Monday 30 January 2017

Family Meals–Cheat’s Cottage Pie

So, after asking you what you’d like to see on the blog, several people asked for quick, tasty family meals that don’t use too many ingredients. So I’m starting you off with my own ‘cheats’ version of a cottage pie. The cheat aspect is to use frozen, pre chopped veg. Now, now…don’t scoff. This is one type of food I’ve started relying on. Firstly, the taste. It’s just the same as the fresh. The price? Well, maybe twice the price as buying individual pieces of fresh veg. but there’s no waste as it simply sits there waiting for the next use. One thing I have found is that once defrosted, the veg does become watery. Because of this, I wouldn’t use it for drier dishes where you want a thick sauce, but for stews and stir-fries, the extra water just becomes a part of the sauce.



beef mince

frozen chopped onions

frozen chopped carrots

crushed garlic

stock cube (I just used a little corner of one as was making for the kiddies)

hp brown sauce

red wine (notice, this didn’t bother me – for the kiddies!)

Worcestershire sauce



frozen mashed potato – yes, I know, but it only has in it the stuff you’d put in at home I promise!

Stovetop Method:

1 - Brown mince, onions, garlic and carrots in a little olive oil

2 - Whilst browning, make your stock – combine a large glug of brown sauce, small glug of Worcestershire sauce, half glass or so or red wine, beef stock cube, ground pepper and enough water to just cover your mince – add a little. You can always top up the pan later if there’s not enough. I used around 300g mince and made about 300ml stock.

3 - Sprinkle the mince mix with a spoon of plain flour, mix in.

4 - Pour your stock mix over the top, stir and let bubble down until the mince and veg are cooked and the liquid is reduced so you have a thick gooey sauce.

5 - Pour into an ovenproof dish, top with frozen pellets of mash, Grate cheese over the top and bake as usual – about 35 minutes on 180 should do. You just need to cook the mash and brown the top really.

Cook4Me Method:

Manual mode – browning, 3 minutes.

See 1 and 2 above.

Once browned, see 3 and 4 above.

Manual mode – quick cook, 7 minutes.

Once finished, see 5 above

So, hopefully that’s one to get you started, even if you already make a version of this, try with the pre chopped frozen veg…it honestly is so much faster!

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Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!
Merlotti x

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