Food & Drink Magazine

The Final Ground Beef Dish From My 20 Pound Stash, And It Can Be A Freezer Meal!

By Forayintofood @ForayIntoFood

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Sorry it took me so long to write this post about the final thing I made with my Zaycon Premium Ground Beef.  (The first two are here, pressure canned ground beef, and here, pre-made hamburger patties.)  What did I do with the final bit of ground beef?  I made Shepherd’s Pie.  For those unfamiliar with Shepherd’s Pie, it is a meat pie with a potato “crust” of sorts.  It originated in Great Britain and is enjoyed worldwide.

One thing I love about making Shepherd’s Pie is that I can make several at once which allows me to buy larger quantities of the basic ingredients and save a ton of money.  Another thing I love is that it is pretty fast and easy, and it is made with mostly shelf stable ingredients.  Even with the processed ingredients, it is better than fast food and many other ultra processed meals.  Sometimes, the day is so crazy that I’m thrilled that I got some sort of homemade food on the table.  This is better than a lot of other quick and easy things I could serve, so it’s guilt free for me.  Sure, if I were so inclined, I could make some of the canned items this calls for, but I don’t have to and I haven’t done it yet.  Maybe someday.  Baby steps, right?

Let me begin with the recipe.

Shepherd's Pie just before putting it in the oven.

Shepherd’s Pie just before putting it in the oven.

Shepherd’s Pie

Adapted from The Essential Mormon Cookbook

1 pound ground beef (or ground meat of choice.  I’ve done a 1/2 turkey and 1/2 ground beef Shepherd’s Pie, and it was delicious!)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon dried onion (can use 1/2 c fresh diced onion)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 28-oz can cut green beans, drained (you can use fresh, but you will probably want to add more salt, because this recipe takes into consideration the salt in the canned beans)

1 10 3/4 oz can tomato soup, condensed

4-8 servings of instant mashed potatoes, prepared, depending on your preference (you may use fresh mashed potatoes instead)

1-2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, depending on your preference

Brown ground beef in olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion, when beef begins to brown.  When meat is almost cooked through, add salt and pepper and saute another 2-3 minutes.  Transfer ground beef mixture into a greased 9″x13″ baking dish.  Top with drained green beans.  Spread condensed tomato soup over beans.  Do not reconstitute the soup!  Spread prepared instant potatoes (or fresh mashed potatoes) over the mixture.  Top with grated cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes.

If freezing, stop after you spread the potatoes over the mixture.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and label.  When read to serve, place Shepherd’s Pie in a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven, and bake for 1 hour.  Remove from oven, remove foil, and sprinkled grated cheese on top.  Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and the pie is heated through.

Here’s my photo step-by-step.

I began by gathering my ingredients.  You will notice that the cheese is missing, because I was planning to freeze all three pies.

I began by gathering my ingredients. You will notice that the cheese is missing, because I was planning to freeze all three pies.

I cut off about 3 pounds of meat from my 10 pound tube.

I cut off about 3 pounds of meat from my 10 pound tube.

I transferred that huge hunk of meat to my pan and started browning the meat.

I transferred that huge hunk of meat to my pan and started browning the meat.

Once I broke up the meat and it started to brown, I added the dried onion.  (Please note that I am tripling the recipe above.)

Once I broke up the meat and it started to brown, I added the dried onion. (Please note that I am tripling the recipe above.)

When the meat was almost cooked through, I added the salt and pepper and continued to cook the meat.

When the meat was almost cooked through, I added the salt and pepper and continued to cook the meat.

Once the meat was cooked through, I was ready to almost assemble my Shepherd's pie.

Once the meat was cooked through, I was ready to almost assemble my Shepherd’s pie.

The only thing left to do was make the mashed potatoes.  I used Idahoan Instant Red Mashed Potatoes.  You may use the mashed potato recipe of your choice.

The only thing left to do was make the mashed potatoes. I used Idahoan Instant Red Mashed Potatoes. You may use the mashed potato recipe of your choice.

With everything ready, I set up my pans. I use foil pans, because I do not have enough pans to freeze as many things as I'd like and still have pans to use for every day cooking. I get these at Costco or Sam's Club. They're around $6.50 for 30 pans which works about to just under 22 cents a pan.

With everything ready, I set up my pans. I use foil pans, because I do not have enough pans to freeze as many things as I’d like and still have pans to use for every day cooking. I get these at Costco or Sam’s Club. They’re around $6.50 for 30 pans which works about to just under 22 cents a pan.

With everything ready, I set up my pans.  I use foil pans, because I do not have enough pans to freeze as many things as I'd like and still have pans to use for every day cooking.  I get these at Costco or Sam's Club.  They're about $8 for 18 pans.

Next, I split the meat evenly between the pans.

Then came the green beans.

Then came the green beans.

And the tomato soup.

And the tomato soup.

And, finally, the mashed potatoes were spread on top of the other ingredients.

And, finally, the mashed potatoes were spread on top of the other ingredients.

I covered the pans with foil, labeled them, and put them in the freezer.

I covered the pans with foil, labeled them, and put them in the freezer.

On Saturday, I decided to pull out a Shepherd's Pie for dinner.  Please note that the instructions I wrote on the top of the pan differ from the ones I listed with the recipe.  When I cooked this before, I didn't keep track of my exact method, so I wrote down what I thought it was.  However, after trying it on Saturday, I realized it would have turned out better if I'd turned the oven up to a higher temperature.  My recipe (above) reflects that change.

On Saturday, I decided to pull out a Shepherd’s Pie for dinner. Please note that the instructions I wrote on the top of the pan differ from the ones I listed with the recipe. When I cooked this before, I didn’t keep track of my exact method, so I wrote down what I thought it was. However, after trying it on Saturday, I realized it would have turned out better if I’d turned the oven up to a higher temperature. My recipe (above) reflects that change.

After about an hour, I removed the pan from the oven, removed the foil, and sprinkled the sharp cheddar on top.

After about an hour, I removed the pan from the oven, removed the foil, and sprinkled the sharp cheddar on top.

See?  It took another 30 minutes in the oven before it was ready to serve.

See? It took another 30 minutes in the oven before it was ready to serve.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the completed dish for you.  We had unexpected guests for dinner, and I just plain old forgot.  Oops!  I promise I’ll take a picture next time and share it with you.   Being able to pull a pre-made dinner from the freezer made it easy to accommodate last minute dinner guests.  Dinner was a success, and it didn’t require too much work.  I simply made a quick salad and cut up a loaf of fresh, homemade bread (recipe here), and dinner was ready!

Do you have any favorite freezer meals that are your “go-to” meals? 

If not, what would you like to learn to make ahead of time and freeze?

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