Cottage Pie Ingredients
Easy cottage pie is a quick last minute dinner. Cottage pie is the easiest “wow” dinner that you can make in less than 40 minutes. While your potatoes are softening, brown your mince meat and chop some vegetables. Add some grated cheese, and wham bam you have a decadent meal. This is my go to meal when I need a last minute dinner idea, or a quick supper to feed my hungry husband.
How do you make cottage pie
Think about a cottage pie in 2 layers: potatoes and meat. Where is the vegetables you may ask? Don’t worry, you will still get your required vegetable intake. In standard cottage pies, vegetables are mixed in with the minced meat. These vegetables can be frozen or fresh. I know of families that add a frozen mix of peas, corn and carrots. We have fresh vegetables in the fridge, so I diced carrots, parsnips and mushrooms.
The quick last minute “wow” dinner
What keeps this dinner in the category of “quick” and good for a “last minute” meal, is that the components can all cook at the same time. This requires a bit of multitasking, but is very do-able.
Mince meat and potatoes
While the mince meat is browning, I can prepare a pot of water for my potatoes and dice them into 1-2 inch cubes to cook fast. Stir the mince and add the potatoes to their own pot. See, two things cooking at the same time. This is why cottage pie makes a quick last minute “wow” dinner. Many things cooking at together at once to give you that delicacy in little time.
Vegetables in cottage pie
While the mince browns and the potatoes soften, prepare the vegetables. We skip peeling any of our vegetables. This is because I was taught that vegetable peels hold a lot of nutrients. Our vegetables are either from our garden or from our local food market. I love our grocery store Roots Natural because I don’t have to think twice about the origin of anything I add to my cart. Every single food item is organic (in the true sense of the word) and made from real food. I can read the ingredient list and even learn to make them myself if I desire.
Back to the cottage pie, I dice our vegetables and soften them in a pan with butter. Browning butter and vegetables is a delicacy on it own that will lift this cottage pie to new heights.
Make mash potatoes
While the vegetables sear and the potatoes cook, add the tomato puree and spices to the mince meat. Test the potatoes with a fork and remove form the stove when they are medium soft. In the meantime, let the mince meat simmer on low-medium while you mash the potatoes.
I add salt, butter, milk, and mayonnaise to our mashed potatoes. I learned to add mayonnaise to mash potatoes from my sister Jess. This adds a zing to the mash that I can’t really describe, you just have to try it.
By the time your vegetables are done, the potatoes are mashed. Bam, two sections done. Add the vegetables to the mince and stir.
The cheese whiz: shred cheese in a Cuisinart food processor
While the mince simmers a few more minutes, grate the cheese. If you have been following the blog for for long enough, you well know that I love our Cuisinart food processor. It shreds cheese that would take me hours to shred by hand. That is partly why I am able to make Cottage pie a quick last minute “wow” dinner!
Watch how cottage pie makes a quick last minute “wow” dinner
Cottage Pie Recipe
Find an easy printout of the cottage pie recipe and directions for how to make it. Print it off and keep is on your fridge while you cook.
Quick Cottage Pie for last minute “WOW” dinner
- 1 Baking Dish/Casserole Or a few extra if you double or triple this recipe
- 2 Large pot Potatoes in one, and the meat in another
- 1 Large pan For vegetables
- 1 Oven Pan If time allows to bake mushrooms
- 1 Potato Masher Or fork
- 1 lb Minced Meat Beef, Pork, or Lamb
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- 1 tbs Oregano Dried
- 1 tbs Basil Dried
- 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Paprika
- 4 Potatoes Medium to Large
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 cup Butter
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 1/4 cup Mayonnaise not required
- 1/4 cup Carrots
- 1/4 cup Parsnips
- 1/4 cup Mushrooms
Final Cottage Pie
- 1 cup Cheese Shredded
- Heat a large pot with some oil and add mince meat to cook on a medium-high stovetop. Stir often
- Once mince is brown, add oregano, basil, cayenne pepper (or paprika), salt and pepper
- Turn stove to low-medium to let mince simmer with spices. Stir often
- After 10 minutes, add 1 cup of canned tomatoes or tomato puree
- Leave mince to simmer for duration of preparation, stir occasionally
- Fill a pot of water, add a sprinkle of salt, and bring to a boil on a stovetop
- Wash your potatoes (and peel if desired)
- Dice potatoes roughly 2 inches
- Add potatoes to pot and bring to a boil
- Once potatoes reach a boil, turn stove to medium. Stir occasionally
- Test potatoes with a fork and remove from stove when semi-soft
- Strain potatoes and add salt, butter, milk and mayonnaise (optional). Mash with a potato masher or fork
- Wash carrots and parsnips (peel if desired)
- Slice and dice carrots and parsnips roughly 1 inches
- Heat a pan with butter or oil
- Add carrots and parsnips to soften. Pan on medium-high heat, stir often
- Meanwhile, dice mushrooms
- If time allows, bake mushrooms in oven at 400°C for 5-10 minutes
- If making a "quick" dinner, add mushrooms to pan to cook with carrots and parsnips once the the carrots and parsnips are semi-soft. Cook for a few minutes then remove from stove
- Add vegetables to mince meat and stir
- Grate cheese
Combine Cottage Pie
- Line up mashed potatoes and minced meat/vegetables in a buffet set up
- Combine in 2 inch layers alternative between mashed potatoes, mince, and cheese until the casserole is filled. Finish with a layer of cheese
- Preheat oven to 400° and bake for 15 minutes
- Turn oven to Broil for final 5 minutes to sizzle the cheese. Watch closely
- If you have leftover mince and mashed potatoes, consider making another casserole to freeze.
- Add tin foil and label
- Freeze meal facing upward
- When baking from frozen, bake at 350°C for 1 hour
- Remember to turn oven to Broil for final 5 minutes to sizzle the cheese
Tips for the Cottage pie that makes a “wow” dinner
- Start by filling a pot with water to bring to a boil, and use the time you wait to do your preparations, like washing and dicing your potatoes and grating the cheese.
- Add a wooden spoon to the boiling pot (with potatoes) as this will keep the pot from boiling over and lessen the splatter.
- If you are using a Cuisinart food processor to shred cheese, pop your cheese in the freezer for a few minutes before you shred it. This will firm up the cheese a little more to shred easier.
- If you have leftover ground beef and potatoes, make a few extra cottage pies to add to your freezer for another evening.
Other quick last minute dinner ideas
If you have a busy schedule and need a last minute dinners that you can quickly heat up, consider making a lot of lasagne meals in advance. Read how to make many lasagnas at one time here.