Classic Shepherd’s Pie

As the days get cooler, we tend to crave comfort foods that warm us on the inside and evoke a feeling of coziness. This is one of those dishes that brings ultimate comfort, easily pleases both the young and the old, easy to eat on for several days as leftovers, or even freeze for a later time. I’m glad I found this particular recipe, because it truly is one of the best I’ve ever made. I think this recipe is one that should be kept in every household, for a delicious classic to whip on a chilly fall or winter evening. Happy Cooking!

Ingredients for Ground Beef Filling

  • 2½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ cups yellow onion, diced
  • 2 lbs 80/20 ground beef
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp rosemary leaves
  • 2 tsp parsley flakes
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels

Ingredients for Cheesy Potato Topping

  • 4 large russet potatoes or 8 small / medium russet potatoes, cubed into small squares
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ⅔ cup half & half
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1½ tsp paprika
  • 1/3 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Instructions for the Ground Beef Filling

  • Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F and coat a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Then set aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat add in olive oil. Once the oil is hot add the onions and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the ground beef, parsley, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for 6-8 minutes and break apart the ground beef with meat chopper or spoon. Stir occasionally until meat is completely browned.
  • Add in garlic and cook for an addition 1 minute.
  • Add the Worcestershire sauce, flour and ketchup to the ground beef mixture. Stir until fully incorporated and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the beef broth, frozen peas and carrots and frozen corn kernels. Cook until the beef broth begins to boil. Then, reduce heat and let simmer for 4-5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • In the prepared baking dish spread out the ground beef filling. Make sure to spread it out into an even layer.

Instructions for the Cheesy Potato Topping

  • Peel and cut potatoes into 3/4 inch cubes. Place the potatoes in a large pot. Cover the potatoes with water and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Bring the water to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook the potatoes until the can be smashed with a fork. Cook time will be 10-15 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes and add them to a stand mixer. If you don’t have a mixer a hand mixer or potato smasher will work fine.
  • Then, cut the butter stick into 1 tablespoon pieces and spread them evenly on top of the potatoes
  • Next, add the half & half, garlic powder, salt and black pepper and mix until the potatoes are smooth and creamy.
  • Scoop the potatoes on top of the ground beef filling. Carefully spread them into a even layer.
  • Sprinkle the paprika over the potatoes evenly. Then, add the cheddar cheese on top of the potatoes.
  • Place the in the oven and bake at 400 degrees F. Place a baking sheet on the shelf under the pie. I have found that this recipe will sometimes boil over and the baking sheet will save your oven. Cook for 25-30 minutes. 
  • Then, let cool for 10 minutes before serving and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Brown Sugar Glazed Apple Bundt Cake

It’s fall y’all! With all the warm and cozy recipes we love to make, apples, pumpkins, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove are usually the in the forefront. This cake was giving autumnal energy, and made my kitchen smell absolutely heavenly. When I opened the oven to check the doneness, a waft of fragrance hit me and immediately took me back to my Grandmother’s kitchen as so many of her baked goods contained cinnamon. This can be made in a loaf pan, a bundt pan, or even a muffin tin, adjusting bake times accordingly. I had it warm and it was exceptional, and even enjoyed a small slice room temperature with coffee in the morning. I used 1 large Honeycrisp and 2 small Pink Lady apples. I think either is fine for this recipe. Granny Smith would also work well. Happy Baking!

For the Apple Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 and 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups peeled and chopped (finely) apples, about 2–3 large apples

For the Brown Sugar Glaze

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar


  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a 10-12 cup Bundt pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  • Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a large bowl until combined.
  • Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, sour cream, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla together until combined and creamy. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and slowly whisk until no large lumps remain. Fold in the apple chunks.
  • Spoon the thick batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 55–75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. The baking times may vary depending on your oven and the size of pan used.
  • Brown Sugar Glaze: As the cake cools, prepare the brown sugar glaze. Combine the butter, brown sugar, and heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the butter has melted, and then stop stirring and let the mixture come to a rapid boil. Boil for 1 minute. Turn the heat down to low, give it a quick stir, and let simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in the sifted confectioners’ sugar. Allow glaze to cool and slightly thicken for at least 30 minutes. Spoon glaze over the cake right before serving. (Cake can still be warm when glazing.) If your glaze thickened up too much as it cooled, warm in the microwave for 15 seconds and stir until smooth.
  • Cover leftovers and store at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


I remember the first time I tasted Chocoflan. I must have been around 12 years old at my best friend Misha’s birthday celebration. I grew up in south Texas right on the border of Mexico, so I was no stranger to delicious Mexican cuisine. I was always a fan of flan on its own, and of course, chocolate cake. When I tasted this magnificent creation, I think I had an out of body experience. I remember thinking it was the best dessert I’d ever tasted in my whole life! I would think about Chocoflan all year until Misha’s birthday on March 14th, then I would get the glorious pleasure of eating it once again. When I became really interested in learning how to cook, specifically, cook my favorite things, I was determined to find a recipe that tasted just like that first memory. I tried a few different ones, and this one was the winner. I have been making this recipe for years now, usually around Christmastime. My family asks for it and people ooh and ahh about how cool it is that the flan is on top of the cake. I don’t do anything special, it’s just a magical creation all on its own. Well, scientifically, the volume of the flan mixture is more dense than the cake batter, therefore it sinks to the bottom of the bundt during the baking process, and when flipped after baking, it is on top. Food science, magic, same difference. I am so excited to finally make this for my blog and share it with all of you, it truly is one of my all time favorite recipes and something very near and dear to my heart. I hope all of you enjoy the holiday season with those you love, eating, laughing, and being merry!


  • 1 box of chocolate cake mix and ingredients according to cake instructions (eggs, oil, water)
  • ½ cup of jarred caramel
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 oz. (1/2 block) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and put rack in the middle. Oil or spray a large (14.5 cup) Bundt pan.
  2. Pour caramel in the pan and tilt side to side to evenly coat. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl mix chocolate cake according to package instructions with an electric mixer and set aside.
  4. To soften the cream cheese, microwave unwrapped 15 seconds.
  5. In a blender or food processor blend the 4 eggs, cream cheese, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla to make the flan.
  6. Pour chocolate cake batter over the caramel.
  7. Pour flan on top of cake batter. While baking, the flan will sink between the chocolate cake and caramel.
  8. Place the pan inside a roasting pan or large baking dish. Pour hot water in the roasting pan so it’s 1 inch deep (to make a water bath).
  9. Cover Bundt pan with aluminum foil and bake 1 hour. Uncover and cook 30-40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove cake from the roasting pan and allow to cool completely, about 1 hour.
  10. Put a large plate or cake plate inverted over the top of the Bundt pan. Grip the two together and flip over. Store in refrigerator. Serve chilled.

Sparkling Apple Bourbon Sangria

This beverage is the perfect fall inspired spritzer for your holiday menu. Its refreshing and full of flavor, easy to throw together in a pitcher for a crowd of family and friends!


  •  750 mL bottle of Chardonnay, chilled
  • 3/4 C Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1/4 C Grade A Maple Syrup
  • 4 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1, 1″ Knob of Fresh Ginger, skinned and quartered
  • 2 Honeycrisp or Gala apples, cored and quartered
  • 1.5 cup apple juice
  • 750 mL bottle dry sparkling wine


  • In a pitcher, add the apple juice, chardonnay, bourbon, maple syrup, cinnamon sticks, ginger and apples.
  • Stir to incorporate flavors. Cover and chill for at least two hours or up to 24 hours.
  • Just before serving, pour the sparkling wine in the pitcher or individually to top off ice filled glasses.