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Monday, February 14, 2011

Shepherds Pie

Shepherds Pie - tasty and easy

1 1/2 pounds of very lean ground beef
1 can corn
1 can green peas
3 cups mashed potatoes (approximately)
tad of butter
garlic powder
onion powder
dried basil

Shepherds pie is really a meal in the middle of 3 meals at our house.
First I cook a meal that has mashed potatoes as a side dish - being certain to cook enough potatoes to go on the Shepherd's Pies the next day.
When I cook the Shepherds Pie, I cook enough hamburger meat for a meal of spaghetti or chili the next day.

Here is the way to cook the Shepherds Pie

Brown approximately 1 1/2 pounds of the best hamburger that you can afford.  If you use very lean, you won't have to drain off the fat. I use 1 1/2 pounds of hamburger meat for the Shepherds Pie.  If you are cooking extra meat for chili or spaghetti the next day, then you need to double that amount.  When it is done, just refrigerate about half of the meat for the meal the next day.  Then put the rest in the oven safe pan for the Shepherd's Pie.

I start by browning about 1 teaspoon of butter in the skillet.  I add my salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried basil to the butter as it browns. There is no set amount of spices.  You just add about what you normally add  If you are new at cooking, use about half a teaspoon of salt and several shakes of everything else.  If you don't have all the spices, just leave them out.  Salt is really the only thing that is hard to leave out. I personally. like the smell of it butter browning.  If you don't have time - skip that step and just fling the hamburger in the skillet and start it frying.  Add the spices and salt while it is cooking.

When the meat is done, move it over to an oven safe pan.  The pan I used in the photo is about 9 inches square and 4 inches deep.  You just want a pan that everything will fit into.

Add one more teaspoon of butter to the skillet in which you fried the meat.  As it is browning, open and drain your corn and peas and stir into browned butter.  That adds a nice taste and very few calories to the entire dish.  However, if you don't want the added butter, or if you don't want to take the time to brown the vegetables, just drain them well and put them on top of the hamburger meat.  Then spread your potatoes on top of the peas and corn.   Try to get the potatoes spread out to the edge of the pan to help hold in moisture.

I sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of the potatoes - but that is optional.  It smells nice baking, and gives a nice brown to the top of the potatoes.

Put in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour - depending on how brown you want the top of the potatoes and how soon everyone is going to expect supper on the table.  Everything in the meal is already cooked so it really just needs to be warm all the way through.  I like it to cook about an hour just so all the flavors have time to sort of blend together.

While the meal is cooking, you have an hour or so to do something else.  If you are able to goof off  that is great, but you can also get another chore or two done if you feel that you must.

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