Shepard’s Pie, On the Fly…



I buy my burger in #10 lb tubes from local purveyor for around $2.00 @ lb.

That being said, I make a dozen huge burgers, 2 @ pkg frozen.

And a few 1 lb frozen portions for whatever…Anyways, this is MY short-cut version of Shepard’s Pie.. ūüôā

¬†I’ve made it this way for around 10 years if it’s just me. For company, I make it from scratch.

Here’s what you need.

1lb Burger, (I don’t care what kind)

1 Lg pkg Steamer Mixed Veggies

1 Pkg Instant Mashed Potatoes

1 Pkg Good Brown  Gravy (anything really)

1 Frozen Pie Shell

Preheat Oven to 350′,

Brown Burger, drain set aside.

Nuke Veggies, Potatoes & Gravy.

Layer, Burger, Veggies, 1 Cup of Gravy, Potatoes. In that order. Season to taste.

I used a foil wrap on the fluted edge of pie shell for 1/2 the cooking time.

 Make sure to use a decent pan or cookie sheet under the pie tin.

(That’s my 16″ heavy-duty pizza pan I’m cooking it on.)

This pic I put Prov/Mozz cheese under the broiler for 4 minutes.

No Cheese, Bake @ 350′ 35 to 40 minutes, removing foil wrap after 20 minutes.

Reheat remaining gravy and pour  over plated servings.

Cook till the tips of potatoes start to brown.


Orange/ Ginger Sauce *today on Salmon*

This is a very versatile sauce, which can be used as a marinade as well. I also use this for a pasta dish with shrimp.

Use fresh ingredients, dried ginger & garlic SUCK for cooking.

3/4 tbsp Ginger (use a micro-plane)

1/2 tbsp Garlic Paste

1/3 C Orange Juice

1/4 Soy Sauce (I use light colored soy)

1/4 C honey

1 tbl Rice Wine Vinegar


This recipe scales, so just multiply for larger quantities.

Marinate salmon fillets for 15 minutes before grilling, and baste every time you turn or move the salmon while grilling.

Garnish with grilled orange slices and chopped chives or scallions.

I eliminate the soy sauce when Im using this for anything other than fish.

Grilled Chicken

Grilled Lemon and Herb Chicken Thighs

Optional special equipment: Small food processor

Serves 4-6


2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

3 sprigs rosemary, stems removed

3 sprigs oregano, stems removed

1 small bunch basil, about 20 leaves

3 tbsp. parsley

3 tbsp. chives, roughly chopped

1 shallot, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, halved

Salt and pepper

 6 tbsp. vegetable oil 

2 lemons, zest and juice


Begin by making the herb mixture. Finely chop, or in a small food processor combine the rosemary, oregano, basil, parsley, chives, garlic, shallot, 1 ¬Ĺ tbsp. of salt, sprinkling of pepper, vegetable oil and the zest of 2 lemons. Pulse to combine into a chunky paste.

Add chicken to a large resealable bag. Pour the paste over the chicken thighs and gently massage, making sure to coat every piece.

Refrigerate for 2 hours up to 6.

Preheat grill to medium heat, about 350F. Clean and oil grates.

¬†Grill chicken pieces for about 20-25 minutes. Flipping every so often and making sure the chicken doesn’t burn. You want a nice char and the fat to render.

 Remove from grill and juice 1 lemon over the hot chicken. Sprinkle with any of the leftover fresh chopped herbs as well as a light sprinkling of salt.

The BEST wing/ buffalo sauce you’ve ever had


Ever wonder how the average bar/ pub/ tavern etc, has GREAT wings & sauce?

Wonder no more, I’m going to share my recipe, (a kicked up version)

that a ton of establishments use all across America.

Frank’s Hot Sauce 14 or 18 oz bottle (regular, not the wing sauce)

2 Sticks butter

2 Tbsp Garlic Paste, (in the vegg section of store)

1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire

4 DROPS Liquid Smoke (hickory)

Pinch Kosher Salt

Optional – 1/8 Tbsp Ginger Paste



Clarify butter, remove the fat, (the layer that is on top)

Wisk all together. Viola!!!

I have tried¬† every method of using whole garlic, “Paste” is only way to eliminate a gritty texture.

This recipe yields a “MILD” sauce.

Medium – reduce butter to one stick

Hot – reduce butter to 1/2 stick

By clarifying butter, you can keep this in the fridge for 3 or so weeks.

If you will use all the sauce in 2 days, you can skip clarifying, but I don’t recommend it.

Au Jus, & Gravy Base


I use this for French Onion & other soups, but also as my main ingredient for Au Jus.

I substitute The skimmed pan drippings from *a Ribroast or Prime Rib- hint* for water.

Just heat in small sauce pan, & reduce to whatever you like.


Here’s the Chicken base.

It make the best all around light gravy on a consistent  basis.


Here’s the Ham Base,

I use it for crock-pot Ham (hock) & Beans.

And is a great substitute for Rendered Pork Fat or Bacon when making Clam Chowder.

Ribroast, Prime Rib that will impress everyone.


You’ll need a good thermometer, roasting pan with a rack.

Lots of minced garlic, (don’t use the pre-made stuff it doesn’t cook well)

Kosher salt, (table salt is just nasty stuff)

FRESH cracked pepper.

Have the butcher separate the meat from the bone, and have butchers twine to tie it back to ribcage after applying the rub.

Bring the roast to room temp (45 minutes) then generously add the garlic. salt & pepper. Don’t skimp.

Pre-heat oven to 375′

Place roast, rib side down on rack, and then in pan.

Place in middle of oven, cook for ONE HOUR and turn off heat.


40 minutes before serving turn oven back on.

Just to re-heat the roast. (10 minutes or so.


Remove from oven, tent with foil to rest for 15 minutes.


Creamy Horsey-sauce

About ¬ľ to ¬Ĺ cup of prepared horseradish mixed with two cups of sour cream.
Add two tablespoons of lemon juice and 3/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt.
Thoroughly mix the ingredients, adding more horseradish as desired.

I’m adding an older post about¬† temps.

There are several ways to check for meat temps.

Above is an instant read thermometer. I recommend buying one like this, as it gives readings in under 3 seconds.

It’s one of the best investments you can make for you kitchen , smoker or grill.

Experienced cooks use tongs or their fingers. A method of checking for “resistance” (not the electrical kind :o)

As meat passes certain temperature thresholds, the resistance increases in correlation to generally used terms, rare/ medium-rare/ medium/ & shoe leather (well done)!!


Not only are there different temps used for beef & poultry, but also for what type of cooking method you’re using.

Here’s a quick graph for using a smoker. (I have devoted several chapters to smoking)

Smoking is one of my favorite ways to cook, and needs to be covered in detail at a later time.


I’m sure you’ve seen & heard about the “hand” method, well here you go!

I know 5 different ways to do this, but I’ll post 2 of the easiest methods. (pay attention, test to follow)

1) Palm method; the pics show where to test your hand, in relation to what you “feel” with your tongs or finger.

1) Rare  2) Medium  3) Shoe Leather (well done)


Web Method;

1) Rare, starting from the soft fleshy web part between your thumb & index finger, lightly tap or squeeze.

2) Medium, same as above, but halfway further towards the back of your hand.

3) Shoe Leather, the space right before where the thumb & back of hand meet.

Any one of the “hand” methods are the fastest & most general to use, BUT require some getting used to.


Here’s some quick info for cooking Beef. I’ll cover poultry in tomorrows post.




Holiday Ham that doesn’t dry out


  Use a spiral cut ham, and leave completely wrapped.

Place the wrapped ham in a container with hot tap water for 45 to 60 minutes.

Remove from wrapper and place in an oven bag.

Set oven to 250′, with a rack in lower half.

Make a few slits in oven bag and place flat side down in a shallow pan.

Bake for 60 to 90 minutes or when internal temp is 100′

Remove from oven, and increase heat to 350′

Cut open bag, at top to expose ham, and baste with glaze.

Cook for 10 minutes, remove from oven.

“Tent” ham with foil loosely on a cutting board for 15 minutes.

Carve at table with remaining glaze in a gravy boat.

Maple Orange Glaze:

1/4 Cup Maple syrup

1/2 Cup Orange marmalade

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp fesh cracke pepper

1/4 Tsp FRESH ground Cinnamon

Cook over medium heat until reduced to 1 Cup.

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