work, but when I have a MFH, sometimes I just have to cut my losses and stay in bed. I made the right decision this time–luckily I have some pretty awesome coworkers who understood and who are perfectly capable of handling things without me (although I’m sure they missed me terribly…right????).

I had been planning on making this recipe a few days ago, but, obviously, it just wasn’t happening. Instead, it made for a perfect Friday night meal for a hungry husband. J. had planned on going to a friend’s apartment for guy’s night but the weather is getting pretty nasty so he decided to stay in. He’s disappointed, but I think he won out with this tasty meal. He kept raving about it–I think I made him happy with this one 🙂

Taco Pasta!

Taco Pasta

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Ultimate Casseroles

1/2 box Jumbo shell pasta
1 16-oz jar salsa
1 lb ground beef
4 oz cream cheese, cut up
2 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp taco seasoning
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped tomato

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Soak in cold water for 1 minute; drain again.

Pour salsa into casserole dish; spread evenly. In skillet, brown beef. Drain fat. Stir in cream cheese and seasonings. Cool slightly.

Spoon meat into pasta shells. Arrange shells on top of salsa.

Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake, uncovered, about 15 minutes more. Sprinkle with tomato.

Serve with Boom Boom Sauce.

Mrs. Top Gun's Boom Boom Sauce

Boom Boom Sauce

Adapted from Mrs. Top Gun

4 Jalapeno peppers, seeded
1 cup sour cream
4 oz cream cheese
Large handful cilantro
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
Salt to taste

Seed and rib jalapenos (or don’t if you like it REALLY spicy. I didn’t, J. loved it but it was a bit much for me). Quarter, then place in food processor with cilantro and garlic. Pulse until pureed. Add sour cream, cream cheese and cream. Pulse until smooth. Add milk until you get the consistency you want. Salt to taste.

J. says this is his new favorite food!

*Note–This is not the original size of the recipe from the magazine. It called for 2 1/2 lbs of ground beef! I still had enough for 4 people to have at least 4 shells. Fortunately, this is a meal that will freeze well!!


Easy Chicken Casserole November 24, 2009

Filed under: Casserole,Chicken,NaBloWriMo — hmills96 @ 2:59 am

This is definitely not the healthiest dinner ever, but it was so so satisfying. I was craving some serious comfort food and this definitely fit the bill. There’s nothing complicated about this one, this is the kind of casseroley type of dinner that my friends and I grew up on, a kind of half home cooked. (I hesitate to use the term “semi homemade” because that just brings up the horrible image of that god awful drugged blonde host.)

Chicken and Rice Bake
Adapted from
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup (or cream of mushroom, or cream of broccoli or cheddar cheese, play around!)
3/4 cup rice
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp seasoning blend
2 chicken breasts
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Stir the soup with rice, soup, paprika and pepper in 2 quart baking dish. Place chicken on top. Sprinkle your favorite seasoning blend on top of chicken.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Serve with some kind of green veggie (peas are delicious!).