Food Allergy Experience

Cooking Closer to Grandma: Shepherd’s Pie

I grew-up with my grandmother cooking for me. She was the type of grandmother that made everything from scratch and started snapping beans in the morning for supper. Since I spent a lot of my summers hanging out with her, I was her free, recruited help. I honestly didn’t mind spending time with her even if I was working. She was a traditional, Christian woman who felt women should know their way around a kitchen. She had lots of stories to tell about my Uncle Jimmy who brought home, at times, famous people including Elvis (so the story goes) and the most interesting animals (a six-foot tall cat, again, so the story goes). She told me stories about the Hobos who during the depression lived along the railroad tracks and she’d feed as long as they helped out around the acreage.

She was soft when she needed to be and hard as stone other times. She kept the men in line and kept the family running smoothly. Everyone flocked to her table for both dinner and coffee time. Everyone respected her. In my mind, she is what all women should strive to replicate. Well, she is certainly what I strive to be like.

When I think of my grandmother, I always think of food. So much of our time was spent on preparing food. Now that I have an allergic child, so much of my time is spent centered around food. I now make almost everything from “scratch”. In a way, the Little Guy’s allergies have increased my kinship with my grandmother. Always a silver lining, right?

Since my grandmother mostly made comfort foods and since I’m feeling particularly close to her today, here is my recipe for Shepherds Pie a comfort food at its best.

Shepherd’s Pie


1 1/2 lbs ground beef

2 cups frozen mixed veggies

1 onion chopped

6 reg potatoes or 4 large potatoes

8 T allergy-free butter

1/2 cup beef broth

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 c of Rice Milk


1. Peel and boil potatoes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. While potatoes cook, melt 1/2 of the butter in a skillet. Saute the onions until soft. Then add in Hamburger. Cook until the hamburger is almost done and add in the frozen veggies, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 the can of beef broth. Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.

3. While meat/veggies simmer. Mash up the potatoes and mix in the remaining 1/2 of butter. Stir in the Rice milk slowly until potatoes are smooth. This may take less or more rice milk.

4. Layer the meat/veggie mixture in a 9×13 pan and smooth the potatoes over the top. Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes until it is heated. If potatoes need more browning, you can broil for a few minutes as desired.


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