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Friday, January 16, 2009

It's All Gravy

I make every effort to cook at least three days a week. Often times, I'm successful in pulling together a dish (not a meal, people) in 45 minutes. I guess I'm no Rachael Ray. And, thank goodness for that, because I do not understand her appeal whatsoever. Why does that woman have her own talkshow?

I may not finish in 30 minutes but I make every effort to make it quick, delicious, and nutritious. Most of the time, I cook as many one dish meals as possible, preferring to spend my free moments with M, rather than in the kitchen. Here I am keeping M occupied while I cook. My secret? I give him a carrot to feed to his lovey, Cracker.

Recently, I made this dish that M really loves. I guess he's a meat and potatoes kind of guy. My secret to making this dish quickly is to combine cooking at the stove with cooking in the microwave and using a packet of brown gravy mix.

Easy Shepherd's Pie
(Actually, it's Cottage Pie because Shepherd's pie is traditionally filled with lamb.)

2 lbs ground round beef
1 onion, rougly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups frozen vegetables: carrots, corn, peas, or whatever frozen vegetables you have. (I used frozen spinach and chopped fresh carrots in this recipe. I always add closer to three or so cups of vegetables.)
2 chopped fresh zuchini
1 1/2 - 2 lbs potatoes (3 large; add more if you want leftovers)
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 cup chicken broth (You can also substitute beef broth, but I think chicken broth makes it a little lighter.)
1 packet brown gravy mix
Salt, pepper, other seasonings of your choice

1) Peel and quarter potatoes. Microwave until softened.

2) While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 tablespoons butter (1/4 a stick) in a large dutch oven.

3) Over medium heat, sauté onions in butter for about 10 minutes. Add fresh carrots and minced garlic. I chop the carrots into big chunks because it is much faster and cook them partially in the microwave. (Steaming the carrots in the microwave also allows me to be able to use the water from the steaming process later if I decide to. I feel better knowing that I am not throwing anything "nutritious" away.)

4) Add ground beef and sauté until no longer pink. Add the packet of brown gravy mix. Add in frozen vegetables and 1/2 cup of chicken broth. Cook, uncovered, over low heat for about 5 minutes, adding more broth as necessary to keep the mixture moist.

5) Mash potatoes in a bowl with the remaining butter and a bit of chicken broth. I microwave the chopped zuchinni and mash or use your immersion blender to mix in with the potatoes as well. (M will undoubtedly grow up thinking that all mashed potoes should be green.) Season to taste.

6) Spread the mashed potatoes over the beef and vegetable mixture. If you want more crispiness on top, use the fork to scratch the surface to create more surface area for crispy peaks.

7) Cook at 400 degrees until bubbling and brown (about 15-20 minutes). Broil for the last few minutes if necessary to brown.

Serves six.

We love this comforting and homey dish. Give it a try.

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Becky said...

Ooh, this sounds good! Much better than my fake shepherd's pie with cream of mushroom soup.

I let you know how it goes over with my family.

Kristina P. said...

I LOVE Sheperd's Pie!

Geri said...

Your shepherd's pie looks awesome. It's one of my favorite meals.

Anonymous said...

Shepherd's pie was always one of my favorites as a kid. And my meat and potatoes #3 girl LOVES it. That looks very yummy.

Mainly a midwife said...

That sounds delish.. I'm going to try it.

Kimmy said...

OK, I'm hungry now!
I actually make a similar dish without the vegies. I'll try that next time. Look yummy!

Debbie said...

That looks great!

The Blonde Duck said...

That sounds fabulous! I don't care if it's cottage pie or shepard's, I'm trying it!

Just SO said...

Mmmmm I LOVE sheperd's pie! I even have it on my menu list for this next week. Maybe I'll do it tonight! And I've never thought of putting zucchini in it. I'll have to try this.

Unknown said...

omgosh this looks and sounds soooo good!!!! i am gonna make it next week...oh and i soooo♥ that pot is it a dutch oven...love the blue

joanofalltrades said...

In the first picture it looks like a quiche. It sounds and looks yummy, but I don't cook. Maybe I'll pass the recipe over to my husband as a subtle hint. And you are right on point about Rachael Ray.....her show is terrible!

Breanne said...

I'm loving all these posts girls! Funny, tasty, designer, shocking (bento) & .. funny.

Laura said...

Thanks, I'm totally trying it!

Jillene said...

That recipe looks fantastic!! Thanks for sharing!!


three days a week ...wink
you go girl that sure is more then me ! lol it sure looked good.

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Mmm.. looks good. i like your take on one dish meals. Trying to get 4 different things on the table (like a dish, bread, butter and milk) just stresses me out. MY husband has to calm me down after.

Anonymous said...

I really want to compliment you on this dish but I'm still mad at you for being my goal monitor.

Anonymous said...

Also, hear this: I tagged you. My blog. Be there.

Kimmy said...

Glad you liked my photos!!! We're going to the snow today so I'm pretty excited with what I can come up with. Wish me luck!!! :o)

Hccm said...

I wonder if you could freeze this dish. I would like to have things ready to reheat once the twins are born.

Okay stop lying, I would like to have something new for my hubby to cook once the twins are born.

Maude Lynn said...

This sounds delicious!

Scribbit said...

looks so good--and I love the "if you give a kid a carrot" idea.

The Blonde Duck said...

Francesca- I read what you said on Kristen's secrets blog about the followers and I totally agree. I put people I like on my blogroll--following is too much extra stress!

Anonymous said...

I might have made this dish last night and it might have been divine! :) Thanks!

Beth Cotell said...

This looks delicious. My kids are weird though about their food touching so while they like potatoes, beef and carrots separately they would NEVER eat them if they are touching on the same plate.

My husband and I could eat this though!

Anonymous said...


tiarastantrums said...

my kids would never eat that in a million year s- they are so picky! You are lucky to only cook a few days a week - I cook pretty much every day!