I must confess: I am not exactly the most original mom out there. The stuff that I do or make a lot of the times have been inspired by someone else. Take this recipe, for instance. I decided to whip up cottage pie for the kid because I had seen a photo on my Facebook news feed of someone taking a large casserole dish of shepherd’s pie out of the oven.
There wasn’t any minced lamb in the supermarket (I shop at NTUC Xtra – very aunty) so I grabbed a pack of minced beef instead. I love this dish: it’s easy to make and comprises protein, calcium, carbs and veggies. And as with all the meals that I cook for A, this contains no salt.
- 300g minced beef
- 1 cup mixed veggies
- 500g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 300ml stock (beef or vegetable, although chicken was what I had and used)
- About 120 – 150ml milk
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil
- Shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
- A giant knob of butter
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- Combine the dried herbs and minced meat, together with freshly ground pepper, and leave for an hour. (Optional if you don’t have the time.)
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
- Put the potatoes into a very big pot with the milk, which should come up to about halfway up the potatoes. Bring to boil, then lower the flames and leave to simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Lightly blanch the frozen vegetables and set aside.
- Fry the onion in olive oil until translucent. Add the minced beef and cook for about 5 minutes, breaking up any clumps of meat.
- Slowly add in half of the stock, stirring constantly. Add the tomato puree and frozen veggies, and stir thoroughly.
- Bring everything to a boil, reduce the heat and then leave it to simmer over a gentle heat for 10 minutes. Depending on your preferred consistency, you can either add more stock to the mixture or leave it as it is.
- Add the knob of butter to the potatoes and mash. (Tip: I found it so much easier to dump everything into my food processor and whiz it up. Smooth and fast!)
- Transfer the meat mixture to a casserole dish and spread it into a neat layer. Next, spread the mashed potato on top of it. Top it off with the cheese, use a fork to drag over the surface for a ridged effect and put it into the oven for between 25 to 30 minutes. (Option: you can split up the meat and potatoes into separate ramekins for the little ones.)
This gave me two portions of adult serving (which I brought to work on days when I had a scanty lunch break) and six baby servings. And because I am a working mom who doesn’t have the time to cook dinner for A on weekdays, I ended up freezing the remaining food. Since I had already split them up into separate ramekins, it made freezing simple. All I had to do was to take the ramekin out of the freezer and put it into the fridge in the morning and have it heated up (with extra cheese on top!) before dinnertime.
I also ended up using sweet potato mash the other day instead of potato because I happened to have a bag of them in the fridge. And they were delicious! I really do love the sweetness of, err, sweet potato and these added a nice touch to the meat.