Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Frito Shepherd’s Pie and Super Bowl Boulevard from Cleo Coyle #glutenfree recipe

"Shockingly tasty…" That’s what Chef Anthony Bourdain called the famous Frito Pie, and Marc and I agree. Our version of this beloved pie makes a wonderful (gluten free) one-dish dinner that can be made fresh or with leftovers. And the best part…

It’s relatively healthy!

Yes, I said it. We make ours with lean ground meat and black beans and whip up our mashed potatoes with the skins on. The next day, we zap a leftover slice in the microwave for an instant taco salad.

What about those Fritos? Aren’t they junk food? 

Let’s take a look…

Fritos have exactly three ingredients: Corn, Corn Oil, and Salt. That’s it. No preservatives, no gluten, no MSG, and zero trans fat.

Compare that to your typical grocery store taco shell ingredient list and you’ll be shocked. It includes things like partially hydrogenated oils. And Doritos have a number of not-so-healthy ingredients, including MSG and preservatives.

Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries,
has a partner in crime writing:
her husband, Marc. Learn
about their books here.
As I mentioned above, for added health here you can make sure your taco meat is lean or use a mix of ground beef and ground turkey. You can include a generous portion of healthy black beans or another nutrition-packed legume and top it with healthy guacamole, jalapeno, and/or salsa (tomatoes, peppers, and onions).

May you eat with joy on Game Day (and in good health)! 

~ Cleo

Billionaire Blend is a
culinary murder mystery.
To see its Recipe Guide,
click here.
Cleo Coyle’s
Frito Shepherd’s Pie

Our readers may recognize this pie from our latest culinary mystery, Billionaire Blend. In the book, Detective Mike Quinn tells the story of solving a homicide with members of the NYPD Bomb Squad (historically known as the Italian Squad). 

When the case is done, members of the squad take Quinn to a pub for a night of Frito Shepherd’s Pies and Irish Car Bombs (the kind you drink). Well this is the very pie that Detective Quinn enjoyed.

The recipe is deceptively simple. Yes, you start with a basic Frito Pie and top it with a Shepherd’s Pie crust of mashed potatoes. But here’s the trick to keeping the flavors balanced and avoiding a big mouth full of potatoes. We make our mashed potato crust very thin and mix it with a secret ingredient—sour cream.

Sour cream is a classic topping for Mexican dishes, but it’s also fantastic with potatoes, so it adds the perfect flavor note to the recipe, and turns our Frito Pie into a delicious cross between a tasty taco and a pan of loaded potato skins.

So if you’re tired of pizza (or looking for a gluten-free indulgence), consider this wonderful one-dish dinner. It’s easy to make and tastes fantastic with an ice cold beer, which puts it smack on our game day menu for this weekend’s Super Bowl. (FYI - For suggestions on gluten-free beers, click here.)

~ Cleo

To download this recipe in a free PDF document 
you can print, save, or share, click here.

For the free PDF
of this recipe,
click here.

Cleo Coyle's
Frito's Shepherd's Pie


1-1/2 cups mashed potatoes

          (*see recipe at end or use leftovers)

1/2 cup sour cream

1-3/4 cups whole Fritos Corn Chips + 1/4 cup crushed Frito chips for garnish

1 to 1-1/2 pounds ground meat made into chili or taco meat filling

8 ounces Monterey Jack, Cheddar, or taco cheese mix, shredded

1 jalapeno pepper, cut into rings (optional)

Prep Step—Make your mash: Re-warm leftover mashed potatoes in a microwave or on stovetop. Whisk in sour cream. To make mashed potatoes from scratch, see the directions at the end of this recipe. Set finished mashed potatoes aside.

Build Pie with...

Layer 1—Fritos: Line the bottom of a 10-inch oven-proof skillet or cast iron pan (or casserole dish or deep dish pie pan) with a single layer of whole Fritos corn chips (about 1-3/4 cups).

Layer 2—Meat: Heat your chili or taco meat until it’s nice and hot, and then evenly spoon it over the layer of corn chips in the pan, covering the chips completely. 

Layer 3—Cheese: Sprinkle a little over half of the shredded cheese on top of the meat. 

Layer 4—Taters: Now dollop the warm mashed potatoes and sour cream from Prep Step over the meat and cheese. Use the back of the spoon to carefully smooth it into a thin, even layer. This is a thin layer so take your time and do it gently.

Layer 5—Garnish: Sprinkle the top of the pie with 
the rest of the shredded cheese and the final 1/4 cup of crushed Fritos corn chips.

Broil: Finish the pie for a few minutes under a preheated broiler. Watch for the cheese to melt and the potatoes to become lightly browned on their edges. This will take anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes, depending on your broiler. (Check often because broilers can burn things very easily!). Cut into slices and serve immediately. You can further garnish with jalapeno rings, salsa, guacamole, hot sauce, olives, or other favorite toppings you might use for tacos or nachos.

Leftovers: This pie reheats like a dream. A slice of it also makes a great instant taco salad. Warm up a slice in the microwave and break it up over a fresh bowl of lettuce. Throw on some slices of avocado and olives or a fresh dollop of guacamole, and you’re set for a quick, healthy lunch.

TO MAKE FRESH MASHED POTATOES: Start with 3 large (or 6 small) white potatoes, about 1-½ pounds. Wash and cut into thick slices, leaving skins on for better nutrition, and boil for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft when fork tested. Drain well. Follow recipe as directed, mixing potatoes first with sour cream, and continuing.

Super Bowl Boulevard

While Marc and I will be watching the Super Bowl from the warmth of our Queens living room, we’re looking forward to bundling up and checking out the Super Bowl Boulevard. If you live in the NYC area or are visiting for the game, here’s the scoop.

New York is shutting down traffic on a 13-block stretch of Broadway that includes Times Square. This strip from 34th to 47th Streets will be converted into a massive fan zone complete with photo opportunities with the Lombardi Trophy, autograph sessions, live broadcast sets, and a Toboggan Run. (Which begs the question, with the polar vortex looming, do you really think they’ll have to manufacture snow?)

In celebration of the first “open-air, cold-weather Super Bowl,” 
New York is inviting the public to enjoy this “wintry ride”—a seven story slide that’s painted to look like the real thing. Tickets can be purchased for the ride, which will be located at 40th Street on “Super Bowl Boulevard” aka Broadway. 
More info here.

To watch a fun two-minute video about building Super Bowl Boulevard, click here. You can also click here or  here (for the fan guide) to learn more about the location, events, and hours. And enjoy the game, everyone!

To get today's recipe in
a free PDF document,
click here.

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

Coffeehouse Mystery
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The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
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13 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

* * * 

Haunted Bookshop
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The Ghost and
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  1. Oh Cleo, I don't dare show my hub the pix of your pie--he'll be angling for this instead of what I suggested! thanks for sharing...

    1. Whatever you nosh, Lucy, I hope you and your husband have a delicious Game Day!

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. That sounds entirely too tasty. You can send mine to... :)

    1. Mark - Ha!! I'll go get the mailing label...but I can't guarantee the delivery man won't take a bite. :)

      Thanks for dropping by the Kitchen today!

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. What a super recipe, Cleo. A clear winner. We're not all about football up here, but we love tasty food and friendly get togethers.

    Thanks for this!



    1. MJ - You're a sweetheart and no worries on the football thing. I know many folks who are more excited about Animal Planet's (Discovery Channel's) Puppy Bowl on cable TV than the "big game" taking place in New York/New Jersey!

      Have a delicious weekend, MJ, and stay warm up there!

      ~ Cleo

      P.S. I'll also be watching the first KITTEN BOWL (very excited about this one) on the Hallmark Channel at 12 noon (EST). The KITTEN BOWL is being done in association with the North Shore Animal League, a wonderful, no-kill animal rescue organization, the largest in the world. Cheers to them!

  4. It's on our menu here at Chez Phillipe for the Big Game!! THat along with those peanut butter cookies :-)

    I'm going to attempt a mini version of the pie for myself that will be dairy free...who knows, right?

    Nanc, who is on the look-out for good faux cheese

    1. Nanc - My heart goes out to you! Gluten-free check, dairy-free- fail! My late mom had issues with lactose intolerance (I know yours is a casein issue) but it's the same result. I'll look into faux cheeses and see what I can come up with. In the meantime, chili and corn chips is delicious even without the cheese (see Linda's comment below, walking tacos sound like a great alternative for you)!

      Big Game hugs to you!

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  5. Looks & sounds good as well as easy and healthy. Still love the classic Frito chili pie. Chili fixings purchased as well as individual Fritos bags for Super Bowl watching. We slit the bag on side & add a ladle of chili.

    1. Linda - I'm a big fan of loaded potato skins and deep dish pizza. It was fun to roll all of my favorites into one pan. This is also a nice way to give gluten-free eaters something as satisfying (and spectacular in presentation) as a deep dish pizza (without the thick wheat crust). Walking tacos are a classic, of course, and lots of fun for parties, that's for sure!

      Thanks for dropping by, Linda,
      have a delicious Super Bowl Sunday!

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  6. Hubby wanted wings for the big game, but I bet he'd change his mind in a heartbeat if he saw this! It has all his favorite things!

    1. Thanks, Peg, I hope you and your hub have a delicious Big Game Sunday!

      ~ Cleo

  7. You are quite the artist! The photos are picture perfect and leave us drooling.

    There seems to be a minor difference between using leftover mashed potatoes and made-the-same-day ones. Leftovers will have milk or cream or such to moisten the mash. Then the sour cream is added. Potatoes of the day have only the sour cream. Have I got that right?
    I could care less about football games, but I can certainly cheer for this dish!