Sunday, November 6, 2011

Shephard's Pie is quick, easy, good, and cheap. Need I say more?

    I cooked Shephard's Pie for the kids tonight. Ash would be happy if I cooked this every night. Lucy says she doesn't want it so often; I need to be careful that it doesn't fall into the hamburger and spaghetti category.
    You may remember that I posted a while back on Menu Ideas to Please Kids and Protect Wallet. One of the menu items I mentioned was Shephard's Pie.
    I have a little Four-Way test that I use when it comes to cooking at home -- sort of a twist on the Rotary Club version.
First, Is it Good?
Second, Is it Quick?
Third, Is it Easy to Make?
Fourth, Is it Cheap?
    Shephard's Pie passes the Four Way test with flying colors.

Easy Shephard's Pie (Serves 4, Adjust accordingly)
1 lb. ground chuck, round or sirloin
1 small onion
1 small can sliced mushrooms or sliced fresh mushrooms
Some carrots (optional)
8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
A few slices bacon (optional)
Some minced garlic and other seasonings
1 package powdered mashed potatoes.

Chop an onion fine. If you wish you may cook three slices of bacon and set aside, then use bacon grease to brown onions. Otherwise just use a tablespoon of oil. Add carrots. If using fresh mushrooms add them now. Saute until onions are soft. If using canned mushrooms add them now and saute a bit more.

You may remove vegetables from pan or just push to one side and add meat. Brown meat. When meat is about two-thirds done add some minced garlic if you wish and stir all together and let meat finish cooking. After meat is brown drain.

Place meat mixture in a baking dish and mix in one can of cream of mushroom soup. This will mix better if you don't let the meat cool too much.

Prepare one pouch of mashed potatoes according to package directions, but add about one-half cup additional water. After the potatoes sit for a few minutes they will be runny. Add four ounces shredded cheddar and stir; this will stiffen them right up. Spoon and spread potato mixture over the ground beef mixture as evenly as possible. Grate a little pepper over the top and add other seasonings if desired, but don't add salt. Sprinkle top with four ounces shredded cheddar and crumbled bacon if you used any.

Cook at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes. Yum!

Cost analysis: The most expensive item is the beef, of course. If you shop the old meat rack or sales you ought to be able to get this for $2, otherwise figure on paying $3. The onion costs about 40 cents and the mushrooms 70 cents (don't use fresh unless they are just sitting around!). The few carrots, if used, add perhaps 50 cents. Shredded cheese was recently on sale for $3 per pound and I bought 10 pounds, so figure $1.50 for the cheese. Cream of mushroom soup always goes on sale at Thanksgiving or Christmas and I always buy about 50 cans at 50 cents each, so 50 cents on the soup. Bacon, if used, 50 cents. I bought a bunch of two-pouch boxes of mashed potatoes for a buck apiece sometime back, but since I haven't seen them on sale lately I'll figure a pouch of potatoes at 80 cents.
Meat $2.50
Onion .40
Mushrooms .70
Carrots if used .50
Cheese $1.50
Potato pouch .80
Cream of mushroom soup .50

Total cost of meal = $6.90

To save money or suit your taste you can omit some or all of the cheese.


Lucy said...

Passes all four of these with flying colors? PLEASE, Daddy, I'm begging you. The stuff is nasty!

Col. Reb Sez said...

Everyone else likes it but darling daughter doesn't. She burned her mouth!

Ignatius said...

Perhaps you need to let Miss Lucy review your posts BEFORE you post them, CRS ...