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Canning Day Quilt

Shepherd’s Pie and a Giveaway

Yeah!  It’s another $50 Visa Gift Card today sponsored by Betty Crocker as part of Better Homes and Garden’s Dinner Ideas Tonight.  But first, I can’t wait to share this recipe with you all.

All is right with the world when my family can gather for dinner on a cold Winter evening to enjoy a delicious Shepherd’s Pie.  It is my ultimate comfort food.

Shepherd’s Pie is also one of my family’s favorite meals for sure. Whenever we are sitting at the table enjoying it, I wonder why I don’t make it more.

I don’t make it often and there is one good reason.  It’s the potatoes.  Mashed potatoes take TIME.  You’ve got to peel, chop, boil, drain, mash and season.  It takes me a good thirty minutes to make mashed potatoes.

Then I had an ah ha moment.  I could TRY making Shepherd’s Pie with good quality boxed potatoes and see what happened.  There would be a high bar since I have a few very discriminating eaters at my home.  But it was worth a try.

I made my favorite Shepherd’s Pie recipe last week with Betty Crocker Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and guess what? My kids loved it.  My husband, who I was sure would turn up his nose, said, “You know what, this is really good.”  (Always the tone of surprise… )

I thought it was delicious…  and doubly delicious since I had my Shepherd’s Pie made from scratch, well almost scratch, and into the oven in less than half an hour.  Awesome.

Here’s how:

Here’s the beginnings of my meal: an onion, a few cloves of garlic, celery, green beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, milk, and the Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes.  You’ll also need a generous pound of hamburger and some nice sharp cheddar cheese.

Prep the vegetables by chopping up the onion and slicing the celery.  I used half of a large onion (or a whole medium) and two stalks of celery.

Mince the garlic.  Two nice big cloves should be just about perfect.

Oh the time savings!  Whip up the Roasted Garlic Potatoes in just a couple of minutes.   Make both packets in your box of potatoes.  That makes about 5- 1/3 cup which is a good amount for the pie.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the meat and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.

When the hamburger is well browned add onion and celery to the pan.  Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring often until the onions start looking translucent.

Stir in the garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds.

I’m using frozen green beans today which saves another big step (of trimming, chopping and blanching).  I love keeping frozen bean in the freezer.  They taste wonderful and really save on time.  When I start cooking, I put my beans in a small bowl and run a little water over them to start them thawing.  If they are not already, chop your green beans into bite sized pieces and toss them in the pan.

Add one cup (or half a can) of diced tomatoes (with the juice) and about a 1/2 cup of canned tomato sauce.

Add 1/4 cup of milk.  I like 2% or whole milk in my Shepherd Pie, but these days I never have more than 1% in our home.  To make up for the whimpiness of low fat milk, I often substitute a little of the milk for half/half.  Reduce the heat to medium low for a few minutes to simmer while you prepare the pan.

I’m using a medium sized casserole pan that measures 10.5 inches by 8.5 inches.  Any medium casserole pan will work.  I’ve also made it in my rectangle 2.2 quart Pyrex pan and it’s the perfect size.

Spread about 1 cup of mashed potatoes evenly on the bottom of a the pan.

Pour the meat mixture into the pan and spread.

Now for the top.  Dab large spoonfuls of mashed potatoes all over the pie.

Then spread the potatoes out evenly… just like frosting a cake.

Top it all off with a cup of good sharp cheddar cheese.

Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, until it’s golden brown and bubbling.

I love to allow it to cool on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.  Just long enough to gather everyone at the dinner table.

This is make-you-happy comfort food… and you don’t even need to tell your family you cut a few corners.  It’s so good, they’ll never know!

Here’s the recipe:

Shepherd’s Pie

1 box Betty Crocker Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes – both packets (or 5 – 6 cups of homemade mashed potatoes)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 pound Ground Beef
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 whole medium onion, chopped
3/4 cup celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 1/2 cups frozen green beans, bite- sized pieces
1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Prepare potatoes according to box instructions.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add ground beef and cook until browned.  Add onions and celery and cook, stirring often, until slightly softened.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add green beans, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add milk and simmer for several minutes more, stirring often.
In a medium casserole pan, spread 1 cup of mashed potatoes evenly in pan.  Pour meat mixture over the top and spread out evenly.  Top with mashed potatoes and spread evenly.  Sprinkle cheese over the top.
Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
Cool for several minutes before serving.  Enjoy!
Click here for the Printable Recipe found in my recipe box on Tasty Kitchen.
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And now I’m so happy to be hosting another $50 Visa Gift Card Giveaway courtesy of Betty Crocker and the Spud Hub.  Could there be anything more timely for the Holidays?

If you haven’t already, be sure to stop by the Spud Hub, where you’ll find a treasure trove a wonderful, easy dinner recipes and ideas.  And while you’re there be sure to enter to win the Sweepstakes for a $250 Gift Card for Groceries.

To enter the $50 Visa Gift Card giveaway, leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite recipe shortcut.  If you don’t have one just say hi!

The Rules:

  • Contest closes on Thursday, December 22, 2011 10:00 MDT
  • Only one comment per person please.
  • Random winners will be announced on Friday, December 23, 2011

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Betty Crocker.  All opinions and ideas are my own.

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109 Responses to “Shepherd’s Pie and a Giveaway”

  • Anita:

    I make something similar but we call it cottage pie. Yum!

  • Katie:

    My favorite recipe shortcut is canned diced tomatoes. You know, the ones that already have celery and green peppers, or already have green chili. Then I don’t have to buy these things separately and chop them. Yay!

  • Kelli:

    Not sure I have a favorite kitchen shortcut… I guess I’d just say prepping ahead of time makes everything go quicker when you need things to come together!

  • Mandy:

    um, I don’t really cook, so I don’t have any shortcuts. Unless you count making air-popped popcorn for dinner. So, hi!

  • That looks good, but I would use vegetarian “hamburger”:). Isn’t quite a short cut at first, but is later on. Make enough of a dish to freeze some so you will have it for a day you don’t feel like cooking. My grandma always does this and I think it is a great idea.

  • KimD:

    When a recipe calls for soften butter, I put the cube in the preheating oven…works like a charm!

  • KristieB:

    Love love love shepherd’s pie – favorite shortcut would be having the kids help out!

  • Sometimes I buy frozen chopped peppers or potatoes, for nights when I don’t have enough time to do chopping. I also double recipes and freeze for later.

  • Steph:

    My favorite shortcut is Ives soy crumbles in place of ground meat – in tacos, chili, and now I’m going to have to try it in Shepherd’s Pie! No one has caught on that they aren’t eating meat (including my carnivore hubbie). The trick is to use them when you make something with lots of flavor and spices, such as chili. You don’t have to pre-cook them, so it shaves about 10 minutes off of dinner prep and eliminates a pot!

  • Maria S:

    The one shortcut that comes to mind is using a pie crust mix for things like mini pies or quiche.
    Thanks for your wonderful posts–great ideas & recipes :)

  • JanT:

    Simple shortcut: use parchment paper when making cookies so sheet stay clean for next batch.

  • Jillian:

    Not sure if it qualifies as a shortcut, but I like to bake or pan fry lots of chicken breasts all at once so I have enough for a week’s cooking (easy to put together meals if the meat is pre-cooked) for mexican food, salads, sandwiches, etc.

  • Patricia:

    My shortcut is to chop double or triple the onions or green peppers I need for a recipe. The extras go in a ziploc bag in the freezer for future meals. I mainly cook for 1 and being able to grab a handful of onions and peppers for the skillet is great!

  • twelve30:

    Use Reynolds new no stick foil for baking – love this stuff! Thanks for the giveaway.

  • LJ:

    HA! My cooking shortcut is to ‘order in’ AND, by the way, it’s my favorite shortcut.:) Wrapping a roast/turkey/ham in aluminum wrap really keeps the meat juicy.

  • Jen Y:

    My favorite shortcut is precooking meat. I grill boneless skinless breasts, freeze them in meal size portions to use for stir fries, salads, enchiladas, ect. I brown gr. beef & freeze in meal size portions for pasta, pizza, taco salad, ect. Precooking on a free day means I can put the cooked meat out to thaw in the morning & throw together supper in just a few minutes.

  • My favorite shortcut is to pre-cook ground beef when I bring it home for meals for my hubby and I. I then package it in one or one half pound servings and freeze it. This helps when your like me and forget to take the meat out of the freezer in the morning.

  • Kelli:

    My favorite cooking shortcut is using leftover vegetables in my dinner dishes. It saves me a ton of time and keeps me from having to toss out leftovers gone bad :)

  • I haven’t made shepherd’s pie in years, and honestly, for the same reason, the potatoes. My mom made it a lot when I was growing up. I’ll have to give this recipe a try!

  • I don’t know if this is considered a shortcut but I recently discovered that eating a piece of chocolate while cutting strong onions really does take the tears away! I was way skeptical at first but now that I’ve tried it a few times I am a believer. And we all need an excuse to eat more chocolate…

  • My favorite shortcut is to double the recipe, make two casseroles. Stick one in the freezer and eat the other. Now you have a meal at the ready. Thanks for the generous giveaway.

  • Rachael K.:

    We often have a large salad as part of our dinner, and having the lettuce and herbs washed, carrots grated, veggies prepped etc. for the week, makes it much more likely we’ll have those delicious and healthy salads.

    We also organize our work lunches from dinner leftovers as part of dinner cleanup.

  • My favorite short cut is to chop celery and onions on the day you bring them home. Pop them in the freezer in usable portions for recipes. I do the same with peppers.

  • nicole s:

    I am just starting to cook more often at home, so I don’t have too many shortcuts yet. But just popping in to say hi!

  • June L:

    I am not much of a cook so most of the things I do are short cuts. Microwave bacon, burritos, etc. But I really need to start doing more real cooking. Great giveaway :0)

  • Last week I put a large package of boneless chicken breasts in the crock pot, seasoned them with lots of salt and pepper, and let them cook on low all day.

    The meat was fork tender. I used half to make bbq sandwiches and used the other half for hot chicken sandwiches. i used Bull’s Eye original sauce.

    I made a gravy with the broth then added shredded chicken to the gravy. I then piled up the meal: a slice of bread followed by mashed potatoes and then smothered in chicken and gravy. Ooh yum!

  • kristenp:

    I don’t really have a shortcut, but I enjoyed reading the ones above. :) Hi :)

  • Lori C.:

    My favorite shortcut is a soup mix I use, then add all the vegetables and meat with it. The flavor is really great! Merry Christmas Calli! Thanks for a chance to win!!!

  • Erin P.:

    I can’t cook very well, so almost everything I make uses some kind of shortcut.

  • Julie M.:

    I love ginger in recipes. I buy fresh ginger, peel it, then freeze it. It saves indefinitely, and is super easy to grate to put into recipes!

  • Tracy:

    My favorite “shortcut” is to cook meat as a roast one night in the slow cooker for dinner then break up the leftovers for burritos or fajitas the next night and BBQ sandwiches the next (and if it was a BIG roast, perhaps as potato topper the next). It’s a real time saver – the slow cooker does all the work the work the first day and the only work the other nights is prepping the burrito or fajita veggies, and then chopping the onions and peppers to add to the pulled meat in the slow cooker with BBQ sauce the next.

  • Natalie W:

    My favorite recipe shortcut is chopping up onions and green peppers and freezing them in 1 cup increments. So fast to throw a quick dinner together!

  • carolee c.:

    I don’t have any really good shortcuts, but I use my crockpot as often as possible! It does most of the work and then I usually have leftovers in the freezer!

  • anash:

    My favorite shortcut is mixing cakes in one bowl and most of the time they come out fine! thats shephards pie looks so eas and so delish, i think i will try it!

  • Anne Marie:

    My favorite shortcut is to keep the pantry stocked with the basic essentials – this avoids last minute runs to the store – plus you can always come with something to make if the pantry is stocked!! Shop sales and stock up when items are on sale.

  • Biz:

    My shortcut is as simple as meal planning for the week.
    Knowing what I’m going to cook when and having all my ingredients in the house makes cooking go much smoother!


  • Caedwin:

    A time saver that I have used for over 30 years is menus. When I was working, they allowed me to put items in the fridge overnight to thaw OR to get them ready for cooking in the crockpot the night before and then just plug in the crockpot the next morning. Few things beat coming home after a rough day at work and enter the house and smell something yummy cooked and ready for the table!

  • Michelle R.:

    I use a rotissarie chicken from the grocery store in my chicken tortilla soup. It’s good, quick and easy!

  • courtneyb:

    I use store bought pie crust. I love to cook from scratch but I think pre-made and home made crust tastes the same and it is so much faster. My other short cut? crockpot.

  • Mami2jcn:

    I buy prebaked pies.

  • A favorite shortcut is to plan 2 or 3 meals around the same main ingredient, so that most of the work is done only once. A pot of pinto beans can be burritos, chili, soup and a yummy base for huevos rancheros! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Shaun:

    My favorite shortcut is when I’m making scalloped potatoes. I use boxed potatoes but make them with 1/2 & 1/2 instead of milk. They are delicious! This tip originally came from a fantastic cook who used to run a B&B.

  • Hi! Love the site :)

  • Lisa:

    I love to use the Perdue chicken short cuts in place of cooking chicken sometimes…such as in quesadillas!

  • erin:

    Can’t think of any shortcuts offhand. Hi!

  • Shewanna:

    My favorite shortcut is “when in doubt or short of time, roast it!”

  • Sarah H.P.:

    It’s funny because we do sometimes buy mash potato flakes if we’re feeling really lazy and my husband actually loves the flavor of them so it’s a win-win on both fronts!

  • Ashley:

    Hi & Merry Christmas!! : )

  • Ashley H.:

    My favorite shortcut is to use frozen veggies. They are chopped and ready to go.

  • jeannine leonard:

    thank you so much, this will be dinner tomorrow night

  • Beth:

    I like to use the canned corn that already has chopped peppers in it – add to chili or spanish rice for an extra zing! Here they call it “mexi-corn”

  • Kristina:

    Like many others, I buy the prechopped, frozen celery & onions. Saves me some time and my celery doesn’t get all wimpy!

  • Meg:

    My favorite shortcut is buying the pre-made, frozen pizza dough at my grocery store to make pizzas, flatbread or garlic sticks. it even comes in whole wheat!

  • Shelly:

    My boyfriend is English so shepherd’s pie is made a lot in our household. We always use box mashed potato to save time and it always tastes amazing!

  • Leanna Morris:

    No shortcut tip right off-hand, although lots of the time I don’t measure ingredients!

  • Megan T.:

    I just learned that you can shred chicken easily but putting it in a kitchenaid mixer for a few minutes. I hate shredding it with a fork!

  • EMma:

    I use a papcket of savory stew seasoning- mcormick to make the base seasoning for my shepherds pie! Yum!

  • Jean A.:

    My favorite shortcut is using no boil lasagna noodles for my lasagna. I don’t mind spending half a day making the sauce, but the noodles were always a headache for me. Voila! No need to cook those noodles anymore. Plus, they seem lighter when the lasagna has baked.

  • Amber C.:

    I use those crockpot baggies. No clean up!

  • Sue:

    I love Trader Joe’s frozen garlic cubes. Tastes just like fresh garlic without the peeling and chopping and they are not packed in oil like jarred garlic. Just makes life a little easier.

  • My favourite shortcut is to do a weekly menu plan. We always have something different, my grocery bill is kept way down as Im buying what I need, not what I might use, and there is no waste. I do include deserts, cakes and biscuits in the plan.

  • EG:

    Rotisserie chicken is key to my happiness in life! It’s SO good in so many recipes!

  • I think I’ll be making this for dinner tomorrow. All the ingredients are on hand (after I mash my own potatoes w/skins).

    Shortcut: buy 2, make a double recipe, freeze some for later and freeze lunch size portions to have lunches available all the time.

  • Bella:

    Love the blog. As an English person – have to point out that this is Cottage Pie – Shepherd’s Pie is made with minced lamb (hence the shepherds….!!). Still looks delicious though!

  • Hi! I don’t have a shortcut, but I am enjoying reading other people’s ideas!

  • Tina K:

    I use Bisquick for pancakes and quick biscuits.

  • Lani:

    I love shepherds pie! I use rotisserie chicken from the store in alot of recipes…chicken noodle soup…chicken pot pie etc. Yummy!

  • heidi s.:

    Most of my shortcuts have been mentioned, but the best one really is meal planning. Without it, I was constantly running to the store and wasting precious time. This looks quite tasty and very easy…a must try recipe! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  • mary fanara coleman:

    I’m so tired I can’t think of one. But thanks so much for a fantastic giveaway.Oh and HI!!!

  • Katie:

    dehydrated onions. When I’m in a hurry, I throw a handful into stews and soups.

  • Brianna:

    A few years ago I finally got a cheap food processor and it changed my life when it came to chopping onions, garlic, celery, etc. Something that used to take me forever to chop by hand now only takes about 30 seconds. Brilliant!

  • My shortcut would be when baking and the recipe calls for put dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Use parchment paper or they will surly stick to the pan and won’t come off clean looking.

  • My favorite shortcut is.. I’m not sure if I have one! My favorite way for an easy dinner is to use the crockpot and just have my meal simmering away all day long. I love to make curries or bbq pork that way. Yum!

  • Sharleen:

    I make a pot pie using refrigerated pie crust, canned chicken, potatoes and veggies then just make up a gravy mix to put over. My husband loves it!

  • Linda:

    I think my shortcut would be using instant brown rice in a hotdish–or canned chili on a baked potato–sometimes we all need a shortcut—I will try that Shepard’s Pie–Yum!!!

  • Dawn Meador:

    Sounds wonderful! No shortcut to share however, we used to have a dish similiar to this only with mushroom soup as the base instead of the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Merry Christmas!

  • Lauren Meyenberg:

    sadly my favorite shortcut is to stop at a take-out place!! i’m not the best cook, but maybe this recipe will inspire me!

  • Brooke:

    Shortcut? You mean you don’t have to follow recipes exactly?! Just kidding … sort of. The only shortcut I ever use when baking/cooking is buying a pie crust verses making one. Me and pastry crusts just don’t get along very well.

  • missy:

    This shepherds pie looks sooooo yummy – glad it passed your picky eaters – maybe it will mine too. My favorite tip would be to cook up ground beef for 2-3 meals at a time with some minced onion. Then you can freeze the extra and not have to worry about that part later.

  • Jamie:

    I never buy buttermilk, I always just add vinegar to milk and viola! :)

  • jill isaac:

    My cooking shortcut is the crock pot, I use it at least once a week

  • debbie:

    Looks delicious….but how can it be anything else when topped with mashed potatoes?!? My “new” favorite shortcut is a pressure cooker, it really shortens cooking time and enhances flavor and tenderness.

  • Tracy:

    I guess a short cut for holiday baking is to make roll dough and let it rise in the fridge overnight to lessen the rush of baking a few pans of dinner rolls. I do the same with cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning…compose the rolls and let rise overnight in the fridge then bake while opening gifts.

  • I’ll admit to always buying premade pizza bases – I’ve tried to make them myself so many times but it’s always been unsuccessful! I’ve yet to find that perfect recipe.

  • Cathie:

    my short cut is as soon as I come home from the grocery store I divide & freeze my meats, chop my veggies, wash my lettuce…so that as the week goes on & things get busy, you

  • Vanessa:

    I used bagged frozen veggies. It saves time cutting and prepping! momlovesdeals at gmail dot com

  • Rachel:

    My short cuts really depend on the week, but typically it’s just making sure I have everything on hand so I don’t have to head to the store in the middle of making dinner!

  • Jarred minced garlic. Nothing beats fresh, but in a pinch it saves time.

  • Angie:

    My favorite shortcut is having pre-cooked hamburger in 1 lb packages in the freezer….ready to just plop into a recipe such as this after thawing in the microwave for a few minutes. Buy in bulk–cook in bulk!

  • Crystal:

    My favorite shortcut is to make a few batches of taco meat, portion it out and freeze it. Then all we have to do is pop it in the microwave for last minute meals. All that is left to prepare are the toppings!

  • Pam:

    My favorite thing about shepherd’s pie is that most everything is interchangeable with another ingredient. So, out of green beans, try corn. Or mushroom soup instead of tomato sauce. My family loves all versions.

  • Stephanie C:

    My favorite shortcut is to cook as many boneless chicken breasts as possible then shred some & slice some & freeze for easy, fast meals.

  • Pam:

    It’s not really a short cut – more of a tip. When I pull the last of a particular ingredient off my pantry shelf, I immediately add it to my grocery list, so I don’t run out of the essentials. For instance, the diced tomatoes in the shepherd’s pie, which I will use off my shelf when I make the recipe this Friday.

  • Rebecca:

    Cream of ? soups. You can add them to anything : )

  • Megan:

    My best shortcut (though I guess it isn’t really a short cut; it just saves time long term), is to make LOTS of food when I know it makes good leftovers and then freeze the extra or eat it for lunch the next several days. Nothing too earth-shattering, but it works for me!

  • Michelle C:

    My favorite shortcut is to use the slow cooker for busy days! Thanks for the chance to win!
    mrsmchappell at gmail dot com

  • lak:

    I just learned that if you freeze pre-soaked beans, they only take about 20 minutes to cook. Yeah!

  • Dayna:

    I love to use frozen diced onions–saves me a few tears, some smelly fingers, and a lot of time!

  • Christina Lewis:

    I don’t know if it is a short cut, but I hate cutting onions so I buy an entire bag and cut them all at once and freeze them. That way I do not have to worry about crying over every single meal I make :D

  • PatriciaD.:

    I haven’t made that in years. You can make it with a biscuit topping as well, (without the potatoes of course). I think I’ll add this to the menu soon. Now days I’m using ground turkey instead of beef and I bet it will still be delicious. Thanks.

  • Meagan:

    In the summertime I cut and flash freeze several gallons of red and green peppers. Then when I need peppers for stews, soups, and stirfries, I just reach in the bags and pull out a few handfuls and throw them in the pan. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • My favorite shortcut is buying pre-minced garlic in a jar. 1/2 tsp is 1 clove, so it works wonderfully for making food :D and i’ve never had to cut garlic!

    Now, if they would only do that for onion…:hmmm:

  • Jan:

    Oh my gosh that recipe looks so yummy…the pictures are delicious looking and I am ready to eat some, and its only 8AM!
    Thank you!

  • cw:

    My favorite recipe shortcut is to make ahead and freeze

  • Shannon:

    I like grounding hamburger as soon as I get home and freezing it in smaller portions!

  • Jill Froelich:

    My shortcut is to chop double the amount needed of nuts, onion, etc. to save time on the need time they are needed. jillfroelich@yahoo.com


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