I looked at the clock and panicked.
Time had slipped by in a flurry of “What in the world. It was just 2:00. Where did the afternoon go?”
By 6:25, this epitome of all comfort foods dish was heating in the oven. By 6:45, the kitchen was flooded with smells that warmed my heart, alongside sounds of children singing my praise for serving their favorite food of all time – this oh, so very Simple Shepherd’s Pie. (Although, they do say that about a few other things as well.)
There’s just something about Shepherd’s Pie that equals comfort. Yet, often, we equate it with a lot of work in the kitchen.
It’s all about just layering your favorites of what you have on hand.
If I haven’t convinced you before to cook up a big batch of Ground Beef in your Crock pot, this should make up your mind. Run, put that meat in your crock pot now, well, unless it’s dinner time. Then it will be ready for tomorrow.
Fortunately, I had already taken a bag of my ground beef out of the freezer. I had added some simple seasonings when I cooked it – garlic salt and onion powder, plus some minced garlic and onions mixed in as well.
With that on hand, I looked at my freezer and saw that I had a bag of frozen corn, and my pantry housed some long forgotten dried potatoes. Now before you run for the hills with that thought, know that I am a potato connoisseur.
My favorite food in the world consists of anything with potatoes and often, I have some Gourmet Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes made up in my freezer, but yesterday, I didn’t.
With that being said, if I think this is delicious with “fake” (as my kids call them) potatoes, trust me on this, it’s still amazing. If you have the extra 30 minutes to go ahead and make some fresh homemade mashed potatoes, go for it, but then you won’t be a hero in less than 10 minutes.
I was going for hero status in a jiffy, and you can too.
First, I layered the ground beef mixture across the bottom of my pan, and sprinkled a bit of extra seasoning salt on top. Since I am feeding seven, I typically use a 9×13 and a bit more ground beef than just 1 1/2 pounds. Shepherd’s Pie reheats beautifully, so I do love leftovers with this.
Next, I used my favorite steak sauce, BBQ sauce or even ketchup (see here for easy homemade ketchup) and spread a thin layer across the ground beef. This gives it the great “homemade” flavor.
Then I sprinkled a layer of frozen corn right from the bag across my cooked ground beef. (This is when you use what you have. If I had frozen mixed veggies with carrots and peas, I may have used that as well. I’ve even put shredded zucchini on top when it’s in garden season. For a full 9×13, I typically use a one pound bag of corn.)
The top layer is when the mashed potatoes make their entrance. Mix up the bag of potatoes according to their instructions, but to give it the extra flavor edge, stir in some sour cream to make it extra creamy. Spoon that across the entire pan, and then liberally sprinkle your favorite cheese. There is no wrong way to make this Simple Shepherd’s Pie, and I hesitate to give you exact amounts since every one will desire different portions.
Remember, it’s just about layering, and then topping it off with a good ‘ole amount of yummy taters and cheese. That’s the key to a win for this quick meal.
Enjoy! Are you in a comfort food mood yet?
Recipe: Simple Shepherd’s Pie
Summary: This simple Shepherd’s Pie recipe screams the best in comfort food. Using your crockpot ground beef, this whips up in minutes.
- 1 1/2 – 2 pounds cooked ground beef (with your choice onions, pepper, and garlic – optional)
- 2 cups corn or your choice of mixed veggies. (Corn, peas and cooked died carrots all work well.)
- Seasoning salt
- Favorite Steak sauce, BBQ sauce or ketchup
- 4 cups Mashed potatoes – either Homemade Mashed Potatoes or packaged
- Shredded cheese, your favorite
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Spread the cooked ground beef in an even layer on the bottom of a casserole dish.
- Spread your favorite sauce or ketchup on top of the ground beef.
- Sprinkle a layer of corn (or mixed veggies) on top of the sauce.
- Top with the mashed potato mixture. Smooth it around or create some little peaks for a fun look.
- Liberally sprinkle shredded cheese across the mashed potatoes.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until bubbling and golden brown. (If your ingredients are already warm, this will cook up much quicker. It just needs to be heated through and hot enough for the cheese to melt.)
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 25-30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8