Mood: Devious-Lots O Veggie Shepherd’s Pie

After a busy weekend and gearing up for husband working 12 hour day shifts for the next few days, I knew I couldn’t sit my lazy butt down on the couch and chill tonight…I needed to reach deep in to my tool kit and have a make ahead meal that could be ready in no time on Monday after work!  It was so nice to finally have hubs home for the weekend after a long stretch of working weekends but the payback comes with having to rock in to mega mom mode for the rest of the week.  Drop off and pick up duty at day care, driving downtown instead of taking the 40 ft limousine (city transit), walking the dog and dealing with the ‘witching hours’ of toddler mayhem all on my own and not seeing husband until 8pm can often take its toll.  But you know what…this week i’m freaking doing it, i’m pretty much going to rock this mom gig and still have a decent dinner on the table.  Chicken strips can eff off this week, turkey wraps can take a hike, chopped up cucumbers and hummus…you can pretty much relax because this moody little mama has things under control!

I’m feeling devious today because i’m going to sneak in some moody little veggies in to this shepherd’s pie and the lion is gonna love it!  Mom 1…Toddler 0, that’s right, I will win this one.  Any chance I get, I definitely add more veggies to any dish.  I know there are lots of books and methods out there that tell you to make puree’s ahead of time and sneak them in and hey…do what you need to do.  I get it, if your kids plumbing is backed up and you need to get things moving but they refuse to eat veg…then do whatever the hell you have to.  I get it…its survival!! I just try uber hard to get the lion to just eat veg in the way they were intended…I want him to experience the awesomeness of the garden whenever I can.

Okay so here is what you need to do.  First you want to peel, cut and boil some potatoes.  Boil until they are cooked all the way through or you can stick a fork in it and the fork slides out on its own.

Drain and mash those potatoes with some butter, pepper, salt (I used Herbamare) and a tiny splash of half and half cream.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

Set the spuds aside and start to work on your meat.  Brown your ground beef in a pan.  Drain the excess fat and return cooked beef to the pan.  Add chopped up veggies such as (red pepper, carrots, onion, zucchini) and cook for about 5 minutes or until the veg starts to sweat.  (yes this is the only time I think sweat is somewhat interesting).

Add some veggies to your meat.

Add some veggies to your meat.

IMG_1329

Next add the frozen peas and corn ( I basically just filled a cereal bowl with frozen peas and corn.  I buy the organic frozen peas and corn at costco and it’s ace).  Cook for another few minutes until all the veg is fully cooked.

Adding some corn and peas

Adding some corn and peas

Next take 3 heaping tsp’s (I just used my tea spoons from my cutlery drawer) of cornstarch and mix with a bit of water in a small bowl.  Mix until it forms a liquidy paste.  Make sure the corn starch is dissolved completely or it will clump.  Pour this mixture over the beef/veggie mixture.  You gotta work quick here.

Mix up the corn starch and then add to your beef and veggie mixture

Mix up the corn starch and then add to your beef and veggie mixture

Stir it completely through the mixture and then add about 1 cup of veggie broth (you can use any kind of broth you have on hand) to the mixture and stir, stir, stir.  You want to make sure the liquid completely mixes the starch mixture as this will start to bubble up and help it to thicken up like a gravy.  Next add 2 Tbsp of low sodium soy sauce…this will give you a darker brown colour to the gravy.  Mix thoroughly.

Add some broth

Add some broth

Let it cook and if it gets too thick…add more broth or water to loosen it up.  I ended up using about another 3/4 cup of veggie broth.  Here’s what it looks like:

Gravy goodness

Gravy goodness

Add this mixture to a large casserole dish

Place in a casserole or oven safe dish and get ready to add the potato mixture

Place in a casserole or oven safe dish and get ready to add the potato mixture

add your potato mixture on top.  Next run your fork over the spuds to make little grooves in the top.  Trust me, this step makes it all worth it!!  You will eventually brush melted butter or olive oil over top before placing it in the oven…this is going to make the most beautiful golden crust and it’s going to be awesome and crunchy.

Here’s what it will look like

Make those grooves, you won't regret it!!

Make those grooves, you won’t regret it!!

I did not put butter on top at this stage as I made this up in advance and covered with tin foil and placed it in the fridge.  I will spray with olive oil (I have an awesome olive oil spray) just before putting it in the oven.

Cook for about 35-45 minutes at 375-400 degrees or until the top of the potatoes are golden and crispy and you see the mixture bubbling through the sides.

TIP:  Place a cookie sheet underneath your casserole dish when in the oven as this will catch any spillage afterward.  Seriously who the hell wants to actually clean their oven???  Not me.  If you do, please be my friend and stop by any time.

Here’s what it looks like…

Toddler approved!

Fresh out of the oven

Fresh out of the oven

MMMMMMMM

MMMMMMMM

This little goober was gobbling it up!!  Look at him go…like a boss!!!

Lion Approved

Lion Approved

 

Recipe: Lots-O-Veggie Shepherd’s Pie

 

Ingredients

Mashed Potato Topping

  • 5-6 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • Bit of pepper to taste
  • Splash of Half and Half Cream (optional) or milk

Beef and Veggie filling

  • Ground Beef (sorry, I have no idea how much I used, your standard package)
  • 1 cup each of chopped small vegetables (carrots, onion, zucchini, red pepper)
  • 1 cereal bowl of frozen peas and frozen corn
  • 3 heaping tsp of corn starch
    2 cups of veggie broth (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 2 tbsp of low sodium soy sauce

Directions

  1. Make the mash potato topping by boiling potatoes until cooked completely.  Drain liquid and place cooked potatoes back in the pot.  Mix with butter, salt/pepper and a splash of half and half cream or milk.  Set aside
  2. Brown ground beef and drain excess fat.
  3. Add chopped vegetables (everything except frozen corn and peas) and let cook for about 5 minutes until veggies begin to sweat.
  4. Add in frozen corn and peas and cook for a few more minutes until all veggies are cooked completely.
  5. Mix corn starch with a bit of water in a small bowl.  This will create a runny paste.  Add this to the beef and vegetable mixture and stir
  6. Add 1 cup of veggie broth and mix completely.
  7. Add soy sauce and Let this cook on medium for a few minutes and stirring occasionally and allowing the mixture to thicken up in to a gravy.
  8. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more broth to loosen it up.  (I added about 3/4 of a cup more broth)
  9. Add meat/Veg mixture to a casserole dish.
  10. Top with potato mixture and run your fork along it to make those grooves.
  11. Brush the top of the potato with EVOO or Melted Butter
  12. Bake at 375-400 degrees (depending on your oven) for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown on top. *I baked mine at 400 because the lion was starving and I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to brown the top.

High Five yourself cuz this is a pretty tasty recipe.  Seriously, making this up the night before took about 30 minutes to prep and cook and let me tell ya…after one of those crazy days, I was so thankful to have a lovely dinner to come home to and just shove in the oven.  Pretty excited for husband to get home so he can enjoy a nice hot meal…after riding home in the rain, this is sure to warm him up cuz it’s pretty much like a comfort food hug!!

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