family · food · life · what's for dinner?

cold days and comfort food

Following a few lovely days, we were faced with a cold and dreary one.  It could mean only one thing…comfort food.  Several of my kids’ favourite meals are comfort foods:  meatloaf, shepherd’s pie, chicken pot pie.  In fact, a couple of them would even choose this type of dinner for their special birthday meal.  I know…out of all the rare and delicious, exotic meals to choose from, they would opt for the familiar and comfortable. I don’t get it either.  I would choose scallops drizzled with some sort of silky sauce.  Or chicken oscar…chicken served with asparagus and crab and hollandaise.  Greek, Indian, and Asian cuisine…oh my.

My darling dairy-free girl asked for shepherd’s pie.  Perfect…I already had leftover potatoes.  Half-way done.  I thought about switching it up a bit.   A friend had come over some time ago and taught us to make our own fresh curry powder and garam masala (you can find similar recipes here and here).  He weighed out the various spices, in whole form, dry roasted them and ground them up.  What an amazing aroma filled the kitchen.  I was anxious to try something else with this ambrosia.  (I had made a tikka masala with it…perhaps I’ll share that recipe some time.)

“How about curried shepherd’s pie,” I inquired.  My Love was all in; my df girl agreed.

I decided to keep it pretty simple:  I cooked the ground beef with onions and carrots, added tomato paste and beef stock and loads of curry powder. After a quick taste of the beef mixture, a few minor adjustments, salt and pepper, I threw the potatoes right on top of the meat, in the same cast iron pan.  That’s right, one pan to wash…score! I put it in the oven for a bit, till the potatoes were hot and browned. Then served it all up with a spinach salad.  My Love liked the change, my df girl…not so much. She likes curry, but she wanted her comfort food comfortable and familiar.

Then, of course, there was my carb-loving boy…
imageUsually we have him eat whatever we’re having with, perhaps, a few exceptions.  He does. not. like. anything mixed together.  Curry would normally be something he enjoys that doesn’t quite fit the stereotypical aversions.  However, this was a little too mixed up for him, so he begged for his own caesar salad and, of all things, peanut butter toast. Ummm…ewww.  Whatever. It’s ok to bend a little once in a while.  To choose our battles, so to speak. He was happy and so was I.

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Find this awesome 12 inch cast iron pan at


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