Melissa C. Koh

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My Mom’s Best Christmas Recipes: Creamy Tomato Spinach Pasta & Shepherd’s Pie


We invited my family over for dinner earlier this week and I whipped up 2 easy and delicious recipes that I thought I’d share with you guys for Christmas! I personally think that you can never go wrong with serving Shepherd’s Pie and Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta on the dinner table and I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t love these dishes!

Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta

Serves 4:

• 1/2 lb penne pasta
• 1 small onion (diced)
• 2 cloves of minced garlic (can add more if you would like!)
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 15 oz can diced tomatoes
• 1/2 tsp dried oregano
• 1/2 tsp dried basil
• red pepper flakes (optional)
• 1/2 tsp salt
• freshly cracked pepper to taste
• 2 Tbsp tomato paste
• 2 oz cream cheese
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
• 1/2 9 oz. bag fresh spinach

Step 1:  Boil a large pot of water on high heat.

Step 2: Add the pasta and cook till tender, takes about 10 minutes.

Step 3: Drain the pasta in a colander.

Step 4: Cook the diced onion and minced garlic with olive oil over medium to low heat until they are transparent and soft.

Step 5: Add diced tomatoes with juices, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes (optional) and pepper to the frying pan with the cooked onions and garlic.

Step 6: Stir to combine all the ingredients and add the tomato paste and half a cup of water to the frying pan. Stir well until the tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce.

Step 7: Turn the heat on low subsequently and cut a few pieces of cream cheese and add into the frying pan with the tomato sauce. Stir the sauce until the cream cheese has fully melted and make sure that the sauce is creamy and thick.

Step 8: Add Parmesan in batches (add more if you would like yours to be cheesier) and mix in until it is melted in. The sauce should turn into a beautiful light orange colour!

Step 9: Add in the fresh spinach and stir it into the sauce until it has wilted.

Step 10: Add the pasta in and stir until it is well coated with the creamy tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper if it is required and you are done!

Shepherd’s Pie 

Serves 4:

• 1 1/2 to 2 pounds potatoes (about 3 large potatoes), peeled and quartered
• 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter
• 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
• Half a packet of frozen mixed vegetables —diced carrots, corn, peas
• 1 1/2 lbs ground round beef
• 1/2 cup beef broth
• 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice


Step 1: Run the knife blade through the middle of the potato and put it to boil in a medium sized pot. Once boiled and cooled, take the potatoes out and gently pull the skin off (life hack!!) Thereafter, place the potatoes back into the pot and cover with at least an inch of cold water and add a teaspoon of salt. Boil and cook until the potatoes become tender.

Step 2: While waiting for the potatoes to be cooked, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan on medium heat and add the chopped onions and cook till tender.

Step 3: Add in half a packet of frozen mixed vegetables and toss it well.

Step 4: Add in ground beef with the onions and mixed vegetables into the pan. Cook till the beef is no longer pink and season well with salt and pepper.

Step 5: Add the Worcestershire sauce and beef broth into the pan. Cook on low heat when the broth has simmer and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.

Step 6: Once the potatoes are cooked, remove from the pot and place the potatoes in a bowl with 4 tablespoons of butter. Mash the potatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Step 7: Preheat oven to 204 degree Celsius. Layer the beef and vegetable mixture and mash potatoes in a casserole dish and spread the mash potatoes over the top. Evenly spread the surface with a fork to finish off.

 Step 8: Place the casserole dish in the oven and cook until it is browned and bubbling for 30 minutes.

That’s a wrap to my Christmas recipes! Do let me know if you would like to see more of such blog posts or if you tried making any of the recipes! 🙂

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