The OMG I Forgot to Start Dinner Shepherd’s Pie

Has this ever happened to you? You opened your WIP, but soon your progress toward the day’s writing goal slowed. so you took a break and opened your email, read your messages, and replied to a few, or several. Then, afraid you were missing something important, you checked in on Twitter for a few minutes. Or longer. You went back to your Word doc, typed a few sentences, deleted a couple, stared into space for a while, and then you opened your blog reader. An hour later—okay, it was longer—you returned to your writing, but, only a few paragraphs on, your friend, or your sister, or your mom phoned.

When the call ended you played a few games of Bejeweled Blitz, or Solitaire, or whatever game you’re addicted to, until it occurred to you a whole new shift of Tweeters had come online. Of course, you needed to check out what they were saying. Oh, yeah … you were supposed to be writing. You checked your word count. Then you checked the clock.

OMG, how did it get to be that late?! You haven’t even started anything for dinner.

Relax, I can help. I cook most of my dinners from scratch—well, more than half—but sometimes I need a hot meal that’s simple and quick, so here’s the recipe for one of my standbys, a quick Shepherd’s Pie. (Unfortunately, the dishing up started before I had time to take the photo.)

1 pound lean ground beef*

Dried minced onion

Celery seed

Worcestershire sauce

1 can mixed vegetables (14-15 oz.)

1 jar of beef gravy (12 oz.)

1 package (24 oz.) prepared mashed potatoes*

Grated romano and parmesan cheese

Grated sharp cheddar cheese (6 oz.)

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Brown the ground beef. While it’s cooking, drain the mixed vegetables, pour into a 2 qt. casserole, and heat in microwave. When the beef is cooked, drain and add to vegetables. Sprinkle mixture with celery seed, minced onion, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in about 10 oz. of the gravy. Keep mixture warm. Heat mashed potatoes in microwave and mix in 3-4 tablespoons of parmesan or mixed romano/parmesan cheese. Spread mashed potatoes over beef mixture. Bake for 15 minutes, then sprinkle cheddar over the mashed potatoes and return dish to the oven for 12-15 minutes longer. (Serves 4 adults as main dish.)

* If the meat is frozen, you’ll have to add the time it takes to partially defrost in the microwave and then fry as it continues thawing in the pan.

**Simply Potatoes is the best brand I’ve found.

I can’t match Rachel Ray’s time, but 40 minutes is close, and maybe no one will know you almost forgot to cook dinner.

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13 thoughts on “The OMG I Forgot to Start Dinner Shepherd’s Pie

  1. Sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipe. I’m glad you dug into it before taking the photo. I get to see the layers. Yummy! I’ll have to stock up on the ingredients for that fateful day. My hubby ends up dining on a burger and grapes when that happens. Poor baby. Blessings to you…


    1. Thank you for making me feel better about being forgetful, Carol! 🙂 I had the camera sitting right there on the counter and still forgot I meant to take a photo. You know, I’ve discovered just how quickly I can make a meal since I’ve been seriously writing. 😉


  2. Funny! This is an old standby for me. I use an entire small bag frozen veggies and all the gravy though. 🙂 I saute the frozen veggies and heat them with the gravy while the beef drains. I also add the cheddar cheese layer before the mashed potatoes.
    Slice some fresh french bread and they’ll never know you used prepackaged food.


    1. I’m not crazy about frozen carrots or green beans, Dayner, so I use canned. Sometimes I add a handful of frozen peas or corn though. I like the slightly browned layer of cheddar, but do the layers hold together if you put it under the potatoes? I’m a cheese lover, I could go for two layers. 😉


      1. LOL! I was thinking the same thing. I have no problem adding another layer of cheese. 🙂 There’s is never too much cheese. The layers hold together fine with the cheese between the potatoes and meat. When ever I make homemade mashed potatoes I make extra for Sheppard’s Pie, otherwise I use instant–also Simply Potatoes.
        I’ve never tried using canned veggies for this. I may try it next time. Frozen mixed veggies are a staple in my house, although I don’t like the frozen green beans, those I buy canned and only the S&W. (I’m a snob that way). I also love the canned Mexicorn for Mexican casseroles.


  3. I never considered used prepared mashed spud, as a busy mother I feel I should invest in some! 3/4 in this house love shepherd’s pie, and the other 1/4 will usually eat things if they are drowned in tomato sauce….


    1. Know your packaged mashed, Cassie. Some brands are watery, so if you use them, add a bit of potato flakes to thicken. I like the Simply Potatoes brand because they are made with Half and Half and real butter, and taste very close to my fresh prepared. Of course, I don’t know how wide their distribution is. It’s also a good way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.


  4. ach – my kids won’t go near shepherd’s pie.And I love it, one of my comfort foods. I don’t eat red meat, so I use ground chicken, but it tastes just as good if not identical to my childhood memory. I have never ever had prepared mashed potatoes. I didn’t even know it existed. lol. My go to on busy nights is jane’s chicken fingers. I actually did it tonight to get in some extra writing time, so there you go. You are never alone 🙂


    1. I had to look up Jane’s chicken fingers … a Canadian thing. 🙂 When my children were small, I had many quick and easy meals in my repertoire. There wasn’t much time for anything else. I’m amazed that you have any time at all to write, Jennifer.


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