Saturday, June 20, 2015

Father's Day Cottage Pie


 Whenever I cook a large dinner I always end up with lots of leftovers to make sure that everyone gets plenty to eat- a throwback from my English grandmother, who wasn’t satisfied she had made a good meal until you were so stuffed you could barely move away from the table.  I love leftovers.  Some foods gain more flavor the second time around and after spending hours in the kitchen cooking it’s nice to have a something on hand for a quick and easy meal the next day.  My husband is a meat, mashed potatoes, and gravy type of guy so I often make a pot roast with all the trimmings on Sunday.  The only downside is you end up with several containers of leftovers crowding your refrigerator.  I’ve heard about Shepherd’s Pie and even looked at some recipes about Shepherd’s Pie, but it wasn’t until I saw a picture in a magazine with a totally different name that something clicked in my brain, caught my attention and imagination.  

“Shepherd’s pie” became popular around the 18th century when the potato was being introduced as an edible crop affordable for the poor. It is generally agreed that it originated in the north of England and Scotland where there are large numbers of sheep--hence the name. Shepherds’ pie is made from ground lamb (not beef; that is cottage pie) and vegetables baked under a potato topping, although in early cookery books the pie dish was lined with mashed potatoes as well as having a potato crust on top. Since 1877 the term “shepherd’s pie” has been used synonymously with “cottage pie” whether the principal ingredient used was beef or mutton.

This past Sunday while clearing up instead of grabbing microwave containers for the leftovers, I started layering the leftovers in a baking dish.  Not only did I save space in my frig, but when I decided to use what I call my Father’s Day Cottage Pie for a meal later all I did was add another topping and pop it into the oven.   My Father’s Day Cottage Pie was an instant hit with my husband.  So from now on whenever I find myself with several leftovers from a big meal, I plan on making a Father’s Day Cottage Pie. The neat thing about the Father’s Day Cottage Pie is that you can incorporate all kinds of leftovers and toppings this way- the amount of servings being relative to the quantity of food used.

2 c cooked beef with gravy
1 c stove top dressing
1 c corn (drained)
2- 2½  c mashed potatoes
6 slices Velveeta cheese
1 tb minced chives

Layer leftover beef (cut into bite size pieces) and gravy in the bottom of a 7 x 11 inch baking dish sprayed with cooking oil.  Sprinkle the stove top dressing on top of the beef and then add the corn. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top to the edge of the baking dish. When ready to use place Velveeta cheese on top and garnish with chives. Cover and bake at 350ยบ for 35 to 45 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.  Let sit for five or ten minutes. This recipe serves six.

Tip:  You can also freeze your Father’s Day Cottage Pie to save for a busy day later on.  Just be sure and cover securely before freezing. Then thaw out and bake in your oven for an instant meal!