Shepherd’s Pie

My second daughter made this for us one night with some leftover mashed potatoes and brown gravy, and it was pretty yummy.   Since the mashed potatoes and gravy were already made, it came together very quickly.  You can almost throw in whatever kind of filling you want.

4-5 potatoes, peeled and boiled
2 T. butter softened
¼ to ½ c. milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. ground beef
1 tomato, chopped
6 mushrooms, sliced (If you have them)
2 T. fresh parsley, chopped
1 T. tomato paste
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. brown gravy
2 c. peas, green beans, corn, carrots, lima beans (or any combination)

Mash potatoes, butter, milk, salt and pepper together; set a side.

Brown beef in a skillet over medium-high heat; drain. Add tomato, mushrooms, parsley, tomato paste, Worcestershire and gravy; mix well.

Add peas and simmer 5 minutes; pour into an ungreased 9×13 baking pan.

Spread mashed potatoes over the top; bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.


Salsa Ranch Skillet Meal

This is one of those “dump” recipes where you can pretty much dump together a bunch of stuff and come up with supper.

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped

Brown together and drain; then stir in:

1 pkt. ranch salad dressing mix

Next, add:

1 c. water
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
1 16-oz. jar salsa
1 16-oz. can baked beans

Bring to a boil, then add:

8-oz. pkg. rotini pasta, uncooked

Reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes (until pasta is tender).

Remove from heat and sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

Let stand 5 minutes and serve.

$12.00 (NOT!!) Cheesy Meatball Soup

This recipe came from my friend, Laura, and I think of her and our high school days every time I make it.  She and I have a lot of things in common, but there are some things in which she and I are polar opposites.  I still respect who she is, though, and I remember with fondness the common bond we share from our growing-up years.

Back to the soup:  There are all kinds of ways to cut costs in here to bring it down from a $12 soup to a $6 soup.  🙂  This is a great soup to make the day before you need it, because it re-heats nicely.  Plus, almost everyone loves cheese and meatballs.

The notes in parentheses are the things I do to reduce the cost.

2 lbs. cooked meatballs (You can buy prepared meatballs, or you can make your own, which GREATLY reduces the cost of this soup.  There’s a meatball recipe below.)
2 cans beef broth (15-ish oz. each)
2 cans water
1 c. sliced carrots
1 c. cubed potatoes
1 c. chopped celery (I usually replace the celery with broccoli, and I add the broccoli when I add the meatballs.)
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 c. corn
1 t. hot sauce
1 jar Cheez-Whiz (I make my own version of this OR I just make a cheesy white sauce like I would for homemade macaroni and cheese.  You will need about 2-3 cups of cheesiness.)

Bring broth and veggies to a boil, simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.
Add meatballs and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Stir in Tabasco and Cheez-Whiz just before serving.

Serve with more Tabasco, if desired, and tortilla chips.  I also like to have a tossed salad with it.

2 lbs. ground beef or ground pork
1 t. Tabasco
1/2 c. bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 t. dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste

Mix and shape into small meatballs.  Bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes, or until done.

NOTE:  Although the soup itself does not freeze well, these meatballs freeze beautifully, so feel free to double the recipe and tuck some baked meatballs into the freezer (which will make this soup much less time-consuming next time).

Unstuffed Pepper Soup

This is a great, low-cost recipe from my friend, Jamie.  It’s very versatile and quite tasty.

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (I only used 1 lb. because I’m cheap.)
3 lg. green peppers, chopped (I chopped frozen pepper strips from last summer’s garden–about 3-4 c. total.)
1 lg. onion, chopped
2 cans (14 oz. each) beef broth (You could use chicken broth instead,  if you prefer.
2 cans (10 oz. each) condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes, undrained  (I used one quart whole tomatoes and kinda smooshed ’em up.)
1 can mushroom stems and pieces, drained (I didn’t use these b/c I didn’t have them.)
1 1/2 c. cooked rice
salt & pepper as needed (and maybe a little bit of sugar if you’re using home-canned tomatoes)

In Dutch oven, cook ground beef, peppers and onions over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Stir in broth, soup, tomatoes and mushrooms.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add rice and heat through.  Yield:  10 servings

Herb-Crusted Chuck Roast

This roast is a real treat, and super easy to boot.  You can also cook this in the slow cooker, but it won’t have that herby crust that comes from oven roasting.

¼ cup dry bread crumbs
2 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. pepper
½ tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1 (3-4 lb.) boneless chuck eye or top blade


1 cup sour cream
3 T. prepared horseradish
1 tsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. salt

In a bowl, combine first seven ingredients. Rub over entire roast.

Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.

Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees F for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender and reaches desired doneness.

Let stand 10 minutes before carving.

Combine the sauce ingredients. Serve with the roast.

All-Purpose Meat Rub

This all-purpose rub is a HUGE money-saver!  It’s good for chicken, pork or beef, and it can be tweaked for your personal tastes.  This recipe uses KOSHER salt.  If you’re using table salt, reduce the amount to two teaspoons.  Once you know your family likes it, feel free to multiply the recipe by ten in order to have some on-hand for grilling season (spare ribs, beef roast, whole chickens, pork loin, etc.).  This would also make a great Father’s Day gift with a nice cut of local meat.  Mmmmm!

1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 T. paprika
1 T. kosher salt
1/4 c. firmly-packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (if you like a little kick)

Beef Barley Soup

This soup is one of those that smells soooo good to come home to.  You can even brown the beef and add it with the remaining ingredients to the crockpot so that you’ve got supper waiting for you in the evening.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with barley, it is a treat to have on-hand through the winter especially.  I have just begun using it in soups, stuffed peppers, and so on, and it’s a hearty addition that we all really like.  My hubby even prefers it over brown rice in some things now.  However, if you don’t have barley on-hand, you can use rice or even pasta.

1 lb. stew meat, browned in oil with 3 cloves minced garlic
1 c. celery, chopped
1 c. carrots, chopped
1 c. onion, chopped
1 quart stewed tomatoes
1 c. pearled barley, raw
8 c. chicken broth OR 8 c. water and 8 bouillon cubes

Combine browned beef and garlic with remaining ingredients.

Simmer on the stovetop for about two hours or cook in the crockpot on low for about 6 hours.