Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Easy, Economical Cottage Pie

Nothing says “economical” like a free meal! And when you consider that this dish can be made almost exclusively from leftovers of previous meals, it’s like getting a delicious dinner for free! It’s fast, easy, tastes great and is easy on the pocket…what more could you want in a one-dish meal?

The leftovers make excellent hot lunches the following day, especially for those who brown bag it to work…just microwave for a minute or two and a hot, nutritious, tasty lunch is ready in an instant!

Cottage Pie


1 lb (500g) hamburger or an equal amount of chopped leftover meat

1 can (about 400g) crushed or chopped tomatoes

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

2 tbsp cooking oil

2 cups mixed vegetables (leftover veg is perfect)

1 tbsp Fines Herbes (mixed herbs will do)

2 cups (or more) mashed potatoes (you can use leftovers or make Quickie Mashed Potatoes )

Milk (maybe)


Prepare a large casserole or lasagne dish by spraying with cooking spray.

In a deep pot, sauté in oil: onion, garlic, mushrooms and herbs until onion is translucent. If using hamburger, reduce oil by half and sauté hamburger with onion mixture until meat is brown and crumbly. If not using hamburger, add meat to pot when onion is translucent and mix to heat the meat. Remove from heat. Drain off oil and discard.

Into pot add vegetables (cut into bite sized pieces), and canned tomato. Mix gently but well.

Turn mixture out into casserole dish. Warm potatoes and add milk to make them soft if necessary. They should be the consistency of thick frosting…spreadable.

Smooth meat mixture in pan until level. Top with mashed potatoes and spread them to cover the mixture.

Turn on broiler (in electric stoves, the top element). Place pan in oven just below broiler. Cook until top of mashed potatoes begins to brown. Turn off oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.


Mix shredded mild cheddar cheese into the meat mixture before turning into baking dish.

Add ½ tsp chili powder to the onion mixture as it cooks

Use cheesy or garlic mashed potatoes for the topping.

Add roasted garlic to the onion mixture as it cooks

Add leftover gravy to the meat mixture as it cooks

Top potatoes with a sprinkling of grated cheese before placing dish in oven

Add 1 tbsp peeled and grated ginger to onion mixture as it cooks

Add Worcestershire Sauce, soy sauce or teriyaki sauce to meat mixture as it cooks

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