Baby Shepherd's Pie
This casserole combines almost all of the food groups in one dish. Baby will love the different colors, textures, and flavors that are used here -- and at this age he will easily be able to chew all the ingredients. For a change of pace, mix a variety of meats together -- try ½ lb. ground beef, ½ lb. ground veal, and ½ lb. ground lamb or turkey.
Half a 22-oz. bag of frozen mashed potatoes
1 10-oz. package frozen carrots (cut in tiny chunks) and peas
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ lb. ground beef
½ cup Italian-flavored breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste
Nonstick cooking spray
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare potatoes according to package directions; set aside. Meanwhile, cook carrots and peas in boiling water. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
2. Warm olive oil in large heated skillet. Add chopped onion and sauté until soft (about 5 minutes). Remove onion with slotted spoon; set aside. Add garlic to skillet and cook about 2 minutes. Crumble in ground beef; cook until browned. Drain off excess fat, and then mix in onions, carrots, and peas. Stir in breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.
3. Coat a 10-inch round casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon the meat-vegetable mixture into dish. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over top of mixture. Bake until potatoes are lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into wedges and serve.
Shelley Wolson is a freelance writer based in New York City and the mother of a 2-year-old.