This is a family recipe, one my mom wrote out on a recipe card, and kept in the blue recipe box. When Nicholas and I got married and I had to make "grown up" recipes, I scanned it and added it to a three-ring binder with other recipes, but I love that I see my mom's handwriting whenever I reference it. It's comfort food—easy to put together and yummy (as most comfort recipes are). Now, I've heavily modified it to add a bunch of veggies and alter the crust*, to better suit it to our tastes and the usual contents of our refrigerator. I tried several iterations of the recipe before settling on this one. It's a versatile, veggie-packed, meal-in-a-bowl, warm-you-up-as-the-temperatures-drop kind of meal. Halfway through supper, Nicholas said, "Now this is my kind of meal." I'd put it in the comfort food category, just in time for fall. But if you're ever a guest in the DeVries household, you may find that we eat it year-round, as we think it's too good to save it only for the cold months.
Grain-free pie crust
We don't eat grain free, but this a fast, throw-together recipe with consistent results, so it's become a go-to recipe, and it works with either sweet or savory fillings.
- 3/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
- 2 eggs
- pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Melt butter or oil in a small bowl, add flour, then eggs, and mix until well-combined. Press into a greased pie plate. Prick the crust in several places with a fork. Bake at 400 degrees for around 10 minutes, or until crust looks golden on the edges and dry in the center. Remove from oven and set aside. Note: Keep oven pre-heated at 400 degrees, if preparing the meat/veggie filling.
Grass-fed beef & veggie pie
Cook's note: I prefer to mince all the veggies finely to maintain more of a "pie" texture. Also, bear in mind that firmer veggies (carrots, pepper, onions, etc.) soften more slowly than other veggies, so I slice them extra thin. My general rule of thumb: when sautéing veggies, add firm veggies first, then add softer varieties (spinach, garlic, etc.) at the end, to avoid over-cooking.
- 1/2 small onion, minced (between 3/4 c. and 1 c.)
- 2-3 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
- a few generous handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced (I used my garlic press)
- any other small amount of veggie you have on hand, chopped* (peppers work well, too)
- mushrooms, sliced, for topping (optional)
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp sage (if using fresh sage, about 6 leaves, minced)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 lb lean grass-fed beef
- 1/3 cup cottage cheese (or plain yogurt or ricotta)
- 1/3 cup organic ketchup
- cheddar cheese, shredded, for topping (optional)
In a medium sauce pan, sauté veggies until soft (see cook's note above), adding spinach and garlic when all other veggies are nearly soft, to avoid over-cooking. Transfer cooked veggies to a glass bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, over medium heat, brown the beef, adding the spices and salt and pepper, as you go. Once meat is browned, remove from heat.
To veggie mix, add browned beef, cottage cheese, and ketchup. Stir until well-combined, and spread into prepared crust. Add desired toppings (we use a half-and-half method, mushrooms for me, cheese for him). Bake in 400 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until bubbling at the edges and cheese is melted and beginning to brown. Serve hot, in bowls, as it can be a bit messy. Oh, and save some for lunch the next day, the leftovers are so good. Enjoy!
I love the cooler months for the feel of them, in every way. I love cold-weather clothing, and candles, and the idea of slower, soothing months, where life doesn't feel so hectic. I love the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I love a good comfort food meal, that you can start in the afternoon, and let it simmer while doing laundry or a pre-dinner tidy of your home. This chili is that food for me. It's not altogether pretty, but you could always add some color by way of green pepper or jalepenos, etc. It's very mix-and-matchable and well-suited to whatever you have in your pantry. For us, that's chickpeas and lentils, since Nicholas isn't a huge fan of pinto/navy beans, etc. These ingredients afford a "traditional" enough chili for me, with a texture he enjoys as well.
Baked PB oatmeal or just "PB oatmeal" as we fondly call it, serves as our breakfast at least 300 mornings of the year. I've mentioned it about one million times on the blog, since I've been making is for us ever since Summer posted the recipe almost exactly five years ago, but I've never actually shared the recipe and how I make it. Over time, I've adjusted a few things and tweaked it to it's current state. I adore recipes like this that I can make again and again. We eat a lot of eggs for any meal of the day, and so it's nice to have an egg-free breakfast option. And I really love the idea of a make-ahead breakfast that will reheat easily and fill us up with both protein and carbs.
Yesterday, I stopped by my friend Jessica's house to see her and her son. I played with her little boy while she chopped veggies for a meal she was bringing to a friend that night. Whereas I prefer to follow a recipe, since I'm nervous that my kitchen experiments won't turn out, Jessica is naturally good at using up all the food in the fridge, coming up with new combinations and just "throwing together" a meal, or following a recipe with modifications, based on what she has on hand.