This meal is perfect to make on a weeknight. It is super easy to make and requires just a few flavorful ingredients. The most time consuming part is boiling the potatoes. Using box mix potatoes would make it ready in a flash, though I used some good old fashioned potatoes. The potatoes in this dish were like the icing on the cake. These mashed potatoes were mixed with butter and cheese, scooped on top with an ice-cream scoop and then broiled to create a nice brown look and flavor. Yes, potatoes, please, get in my belly.
I did use smart balance butter (less saturated than regular butter), sharp cheddar cheese, and unsweetened almond milk in the potatoes to make me feel better about eating this hearty comfort food.
A few months ago, my husband went out to eat with a friend and reported enjoying this dish called shepherd's pie at a restaurant downtown. I tucked that little knowledge nugget away in my mind and decided to make it for our Valentine's Day celebration dinner, along with some gooey dark chocolate brownies. I know, it's a little early to be celebrating, but I have to work Valentine's Day and the rest of the weekend. With 12 hour long night shifts, that means I will be MIA. No cooking those days.
Our little early celebration was a smashing success. Between bites of pie, he told me this was so much better than the shepherd's pie he previously thought was so good. He ate so much, his stomach bulged. Haha, mine did too, especially with a dark chocolate brownie for dessert! I just love being able to make the man I love, love coming home to a lovely dinner. That's a lot of love, but hey, its Valentine's!
Makes two large portions of a savory beef, vegetable, and gravy mixture that is topped with cheesy mashed potatoes. The ultimate comfort food.
2 large russet potatoes
⅓ cup milk
½ cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 tbsp butter
1 can, 14.5 oz, peas & carrots
1 can, 6.5 oz, mushrooms
½ pound ground beef
½ cup water
2 tbsp flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp Mrs. Dash seasoning
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
pepper to taste
Boil halved potatoes and start browning meat
Preheat oven to 375 F
When meat is no longer pink, add salt, Mrs. Dash seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir well.
Turn beef burner down to low and add flour, stir, then add water. Then add cans: drained mushrooms and drained peas & carrots.
When potatoes done, or easily able to be pierced with fork, removed from water and take skins off. Mash and mix in milk, cheese, butter, and pepper to taste.
Add meat and veggie mixture to casserole dish(es) then top with mashed potatoes
Bake at 375 F for 15 minutes. Serve. Will need more oven time if dish prepared ahead of time and refrigerated.
(optional) Broil for 2-3 minutes to brown top
I used two large individual serving sized casserole dishes and then used an ice-cream scoop to top meat with mashed potatoes. After baking, I broiled for a couple minutes to make the potatoes brown on top. Be careful broiling because it will burn in a skinny minute.
The first time I made biscuits, I was probably in middle school, maybe even elementary. In my limited knowledge of baking, I thought all I needed was self rising flour and milk. It looked like some good biscuit dough before it went in the oven, but it came out tasting like stale cardboard. Yuck! I gave up on biscuits until I was sitting in Cracker Barrel with my hubby, then boyfriend, 3 years ago. He said, “oh my….if you could make biscuits like this….”
That was all he had to say. I set out to make biscuits like them, but a quick google search revealed they use lard. LARD! I am not sure if the internet sources I looked at were reliable sources, but no way, I was not cooking with that, much less even knew where to buy lard. Nevertheless, I did not give up (this time) on making Cracker Barrel status biscuits. Using my grandmother’s base recipe that uses buttermilk (aka pure baking gold), I have been tweaking it over the last couple years until perfection has been achieved. Here is an exert from her recipe, “Lump of Crisco size of egg.” I love it.
They turned out not tasting like Cracker Barrel biscuits, but according to my husband, they are even better. I have no way of knowing if his words are biased, so let me know what you think in the comments 😉 Also, feel free to share any biscuit making tips you have.
I made the pictured biscuits in a hurry for a crowd so I didn’t worry about shape too much, I just dropped big balls of dough on the pan. It works! If you want them shaped like perfect little cylinders, here is what I do: have a little bowl of buttermilk to coat hands with before scoping up each biscuit from the dough so it does not stick to hands. Shape biscuits with hands then put on greased pan 2 inches apart. This biscuit dough is not stiff enough to use biscuit cutters. Press the top/middle of the biscuit down with two fingers to make a dent about an inch in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. This will cause the top to rise evenly with the sides.