We have had lots of struggles and challenges in our lives, but we've had even more blessings!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Soothing Shepard's Pie

   Today is one of those "Rainy Days and Mondays" that Karen Carpenter use to sing about.  Outside, it's an overcast day, with cold rain and occasional thunder. Yesterday was even more so. There was even lighting involved in the evening. Mid-afternoon had included an accumulating mixture of sleet and hail.
   Inside, well... for varying reasons, our 'spirits' are also fighting feelings of being dreary and overcast. Sometimes you just can't seem to get deep enough, snuggled down into that mattress under those blankets. I know many of you fully 'get' what types of feelings I am referring to.
   But I have been struggling with and fighting said feelings. And besides chocolate and Pepsi (TM), there are also other types of 'comfort foods' that somehow contain their own form of healing [or at the least, soothing] powers. Around here, Shepard's Pie is one of those type of foods. So one night recently, I decided that I was going to try and make some for dinner.
    Yes, try to. Just because it sounded good, does not necessarily mean I had the ingredients on hand to do so. I knew you'd relate to that part too. Life.

    Shepard's pie is one of those dishes that is made slightly different in every single household. Some people put this in it, others put that. Years ago, one of my renditions was such a 'hit', that it has pretty much been made that exact same way ever since. When you stumble upon a winner, you stick with it. If you haven't yet found your 'winner' for Shepard's Pie, I recommend that you try this one. Ya just never know, it might become your families favorite type too. ;->
   First step is to finely chop up some onion, and then brown up some hamburg (or ground chuck, although a couple of times we did use ground venison), the onions and garlic powder. [**]
   Bonus Tips here in regards to garlic powder. If your not comfortable using real garlic, garlic powder is a very easy to use alternative. And remember, buy garlic powder, NOT garlic salt as your stand in. Yes, there is a huge difference in the texture and taste of your final product, depending on which of those two types you choose. Garlic Powder blends in smoothly. Garlic Salt leaves a grainier texture and much stronger taste.
   Another tip about Garlic Powder. A light sprinkling on of it does nothing. Well, okay, so there is no way it's really nothing. If your using garlic powder to add some garlic flavoring, you must use more of it than you would think you would need to. Quite a bit more. When I use it in Spaghetti Sauce or Chicken Tetrazini, it looks like I am adding an 'obscene' amount. And yet the final product does not taste extremely garlicy.
   Back to the Shepard's Pie.
   Brown those three items up until the onions are turning rather clear.
   How much meat? You want to use enough so that it will make a nice layer of meat in the bottom of your baking pan. A nice layer of meat, not just some meat spread around on the bottom of the pan. Get the difference?
   Once the mixture is browned enough, turn off the heat underneath your pan and then drain any remaining grease out of the pan.
    Add one can of cream of mushroom soup to the meat, and blend thourally. If you only used two (2) pounds of meat, then one regular size can of the soup is sufficient. If you used three (3) or more pounds of meat, then you'll want to use the larger sized can of soup.
    Second step is to spread the meat and soup mixture into the bottom of a sprayed baking pan. What size pan depends on the size of your family (or whom all you'll be feeding). If there's only going to be four of you, depending on their appetite size, you might be able to only use an 9x9" baking pan. If your feeding six to eight of you, you'll want to move up to a 9 x 13" baking pan. And if it's ten to twelve people (or guys with hearty appetites), your best off moving on up to a 11x13" pan.
   On the other hand, if it's only four of you but you love to have leftovers to take in lunches, etc., go ahead and make the largest size pan of it!
    Third step is to add a layer of frozen corn kernels over the meat. Yes, you again want a layer, not just a scattering.
    Fourth step (third layer) is to open a can of whole tomatoes (if you have some. This time I didn't, so I ended up using this type of canned, sliced, seasoned tomatoes, which Brian and Brent like, who's technical name is totally alluding me right now. 8-/. They were passable, but prefer the plain style tomatoes.). After draining the liquid off of the tomatoes, chop them up into rather small pieces. Small pieces so that when you take a bite of the Shepard's pie, you get some of each ingredient in every bite, not some of this in the first bite and then some of that in your second bite. Then spread your chopped tomatoes on top of the corn. If you have enough tomatoes on hand to get a whole layer of them, do so. If you don't, add as many as you have.
   Fifth step is to make mashed potatoes. Now,  [**] if your going to be making them from scratch, you'll actually want to peel your potatoes and put them on to boil at the same time you start browning up your meat.
    When they are ready, drain off the water, make your mashed potatoes, and carefully spread them on top of the tomatoes.
    OR, you can make instant mashed potatoes and then spread them.
    OR, you can do what I did this time, and use up the left over mashed potatoes from a meal when the whole family was here and somebody had over estimated how much mashed potatoes would be eaten.

   The trick to 'spreading them' on top of the corn and tomatoes, is to scatter your scoops of the potatoes all over the pan, rather close to one another, and then GENTLY spread together. As you can see, I don't always have full success in keeping the corn and tomatoes completely hidden under the potatoes. Aw well, "still tastes just as good" (quote from Brian).

   Bake uncovered for about 45 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

   This can be made ahead, covered, and refrigerated for a day or two. When your ready to bake it, first let it sit on the counter for about twenty (20) minutes before placing it in a preheated oven. Bake for a good hour at 375 degrees.

   Recipe's Ingredients:
     (recipe made up by Cheryl B.)
  Med. sized Onion
  Garlic Powder
  Cream of Mushroom Soup
  Frozen Corn Kernels
  Canned Tomatoes
  Mashed Potatoes

  Shepard's Pie is really good served with Cottage Cheese (dairy!) and Applesauce (fruit!), and sometimes even Biscuits (fiber?) ;->

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
  I 'plan' on linking this particular posting up to:
~ "Melt in Your Mouth Monday('s)", hosted by Jane Doiron, at 'Make Ahead Meals For Busy Moms .. and other delicious recipes!' (http://www.makeaheadmealsforbusymoms.com)
"Making Your Home Sing Monday('s)", are hosted by Nan, at 'Mom's the Word (I love to hear)' (http://momstheword--livingforhim.blogspot.com/).
~ "Homemaker Mondays ... Yours, Mine & Ours", are hosted by Jen, at '11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven' (http://rtheyallyours.blogspot.com/).
~ "Market Yourself Monday", are hosted by Sumo, at 'Sumo's Sweet Stuff' (http://sumossweetstuff.blogspot.com/)
~ "Delectable Tuesday('s)", hosted by Stephani, at 'Home Sweet Farm' (http://www.ourjourneytoasimplerlife.blogspot.com/)
~ "Tuesday's Tasty Tidbits", hosted by Susan, at 'Permanent Posies - Creative Chaos' (http://permanentposies.com/)
~ "Tempt My Tummy Tuesday('s)", are hosted by Lisa, at 'Blessed with Grace' (http://blessedwithgrace.blogspot.com).
~ "Tuesdays at the Table", are hosted by Cole, at 'All The Small Stuff' (http://allthesmallstuff-cole.blogspot.com/).
~ "Kitchen Tip Tuesday('s)", are hosted by Tammy, at 'Tammy's Recipes' (http://www.tammysrecipes.com/).
~ "Tasty Tuesday('s)", are hosted by Jennifer, at "Balancing Beauty and Bedlam" (http://www.beautyandbedlam.com/)
~ "Foodie Wednesday('s)", hosted by Bibi, at 'Daily Organized Chaos' (there is nothing wrong with living with chaos as long as it's organized)  (http://www.dailyorganizedchaos.com) 
~ "Whatever Goes Wednesday('s), hosted by Michelle, at 'Someday Crafts' (http://somedaycrafts.blogspot.com/)
~ "Recipe Swap Thursday('s)", hosted by Alison, at 'Prairie Story' (http://www.prairiestory.com/) 
~ "Full Plate Thursday('s), hosted by Miz Helen, at 'Miz Helen's Country Cottage' (http://mizhelenscountrycottage.blogspot.com/)
~ "Sweet Tooth Friday('s)", hosted by Alli, at 'Alli 'n Son' (Parenting and Life with a side of Chocolate) (http://alli-n-son.com/) 
~ "Foodie Friday('s)", are hosted by "Gollum" (aka: Michael), at 'Designs by Gollum' (http://designsbygollum.blogspot.com/)


  1. Well, this looks like a great Shepard's Pie. I use to make it a long time ago and I never put corn in it. I think I will try yours really soon. So easy!

  2. Looks good! I think I've only made Shepherd's Pie one time in my life, lol! I keep thinking I ought to make it again, but I just haven't.

    I do have a casserole I make that everyone loves, so I guess that recipe would be our "comfort food." Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

  3. Hi Cheryl,
    We love a good Shepards Pie and your recipe looks delicious. I will be good any time of the year. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you next week!

  4. I loooooooove Shepherd's Pie! So soothing, like you said, and just perfect when you need a little comfort :)

    Stopping by from Foodie Friday!

  5. I don’t bookmark sites but i will bookmark this! LOL!

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  6. Hey, Girl.....I mentioned your Shepherd's Pie on my blog. Did you see it? Here is the link:
    Have a great day.

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