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Cold weather comfort food classic: Shepherd's Pie

Mike's Shepherd's Pie
It's Another Dose of YUM!

I love one-pot dishes and casseroles.  There's the perfect marriage of flavors and textures, the easy-peasy prep, and of course, the minimal cleanup!

With temps going below zero with wind chill hitting my neck of the woods recently, I broke out one of my favorite cold weather comfort food classic recipes, Shepherd's Pie.

Not only is this recipe easy to prepare, but it's also super convenient, taking advantage of whatever you have in your pantry and fridge.  Truly classic Shepherd's pie doesn't include cheese, but I've put my spin on it and the cheese kicks this dish up a notch.  A traditional Shepherd's pie is also made with ground lamb which is quite tasty, but not always a budget-friendly option compared to ground beef or ground pork.  Some would even argue that the use of ground beef makes this a 'Cottage Pie', but those are traditionally topped with sliced potatoes rather than mashed.   

Base mixture of ground meat and veggies
The fresh ginger and splash of red wine vinegar elevate the flavor

Mike's Shepherd's Pie


  • One pound of ground beef or pork sausage, whatever you have on hand (I like a 50/50 mix myself)
  • One medium onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (canned is too mushy)
  • 2 cups leftover garlic mashed potatoes (if you don't have any on hand, instant potatoes are fine, prepare as directed)
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded Colby Jack or Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • A thumb size bit of ginger, peeled, minced
  • A generous splash of red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 tabs of unsalted butter


Mike's Shepherd's Pie
You'll have seconds...

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat, brown the ground meat, along with the chopped onion, stirring occasionally.  Drain if needed.   Add the garlic, ginger, mixed vegetables, optional Cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper, stir to incorporate, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Add the splash of red wine vinegar, stir, and adjust the seasoning if needed.  Top the meat mixture with half the shredded cheese, do NOT stir. Turn off the heat, but do not remove it from the burner just yet.  Top with the mashed potato, spreading to cover the top creating the 'pie.'  Tip:  If using leftover potatoes, pull from the fridge at least 30 minutes before topping the meat, they'll be easier to spread.  Dice up the butter, place on top of the potato topping, and put the pie in the oven.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, then put the remaining shredded cheese and smoked paprika on the potato topping. Bake for another 10 minutes or until the topping is golden brown, and delicious.


Easy-peasy, one-skillet comfort food, that's also wallet-friendly!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike



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