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Quick And Easy Comfort Food Recipes: Mexican Shepherds Pie

Updated on October 21, 2011


I love recipes that I can throw together in a relatively short period of time.  I also like recipes that I feel are more nutritious than the "regular" recipe.

My kids grew up on my shepherds pie and all its variations.  Come to find out after 30+ years, my Bob didn't ever like the peas that I used on it.....go figure!

So when I saw this recipe some time back emailed to me from (and from Cooking Light Magazine May 2003), I decided I needed to check this one out. 

This is a wonderful blend of an English favorite (shepherds pie) and Hispanic cuisine.  You can eliminate the meat altogether which I've done and have a totally delicious vegetarian version.

There are many things you can change up....see my suggestions below. 

Enjoy a Tex-Mex version of shepherd's pie but then again, come up with your own ideas to improve upon this basic recipe.

from the kitchen of Audrey Kirchner
from the kitchen of Audrey Kirchner



  • 2 cups prepared mashed potatoes (such as Simply Potatoes)
  • 3/4 to 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 3/4 cup picante sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese


  1. Cook beef in a large nonstick skillet at medium heat until browned; make sure to crumble beef.
  2. Stir in picante sauce, water, cumin, salt, beans and cumin.
  3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer until mixture thickens (about 5 minutes).
  4. Remove from heat. Layer mashed potatoes over the meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and let stand for 2 minutes until the cheese melts.

This makes 4 servings about 1 cup each. It clocks in at about 279 calories.



We all know I rarely stick to the program when it comes to recipes. When I read a recipe, I see "how can I make this even better" or "how can I use the ingredients I have on hand?"

I personally don't believe in prepared mashed potatoes. I'm sorry but there is just something wrong with not being able to boil potatoes and mash them.

  • TIP: I cut down on the butter completely...just a hint of butter...I use sour cream or Greek yogurt to make up the difference and cut the fat...and my secret ingredient? Instead of nonfat milk I use low fat buttermilk. I also usually use red potatoes super scrubbed and leave the skins on.

You can use ground anything....ground turkey, ground lamb, ground pork, ground chicken. Or you can eliminate the meat completely and just use more beans.

I decided since it was Tex-Mex to use pinto beans rather than kidney beans but in actuality, any beans would do. I also used twice as many and less meat.

Picante sauce is all about your level of "hot". You can use mild picante or you can use super spicy picante. Heat it up according to your own taste buds.

Cheese is a generic thing. I sometimes like jack cheese instead of cheddar or pepper jack instead of either one. It all depends on what you are trying to create in terms of flavor.

Substitute your own homemade salsa or pico de gallo.

Add a layer of corn kernels if you want to add some veggies to the mix.

I pop my shepherds pie in the oven at 350 degrees to melt the cheese and toast it up a bit for about 10-15 minutes.

You can do just about anything with this great recipe and call it your own. Add green chilies or olives for another twist to it or leave off the cheese and top with more vegetables.

You can even leave off the potatoes and do more veggies.

Shepherds pie reminds me of a layered dip in many ways. It's all about what you put into the layers and the spices that bring out the best flavor for each layer.

Experiment and make your own version of shepherds pie and enjoy comfort food 101.

If you have favorite ingredients for your shepherds pie, please leave them below in the comments section for me to enjoy!


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