italian shepherd’s pie

This meal was so delicious, it’s making it into my stash of favorite recipes!092513meal

Unbelievably good and ooey, gooey, comfort foody.

I guess I was too close to smell it anymore, but when my husband came home last night, he’s like, “What smells so good?”… smells great, tastes even better!  I really can’t say enough good things about it.

I had to make some changes to the instructions, based on previous experience.  If you make this dish, I highly recommend you make these changes as well.

Once upon a time, in a frozen kingdom in the North, my husband and I completed a diet program called Whole30, which meant we gave up food groups such as dairy, sugar, grains (no pasta or bread!), potatoes, legumes (lentils)… and alcohol.  It was challenging, but actually a lot of fun – as a bonus, The Greek lost 15 pounds (mostly from giving up soda) and I lost 5.

Our favorite breakfast on the Whole30 plan was a sausage and egg casserole that was made by frying up sausage and frozen peppers and onions, covering with beaten eggs in a 9 x 13 pan and baking.  It was delicious (we had a good source of turkey Italian sausage up there) and gave us energy for hours.

The reason I tell this tale is because, one day, I tried to save time by just frying the sausage and adding the frozen peppers and onions to the casserole to cook in the oven.  Big mistake!  What I ended up with was a casserole of soggy vegetables that was straight up gross.

So I knew when I saw that this recipe called for frozen peppers and onions to be placed over some pre-cooked beef mixture that the results would not be anything I’d be interested in.

Brown your beef (or turkey), drain really well and then throw the frozen peppers and onions to cook in the frying pan (you can remove the beef or not, but I think it’s better for all the flavors to meld).  You’ll get a lot of liquid released as the vegetables thaw, so cook until that evaporates (stirring  often) and the peppers and onions start to carmelize.

Those brown bits are where the deliciousness starts!

Preheat the oven to 350° F and spray a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey (I used beef this time)
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) frozen peppers and onion blend
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 can (15 ounce) diced tomatoes, drained
  • salt and pepper
  • about 4 cups leftover mashed potatoes (about 6 potatoes, butter, evaporated fat-free milk, salt and pepper to taste)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Tip:  The beef mixture will be really mobile when you put it in the baking dish, which can make spreading the mashed potatoes a challenge.  It’s much easier to place the mashed potatoes evenly over the beef mixture in big spoonfuls and then smooth to “connect the dots”.

092513italshep

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