Maybe it was the time change. Whatever the case, I turned into a couch potato last Sunday. (Hey, I woke up at 5 am … ) On Saturday I fixed the Harvest Soup and Sunday I knew that would be gone by the first half of the week. So … what to fix?
Behold, Easy Shepherd’s Pie and Easy Lentil Soup.
Shepherd’s Pie is a recipe that I’ve gotten down to a science in the decades I’ve made it. For the longest time I made it with meatless crumbles, diced bell peppers, onions, a can of green beans and a can of Campbell’s tomato soup, along with a couple of tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Then I came across Happy Herbivore’s streamlined take on Shepherd’s Pie in a skillet, using beans instead of TVP, and it made total sense. Plus, her version was way easier than my afternoon-long simmer-sauté fest on the stove, which then went in the oven for another hour. And because I was too lazy to even look up her recipe again, this time I went with my own version.
Easy Shepherd’s Pie
8 russet potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped, boiled and mashed. (I used a mix of water and vanilla 7 Grains nondairy milk — yes really, because that’s what we had in the fridge — with a heaping helping of onion powder and garlic powder in the mashing. It tasted fine.)
2 cans of beans — your choice, drained and rinsed
2 cans of diced tomatoes. Now here is where lazy gets irresponsible. Guilty as charged. Tomatoes in the boxed containers supposedly are better for you because of the potential for leaching preservatives from can to tomato, but I had canned. It’s time to fine-tune my pantry on this issue.
1 bag of frozen vegetables. SMALL vegetables are the key. I use a generic bag of peas, corn, green beans and diced carrots. This mixture works perfectly and my local supermarket sells huge bags frozen. You even could add frozen diced onions (also sold at the supermarket.)
Mix the pie items together in a large deep-dish skillet and cook until bubbling. Then, add whatever seasoning you like. I used onion powder, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. It gave it a really rich, fresh flavor.
Spread mashed potatoes over vegetable mixture. Sprinkle red pepper flakes over potatoes. The sweetness that my slap-dash vanilla/potato mashing mix added worked perfectly with the rest of the recipe and seasonings.
Easy Lentil Soup
2 cups lentils, rinsed
Enough water to cover lentils plus inch of water above the lentils
1 can diced tomatoes (or boxed if you are a better shopper)
1 shallot, diced
Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for an hour.
Add whatever seasonings you like. The lentils will readily absorb whatever you add. I was surprised at how full of flavor this was, and how much it makes! Divide and freeze leftovers.