Shepherd’s Pie Variations

The shepherd’s pie recipe I used when the girls were growing up was a favorite of ours and our cousin Ashland. At its most basic, this is what it was:

1 pound browned ground beef, rinsed and drained and spread over the bottom of a baking dish, topped with 1 can of drained whole kernel corn and 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid. This was topped with mashed potato. Sometimes I sprinkled cheese over the top. I might replace the beef with cooked chicken sometimes, and occasionally use peas.

Pretty basic, but maybe not the healthiest way to enjoy this dish. One of the best things about this recipe is that it can be changed to match sales. Each ingredient can be switched out to save money. You can also make it according to what produce you get from the garden.

Play with the recipe. See what you can do.

(Update 2017) While the above method of making shepherd’s pie is a family favorite and is therefore staying on the blog, I wanted to share variations with you.

Here are some healthier variations, that

  1. Leftover meat medley, thawed, (Diced beef, pork, chicken, and turkey). Top with 1/4 cup of water or vegetable stock, 1 cup cooked carrots, and 1 can of peas, and then add mashed sweet potato as a top layer.  See: How to Store Food Odds and Ends for Later Use.
  2. Use turkey as a base, adding 1/4 cup of vegetable stock or broth, 1 cup chopped, cooked broccoli, and 1 cup cooked carrots. Top this with mashed butternut squash, and top with a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley or cilantro.
  3. Use a pound of precooked venison, and top with diced tomato and peas. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from the peas (or homemade vegetable stock), and then top with mashed carrot and sweet potato.

Come up with your own variations, and tell us about them in the comments section for this post.



Baked Sweet and White Potato

Potatoes being one of my favorite foods, I try to mix things up by trying new things. I especially love eating potatoes during the autumn and winter months, though they can be enjoyed any time.


sweet potato

white potato

  1. Wash the potatoes, cutting off bad spots, and cut each in half.

  2. Place, skin side down, on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.

  3. Mash the white potato with the peel.

  4. Scoop the sweet potato out of the peel and add to the potatoes, mixing the two together.


  • Use potatoes from your garden for the ultimate in money savings and nutrition.

  • Try different types of potatoes.

 Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with a beef or chicken roast.

  • A side salad will also go nice with these potatoes.

Zowie’s Leftover Turkey Sandwich

Zowie, my 17-year-old daughter, has her own favorite turkey day leftover recipe. Today, after eating a full Thanksgiving meal at 4:00, she was ready to make her sandwich at about 7:00.


leftover turkey

2 slices of bread

leftover mashed potatoes

shredded cheese


leftover gravy

  1. Shred some turkey.
  2. Place the turkey on a slice of bread.
  3. Spread mashed potato over the turkey.
  4. Add some shredded cheese.
  5. Put the prepared bread, as well as one slice of bread with nothing on it, on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake until cheese is melted.
  7. Remove from the oven, put the topped bread on a plate.
  8. Pour some gravy on the topped bread.
  9. Add mayo to the plain bread.
  10. Enjoy!
  • You can use any condiment that you like for step 9.
  • Zowie eats this as a stand-alone lunch or dinner, but you could have vegetable side dishes with it.
  • Mozzarella cheese is great to use, but it is okay to use other cheeses.

(Update January 2017: This sandwich has used other Thanksgiving leftovers over the years. Also, It can’t really be called healthy. But I want to leave it here as it is an important family memory, and Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches can be quite delicious. Try one sometime. Tell me what you think.)

Happy Thanksgiving!