Shepherd’s Pie (Slow Cooker Version)

If you’ve been following my cooking posts, you know that I try to break my Crock-Pot out at least twice a week. I’m always looking for new recipes for one-pot meals. It’s been years since I had Shepherd’s Pie, so I can’t say that this recipe is authentic, but I found it quite tasty and will be making it again.

The Shepherd’s Pie recipe takes a little more work than my usual slow-cooker meals, but wasn’t too bad at all. I’d say the most time-consuming part was peeling and mashing the potatoes.

I tweaked the recipe slightly, cause that’s what I do. 🙂 Seriously though, I do like to use what I have on hand.

My Ingredients:

  • 4 potatoes
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 small bag frozen mixed vegetables

To begin, I pierced each potato several times with a fork before I popped them in the microwave. I turned the potatoes over after about 8 minutes and cooked them for 15 minutes total.

In the meantime, I chopped the onion up and sautéed them in olive oil in a frying pan on the stove top. After they became translucent, I added the garlic and let them cook for about 30 more seconds.

Onions for slow-cooker shepherd's pie on My Life: A Work in Progress

Next, I added the ground beef and chopped it up as it cooked and browned. When the meat is cooked through, stir in the tomato paste, Worcestershire, thyme, and about 1/2 tsp. of salt and pepper.

Mix 1 tbsp of cornstarch in a cup of water, then add to the pan. Keep stirring and let the mixture thicken a little. Then remove from heat.

Ground beef for slow-cooker shepherd's pie on My Life: A Work in Progress

In the meantime, my potatoes had cooled, so I peeled them and mashed them with the cream and butter. Next, I added salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the meat/sauce mixture into the bottom of the slow cooker. Then layer the frozen veggies on top. The original recipe only called for 1 cup of frozen veggies, but this didn’t seem enough to me. If I’m making a one-pot meal, I want there to be plenty of veggies to make it healthier. I added an entire small bag.

Frozen veggies for slow-cooker Shepherd's Pie on My Life: A Work in Progress

Finally, layer the mashed potatoes on top.

Slow-cooker shepherd's pie on My Life: A Work in Progress

My Crock-Pot gets to a high temperature very quickly, so I set mine for about 2.5 hours on low.

The first time I made this, I followed the original recipe and set my Crock-Pot on low for three hours. When I turned the cooker off, the potatoes were getting crusty on the edges and sticking to the pot. Another way to solve this possibly would be to spray the inside of the cooker with Pam or another non-stick spray, before adding the food. (Or smearing butter…butter’s always tasty.)

The result:

Slow-cooker shepherd's pie on My Life: A Work in Progress

Slow-cooker shepherd's pie on My Life: A Work in Progress

It was simple and inexpensive! It could be made even healthier too, by using skim milk instead of cream and leaner ground beef. It was a hit with hubby, so I’ll be making this again. You can view the original recipe here.

What are your favorite Shepherd’s Pie recipes?
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Whole Chicken in a Crock-Pot

I recently came across another blog that showed how to cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker. Genius! I said. I really don’t know why I never thought about it before. I use my Crock-Pot all the time, and I also will throw chicken bones with some water in it just to make stock. Seems like I would’ve thought of this. Hmmm.

Basically, you put a whole chicken in a slow cooker with some spices for 6 hours (approximately) on low, and that’s it.

The first thing I did was remove the bag of chicken innards from inside the chicken. I put them in the freezer until I have a chance to make stuffing. Then I gave the chicken a good rinse before placing in the slow cooker. I sprinkled garlic powder and paprika on both sides of the chicken, put the lid on, and set the cooker on low. Then left it to cook for five-seven hours.

I checked the chicken at six hours, and it was cooked through, so I turned the cooker off. I sliced off both breasts, and they became dinner for hubby and I. After the rest of the chicken had cooled, I pulled it out of the cooker and tore off the meat. The chicken was so moist, that the pieces almost fell apart in my hands!

I put the chicken meat in the freezer for a future meal. I think they’ll go great on a chicken salad sandwich!

The bones then went back into the cooker and the juices at the bottom.

I added eight cups of water to make some homemade stock. But, I would recommend only using four-five cups of water. I really, really water down chicken stock/broth, because I find it much too salty. I also tossed in some  almost-overripe celery and carrots that I had in the fridge.

The image looks a little yellow from poor lighting, unfortunately. I let the stock simmer overnight on low. The next morning I drained the veggies and bones out, and poured the stock in a jar. After a day in the fridge, a layer of fat will form on top of the stock. You can spoon it right off. It can be saved to use in other dishes.

To see more photos, visit The Happy Housewife.

Have you tried this before? What seasonings did you use?
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