Grocery stores seem to get better and better every year. For example, you can easily find any assortment of ground meat varieties that can help elevate your dish to a great level! Take Shepherd’s Pie – traditionally with just beef, but when you add the salty and savory additions of pork and veal, you get a really interesting flavor. I add in some “tex-mex” inspired seasonings and top the meat with a simple parmesan potato mash. My parents love it and I know you will too!

Potato Topping:

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup skim milk

3 potatoes

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

Meat Filling:

1.25 lbs ground beef/pork/veal

2/3 cups onions (diced)

1 cup celery (diced)

3 tablespoons butter

½ cup sweet pepper (diced)

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon oregano

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

4 slices of cheese (I use American white)

Salt and pepper

Potato Topping:

Chop the potatoes into equal sized chunks (leaving skins on). Fill a large saucepan with water, add the potatoes. Put the pan over high heat and cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked and tender. Drain and put the potatoes back into the pan over medium-low heat. Add in butter, milk, cheese, salt and pepper. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy – the mixture should be slightly thinner than regular mashed potatoes. Turn off heat. Cover.

Meat Filling:

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground meat – around 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the skillet, leaving the fat. Drain out half the fat.

Put the diced onions and celery, in the same skillet that has the meat fat, over medium heat. Cook for around 5 minutes before adding the diced peppers. Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and oregano. Stir to combine. Allow everything to cook for 2 minutes before sprinkling in the paprika, garlic/chili powders, and cumin. Stir to combine. Add the butter, stirring occasionally until it is melted.

Take the ground meat and add it back into the skillet. Stir to combine everything. Allow it to heat through before adding in the apple cider vinegar. Cook for 2 minutes while the oven preheats to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pour the meat mixture into a 9×9 pie pan. Top the mound of meat with the cheese, spreading it out to create an even layer. Top with the potatoes, spreading it out to cover all the meat and cheese. Sprinkle the top of the potatoes with a teaspoon of breadcrumbs, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, and a tablespoon of parmesan cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes and then switch to the broiler so the top can become golden brown. Be careful not to burn the topping under the broiler!

Remove from the broiler and allow to cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!