I've really been trying to get better at just using what I have in the fridge and pantry to make dinner instead of spending a lot of money on groceries. While I do have a certain amount of money budgeted for the grocery store, and could just run out quickly to get a few things, I prefer to save that money for my big, once-a-month shopping trip. Therefore, it's imperative that I just use what I have to make dinner some nights. While I do plan out my meals for the entire month, life sometimes gets in the way and I can't make it to the store when I wanted and that kind of leaves me stranded every once in a while. Luckily, I'm getting better at thinking on my feet and whipping something up like my mom is able to do. Man, she's good at that. My sister and I still joke that she can use a toothpick, a cotton ball, and a button to make a prom dress. She's just as good when it comes to gettin' something on the stove quick, and it always turns out delicious. Someday I'll be just as good!
Shepherd's Pie with Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
3-4 large Russet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
2 T cream cheese or sour cream
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup chicken broth, heavy cream, or milk
3 T butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp dried parsley
1 lb ground beef
2 medium carrots, diced
1 small onion, chopped
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 cup beef broth
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 can peas, drained
1 can corn, drained
Boil potatoes in a large pot until fork tender, about 12-15 minutes. Take one potato chunk and add it to a bowl containing the egg yolk; mix together to temper the egg (makes sure that the egg doesn't scramble when you mix it into the hot potatoes); mix in one more potato and then transfer this egg mixture to the rest of the potatoes. Add the cream cheese (or sour cream), the chicken broth (or cream or milk), the 3 tablespoons of butter, cheddar cheese, and dried parsley. Use a hand mixer to whip the potatoes until they are creamy and contain no chunks.
While the potatoes are boiling, brown the beef for 3-4 minutes. Add in the carrots and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook together for 7-10 minutes to take some of the crunch out of the carrots.
In a small pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour together. Whisk in the beef broth and the Worcestershire sauce. Thicken one minute, stirring constantly with the whisk. Add to the meat mixture and stir in the peas and corn. Cook together for 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a 9x13 glass baking dish. Top with the potatoes and spread evenly over the meat mixture. Turn broiler on high and place dish under the broiler, about 6 inches away from the heat source. Broil for 6-8 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown. Serve with a simple green salad!