My boys and husband are real meat and potatoes guys. They tend to prefer simple meals rather than complicated culinary masterpieces, which works out well for me when trying to prepare a quick meal that everyone will like. Basically anything with meat and potatoes is sure to win them over. Cottage pie combines the two things they love in one delightful dish — one layer of meat with veggies and sauce, topped with a layer of creamy mashed potatoes. I used to call this Shepherd’s pie, but apparently the correct term is “cottage” pie, because I don’t use lamb or mutton. But you could use lamb or mutton if you want, or you could use something other than meat. That’s why I call this Create Your Own Cottage Pie.
If you follow by blog, you’re probably starting to notice a trend in my posts lately. I’ve been developing meal templates, which allow more versatility and creativity than a regular recipe. These printable templates are a great tool for meal planning, because they help you use what you have on hand and can be tailored to your family’s tastes. Check out my past templates for chili, pizza, and tacos.
You may think cottage pie is too time-consuming for a weekday meal, but I like to use shortcuts to speed it up, like instant mashed potatoes and frozen mixed veggies. They save me from having to spend a lot of time chopping up vegetables. On the weekends when I have more time, I’ll occasionally take the longer route and make mashed potatoes from scratch, or substitute squash or sweet potatoes in the topping. This vegan Sweet Potato Gardener’s Pie is one of my favourites, although my Whine Critics still prefer meat and potatoes.
Discover what tasty creations you can come up with using this template.
Create You Own Cottage Pie
Protein (2 cups)
- Ground beef, turkey, pork, chicken, lamb, etc.
- Canned lentils
- Canned beans (black beans, kidney beans, Garbanzo beans)
- Tofu Ground round
Vegetables (2 cups)
- frozen mixed vegetables
- green beans
- bell peppers
- diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cup broth (beef, chicken, vegetable) and 1 1/2 tbsp. flour
- 19 oz can crushed tomatoes and 1 tsp brown sugar
- Italian (oregano, basil)
- Mexican (cumin, chili powder)
- Greek (oregano, lemon zest)
- Moroccan (ginger, turmeric, cinnamon)
Topping (3-4 cups)
- Mashed Potatoes*
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Mashed Butternut Squash
- Mashed Cauliflower
- parmesan cheese
- Cook up your protein and veggies in a large skillet until the veggies have softened and meat has browned (if using meat). Drain off any excess fat/liquid.
- For broth sauce, sprinkle veggies and protein with flour and stir together, then add broth and continue to stir over high heat until thickened.
- For tomato sauce, simply add crushed tomatoes and brown sugar to the veggies and protein, and mix well.
- Add your seasonings and salt, to taste.
- For the topping, if using mashed vegetables, cook them until soft and mash them up. Add a little butter and milk until creamy (sour cream or Greek yogurt works well too). Season with salt and pepper, to taste. You can also add some onion or garlic power for more flavour.
- Pour the veggie and protein mixture into a casserole dish.
- Spread topping over top of veggies and protein.
- Sprinkle with garnish, if desired.
- Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling around the edges.
*You can use instant mashed potatoes for a quicker meal.