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Monday, January 23, 2012

Wednesday Night Dinners: Shepherd's Pie

This last week for the Awana dinner I made a shepherd’s pie.  I think it was the most favored dish out of everything I’ve made so far.  I know it was my personal favorite.  As usual, I didn’t follow a recipe, just a general idea of what goes into a shepherd’s pie and how it should taste.  I’ve been trying to decide if I should just provide the details of what I did, which made 80 servings and you can adjust the recipe accordingly, or if I should try to re-create a recipe for a smaller portion based on what I did. I think I will do both, in that I will post all the ingredients I bought this week and how I made the pies, then I will post a recipe I’ve found that’s similar to what I made.  Hope you all enjoy!

This week I spent $59.00 and we had approximately 80 servings.  That comes out to $0.74 per serving.  Again, I still had flour left from buying it several weeks ago and we still had salad dressing for the salad, too.

I don’t usually go way out of my way to hit sales or use coupons, but I am very conscious of how I spend the church’s money and try to get the best value.  I noticed this week that Safeway had 93% lean ground beef at the unheard of price of $2.49 a pound.  I bought two value packs, which came to just over 9 lbs of hamburger (and I was very happy about the lower fat content, too!).  I bought the rest of the groceries at Winco.  Here’s what I bought:

9 lbs of hamburger
3 lbs of mushrooms
2 boxes (2 packets in each box) of onion soup mix
3 32 oz containers of beef broth
3 13.75 oz boxes of Potato Flakes
2 16 oz bags frozen peas
1 16 serving package of iceburg salad mix
Family size package of spinach
8 lbs of apples
1 gallon 1% milk
4 cans frozen apple juice concentrate

Wednesday morning I headed up to the 
church and started mincing mushrooms.   
I know not everyone likes mushrooms, so I used my food chopper to chop them really small so it wouldn’t be obvious that they were in there.  I LOVE the way mushrooms and beef taste together so I figured chopping them up small and mixing them in with the ground beef would be yummy and most people wouldn’t notice that it was full of mushrooms.

I got the beef and mushrooms browning on the stove along with some salt and LOTS of black pepper.  About halfway through the browning, I put in all four packets of onion soup mix. 

Once all the meat was browned, I used about 1 ½ cups of flour that a sprinkled over the mixture and mixed in really well.  Once all the liquid from the meat and mushrooms was absorbed by the flour and there was a paste like consistency, I added 64 oz of beef broth, stirring until everything came together and I had a nice gravy and meat mixture.  I also had a few small dashes of Worcestershire sauce I had on hand.  Then, in went all the frozen peas.

I poured this mixture into two large, deep baking trays.  I used the remaining container of beef broth to make some of the instance mashed potatoes.  I was trying to avoid using any dairy because we have some regular partakers who can’t have dairy and I didn’t want them excluded this week.  You may or may not know, that instant potatoes can be made with any kind of liquid as long as you follow the directions for amount of liquid used.  I boiled some water, added the potatoes and instead of using milk, used beef broth.  I didn’t have enough beef broth to make all the potatoes, but I still had a whole 48 oz can of chicken broth I purchased for the chicken pot pie a couple weeks ago but didn't use.  So, I used the chicken broth to make the rest of the potatoes. 

The mashed potatoes got spread on top of the meat mixture and the trays went into a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.   

I did the math for all the ingredients I used and divided it by 80, making this recipe about 160 calories per serving…that’s really amazing to me.  I did the math twice just be sure I calculated everything correctly. 

I mixed the bagged salad and spinach together to serve with the shepherd pie, and sliced all the apples since I always like to provide a fruit too.  For drinks we served the gallon of 1% milk and made all four containers of frozen apple juice.
This was actually very easy to make and extremely tasty.  You can try following the recipe I used and just dividing it down to a smaller family size, or you can try this recipe and let me know how it comes out.

2 lb. extra-lean ground beef
8 oz mushrooms, finely chopped
1 packet onion soup mix
1/4 cup flour
3 cups frozen vegetables of your choice (carrots, corn, green beans, peas)
2 1/2  cups fat-free reduced-sodium beef broth
1 Tbspn Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups mashed potatoes (left over or instant)

Brown meat on stove top, adding mushrooms and onion soup mix halfway through.  Continue cooking together until meat is completely browned. 

Add flour, stirring until completely mixed in.  Slowly add broth and Worcestershire sauce, stirring until mixture begins to thicken.  Add frozen vegetables and salt and pepper to taste.

Pour beef mixture into 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  Cover with mashed potatoes. 

Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

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