If you want to be a thrifty cook, you should know how to make shepherd's pie and its relatives. They are basically cooked vegetables, usually sauced a little bit, with a top sealing layer of mashed potatoes or biscuits or pie crust. Baked until the top layer is cooked or everything is heated through. A creative dish that depends on some scrappy leftovers. I've never actually studied shepherd's pie recipes, so you can tell me what's traditional or not about my version.
My procedure for making shepherd's pie from Sunday roast beef and vegetable leftovers:
In cast iron Dutch oven, saute an onion and a lot of mushrooms. Then chop up and add the leftover vegetables (usually for me it's onions, carrots, mushrooms) except potatoes. You can add some herbs here too - I like a bit of marjoram. Add the leftover gravy - I don't like mine too runny, so I aim for maybe 1 cup gravy to several cups vegetables. I usually add minced garlic here too, and salt and pepper depending on how salty the gravy is; maybe a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Sometimes I add frozen green beans or other root vegetables.
Meanwhile, mash up the potatoes; they need to be warm to mash well. Usually I reheat them in the microwave with some milk splashed on them, and then I mash them with a potato masher. You can add cheese or butter.
Now, spread the mashed potatoes over vegetables and gravy, sealing the edges and smoothing it out. Sprinkle with paprika - pretty! Bake uncovered in a moderate oven for 20-45 minutes - it's flexible because you're really just heating everything up - you should see some gravy bubbling at the edges to show that everything is hot through. You could take advantage of that oven heat to bake a dessert that needs a precise time and temperature.
Roughly, the minimum amounts that I aim for in my Dutch oven: 4 cups of vegetables, 1 cup gravy, 2-4 cups mashed potatoes.
Serve shepherd's pie with pickles or coleslaw (shown here is German slaw from the freezer). You'll notice I did not put the leftover meat in the shepherd's pie - I think it's unecessary because of the meaty flavor and nutrition in the gravy. We are fond of oven barbeque with leftover roast beef.
I'm interested in your version of shepherd's pie. Tell me, please!