easy shepherds pie with frozen vegetables (1)
Supper Time

Family-Sized Shepherds Pie With Frozen Vegetables

Cooks in 1 Hour Difficulty Medium 0 comments

Is there any more classic comfort food than a hearty shepherd’s pie? This easy shepherd’s pie is made simply with frozen vegetables. The creamy mashed potato topping browns as it cooks in the oven for a truly delicious winter meal the whole family will love. Best of all, this family-sized classic dish is freezer-friendly so you can use it in your meal planning! It’s an excellent meal for a busy weeknight. 

Moms everywhere know the value of a shepherd’s pie. It’s guaranteed to make everyone full and to put smiles on their faces. The ground beef meal is typically cooked in a casserole dish, but I’ve made this one in a regular nine-by-thirteen baking dish. It’s easy to divide up into eight dinner-time portions. If you have fewer people, it freezes well for reheating later, making it a great make-ahead, freezer-friendly meal option. 

I love this easy shepherd’s pie recipe because it doesn’t require much thought or fiddling. It’s pretty straightforward and packs a flavorful punch. 

baked shepherds pie

Why you will love this easy meal idea. 

It’s real comfort food. If you ask anyone in your inner circle, this is one meal that is always asked for during the winter season. You can’t go wrong with a delicious, meaty, homemade shepherd’s pie. 

Economical. Using less costly simple ingredients like easy-to-prepare frozen veggies can keep our grocery budget down, which is always a win-win.

Incredible flavor. Who doesn’t love a meal that tastes great? This easy dinner recipe is so yummy. You can’t go wrong with meat and potatoes. 

Let’s get out the largest skillet you’ve got and start!

Two things are going on when getting a shepherd’s pie put together. Firstly, you need to have the mashed potatoes going, and also, in a skillet, get the meat mixture prepared. I like to start with making sure the casserole dish, in this case, my regular old nine-by-thirteen baking dish, is ready to go. No special prep is needed for the casserole dish, as the meat mixture has enough natural oil to keep it from sticking.

The next thing you will want to do is peel your potatoes. The best way to prepare mashed potatoes is to ensure you’ve cut uniform potato pieces. This will ensure that they cook at the same time. Add the potatoes to a large cooking pot, cover with just enough water to cover them, and add a dash of salt. 

Moving on, you will want to heat the large skillet to medium-high heat and add three tablespoons of olive oil with the diced red onion. It’s always good to read a recipe through to know what goes into the recipe from start to finish. Over the years, I have tried to skip right to getting started, and that’s when I often make mistakes like realizing that things aren’t prepped at the correct times or forgetting something vital. 

So once you have the onion in the pan and it’s sautéing, you can add the ground beef. Be sure to break the ground beef up using your spatula to chop it apart. If you don’t do this, ground beef can become too clumpy and cook unevenly. We want to brown the meat, so we aren’t worried about cooking it thoroughly. 

You can add the spices and the frozen mixed vegetable blend as the beef is browning. (Be sure to keep an eye on the potatoes because you don’t want to overcook them)The mixed vegetable blend I use is diced carrots, peas, green beans, lima beans, and sometimes corn. The must-haves in the mix are peas and carrots. You don’t have to thaw the veggies before adding frozen to the browning ground beef. Mix it all together nicely. You will likely have some grease from your beef even if you’ve used the leanest ground beef. It will also have moisture from the frozen veggies as they thaw out in the hot mixture. 

So, this is the meat mixture’s final step, and you must be prepared to mix thoroughly. We are adding cornstarch to thicken the juices and create a gravy. Add two tablespoons of cornstarch and just enough water to mix and blend with the cornstarch in a measuring cup. Cornstarch is funny. If you’ve ever had kids play with oobleck, you will know it can feel stiff when stirred even though it’s become a light mixture. Don’t worry too much about that. 

Move the ground beef mixture out so that most of the juice pools in a part of your skillet. Now, you can add the cornstarch water mixture and mix it into the pan juices using a spoon or fork. Once you’re confident you’ve blended it as much as possible, mix it into the entire pan’s contents. You want to do this fast as soon as the mixture hits the pan; the heat will start to make it thicken, and it can develop lumps if you aren’t fast enough. 

Now that you have that all blended in, move your attention back to the potatoes. We can safely assume they are done or almost fully cooked. Stick a potato with the tines of a fork. If it goes in easily, then the potatoes are done. If your potatoes are breaking up, you’ve cooked them too long. Don’t panic; add a spoonful of instant mashed potato flakes to save the day if you’ve overcooked the potatoes.

Drain the potatoes and mash them with the butter first, and then add the milk or cream, whichever you are using. Keep mashing until all lumps are gone. 

Now comes the easy part: putting the ground meat mixture into the baking dish in a nice, even layer. Then, we top this classic recipe with fluffy mashed potatoes. You can get fancy if you want and use a piping bag and tip to create fanciful potato topping, or you can use a spoon, which is the method I prefer. You want to spread the creamy mashed potatoes around to cover the entire top of the meat mixture. This is a heavy family-sized panful of shepherd’s pie, so be prepared to have weight when you lift it to put in the oven.

Also, note it’s always a good idea to save yourself some work later on by putting a baking tray underneath the casserole dish. That way, if you have anything spill over while cooking in the oven, it will get caught on the pan. You will now cook in a hot 400-degree Fahrenheit oven for forty minutes. Why so long? We want that mashed potato topping to get a bit golden. If you take it out too soon, it will still be white in color, which looks undesirable and doesn’t give that satisfying crisp top one expects from a Shepherd’s Pie. 

Be sure to let the Shepherd’s pie rest for at least ten minutes before serving so it will hold its shape. Or if you don’t care about perfection because hungry kids need to be fed, go ahead and scoop immediately. Caution, though: this will be piping hot! Don’t burn your mouth.

Any leftovers can be stored cooled in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. Or, if you prefer, go ahead and freeze for later. It will keep in the freezer for up to two months. 

Ingredients:

Ground beef: Ground beef comes in regular, medium, or lean. I prefer to make this recipe with lean ground beef as it reduces the amount of fat in the heavy dinner dish. 

Potatoes: The classic shepherd’s pie topping is always mashed, and you can use leftover mashed potatoes if you have enough to make this large recipe. 

Butter: This adds a saltiness to the otherwise bland potatoes. When you incorporate butter into mashed potatoes, it not only enhances the overall taste but also contributes to the velvety smoothness of the dish. 

Cream: An essential ingredient for mashed potatoes that adds to the richness and overall texture. Adding cream to mashed potatoes instead of milk helps create a velvety consistency, making it more luxurious.

Frozen Vegetable Blend: Simply put, it’s inexpensive and convenient to use frozen veggies in this dinner. It also brings a little color to the finished meal. 

Olive oil: Even though it has a lower smoke point than other neutral oils, it is known for its health benefits, making it a healthier choice. It is also rich in monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and vitamins, adding a nutritional element to your dish.

Garlic Powder: This easy-to-use spice adds a savory element to the dish and enhances the meat’s natural flavor. 

Cornstarch: This is used as a thickening agent to create a sauce for the meat. 

Dried oregano: This common herb adds a savory, earthy, and slightly peppery flavor to Shepherd’s Pie. 

Red onion: Sautéing red onions can bring out their natural sweetness and soften their texture, making them perfect in this simple recipe. 

baked shepherds pie

Substitutions or Add-Ins For this classic recipe.

Ground Beef: Although we used lean ground beef for this recipe, you can use minced or ground lamb. This ingredient can be more costly, so shepherd’s pie recipes often feature the more economical choice of ground beef. 

Potatoes: We used red potatoes in this recipe, but any potato high in starch with a low moisture content will work. Popular choices include Russet and Yukon Gold. Another option is to switch the potatoes out for a mash blend of potato and parsnip or sweet potato mash. 

Butter: I am a butter household. However, if you use margarine in your mash, it will turn out just as well. Or you can use cream cheese, sour cream, or even mayonnaise to make a tasty mashed potato. 

Cream: The level of fat in your cream is up to you. If you have straight milk, it will also make a perfectly acceptable mashed potato. 

Frozen Vegetable Blend: The blend must include carrots and peas, but other vegetables will go well in this dish, including green beans and/or lima beans.

Spices: Our recipe uses garlic powder, dried oregano, parsley, and black pepper. You can switch these up according to your personal preference. Oregano can be potent, so you can switch it to another less intense herb like marjoram.

Add-Ins: Looking to be more adventurous? Try adding diced tomato to this casserole dish. Or finely diced parsnips in the meat mixture. Try using fresh vegetables finely diced instead of frozen. Watch the cooking time when adding to the meat mixture so you don’t overcook them.

Expert Tips and Serving Suggestions:

Tips #1: Don’t overcook your meat mixture. Ground beef only needs to brown, not cook entirely, before being added to the casserole dish.

Tips #2: Be sure to stir the cornstarch slurry into the meat mixture quickly, as it will cook and develop lumps in your brown gravy if you’re not careful. 

Tips #3: You can top the shepherd’s pie with half a cup of parmesan cheese for extra flavor. 

Tips #4: Add a little beef stock to your pan before the cornstarch if you want more gravy. 

Serve this tasty cottage pie with a side salad of leafy greens. The dish is best fresh but also makes a great reheated lunch, so go ahead and pack a tasty portion for your work lunch. Leftovers can be frozen for up to two months in airtight containers. 

easy shepherds pie with frozen vegetables (1)

Family Sized Shepherd’s Pie With Frozen Vegetables

Amber Bondar
This family sized shepherd's pie is an ideal winter comfort food that is easy to whip up. Simply brown the ground beef, add the frozen vegetables and top with creamy mashed potatoes. Baked in the oven for forty minutes its a delicious dinner that you can enjoy in as little as one hour.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 8

Equipment

  • 1 Large casserole dish I filled a 9 by 13 baking pan with this
  • 1 Large Skillet
  • 1 Stock Pot
  • Potato Masher
  • 1 measuring cup
  • Spatula
  • 1 Tablespoon

Ingredients
  

Mashed Potato Topping

  • 8 Cups Potato Peeled and Cut Into Even Pieces
  • Cup Butter
  • ¾ Cup Cream Or Milk
  • Dash of Salt
  • Water to cover potatoes while boiling

Shepherd's Pie Meat & Vegetable Mixture

  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Lrg Red Onion Diced or chopped
  • 7 lbs. Lean Ground Beef 3.45 Kg (Family Package)
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Oregano
  • 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 2-3 Tbsp Cold Water To make cornstarch slurry
  • Cup Mixed Frozen Vegetable Blend Small diced carrots, peas +
  • ¾ Cup *Beef stock only if needed to create gravy

Seasoning

  • Dash of Black Pepper
  • Sprinkle of Dried Parsley

Instructions
 

Mashed Potatoes For Top

  • Peel and cut into even sized pieces the potatoes.
  • Add potatoes to stock pot. Cover with just enough water to cover.
  • Add a dash of salt to season the water.
  • Place on high heat and cook until fork tender. Approximately 15 minutes.
  • Drain and add butter and mash.
  • Halfway through mashing add in the cream/milk.
  • Continue to mash until the desired consistency. Smoother is better for Shepherd's Pie.
  • Set aside until needed.

Meat Mixture

  • In a large skillet on med-high heat add the olive oil and red onion.
  • Saute for one to two minutes before adding the ground beef.
  • Start breaking the ground beef up right away as it browns.
  • Halfway through browning measure and add in the frozen vegetables.
  • Stir altogether and allow the vegetables to thaw and the meat to continue browning.
  • There will be some juices in the pan to add the cornstarch slurry to.
  • When beef is almost fully browned mix the cornstarch slurry and move aside the beef clearing a small area in the pan. Allow the pans juices to collect there.
  • Add in the cornstarch mixing constantly. It will start thickening on contact so keep mixing it into the whole pan.
  • NOTE: If you have no meat juices in the pan add approximately ¾ cup beef stock to pan. Allow it to heat and then follow as you would with the cornstarch slurry-see directions above.

Assembly

  • Lay browned meat mixture in the bottom of the casserole dish evenly.
  • Spoon or pipe the mashed potatoes on top. Be certain that this too is evenly distributed.
  • Sprinkle the whole pan with black pepper and dried parsley.
  • Bake uncovered in 400℉ for forty minutes or until the top of the Shepherds Pie is golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
  • Store unused portions cooled and covered in air tight container in the fridge. Or freeze cooled in containers for up to two months.

Notes

Note:  You can add to the top of the pie 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese before baking if you wish.
Keyword breakfast casserole, ground beef, one pan dinner

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Recipe Rating