I am currently approaching Week 37 of my pregnancy so I thought I should really get onto the cooking and freezing meals stage of my preparation for the baby before the he decides to pop out!!
This whole "Cooking and Freezing Frenzy" I call it involved quite a bit of preparation. Leading up to today (I cooked 4 dishes today and freezed them all, but will post recipe one at a time) I had to:
- Convince hubby to let me buy a Chest Freezer - DONE
- Write a list of dishes I'd like to cook and freeze - DONE
- Do a massive shop for groceries at CostCo and buy meat in bulk - DONE
- Stock up my new Chest Freezer - DONE
- Stock up my pantry - DONE
- Get over the fact that my belly is huge and my back gets sore easily and my feet get swollen from standing up too long and JUST COOK THE MEALS - getting there!
To kick start this series of "Maternity Friendly Frozen Meals" I'd like to share this recipe for Shepherd's Pie - it is one of the easiest casseroles you can ever make and so yummy! I surfed the net for several ideas on how a Shepherd's Pie is meant to be cooked and combined those ideas to come up with this recipe. I have to admit I am not always 100% accurate with my measurements for ingredients but I try my best! I usually tend to taste as I cook so I easily lose track of how much ingredients I actually use.
1 tbsp oil
150g minced beef
150g minced pork
100g lamb, chopped into small dices
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup carrots, chopped into small dices
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp parsley paste
1/2 cup liquid chicken stock
4 tbsp tomato sauce
2 tbsp caster sugar
4 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp plain flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1kg potatoes, peeled
1/4 cup milk
1 cup grated cheese
To make mashed potato topping, place peeled potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Place lid on pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and let it simmer gently until potatoes are very tender and soft.
Drain potatoes and mash with butter and milk, adding salt to taste. Add 1/4 cup of the grated cheese into the potato mixture. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan, add oil and gently fry sliced red onions until fragrant. Add minced garlic, minced parsley and fry for another 1 minute. Add the minced beef, pork and lamb and stirfry until meat is no longer pink. Add peas and carrots and stirfry for another few minutes. Add chicken stock, tomato sauce, caster sugar and Worchestershire sauce. Season well with salt and pepper. Add plain flour and gently allow to simmer until the sauce thickens.
Prepare a large casserole dish by spraying the surface with oil. Scoop out the meat mixture from the saucepan onto the casserole dish until half full. Top with mashed potato mixture, making sure the sides are well sealed. Top with the remaining grated cheese.
Place casserole dish on a baking tray just in case the sauce boils over the dish (so it won't make a mess in your oven). Cook in preheated oven at 180C for approx. 25 - 30 minutes, or until the topping is nice and golden brown.
Serve immediately or divide into portions and freeze for later (like me!)