You can use pre-cooked mashed potatoes to quickly whip up this Easy Shepherd’s Pie for a dinner that your entire family will love.
If you are a regular reader, you may have already realized that Barbara is the primary recipe tester on this site. I am normally the photo editor and writer on these posts.
However, I do have a handful of recipes from friends and family that I am known for in our family. They all have one thing in common…they are really, really easy to make!
This Easy Shepherd’s Pie is totally one of those easy recipes that can be customized for your family’s taste (and what’s in your refrigerator and pantry). My friend, Sarah, made this for more years ago and I just had to have the recipe. Since then, my mom and sisters have added it to their meal plans.
It is really easy to double the recipe or even portion it out into smaller dishes to either freeze or share with others. My mom often takes the recipe and puts a portion of it in a smaller dish for her and my dad. She then puts the rest in a larger casserole dish and sends it home ready for the over with whichever sister stops by that evening.
Easy Shepherd’s Pie
One of the time-saving ingredients you can use in this recipe is pre-cooked mashed potatoes. Of course, you can make your own if you want, but my mashed potatoes never come out quite right and I am a big fan of the refrigerated Bob Evans original mashed potatoes. I have also used a packet of dried mashed potatoes before and it’s turned out just as yummy.
One thing to keep in mind when NOT making your mashed potatoes from scratch: adjust your salt and pepper. You shouldn’t need quite as much as most of the refrigerated or packets of mashed potatoes include at least some salt and pepper in them already.
The recipe calls for carrots and I almost ALWAYS use fresh carrots when I make this dish. However, I’ve used frozen peas and carrots before, as well as just thrown in some leftover peas from the prior night’s dinner along with the carrots. If your family doesn’t enjoy either, throw in a cup of sweet corn. You get the idea.
One last note, I’ve used chicken broth when I don’t have any beef broth in the pantry and the flavor is almost identical.
- 22 to 24 oz. mashed potatoes real, refrigerated, frozen, dried - your choice
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 small onion chopped (optional)
- 1/2 cup carrots sliced (we use baby carrots)
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 2 teaspoons salt divided (may omit salt in potatoes if using pre-cooked mashed potatoes)
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper divided
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 large egg slightly beaten
- 1/2 cup 2 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese
- Garnish: chopped parsley optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook potatoes according to package directions; set aside.
Brown beef and onion (optional) in a skillet on medium-high heat.
Drain and put back in skillet with carrots over medium-high heat.
Stir in flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Add broth. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 11 x 7-inch glass backing dish.
In a mixing bowl, combine mashed potatoes, egg, 1 teaspoon salt (optional) and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. If using pre-cooked mashed potatoes, you may want to taste potatoes before adding the egg to see how they are seasoned. If they are already salted appropriately, you can omit the salt.
Spoon over beef mixture and smooth evenly across the dish.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Sprinkle with cheese, and bake an additional 5 minutes.
Garnish with parsley if desired.
If using the 4-5 oz. dried mashed potato packets, you may want to use 2 packages for a thick covering.
If you don't have an 11 x 7 baking dish, use any 2 or 3 quart baking dish. Or separate into smaller baking dishes.
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