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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Shepherd's Pie

The original recipe for today's meal can be found at Wholesome Dish. It is superb, and my confidence in cooking has returned.

I'm so pleased with how this turned out, let's get straight to it. Final star ratings are below.

Final Star Rating
Flavor: **** (4 stars - I've impressed myself)
Texture: ***** (5 stars - Delicious Award)
Easy to Make: ***** (5 stars - Delicious Award)
Overall Rating: ****.75 (4.75 stars - I've impressed myself)

While the recipe may seem intimidating because it appears to have a lot of ingredients, don't let it fool you. This is actually quite easy to make. Essentially, you're stirring all the pie-based ingredients together and letting them thicken, then stirring together all the potato ingredients. Super simple and very tasty.

Shepherd's Pie

Serves 8
ingredients for recipe: shredded colby jack cheese, Mrs Dash seasoning, ground turkey, chicken broth, Smart Balance margarine, canned tomatoes, salt, pepper, Domata flour, chopped onions, olive oil, worcestershire sauce, baking potatoes, skim milk, frozen mixed vegetables.
Pie "Insides"
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup frozen chopped onions
1 lb lean ground meat (I used ground turkey)
2 tbsp Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp gluten free Domata Flour
1 (14.5 oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can low sodium chicken broth
1 bag Birds Eye Steamfresh frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, green beans, corn)

Mashed Potato Topper
4 russet potatoes
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 tbsp skim milk
3 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese

Pie "Insides"
  1. Add oil to a large skillet with onions, ground meat, 1 tbsp Mrs. Dash seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well, breaking the meat into small bits. Cook until the meat is browned, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine.
  3. Add flour and canned tomatoes. Stir until well incorporated and no clumps of flour remain.
  4. Add the broth, frozen vegetables, remaining Mrs. Dash seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the liquid to a boil then reduce to simmer. Let simmer on stove while making the potatoes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mashed Potato Topper
  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot. Cover the potatoes with water. Bring the water to a boil. Cook until potatoes are soft.
  2. Drain the potatoes, then place in a large bowl.
  3. Add butter, milk, garlic powder, salt, and pepper (to taste). Mash the potatoes and stir until all ingredients are mixed.
  4. Add the shredded cheese to the potatoes and stir until combined.

Putting it together
  1. Pour the meat mixture into a rectangle shaped baking dish. Spread it into an even layer. Spoon the mashed potatoes on top of the meat and carefully spread out over entire dish.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes. Take out of oven and sprinkle top with additional shredded cheese. Put back into oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted, bubbly and lightly browned on top.
  3. Let cool, serve, and enjoy!

Notes for Next Time: I've never tried making Shepherd's Pie before because I always thought it would be more complex than it actually is. I was pleasantly surprised to find it's easy to make, and the taste is just what I was hoping for - cheesy and comforting. 

If you're someone who would like to save even more time on this recipe, you don't have to make your own mashed potatoes. Buy some pre-made mashed potatoes in the refrigerated section and simply spread those over the top of the meat mixture. If you want a thicker, more crust-like topping, use mashed potatoes from Simply Potatoes. If you would like something softer and thinner, use Bob Evans potatoes

I opted to make my own potatoes, and I left the skin on. I almost always leave the skin on the potatoes for two reasons: 1) there's some fiber in the skin that's good to eat; 2) peeling potatoes is a pain I choose not to endure. 

Having said all this, there are just a couple simple changes I would make. I would definitely add more vegetables - a second bag of frozen vegetables, and I would add bell peppers to the onion and meat when browning. Additionally, I would consider adding another potato. I used 4 potatoes, and it didn't quite go all the way to the edge of the pan. Five potatoes might be just the right amount. Finally, I would probably add just a little more seasoning. I debated between a few different seasoning mixes, and the Mrs. Dash was great. The leftovers, though, didn't have quite as much flavor on day 2 or day 3 as I would have liked. I could either add more (maybe another 1 tbsp total), or try a different mixture, like Litehouse poultry seasoning or Mrs. Dash chicken grilling seasoning.

Despite these potential changes, what I made came out very well. For my first time making it, I am pleased. I feel I have redeemed myself for my second failed caked attempt.  

Watch how I made it here: 

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