There are few things better on a cold day than a nice comforting meal. Believe it or not, it can get quite chilly here in Florida, especially during January and February. One of the meal's I would describe as a comfort food meal is Shepherd's Pie. If you and your family love a good meat and potatoes meal, this is the dish for you. There are a lot of variations and a lot of ways to make shepherd's pie, but this recipe is my favorite. When listing the ingredients, I'll try to give you some options for things you can substitute or add to make your own spin on this dish.
1 lb ground beef (80/20) - you can use your favorite ground meat, ground turkey, lamb, or chicken work
1 onion, diced
1 tsp garlic paste (make your own with a couple cloves and a sprinkle of salt, or buy some from your produce section of your grocery store)
1-2 cups frozen mixed veggies (I use a carrot, pea, corn, green bean blend) - you can also use just one veggie, like 1 cup peas or 1 cup corn - or find your own favorite veggie blend
2 tbs soy sauce
1/2 jar turkey gravy (I use Heinz, but even the store brands are delicious - you can also use beef or chicken gravy, but I like the turkey the best for this application)
1 tsp seasoning salt
fresh ground pepper
1 tbs cajun seasoning (you can omit this but I highly recommend it. Or sub something like chili powder, cumin, oregano, etc)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 8oz package shredded cheese (use your favorite, I used a cheddar/colby mix here, I also like sharp cheddar, but you could use a mexican blend or italian blend and it's just as tasty)
1 lb petite red potatoes ***you can also use the packet mashed potatoes instead of making mashed potatoes from scratch. Use 2 packets and make them according to the package directions.
4 tbs butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp garlic paste
plenty of salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350.
Boil potatoes. Cover potatoes with one inch of cold water and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender.
While potatoes are cooking, brown ground beef. When beef is halfway browned, add diced onion and garlic paste, stir well. Cook 5 minutes and add spices. Stir well. Mix in soy sauce first, then turkey gravy. Let cook 2 minutes then add in frozen veggies. Stir well and cook, 2 minutes. Pour into 8x8 baking dish. Sprinkle 1 handful of grated cheese over top.
When potatoes are tender, drain in colander. While potatoes are draining, add milk and butter to pot and let heat up until butter is melted. Stir in garlic paste. Add potatoes back and mash well. Season liberally with salt in pepper. Stir in one handful of shredded cheese. Spread over top of beef mixture in baking pan. Top with remaining grated cheese.
Bake for 30-45 minutes until cheese is melted an bubbly.