This recipe was handed down from my sisters... I'm not sure where it came from originally. I've altered it just slightly, mainly by using mixed veggies instead of green beans to add a wider variety of flavor. This is definitely a favorite of my husband's and mine. My kids are picky about pretty much everything but hot dogs and ham these days, but even they eat this fairly well. Besides tasting good, I love it because it includes so many veggies that I don't have to prepare any on the side!
1 lb. ground beef*
1 med. chopped onion
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
¼ tsp. pepper
salt to taste (I use about 1 tsp.)
½ tsp. each basil, oregano, and thyme
¼ c. water
mashed potatoes** (using about 5-6 medium potatoes)
1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. In a skillet, cook beef and onion until onion is tender and beef is no longer pink. Remove from heat, drain fat, and place in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
3. In a separate pot, cook mixed veggies. Drain and add to beef mixture. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, pepper, salt, spices, and water.
4. Drop mashed potatoes in mounds on top. Smooth mounds if desired.
5. Bake uncovered in preheated oven for about 30-35 min. or until veggie / meat mixture is hot and bubbly. Optional: if potatoes are not yet turning slightly golden-brown on top, place under broiler for 2-3 minutes or until desired level of browning is achieved.
Alternate cooking instructions: The above is the way I have always made this dish. But I just now noticed that my recipe has different directions... hah! Following these directions, you add everything except the mashed potatoes into the pan where the beef was cooked and bring them to a boil. Then transfer into the casserole dish and continue with step 4. This will decrease baking time to about 20-25 minutes. I will probably try this next time I make it and alter this recipe accordingly if it works better.
* Also works well with turkey. If using turkey, add ½ tsp. sage instead of oregano.
** To make mashed potatoes dairy-free, I normally use rice or almond milk and dairy-free butter spread like Earth Balance or Smart Balance (make sure it says "dairy-free" or "vegan"). Yellow or yukon potatoes work especially well. Make sure you salt the boiling water generously!