I've made this recipe once before and really liked it. Anthony hadn't eaten it before, so I thought it was a good idea to put this on the menu. I got this out of Cook's Country - I <3 that magazine so much.( 30 Minute Meals: Skillet Shepherd's PieCollapse )
This was a nice and simple recipe. I used a 7 inch skillet. I recommend using no bigger than 10 inch, no smaller than 7 inch. I wish I had a bigger skillet, to tell the truth. It didn't overflow or anything, but I didn't like how full it was when I put the potatoes on top. That was error on my end, though.
For the potatoes and the size skillet I had, I'd probably use 7 cups of potatoes. I just glanced at the directions, instead of reading them, so I messed up on the butter part [plus, it didn't say to divide the butter]. I melted the 4 tablespoons and put it all on the potatoes. I also put more pepper in. I microwaved them for 7 minutes, stirred, and then put in for another 3.
You can certainly use leaner meat if you wish. I couldn't find 85%, so I used 81% instead. I almost always use the leaner meat [93-97%], but with this type of recipe, I would recommend at the leanest 91%. The leaner the meat, the dryer it gets when you cook it at longer periods, even after you've drained it.
I didn't use the carrot and pea medley. I like vegetables, so I got a bag of the mixed vegetables [peas, carrots, green beans, corn, lima beans] and used 3 cups instead of 2. It's not overwhelming and there is about an equal amount of meat, if not more than the vegetables. I folded
the vegetables in so that I got the meat/onion off the bottom. OH!! Before you add in the vegetables, make sure you are stirring throughout the thickening sauce part so that none of it sticks to the bottom!
Our broiler sucks, it gets mega hot and can burn something very quick and make the smoke detectors go off. I didn't burn anything [and the damn detectors STILL went off!], but I should have broiled it for the full 5 minutes. I did it at 2 minutes, checked it, and then added on a minute. This is how I would do it if your broiler is not awesome like mine.
All in all, I give it:
4/5 for cooking experience
5/5 for taste
I would recommend this to other people and I would definitely cook this, again.