Menu Monday: Autumn Harvest Salad, Robust Cottage Pie and Apple Strudel!

Menu Monday: Autumn Harvest Salad, Robust Cottage Pie and Apple Strudel!

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Let me start off with UGH! I accidentally X’d out my screen, so I had to rewrite this entire post! Hate when that happens, but a good reminder to always SAVE your work!

A friend asked me to post a recipe that was hearty given that our hot summer has now turned into a crisp fall. Inspired by her comment, I decided that every Monday I will post a Menu Monday post with a soup or salad starter, entree and a dessert. Like you I don’t have all day to spend in the kitchen. These meals will take between 60 and 90 minutes using homemade ingredients that you have at home or can run to the market and pick up. While cooking up your meal, you should have plenty of time to help the kids with their homework, read a short story, or re-sign onto the VPN so your kids can get their homework done (Why so much Internet based homework in a country with such sketchy Internet service! WHY?!)

I really hope you’ll have the time to cook Menu Monday Dinners sometime during the week. If you don’t have time to make all 3 courses you could break it up and try one dish each week. Each course will have a short intro and then the recipe below.

As a new blogger, looking for inspiration and ideas all the time I would love to have your feedback and comments. Did you try the recipe? Was it delicious or did you have a problem with it? Is there a certain menu you would like to see posted (Mexican, Lebanese, Chinese…)? I truly appreciate your input so don’t be shy… Comment below!

Tonight’s dinner:

Autumn Harvest Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Robust Cottage Pie with a Caramelized Onion Chutney Broth

Apple Butter-Pecan Strudel


Autumn Harvest Salad should be no problem to make. Use seasonal ingredients available at your local market or from your garden if you’re that type. I used mostly ingredients that I already had at home, but grabbed green beans and frisee. I’ve made the dressing a couple of times and my whole family loves pours it on their salad like it’s gold. I make a large batch of it each time and keep it in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Don’t have the time to make your own dressing? Enjoy it with store-bought… I won’t tell anyone! So be creative and use your favorite vegetables, nuts and cheese to recreate this salad at home.

Autumn Harvest Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 head Lettuce (frisee, romaine or iceberg)
  • 5 Vine-Ripened Tomatoes
  • Roasted Pumpkin, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 Cup (115g) Pecans
  • 4 oz (115g) Brie Cheese, cut into pieces

Dressing:

  • 3 T (45ml) Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 T (15ml) Dijon Vinaigrette, Grey Poupon or another seedy mustard
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1/2 Cup () Olive Oil
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Assemble salad with  lettuce on the bottom, then vegetables and top with cheese.
  2. Dressing: In a bottle with lid, vigorously shake dressing ingredients.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad.


I’ve made Shepherd’s Pie several times, but today, I learned that what I was actually making was Cottage Pie. The difference between the two is merely the meat… Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb, while Cottage Pie uses beef.

In keeping it simple, I decided to use a Dutch Oven to prepare and bake the Cottage Pie. IF you do not have a Dutch Oven, you can easily cook the meat mixture in a heavy duty pan and then assemble the Pie in the end using a 9×13 casserole dish. NO PROBLEMO! Another helpful hint is to slightly warm the heavy cream (or milk if for some strange reason you prefer a lighter version) to avoid making the potatoes gummy.

Robust Cottage Pie with Caramelized Onion Chutney

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds (1kilo) Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup (1stick or 115g) Butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (115ml) Heavy Cream, warmed
  • 4 oz (115gr) Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 pounds (1 kilo) Ground Beef
  • 1 Onion, medium, finely chopped
  • 2 Carrots, medium, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 t (2.5g) Salt
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1/4 Cup (115gr) All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups (500ml) Beef Broth, homemade, store bought or dissolved bouillon
  • 4 t (20g) Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 T (30ml) Caramelized Onion Chutney
  • 1 1/2 t (7.5g) Fresh Thyme
  • 1 pound (1/2 kilo) Corn Kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 Cup (225g) Green Peas, fresh or frozen

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C or Gas Mark 6).
  2. For the Potato Topping: Bring potatoes, covered in water on high to a boil. Reduce tolow and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until soft. Drain. Mash potatoes, then fold in butter until melted. Add warm cream and cheese, salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.
  3. For the Meat Mixture: In a Dutch Oven, brown the beef. Drain beef, but set aside 1 T (15ml) of  beef fat. Set beef aside. In the same Dutch Oven, add onions, and carrots, saute for 5-7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add flour, tomato paste and onion chutney, stirring constantly for 1 minutes. Slowly pour in broth, Worcestershire and thyme, scrapping the browned bits on the bottom. Bring to a simmer, reduce to low and allow to thicken for 3-5 minutes. Remove Dutch Oven from heat, stir in cooked beef, corn and peas. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Assembly: Even out meat mixture to form an even layer. Spoon on top mashed potatoes and spread to form an even layer.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes. Set oven to broil and brown the top of the potatoes for 3-5 minutes or until slightly browned.


The best part of a meal has to be the dessert right? A flavorful dessert with complex flavors doesn’t need to take forever to whip up. That’s why I love making strudel. It’s a family favorite and so simple to make. While strudel usually calls for sugar, I decided to try something new and mixed the sliced apples with homemade Apple Butter. The results were delicious! Not too sweet, but it added a spiced depth to the Strudel

Apple Butter-Pecan Strudel

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Puff Pastry, 500g or 2x 250g
  • 5 Apples, cored, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 3/4 cup (175ml) Apple Butter
  • 1/4 cup (57g) Pecans, broken into smaller pieces by hand
  • 2 T (30g) Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 T (30ml) Milk
  • Sugar, for garnishing

Directions:

  1. Whisk egg and milk. Set aside
  2. Toss apple slices, apple butter, pecans and flour.
  3. Roll out the Puff Pastry on a flat surface.
  4. Neatly line up apple mixture in the middle of the puff pastry (or you can just pile it allup!)
  5. Fold in the top and bottom edge of the pastry. With a pastry brush, brush the edges of the folded dough. Fold the sides of the puff pastry in like a blanket, brushing each folded section with the milk mixture. Once the dough is all folded, brush all of it with the milk mixture, pressing down the edges to make sure the strudel is properly seemed. At this point you can flip it over so that the seam is on the bottom or leave it as is. Cut 3 slits into the puff pastry to allow it to breath while baking.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on the outside.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sugar.
  8. Allow to set for 20 minutes before slicing into it.

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