RECIPE: Easy Peasy Shepherd’s Pie | #ThisGirlEats

Serves: 4
How much does it cost? This recipe cost me less than 75p per person.
What are the benefits? The ingredients in this shepherd’s pie allow for at least one of your five a day along with being low in sugar and loaded with antioxidants.

Why haven’t I knocked up a shepherd’s pie recipe before?! I’ve been eating it my entire life and it’s one of the very, very few recipes that my whole household will happily wolf down to this day.

It’s just brilliant comfort food, isn’t it? Piles of creamy mash, rich mince and earthy vegetables; it’s the epitome of British cuisine, hideously underrated (in my opinion) and something this little island should be very proud of – which is a rarity when it comes to us Brits and our food!


I first learnt how to make shepherd’s pie from an old uni cookbook. I’ve changed things up since then, but still tried to stick with the original recipe’s same simplicity; minimal ingredients, minimal costs.

This dish cost me just shy of 75p per person; however, this can vary. If you want to reduce fat you can opt for the low-fat mince but, be warned, it’ll set you back around £1.10 per person. For a cheaper way to keep prices low, try using meat-free mince – most supermarkets do their own brand versions now and it could bring this recipe down to just 65p per person, so it’s worth considering.

At this point you might be thinking, okay, sure, shepherd’s pie is great and everything, but what are the nutritional benefits? Well, there are some in there, hidden away between layers of mash and mince. Did you know, for example, that potatoes are bursting with antioxidants which help keep our bodies fit and healthy? Also, shepherd’s pie is low in sugar, goes towards your five a day, and is a great balance of carbohydrates that leave you feeling full.

Oh, one more thing – I know shepherd’s pie is meant to be made with lamb and cottage pie with beef, but I only ever knew of shepherd’s pie growing up and honestly can’t be bothered to faff about with the difference now!

4 Large Jacket Potatoes, Peeled & Cubed
500g Mince (low fat if possible, or meat-free alternative)
2 Small Onions, Chopped
2 Carrots, Chopped
1 tbsp (heaped) Gravy Granules
1 Beef Stock Cube
1 Mug of Water

As always, you want to throw in a few dried garlic flakes (fresh if you’ve got it) with the onions, and then season the meat with mixed herbs, salt and pepper. For the mashed potatoes, again, you’ll want a good dose of salt and pepper, along with some dried parsley.

So, this is how I did it…

1. In a large pan of salted water, add the peeled potatoes. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.

2. Meanwhile, add the garlic, onion and carrot to a large frying pan and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the mince and fry until browned.

3. Add to the frying pan one mug of water, then the gravy granules, stock cube and mixed herbs. Simmer for around 15 minutes, until the mince has cooked through and most of the liquid has gone – but make sure it doesn’t dry out.

4. Drain the potatoes, season with salt, pepper and parsley, and mash with your choice of butter, spread or milk. I usually start mashing with a tablespoon of spread and top it up with small splashes of milk as I go.

5. Pour the mince filling into a large ovenproof dish, top with the mashed potatoes and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes. Split into four, serve and enjoy!

Tips & Tricks 

  • It’s really easy to make this suitable for vegetarians; simply swap the mince for a meat-free alternative, use onion or vegetable gravy granules instead of beef and change the meat stock cube for a vegetable one. Done!


  • Sprinkling a little cheddar cheese in with the mashed potato (and then a little more on top of the mash just before it goes in the oven if you fancy it) is a delicious addition. A small teaspoon of English mustard in the mash also adds great flavour.


  • If you can’t spare any butter, spread or milk for the potatoes, just add splashes of water at small intervals while you mash instead. It probably won’t be as creamy, but it is a great money-saving tip.




Great UK Chain Restaurants to Eat Out on a Dime | #ThisGirlEats

Home cooking is great but, sometimes, you just fancy going out and letting someone else do all the hard work. Of course, it’s a nice treat to go to a posh restaurant and experience some exquisite food but, in reality, that isn’t always an option – especially for those of us whose bank balance simply won’t allow it!

But there are ways around it, and these are just a few ideas for when you want to get out of the house for dinner but can’t splash the cash.

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You might sneer at this budget pub chain, but if you’re watching the pennies then you’re never too good for the ‘Spoons. Alright, so the food is “what you pay for”; it’s not gourmet fine dining but it certainly tastes alright. You can get some great meal deals that include a drink too, making it easy to get a big plate of pub grub and a pint for under a tenner right on your doorstep. It might not be your perfect idea of a night out but they’re not all bad – check out this one set in a beautiful old church!

ASK Italian or Bella Italia

Italian restaurants are some of the most popular in the UK, with pizza and pasta dishes being a staple favourite for most. There are plenty of well-known chain restaurants on the high street which serve this kind of food, all pretty similar – but these two are great ones to bear in mind. Sign up to their websites and they send you offers every single week. You’ll actually get a bit bombarded, 25% off here, BOGOF there… But if you can put up with the emails then you’ll get some brilliant deals that can really slash the cost of a romantic evening.


Welcome to family fun! Harvester is a busy, bustling British chain that caters to families with their extensive menu and delicious sundae bar, but it’s often overlooked because of how jam-packed it can get at popular times, and that can put people off. But avoid the school holidays and pop in for a midweek dinner and you’ll find generous portions at great prices along with a salad bar where you can stock up as much as you like totally free of charge! The food isn’t half bad either and, hey, who says sundaes are just for kids?! 🍨

Dessert Parlours (Creams, Kaspas, etc.)

Places like Creams and Kaspas have absolutely exploded over the past couple of years, with the 1950s American ice cream parlour making its way into the cultural dining of the UK – only 60 years late! 🍦 They are completely indulgent and the desserts are incredible but, the best thing is, they end up being pretty affordable. You can get HUGE waffles, piled high with chunky toppings, cream and ice cream that leave you totally stuffed for under £10. You may think it’s just a little sweet treat but, believe me, you’ll be in a food coma for hours!

Pizza Hut

Grabbing a big, tasty pizza and some tempting sides is great, especially when it’s delivered right to your door, but you’re often looking upwards of £20 to do just that. Pizza Hut is one of the few takeaway pizza chains in the UK to offer table service and, if you can make it there for a weekday lunch, they put on a great buffet deal that can save you some serious dollar. From as little as £6.99 you can help yourself to as much pizza, pasta, garlic bread and salad as you like. Just buy a refillable soft drink to wash it down with and you’ve got yourself a bargain! 🍕


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