Happy Summer guys! Sooo I know that June 20th is technically the first day of summer, but in my mind Memorial Day weekend really marks the start of the season. Bring on the barbecues, homemade ice cream, fresh juicy watermelon (YES please!), pool parties, camping and warm nights! Ahhh, I seriously love this time of year so much. Anyone else with me? Can we just have three-day weekends every week to more fully enjoy all that summer has to offer? Because I would totally be down with that.
Recently, I’ve been reminiscing about my first time traveling abroad. It’s hard to believe that it was almost exactly two years ago that I first stepped foot out of my homeland and into the magnificent country of England. At the age of 23, I finally had an excuse to get my very FIRST passport. I had no idea what to expect, but traveling abroad for the first time was a life-changing experience to say the least.
Honestly, Jacob and I caught the travel bug when we were first married. After watching [easyazon_link identifier=”B00JP5GRVM” locale=”US” tag=”wanderzestblo-20″]The Secret Life of Walter Mitty[/easyazon_link], we instantly found ourselves wanting to get out and see the world. The movie made us realize that life is short and we should make the most of it by traveling the world. Seriously, I know it sounds crazy, but that movie is truly what inspired us to travel.
Since we visited England in 2015, we’ve traveled all across the United States, although there are still plenty of states (hiii Florida!) I would like to visit, as well as visited eight countries. And we’re already planning our second trip for 2017 (Norway and Iceland here we come!), because we simply can’t pass up any opportunity to travel.
Speaking of England, that country has some pretty delicious food. Jacob lived in England for two years, so naturally he knows all of the best cuisine the country has to offer. While on our trip, he introduced me to English roast, trifle, fish and chips, crumpets, Cadbury chocolate[easyazon_link identifier=”B01CD83O5E” locale=”US” tag=”wanderzestblo-20″]Cadbury Selection Box of 10 Full Size British Chocolate Bars[/easyazon_link] (We seriously brought home twenty of these bars from England. I hate to break it to you, my American friends, but the true British chocolate is wayyy better than any of the “Cadbury” chocolate you would find in America.), and the best Indian curry I have ever had in my life. Call me crazy, but one of my favorite parts of traveling is being able to try new foods. I guess it’s just the foodie in me.
One of my favorite English foods happens to be Shepherd’s Pie. It’s literally the best comfort food, it doesn’t use any crazy, hard to find ingredients, and it’s very simple to make. Traditional Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb, but since I really have no idea where to buy lamb I have swapped it out for ground turkey. If you happen to be one of those lucky souls who is able to find lamb in your neck of the woods, then by all means you should certainly use it. Other than that one ingredient change, I would say this recipe is as true to Shepherd’s Pie as you can get!
Shepherd’s Pie has quickly become one of my go-to meals for dinner. When I have no idea what to make for dinner, I usually turn to Shepherd’s Pie. Because, honestly who can pass up a good ol’ heaping scoop of it? Plus, this dish makes great leftovers, so you can easily take it to work for lunch the next day.
Served with a side of dinner rolls (the frozen kind, right?) and a strawberry trifle and you’ve got a show stopping kind of dinner.
Easy Shepherd's Pie
- Potato Layer:
- 3 large russet potatoes, diced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Meat Layer:
- 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (or ground beef)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Dash of salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas and carrots
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray.
Peel and dice potatoes. Place potatoes into a large pot of water and boil on high for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
Drain and mash potatoes. Mix in half and half, butter and garlic powder and continue mashing until smooth. Set aside.
In a large frying pan, over medium heat, cook ground turkey, onion, garlic powder and salt and pepper until meat is browned. Drain off any excess grease.
Add flour to meat mixture and cook for one minute. Stir in tomato paste, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and oregano and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add in the frozen vegetables. Cook mixture for 5 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are no longer frozen.
Pour meat mixture into greased pan. Top with mashed potatoes, spread evenly over the meat layer. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top.
Bake for 35 minutes or until heated through. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from Life in the Lofthouse.
1. To save on time, I cook the meat mixture while the potatoes are boiling.
2. I love using beef bouillon to make broth. The bouillon lasts forever, so it's great to keep it in your cupboard when you need broth for a recipe.
3. I never seem to have tomato paste on hand, so I swapped out the tomato paste with 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and decreased the beef broth by 1/4 cup.
4. If you are short on time, I recommend using instant mashed potatoes. Half the work, but just as good!