When I was growing up, we had "family night" every Sunday at 5_30pm. It was a joyous weekly event of playing with my cousins, chatting with the adults and having the occasional family brawl over topics on '60 Minutes'. Regardless, it was a time that we would all be together without fail sharing food and fun. Every woman in the family (of course none of the men in the McCord clan cooked unless it was something that could be burned on a barbeque grill) had their own special recipes and for one of my aunts, it was shepherd’s pie.
I'll be honest, I remember the first few times I walked up to the buffet line I would scrape off as much of the mashed potatoes and cheese for myself as possible, leaving the veggies and meat at the bottom for someone else to eat. I wasn't a picky kid, but I knew what I loved.
Lately, some of my girlfriends have been starting a new tradition of
Wednesday night dinner with some of the neighborhood families. Last week I decided to make shepherd’s pie to see if any of the veggies and meat would make it to the kids’ plates. I was kind of shocked. Of course Kenya ate almost every bite (I’m either blessed or cursed that this child will eat anything), but the other kids seemed to enjoy it too, peas and all.
Shepherd’s pie is such a great family dish because you can puree it up for a baby and the toddlers, big kids and adults can enjoy it in its solid form.
Packed with protein, veggies and carbohydrates, it really is an all-in -one meal. My version of shepherd’s pie is on the healthy side. I love mashed potatoes as much as the next person, but a stick of butter and heavy cream seems a little too rich for my blood for a stay-at -home meal, so I've played with it to keep the flavor, but reduce a lot of the fat. So, now everyone in the family can enjoy weelicious recipes, be healthy and leave the table with full bellies!


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Shepherd's Pie (Makes 6-8 Servings)

Prep Time: 30 mins Cook Time: 30 mins

egg free

nut free


  • 4 Potatoes, russet or Idaho, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1/3 Cup milk
  • 4 Tbsp Butter, divided
  • 1 Lb Ground Meat
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 Celery Stalk, diced
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Cup Beef Stock (or 1 bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup of warm water)
  • 2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Peas, defrosted if frozen
  • 1/2 Cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water if you choose, about 1 tbsp. Add the potatoes and reduce heat to a simmer.
3. Cook for 12 minutes or until fork tender.
4. Drain potatoes and mash in a ricer or by hand.
5. Add the milk and 2 tablespoons of the butter and mash until smooth.
6. Heat a saute pan over medium heat. Brown the ground meat for 5-6 minutes and drain off the oil when finished. Place the meat aside.
7. Heat the olive oil in the same saute pan over medium heat and cook the onion, celery and carrot until soft and tender — about 4 minutes. Place the vegetable mixture with the meat.
8. In the same saute pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the flour, stirring constantly making a roux.
9. When the roux is a golden colored paste, add the beef stock and worcestershire sauce, stir with a whisk to thoroughly combine.
10. Add the meat and vegetable mixture to the sauce and combine.
11. In several individual ramekins or a large casserole dish, place the meat and vegetable mixture.
12. Sprinkle the peas on top.
13. Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the peas.
14. Sprinkle the mashed potatoes with cheese.
15. Bake 30 minutes for the large casserole or 15 minutes for individual ramekins.
16. Let cool for kids. Serve warm for adults.
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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.