When I first made this recipe, my children were small and I was not working outside the home. It was a great meal and cheap too. The recipe consisted of 3 ingredients and the mashed potatoes were served on the side of what I called this meal “poor man’s stew”. In recent years, I have tweaked this into an easy shepherd’s pie recipe. It is considered comfort food in my household and remains budget friendly.
A traditional Shepherd’s pie is made with lamb. It consists of meat and vegetables and is topped with mashed potatoes and baked in the oven.
My version is made with ground chuck or hamburger. And instead of fresh vegetables, I use a can of “veg all”. I live in a rural area and fresh vegetables in certain seasons can be hard to obtain. Frozen vegetable was an option but the recipe I had called for a can of mixed vegetables. Plus the canned vegetables were so much easier on the budget.
Add a can of tomato soup and Viola! you had a hearty, cheap “stew”. In my family, we ate mashed potatoes alongside this “stew” for a filling meal.
What Started Out as “Poor Man’s Stew”
1 pound of ground chuck/hamburger meat browned in a skillet. Drain the grease from the meat and add 1 can tomato soup and I can “veg-all”. Add 1/8 to 1/4 c sugar (optional) and salt and pepper to taste. I add sugar to any dish that has tomatoes in it. But you can leave the sugar out if you want to. Mashed potatoes served on the side and you have a cheap but satisfying meal. It was also a way to get the kids to eat vegetables 🙂 In later years I have adapted this “stew” into a shepherd’s pie.
My Version Of Sheperd’s Pie
- 1 pound ground chuck (80/20)
- 1 half of a large onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground rosemary
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can “veg-all” mixed vegetables, drained and rinsed.
- 1 can tomato soup
- 1/8 to 1/4 c sugar (optional)
- 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
Brown the meat in a skillet with the chopped onion. Once browned, drain the grease from the meat and add the spices, tomato soup and the can of mixed vegetables. Mix well. Add this mixture to a 2-3 quart baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. I use a casserole dish like this one.
Meanwhile, peel and quarter 1 1/2 pounds potatoes (about 4-5 large potatoes) and cook covered with water until tender. This usually takes 20 -25 minutes. I add salt to the potatoes while they are cooking. Once the potatoes are tender, drain and mash with an electric beater with a couple tablespoons milk. Add 1/4 c sour cream and salt and pepper to taste.
Spread the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture covering the meat completely. Sprinkle the top with the cheese. Bake in a pre-heated 350-degree oven 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown.
A Tasty Meal on a Budget
You don’t have to spend loads of money to put a tasty meal on the table. You can be inventive and may end up with a winner. There are also times you may end up with a flop as well. But you never know. Using the right combination of spices or herbs can really add flavor to an otherwise “dull” meal.
Go here to see the difference between spices and herbs and some of their uses. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You just might end up with a winning combination.
You can serve this meal as it was originally intended, with the “stew” served with a side of mashed potatoes or and make it a shepherd’s pie. Either way is a winner.
Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think of this simple meal. As always I love hearing from you!
Have a Wonderful and Tasty day!