Debbie over at The Friday Friends posted an entry about casseroles.
Now, while I love a simple Beef Wellington with Truffled Mushroom Sauce, or Grilled Salmon with Herbed Cream Sauce, or Veal Picatta, or Chicken Marsala, you could prepare a casserole for me for dinner and I'd be a happy camper.
Like Debbie, when I was growing up, my mom made lots of casseroles. I also prepared tons of casseroles when my kids were growing up. Casseroles were, and still are, fast, filling, tasty and cheap. Back in the day, I remember shopping for the week for only $25 or $35. Now, I can't walk out of the market without spending at least that for just a few items. But, that's another post.
Now what can you do with a little hamburger, a few potatoes and some cheese? How about Cheesy Shepherd's Pie...
by Terri Powers for Terri's Table
2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon oil
6 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
6 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 onion chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup flour
1 can tomato paste
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup cream
grated cheddar cheese (2 large handfuls into potatoes and 2 large handfuls for the top)
In a large saucepan, add potatoes and enough water to cover. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 12 to 18 minutes. Drain well and place back into the hot pot. Cook over low heat, stirring, until any excess liquid evaporates, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, add the cream and 2 large handfuls of grated cheddar cheese. Mash to desired consistency, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the carrots, celery, onion and thyme and cook until the onion is translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring until crumbled, until cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, flour and tomato paste. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the beef broth and let simmer for about 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Coat a 9 X 13 baking pan generously with cooking spray. Scoop the beef mixture into the baking pan and spread into an even layer. Drop dollops of the mashed potatoes all over the top of the beef mixture and gently spread evenly over the beef mixture. Sprinkle the top with 2 large handfuls of grated cheddar cheese.
Bake in preheated oven until the cheese on the potatoes is almost browned and the filling is hot, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.