Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shepards Pie

I bought Shepard's Pie from Schwanns a couple of weeks ago, and since both my kids were sick yesterday, I figured it would make a good dinner, and it did.  however, I realized I could make a better, cheaper version.  My version uses boxed potatoes, just for convenience and ease, but of course, the real thing would be better.

So, I started by frying up a pound of hamburger with a teaspoon of garlic powder and a bit of fresh ground pepper and some salt.  Once it was fried up, I drained off the grease and added two packages of brown gravy mix and a cup of water.  I brought it to a simmer and then added it to a bowl where I had already put a package of frozen peas and carrots.  I mixed it all together and put it in a 13x9 casserole.  I then made a single box, or two bags, of instant garlic mashed potatoes.  I just made them per the instructions and then I smoothed them on top of the meat and veggies.  I had a small block of cheese in the fridge, so I grated that and put it on top.  It was maybe a half a cup of cheese.

Frozen veggies.  I love using these, I keep them around for everything, including using them to cool down the kids ramen noodles instead of ice.

This was right after I added the gravy packets and the water.  Do not add more than a cup of water if you are using frozen veggies, because the veggies will add more liquid.

I think this would have been better if I had added some onion and some extra garlic.  I also would have added some cream of tomato soup.  I have a recipe that I used to use that used it, and it was much better than this.

It fit perfectly in this casserole dish.

Yes, I use instant potatoes.  I actually use them alot.  They are convenient and easy.  They aren't that bad either.  Of course, I prefer real potatoes, but sometimes I don't have the time, and I don't have the potatoes.

I used both pouches, so the whole box.

If you plop the potatoes in spoonfuls all over the casserole, you can spread it out easier.

See, not much cheese.  I saw a recipe once that put cheese underneath the potatoes and on top.  That might have been good.  I think the amount I added was pointless, actually, it wasn't near enough.

I gave all of us too big of portions, but it scooped out really really well.  Maybe a good point on the cheese is that it held the potatoes together.

Aiden's plate.  He took one look at it and shuddered.  He has a big dislike for mashed potatoes, peas, and ground beef.  I couldn't even talk him into picking out the carrots.

This is Ciera's plate.  She insisted that it needed to be cut, she couldn't eat it if it wasn't cut up.  I tried to let her know it was mashed potatoes, but she didn't believe me.  Normally she is fearless in eating, but the ground beef turned her off too.  That and the stomach bug she had yesterday.  Her tummy is no longer angry with her, but she still isn't very hungry.

My plate.  I ate everything that wasn't under the potatoes, and one bite with the potatoes.  I thought it was a little bland, but would have eaten more had I been hungrier.

This was Bart's.  He thought it was too salty.  He ate all of it.  He would have like it with more garlic.  He is a garlic fiend.  He would like me to do a remake and see if I can beef up the flavor and bring down the salt.

I love having a picnic table for our table.  And I love using the red checked table cloth as our main tablecloth, it makes me think of summer.  The tang on the table is actually for our guinea pigs not the kids, its how they get their vitamin C.  We served dinner with milk, but those bottles of water are both Aiden's.  He has a habit of opening up too many water bottles, so we collect them and make him finish them.  These are the final two out of the five he started with.
Tomorrow  I am planning on making an angel food cake, and topping it like my great grandmother did, with coolwhip mixed with crushed pineapple.  I've wanted to do it all weekend, but life keeps getting ahead of me.  I have to make it tomorrow morning though, because I am going to use a couple of slices of it to pay my friend for watching my kids while I get one of my tattoos recolored.

Sorry I haven't posted in a bit, I got a bit tired of cooking after I did my cupcake tasting, and now I am getting back on the cooking wagon.  I had hoped to have pictures of the cupcakes I made, and I was going to do some filler posts about each kind of cupcake, but my friends has had some issues getting the pictures to me, but once she gets them to me, watch out.

I will also be making some cupcakes to send to Bart's cousin in Wisconsin as a house warming present.  I was going to make and send them this weekend, but with sick kids I didn't want to make what could be germy cupcakes.  Also, I had kids hanging on me, which doesn't help either.

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