Batching Shortcuts Part Two + Hearty Plant Based Shepherd’s Pie

March 21, 2017 / Molly Patrick /

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I don’t know about you, but I vacillate between wanting to grow out my leg hair and armpit hair and wanting it removed via laser once and for all. I think about this at least once a day. Both outcomes would require little work on my end once it’s all said and done – which is mainly why I like both options.

But am I the kind of person who can confidently sport lengthy leg hair and underarm poofs? Or should I tuck that hippie dream night night and accept the fact that silky smooth legs make me feel like a sex pot?

I don’t know, but that’s where I’m at this morning. I’ll keep you posted on my hair debacle. In the meantime, what I really want to focus on today is getting you in and out of your kitchen in record time on your batching day.

Last week was round one of my batch cooking shortcuts that will save you massive amounts of time in the kitchen. If you didn’t read last week’s Fuckery, you can catch up here and then come back to me where I’ll be patiently waiting with round two (and maybe even a warm frothy Turmeric Latte that I will magically hand you through your computer screen. Ha – I wish! ).

If you’re up to snuff on last week’s email, I invite you to go forth into the land of easy batching and quick kitchenry (a land that has very little diabetes, obesity and heart disease).

Here is my second batch of cooking shortcuts that add up to massive amounts of time saved in the sexiest room in the house – your kitchen.

8: (because we left off at seven last week): Gather all of the ingredients for your recipe before you start prepping

Last week I told you about the importance of prepping and measuring out all of your ingredients before you start on a recipe. Well before you even get to that step, go through your recipe and gather all of your ingredients and place them near your prep space. And then start prepping and measuring things out.

In other words, follow this order when making your recipes:

  1. Read the recipe all the way through
  2. Gather all of the ingredients that you will need
  3. Prep and measure out all ingredients
  4. Put away all ingredients (minus what you prepped)
  5. Easily and swiftly assemble your recipe

This works beautifully because it’s faster to swoop up all of your ingredients in one go than it is to go back and forth to your fridge and cupboards, like a crazed goat on a mission. Small tweak. Big impact on overall kitchen time.

9: Keep a scrap bowl on the counter

This is another small thing that makes a big difference. Place a medium-sized bowl on your prep counter and fill it with all of your veggie scraps as you prep your veggies. Carrot ends, potato skins, green onion roots, onion and garlic skins – that scrap bowl will get filled. And having the bowl right next to you when you’re prepping saves time because you don’t have to bend down or walk over to your compost or trash bin every time you need to toss a veggie scrap.

And here’s an extra idea nugget (my fave type of nugget). When you’re done with your batching, freeze your veggie scraps and add them to your veggie stock the next time you make it. BAM! Zero waste AND less time in the kitchen. #batchingwin

10: Find a podcast that you love

When you find a juicy podcast that you look forward to, your batching day goes from chore to guilty pleasure, just like that. There are bazillions of podcasts out there to choose from. I use Pocketcast to search and organize my podcasts. It’s like $4 in the app store but it’s the most streamlined and easy to use podcast app that I’ve found.

The only two podcasts I listen to are WTF by Marc Maron and The Daily by The New York Times. I look forward to batching just so I can catch up with these, plus, they make the time fly. I have a little speaker in my kitchen that syncs with my phone that I use, or I’ll slap on some headphones and put my phone in my pocket if Luanne is by the kitchen trying to get work done. I got my little speaker at Ross for $14.

11: Invest in an Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is a multi purpose electric pressure cooker that will change your batch game forever. I’ll be doing an Instant Pot Fuckery soon, but in the meantime, order one, you won’t regret it. Especially if you’re still cooking beans, grains and stews on your stove.

With the Instant Pot, you can cook brown rice in 23 minutes, steel cut oats in 10 minutes, black beans in 15 minutes, my Cheesy Sauce in 5 minutes – and everything comes out perfect and consistent every. single. time.

It’s important to understand that I am not a kitchen gadget person. My kitchen is surprisingly sparse, given what I do. I like to have just the things I need and I don’t like to clutter up my kitchen with unnecessary items. So when I recommend something it’s because it’s 100% worth it. And the Instant Pot is 100% worth the money because of the time it saves you. There are other electric pressure cookers out there that are similar to the Instant Pot, but I don’t have personal experience with those to be able to recommend them.

12: Dedicate a pair of scissors to food prep

Scissors are perfect for cutting up greens and fresh herbs because it’s fast and it eliminates getting out your cutting board and a knife. You can cut your items with scissors directly over the pot or skillet that you’re cooking in, or in a bowl to use later.
You can use cooking scissors or regular scissors, just make sure that you dedicate a pair specifically for food.

13: Make sure your knives are always sharp

It’s amazing how much faster and more pleasurable it is to cook with sharp knives. If you find that you’re sawing through a tomato, breaking a sweat, it’s time to sharpen your knives my dear. You can buy a knife sharpener at almost any store that has a kitchen section for pretty cheap. I spent $10 on mine.

Alternatively, you can drop them off at a shop that has professional knife sharpening. It’s a bit more expensive, but in my experience, it’s worth it. If you get them professionally sharpened, you will only have to do it once or twice a year. If you do it at home, you will have to do it every few months.

14: Organize your kitchen

Last week I emphasized the importance of keeping a clean work space if you want to get in and out of your kitchen in a flash. It’s the same concept here, just on a macro level. If your kitchen is clean, well organized and things are stored in a strategic way (i.e. all of the ingredients you use the most are easy to access), you will spend less time rummaging through your fridge and pantry looking for ingredients every time you cook.

If your kitchen is currently a hot mess, roll up your sleeves, get in there and dedicate a couple of hours to cleaning and organizing. Do this with your pantry, your fridge, your freezer, your cupboards, your cabinets (what actually is the difference between a cupboard and a cabinet, by the way?)  – all of it. Toss out expired food and ingredients you know you won’t be using anymore. Donate items that you have lots of (i.e. pasta strainers – do you really need 5 of them?).

Once this is done, all you have to do is keep up with it and it will remain uncluttered, strategic, and a space that’s easy to work in.

15: The power of rinsing

You will generally use the same 10 kitchen tools over and over again during your batching day. Instead of full on washing each item after every use, thoroughly rinse them instead. If you follow my meal plans, you won’t be cooking with meat, dairy or oil, so there’s no risk of cross contamination and there’s no oily residue that’s hard to get off. So save yourself loads of time, by rinsing your dishes throughout your batch.

At the very end of your batching you can have a full on dish party, with hot sudsy water aplenty. And at that time, I suggest welcoming your partner and your kids into the kitchen to take over. You did all the cooking, let them do the last big clean up!

Until then, rinse as you go and save a ton of time.

16: Invest in a good floor mat 

This won’t save you time necessarily, but it will help your feet. A good anti-fatigue kitchen mat makes a noticeable difference in how your feet feel during and after your batching. This mat isn’t super cheap but it’s the one I use and it makes a huge difference.

Okay my batching bumble bee, put these tips into use and then update us over in the private Facebook group and let us know all about the speediness of your batch!

Also, remember that the more you batch, the easier and faster it gets. And if you want to nourish your yummy body with nutrient dense food on the daily, you MUST spend time in your kitchen. That’s just part of the deal. So keep showing up and give yourself a big high five from me, each and every time.

Do you have any kitchen tips that help you get more efficient? Talk to me in the comments below.

Today’s recipe goes out to everyone who had snow this past week. Plus, it’s the perfect recipe to try out all your new batching shortcuts with. Make this using all my shortcuts and then curl up by the fire and enjoy every bite!

Hearty Plant Based Shepherd's Pie

Instant Pot and stove top directions
Author: Molly Patrick of Clean Food Dirty Girl

Ingredients

You will need

  • 3 quart round baking dish 2.8 liter
  • Steamer basket or the trivet that your Instant Pot came with if following the Instant Pot directions
  • Tongs

Spice Mix

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 - 10 healthy turns black peppercorns

Everything else

  • 1 cup yellow onion 130g, diced
  • 1 cup eggplant 80g, diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 1/2 cup carrot 75g, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 cups oil free 355ml, low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup uncooked green or brown lentils 100g
  • 2 small russet potatoes skin left on, cut into quarters
  • 2 small sweet potatoes skin left on, cut into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 packed cup collard greens 80g, chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk 60ml
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 healthy turns black peppercorns

Instructions

  • Measure out all of the Spice Mix ingredients and place them into a small bowl. Set aside for now. Prep and measure out the rest of the ingredients before you move to the next step.

Instant Pot Directions:

  • Press the saute button on your Instant Pot (IP) and let the inner pot heat up for about a minute. Add the onion, eggplant, celery, carrot, garlic and Spice Mix and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
  • Turn off the IP and add the vegetable broth and the lentils and stir. Place a steamer basket or the trivet that came with your IP on top of the vegetable / lentil mixture and place the potatoes in the basket or on the trivet.
  • Lock the lid into place, making sure the nozzle is in the sealing position. Use the manual setting and set the timer for 20 minutes. When the time is up, turn the Instant Pot off and carefully use the quick release method until all the pressure is out.
  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Take off the lid and transfer the potatoes to a large mixing bowl with a pair of tongs. Carefully pour the veggie / lentil mixture into a 3 quart (2.8 liter) baking dish and remove and discard the bay leaf. Add the garbanzo bean flour and the collard greens to the baking dish and stir until combined.
  • Mash the potatoes with a fork or a potato masher and then add the nondairy milk, nutritional yeast, 1/4 teaspoon salt and about 5 turns of black pepper. Stir until fluffy.
  • Allow the veggie / lentil mixture and the potatoes to cool for about 20 minutes and then by large spoonfuls, scoop the potatoes and place them on top of the veggie / lentil  mixture. Gently spread them out with the back of the spoon so they are evenly distributed and covering all of the veggie / lentil mixture. If you’re feeling fancy, take a fork and lightly rake the tines across the top of the potatoes to make indentations.
  • Place in the oven uncovered and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until the potatoes are golden and the filling is bubbling up out of the potatoes.
  • Let your delicious Shepherd’s Pie rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Stove Top Directions:

  • Preheat a medium-sized pot for about 1 minute over medium heat. Add onion, eggplant, celery, carrot, garlic and Spice Mix. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the veggies begin to soften and get lightly brown, stirring constantly so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the vegetable broth and the lentils to the pot and stir. Bring to a low boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until the lentils and veggies are tender.
  • Carefully pour the veggie / lentil mixture into a 3 quart (2.8 liter) baking dish and remove and discard the bay leaf. Add the garbanzo bean flour and the collard greens to the baking dish and stir until combined.
  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and allow the veggie / lentil mixture to cool while moving on to the next step.
  • Place the potatoes into large pot and fill with water until they are just covered. Bring to a low boil over medium high heat. Cover the pot and cook the potatoes for about 25 minutes or until they are tender. You should be able to easily pierce them all the way through with a fork.
  • Drain the potatoes well and transfer to a large mixing bowl with a pair of tongs.
  • Mash the potatoes with a fork or a potato masher and then add the nondairy milk, nutritional yeast, 1/4 teaspoon salt and about 5 turns of black pepper. Stir until fluffy.
  • By large spoonfuls, scoop the potatoes and place them on top of the veggie / lentil  mixture. Gently spread them out with the back of the spoon so they are evenly distributed and covering all of the veggie / lentil mixture. If you’re feeling fancy, take a fork and lightly rake the tines across the top of the potatoes to make indentations.
  • Place in the oven uncovered and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until the potatoes are golden and the filling is bubbling up out of the potatoes.
  • Let your delicious Shepherd’s Pie rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with time well spent in the kitchen. Your health and well being is worth every single second of it.
Xo
Molly

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Written by ex-boozer, ex-smoker, Co-founder, and CEO, Molly Patrick. They will help you eat more plants while throwing perfection down the garbage disposal.

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7 Comments

  1. Andrea on June 26, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    I love Your Way of making Recipe. Everything looked so yummy!!

  2. Brenda on October 22, 2017 at 12:49 am

    Hi and thx for the delicious sounding recipe. I don’t have an ip but I do have a stove top pressure cooker which I will be using. I’m curious though, why when using the stove top method do you wait for the lentils to be cooked before you cook the potatoes? Thx

    • Molly Patrick on October 23, 2017 at 11:22 pm

      Hi Brenda,
      You wouldn’t have to wait 🙂
      We did it like this in case people are using the same pot or aren’t used to multitasking in the kitchen.
      Have fun!
      xo
      Molly

  3. Carla on August 9, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Hi I’m just checking, it’s 4 potatoes? 2 russets and 2 sweet? All about the same size? Just a little confusing the way it’s written and want to make sure I’m doing it right. Also, no organic russets by me, so I’m using organic red potatoes. I’m thinking that should be fine. Organic is more important to me than the right type of potato. Thanks!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on August 27, 2018 at 1:08 pm

      Hi Carla, We’ve updated the recipe to call for 2 russets and 2 sweet as you suspected. I hope your Shepherd’s Pie came out delicious, red potatoes will work too. ~Karen

  4. Susan Gerth on March 10, 2019 at 7:12 am

    Hey Molly! I just purchased a 3-quart Instant Pot, but thinking I might need a 6-qt. too. Does this recipe fit into a 3-qt.? Thanks – Susan

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on March 10, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      Hi Susan, A 3-quart IP is 12 cups. This recipe will likely test the limits of a 3-quart IP as far as not overfilling it. You’ll want to refer to the FAQs for your model of IP on the manufacturer’s website for the specifications.

      I have a 6 quart LUX model for which they say: 1) “For pressure cooking Smart Programs, the total contents (pre-cooked food and liquid) in the inner pot should not pass the —2/3 line.” and 2) “When preparing food that expands during cooking such as rice, beans or vegetables, the contents in the inner pot should not pass the —1/2 line. Overfilling the inner pot may risk clogging the steam release assembly, which may result in the development of excess pressure. Excess pressure can cause leakage, personal injury, or damage to the cooker.”

      This recipe is not for cooking a single expanding food, like a uniform batch of rice or lentils. Although, there are lentils in the recipe so that is a consideration as these will expand during cooking.

      Looking at the recipe and adding the cups, if your model has similar limitations, depending on the size of your potatoes, you are looking at being over the halfway recommendation somewhat. However, because the amount of expanding food (lentils) is one smaller volume ingredient in the recipe, it might be ok.

      If you are in our private Facebook group, this would be a good question to ask the group if anyone has tried to make this recipe in a 3 quart Instant Pot.

      ~Karen

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