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Recipe: Shepard’s Pie

I’m hungry!

Wait, what???? This is a techie blog, not a foodie rag, so what in the name of the bleeding edge is a post of the gastronomical persuasion doing here??? Look – even über-geeks can’t live on just pizza and soda (for more than a few weeks).  Seeing as how we usually don’t have much time to spend making food, I’ve got a list of a few quick dishes I can make that last me a few meals, saving me time and keeping me fueled for those long hours toiling over a hot keyboard.  I’ve been asked by a friend to share one, and so I figured I’d bump my post average be a good friend and write it up for her here.  Don’t worry – I’m not going to do this often.  Take a little advise, though, and remember that the most successful geeks do not stay attached to the keyboard and mouse 24/7.  They have other hobbies too.

Post Technology Stack
  • Two quart casserole dish.
  • 8-10oz of corn
  • 12 oz of ground beef (12 oz of Morning Star Griller Crumbles)
  • 4-8oz of shredded cheese (Colby-Jack or Cheddar-Jack)
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • Preheat oven to 400°

A few notes first.

Corn: The corn can be your standard 8oz frozen box ‘o corn, or is can be creamed corn or Bird’s Eye Sweet Corn In Butter Sauce… Just pick something you like that has corn in it. One note however – Birds Eye® Sweet Corn & Bacon in a Creamy Cheese Sauce may get you respect for the bacon angle, but just don’t. Trust me.

Meat: If you are a meat eater, then standard ground beef is the way to go. Try to get 92%+ lean kind. If you are a forced vegetarian (I love you honey!), then Morning Star Farms makes a ground beef substitute called Griller Crumbles that is about as close as anything I’ve ever tasted has come to replacing scrumptious, mouth-watering dead cow.

Cheese: This adds flavour and acts as a bonding agent for the meat and your jawbone (no, not the headset). You can leave it out if you want, otherwise pick something you like. A bag of pre-shredded Colby-Jack or Cheddar-Jack cheese has treated me well in the past, but you can experiment with other types of cheese to taste. As with the bacon impregnated corn above however, Gouda, Swiss, and Feta are right out.

Mashed Potatoes: Betty Crocker Butter and Herb instant potatoes works for me, but if you have some extra time, buy two nice sized Idaho potatoes and mash them up yourself with a little whole milk, a small pat of butter, and smattering of dried chives. Again, this is to taste, but the potato taste should stay more subtle to that of the cheese.


Cook the meat in a skillet until brown. At the same time, you can boil/microwave the corn and prepare the potatoes as directed.

Once you have all the individual ingredients ready, fill the bottom of the cassarole dish with the ground beef [substitute]. Next lay a good layer of the shredded cheese over the meat. Don’t put in so much that you can’t see the meat on the bottom – you don’t want to have a discernible layer of cheese after cooking. Next, lay on the corn, and then get out your trowel and cover the whole thing with the mashed potatoes. With the potatoes, you want to make sure you cover the whole top of the corn so you have a good half-inch thick layer to get through. This is important – don’t leave any holes down into the corn layer. The potatoes seal off the more moist ingredients so they can cook properly without drying out in the oven.

Finished? Good. 400° in the oven for about 20 minutes.  When the top of the potato layer is starting to brown a bit, your done. Dig in and save the rest for the next day. When reheating, either reheat a portion in a bowl or the whole thing in the dish and make sure to add a small amount of water (say a tablespoon or so) and to put a cover on it. For a bowl, a moist paper towel will do, and in the case of the cassarole dish, use its lid.

The whole thing should take about 20 minutes to put together, and then there’s the 20 minutes in the oven. That’s a long enough break from getting spanked in Splinter Cell or from banging your head on the desk while trying to get JSF to actually do something right to be ready to take a second pass at the problem. Bon appétit!

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