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Easy Healthy Recipes

Not-Your-Mama’s Shepherd’s Pie Recipe



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Here’s another awesome recipe from our resident cooking enthusiast, Emily Steadman. I’ve personally tasted this recipe… SO. GOOD. Enjoy! -KB

Ahh Spring… the flowers are blooming… the birds are singing…. my car is frozen shut—Wait.. What?! Oh that’s right, I live in New England… the arctic tundra that refuses to acknowledge the vernal equinox. It is April. And this week my daughter slipped and fell on a sheet of ice walking to the car… aforementioned car was frozen shut and I had to begrudgingly remove the ice scraper from the trunk (where I had ceremoniously placed it TWO WEEKS AGO, signifying it would no longer be needed and heralding the arrival of Spring) to crack the glistening sheet of suck that encased the entire car. Ok. Rant over.

Because the cold just refuses to go away, I think this is the perfect time to share one of my absolute favorite recipes. It is a staple in our house through the winter, and as I can’t seem to get warm right now, it’s all I can think about! Let me preface this with a warning that this recipe is not a quick, 5 ingredient fix. It takes a little time and a little love but the end result is so deliciously worth it – I promise! It’s a great weekend meal, and we usually make it on Saturdays or Sundays when my daughter and I can throw on our aprons and spend the day in the kitchen, listening to music and salivating over the smells coming from the stove.

Since I was a kid, the words “Shepherd’s Pie” would make me immediately lose my appetite. It was a frequent meal in our house and the idea of mixing ground beef with frozen veggies was just unpleasant. I used to make my mother separate all the ingredients because I refused to eat them all mashed up (I now realize that payback for this has come in the form of my own child being the world’s pickiest eater). So as an adult, I didn’t even consider Shepherd’s Pie as an option for meals I’d want to cook. But I found a few recipes on Pinterest that sparked my interest and decided to give it another try. This recipe from was the one that started my downward spiral into Shepherd’s Pie obsession. I made some changes to suit my tastes and ended up with what is now my family’s favorite recipe.

I should warn you that anyone you cook this meal for will most likely want to hug you after the first bite. It is that good.


  • 2 lbs chuck roast (trim a little excess fat but not too much – it adds flavor!)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large carrot (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 celery stalks (peeled and chopped)
  • ½ yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 cup portabella mushrooms (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 small bunch of fresh Thyme (remove leaves from stems)
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp worstershire sauce
  • 2-3 lbs potatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • ½ stick of butter
  • ¾ c milk or cream
  • 1 ½ c shredded white cheddar
  • Salt and pepper


Cut the chuck roast into large chunks and season liberally on all sides with coarse salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Sear the top and bottom of the chuck roast pieces for about 3-4 minutes per side. You should see a nice golden crust. Make sure to sear off any fat.

Remove chuck roast pieces from pot and place in separate bowl. Turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic to the pot. Saute for no more than 30 seconds before adding onion, carrot, celery and mushrooms. Cook for about 8 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add thyme leaves to pot.

Add the chuck roast pieces back into the pot and mix with the cooked vegetables. Sprinkle with cornstarch, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add wine, beef broth, and worstershire. Place a lid on the pot, reduce heat to medium low and let the mixture simmer for 2 hours, stir occasionally to rotate the beef.

After 2 hours, remove the meat from the pot and shred. If the mixture is still not thickened after 2 hours, place over medium high heat and simmer until thickened before returning shredded beef to the pot.

30 minutes before the meat is finished braising, boil the diced potatoes until tender. Drain the water from the pot, mash the potatoes and add butter, milk (or cream) and 1 cup of shredded white cheddar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the meat and vegetable mixture from the pot to a casserole dish (make sure you put it on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over in the oven!). Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture and sprinkle remaining shredded cheddar on top.

Bake in a 350° oven for 10 minutes, and then broil until a golden brown crust forms on top of the potatoes.

Serve and enjoy!




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  1. Kari @The He Said She Said Experience

    April 15, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Looks very savory and comforting!

  2. Susan

    April 15, 2016 at 11:55 am

    You are so right, my Mom’s Shepherd’s pie never looked this good! I can hardly wait to try this. Pinned!

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Easy Healthy Recipes

Panini Bar: Kids in the Kitchen



Panini Bar | Kids in the Kitchen | Chaos & Kiddos
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If you’re just joining us for the Kids in the Kitchen Series, be sure to check out last week’s challenge where we shared some tasty breakfast treats. This week, we’re working on lunch!  If your kids are tiring of the same old lunch sandwiches, let’s change things up a bit and get them involved with their lunch choice. A panini bar is a great way to host an afternoon of family fun! (In truth, the panini bar makes regular appearances on our dinner menu as well – it’s a great option for the working mom who wants to serve a hot meal but doesn’t have a lot of time. I’ve also been known to sneak a hot panini for breakfast!)

Panini Bar | Kids in the Kitchen | Chaos & Kiddos

The best part about a panini bar is that you can always switch it up. We lay out everything in the fridge in a huge spread and then the choices begin! Emily usually takes the orders and then I help her prep. She cooks them in our panini maker (Best invention ever! This is an affiliate link for the one I have – don’t feel led to click – it’s just there if you want it because I really think this product is awesome!) and then serves them up like a waitress in our own little family restaurant. Some things you’ll need:

  • Assortment of bread – We’ve used white, wheat, tortillas, homemade, rolls, bagels, pitas…whatever happens to be on hand.
  • Assortment of meats – Ham, turkey, roast beef, pepperoni, roasted chicken (See The Bird Word Series!)…whatever you like!
  • Assortment of cheese – We always have cheddar and provolone on hand, but often take it up a notch with pepper jack or fresh mozzarella (my fav!).
  • Assortment of toppings – Tomatoes, basil, roasted red peppers, hot peppers, avocado and bacon have all made appearances on our panini menu.
  • Assortment of condiments – Mayo, mustard, hot sauce, ranch dressing…lots of tasty options here.


The opportunities are truly endless. Everyone loves getting to have something a little different and choosing their own toppings per their tastes, but you don’t feel like you’re prepping separate meals for everyone. It’s quick to set up, quick to prep and quick to clean up. And the best part is that a panini bar requires some input from every member of the family, so it’s a great activity to get everyone chatting and interacting in a combined effort to create some tasty together.

2014-09-01_0001We’ve made BLTs, club sandwiches, mozzarella caprese yummies (YES!!!!), grilled cheese…seriously, I can’t think of a food that doesn’t taste better after it’s been pressed in the panini maker. It’s like my own little homemade Panera! Emily feels super independent and in control getting to prep and cook, and I love getting a bit of a break from being in charge of mealtime.


Do you have an awesome sandwich that you think would be killer in the panini maker? Please share! I’m always looking for new ingredients to include in our panini bar. And be sure to link up any awesome panini recipes below and check out what the other gals made this week!

Kids in the Kitchen | Chaos & Kiddos: Mommy's Survival Guide

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Easy Healthy Recipes

Quick and Easy Recipes for Working Moms



Quick and Easy Recipes for the Working Mom | Never-Ending Link Up
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If there is one thing I am always on the hunt for, it’s quick and easy recipes. With growing toddler twin boys eating me out of house and home, I’m constantly fighting the grumpy munchies when we get home from work. Dinner needed to be on the table…like five minutes ago. Finding the right quick and easy recipes has been a bit of a challenge. There’s no shortage of recipes on Pinterest, but I find myself quickly overwhelmed and click happy, leaving me with hundreds of options spread across 15 different boards. Some recipes are easy prep and then some just look darn tasty and would take some real elbow grease and time for me to pull off.

Quick and Easy Recipes for the Working Mom | Never-Ending Link Up

So! I decided to create a never-ending quick and easy recipes link up on Chaos & Kiddos! For all those working moms out there who frequent our site for recipes that are manageable for the tight-on-time working parent, we’ve now got this extra bonus post for you! We’ll be collecting quick and easy recipes from bloggers all over the planet!

There’s just one rule – All recipes posted MUST BE 45 MINUTES TOPS from preparation to table. This includes cooking time!

The link up sorts the most recently added recipes to the top of the list, so come back time and time again for new recipes to freshen things up a bit. Bloggers! This is your chance to get creative when sharing recipes that would be an ideal fit for a tired working mom coming home to starving kiddos. It does not have to be dinner specific either! Quick snacks, breakfast, lunch…anything that can be whipped up in a jiffy to quell hungry voices with just a little bit of time and effort.

If you try a recipe and find that it is extra, extra fabulous, please come back to leave some blog love via the comments to encourage other working moms to take special note of a home run quick and easy recipe that you discovered on this link up. And visit the original poster to say thanks for helping save time and energy (and sanity!) in my home!

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Easy Healthy Recipes

Oatmeal On-The-Go Bars by Weelicious: Kids in the Kitchen



Oatmeal On-The-Go Bars | Weelicious | Chaos & Kiddos
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The name really says it all on this one. As working moms, I’m sure most of us would admit that “on-the-go” is pretty much the only mode we operate in. When it comes to cooking, it needs to be quick and easy. As I work harder to focus on healthy ingredients, I’m often drawn back to my Weelicious Cookbook, where simple healthy recipes abound and cooking is always a family affair. This week, for the Kids in the Kitchen Series, we had to come up with a breakfast food to cook with our children. I immediately thought of the Oatmeal On-The-Go Bars by Weelicious because they’re super healthy, very easy and have lots of ingredients that the boys enjoy dumping in their bowls. And for the working mom, they are a major win, because they’re perfect for me to grab for breakfast as I’m heading out the door in the morning.

Oatmeal On-The-Go Bars | Weelicious | Chaos & Kiddos

I admit, this post was supposed to publish first thing Monday morning. As often happens, life got in the way, and I’m, let’s see, only about 12 hours late. I almost didn’t get it done tonight either! I had one moment of “Oh, I’ll just do it tomorrow,” and thankfully, I convinced myself otherwise. Cooking tonight with the kids (all 3 of them!) will be a memory I hold dear for years to come. The boys were so excited, and their “sissy” was happy to hang out with her family for some tasty fun. They ended up chanting “You can do it! You can do it!” when Emily was measuring ingredients and even hugged each other in happiness, which is a rare occasion for my crazy competitive boys. It was a special night. I’m so glad I followed through. Doing these series with my blogger friends really challenges me to purposefully plan fun activities with my children, which as a busy mom, is something I feel I often overlook when the going gets tough, even though it should be my number 1 priority.

Oatmeal On-The-Go Bars | Weelicious | Chaos & Kiddos

What You’ll Need: 

  • 2 cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 cups Milk
  • 1/2 cup Applesauce
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 3/4 cup Dried Fruit (I used raisins and dried cranberries)
  • 1/4 cup Nuts or Seeds (I used Pepitas and Sunflower Seeds)


-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

-Combine oats, flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl.

Oatmeal On-The-Go Bars | Weelicious | Chaos & Kiddos

-Combine milk, applesauce, egg, honey and vanilla in a large bowl.

Oatmeal On-The-Go Bars | Weelicious | Chaos & Kiddos

-Mix the dry and wet ingredients together.

-Add the dried fruit and nuts.

Oatmeal On-The-Go Bars | Weelicious | Chaos & Kiddos

-Pour into a greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Oatmeal On-The-Go Bars | Weelicious | Chaos & Kiddos

These bars will last 5 days in the fridge and can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Be sure to check out what recipes my gal pals tackled for this week’s challenge and link up your own tasty breakfast posts!

Kids in the Kitchen | Chaos & Kiddos: Mommy's Survival Guide

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