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Diva Patti dishes up comfort food for $1 a serving

Growing up as I did, with a very British mother, shepherd’s pie was regular fare at our dinner table. But most memorably, it became a tradition that Mom would make shepherd’s pie for me for dinner on the first day of school.

As years went by, the first day of school became less about giddy anticipation and more about nervous butterflies shaded with a hint of dread. No matter what the day would bring, I knew “shep’s pie” would be waiting for me once I made it through that first day like a comforting, culinary hug. To this day, when I have that first succulent bite something deep in my memory tells me “all is well.”

The savory beef mixed with the sweetness of the peas and carrots topped off with rich, creamy mashed potatoes satisfies the tummy and soothes the soul. And that, my friends, is comfort in a bowl.

Here’s the recipe for a frugal, fabulous and filling, ultimate comfort food for about a $1 per serving. This is a perfect use for leftover mashed potatoes and you can add any kind of leftover veggies into the beef mixture as well.

Budget Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 6-8

6 medium potatoes – about 2 lbs. or equivalent instant mashed potatoes

¼ cup milk

1 tbsp. butter

1 lb. ground beef

1 medium onion, diced

1 (12 or 16 ounce) bag frozen mixed peas and carrots – thawed

1 can creamed-style corn

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper and seasoning sauce of your choice

Preheat oven to 350. Chop the potatoes and boil in salted water until soft. Drain and mash with milk and butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, brown ground beef and onion adding salt and pepper to taste. Drain if necessary. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the seasoning sauces of your choice.

Any one of the following sauces would be good: Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, steak sauce or ketchup. You want the beef to be very flavorful. My personal fave is Worcestershire and a little ketchup.

When the hamburger is cooked; add peas and carrots and creamed corn. Let simmer until heated through and bubbly.

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray, pour the meat and vegetable mixture in bottom of the pan. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over the meat mixture and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Switch oven setting to BROIL and heat the casserole until cheese on top is bubbly or lightly browned.

Watch this as you don’t want burned cheese. It should only take about 2 minutes.

Let this sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy a bowl full of comfort. Sigh.

Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Frugal Food contributed by Patti Diamond, author of Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! www.divasonadime.com.

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