Unbelievably Easy Shepherd’s Pie

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It was 27 degrees this morning when we woke up.  Time to start thinking about all of those wonderful, homey, and comforting winter dinners. Shepherd’s pie is one of my favorites. However, my husband and I have been battling the flu for the past couple of days and even though we were hungry for dinner, I certainly didn’t feel like slaving over the stove for very long.  A traditional Shepherd’s pie isn’t all that hard to make, just time-consuming because of the mashed potatoes and then can be even more time-consuming depending on the type of meat you want to use.

I used Betty Crocker boxed potato flakes (go ahead and gasp…I can handle it), frozen mixed vegetables, boxed beef broth, and ground beef. Easy, easy, easy, and totally delicious and satisfying. So judge if you will, but sometimes even us foodies don’t feel like standing in the kitchen all afternoon preparing dinner.

I put this recipe into 4 oversized ramekins (Pier 1 – $2.95 ea.). They are the perfect personal size. It would also work just fine in an 8 1/2 x 11 baking dish. The cooking time may increase a bit. You can also make this a couple of hours ahead of time, cover, and refrigerate. Allow to sit on counter for 1/2 hour before baking.

Unbelievably Easy Shepherd’s Pie

About 1 lb. of High Quality Ground Beef

1 Small Bag Frozen Vegetables (about 2 Cups)

1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Oregano (you can use whatever herbs you like, this is what I had fresh on hand)

1 Small Onion, diced

3 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and diced

1 Box Beef Broth (make sure it’s gluten-free, I use Pacific Organic Beef Broth)

1 Tablespoon Dairy Free Butter

Potato Starch or Corn Starch

Betty Crocker Potato Buds (follow directions for serving size for about 8, I also used dairy free butter and almond milk )

Sea Salt & Pepper

Olive Oil

Diced Green Onions

*Individual Oversized Ramekins or an 8 1/2 x 11 Baking Dish

Line a baking sheet with tin foil and set aside. Preheat oven to 425°.

Drizzle olive oil in a large skillet and heat on medium to medium high heat. Saute the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add the beef and oregano and cook until done, season generously with sea salt and pepper (I also added a little garlic powder). Add the frozen vegetables and toss until heated through. Fill 4 oversized ramekins 3/4 full, set aside.

Next, add the butter to the same skillet and melt. Add the box of beef broth and bring to a boil. In a small glass add about 2 Tablespoons potato starch or corn starch (I prefer potato). Fill the glass with enough water or beef broth (I had another box) to cover the corn starch and stir with a fork until completely combined. Turn the broth down to a low boil and slowly whisk the potato starch mixture in. It will thicken pretty quickly so you’ll be able to see within about a minute or two if you want to add more or not.

Pour a couple of large spoonfuls over each meat filled ramekin and set aside.

Make the potatoes according to the instructions on the box. I use water, dairy free butter, and sea salt in the pan. Then when the potato flakes are stirred in I add warmed almond milk to think them out to a mashed potato consistency. It’s really a  no-brainer and so easy. Sometimes you might need to add more potato flakes and sometimes you might need to add more warmed milk.

Place the ramekins on the covered baking sheet and top with the potatoes.

Place in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes until it is bubbling and the potatoes are beginning to brown. They are hotter than heck when you take them out of the oven, so be careful!! Sprinkle with the diced green onions.