Today was the third day dropping my son George off at pre-school. He's finally starting to warm up to the idea that this is going to be a regular thing for him.
He was only six months old when the pandemic hit and grandparents are his primary daytime childcare, so I'm very happy he's going to spend some time with other kids.
While the start of school is new for him, in a way it's a return of the importance of September for me too. After I finished University, the day after Labour Day didn't have much meaning beyond the end of summer. In my job working with farmers, September was a dead spot in the calendar because every important stakeholder we worked with was out in the fields harvesting.
This year could not have been more different. The first two weeks of September not only meant dropping George off at school for the first time, but also welcoming the chaos and workload of re-launching Bump Burger in time for Le Burger Week, pitching to Start-up Canada, and getting ready for MB Food Fest.
I'm not sure if I've ever had to work so hard to fit everything in.
I remember an early conversation I had with a grocery store manager about purchasing trends over the course of the year. She told me that they sold more hamburger helper in September than the rest of the year combined. Convenience is king this month.
In recognition of all the families looking for meals that are both fast and filling, I thought I would share my favourite recipe hack.
One of my favourite recipes that our friends at the Prairie Research Kitchen developed for us was the famous sweet potato shepherd's pie you may have seen posted on our social pages before. It is delicious, nutritious, and looks amazing. Its only flaw is a tragic one, however. From start to finish it takes close to two hours to make. And it creates in a pile of dishes. Decisively not a September recipe.
However I'm not one to shy away from a challenge (we did get into this venture to solve a massive global problem after all), so I went about trying a few things to cut down the time it takes to make this recipe.
I'm happy to say that by using a few strategic shortcuts, I was able to cut this recipe down to just 15 minutes of prep time, 20 minutes in the oven, and less than five dishes. The biggest trick was skipping the sweet potato topping entirely and using lattice cut french fries instead. You still get nice a nice crispy potato top with lots of texture, but in 15 seconds instead of the 30 minutes it takes to make mashed sweet potatoes.
Want to try it this week!? Get 20% off of Bump Plant Enhanced Ground Beef using coupon code SEPT20. Valid until Sept 30, 2022 so don't delay!
Every Shortcut Bump Shepherd's Pie Recipe
- 1 lb Bump - Plant Enhanced Ground Beef
- 1 Cup Frozen Peas
- 1 Cup Frozen Carrots
- 1 Cup Frozen Corn
- 1 Cup Frozen Diced Frozen Onion (or 1 cup diced fresh white onion if your grocery store doesn't carry)
- 1 Tbs oil (canola, olive, whatever you like)
- 1 can (796 ml) can of diced tomatoes.
- 1 Tbs crushed garlic (from the jar, - do it, use the shortcut!)
- 1 tsp jarred minced garlic.
- 2 Cups low sodium beef stock.
- 1.5 Tbs curry powder.
- 1 tsp kosher salt.
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tbs corn starch.
- 1 package waffle cut fries (potato smiles work too, if your family prefers)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Heat oil in a large high-sided pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally. Once onions are translucent, add the ginger and garlic. Cook for an additional 3 minutes.
Add the Bump Plant Enhanced Ground Beef to the pan and continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring to break up into small pieces until browned. Reduce the heat to medium, add the tomatoes, carrots, peas, and corn.
As the vegetables cook, add curry powder and salt.
Add the beef stock, reduce the heat to low, and allow to simmer until the veggies begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
In a small bowl whisk together cornstarch and cold water until combined. Stir corn starch mixture into simmering beef to thicken. The beef filling should be the thickness of gravy. If the mixture is thin, simmer until thickened.
Place filling in a 9x9 pan or casserole dish.
Arrange frozen waffle cut fries on top of the beef mixture in a single layer. It probably won't require the whole package.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until fries are crispy and you can see the filling bubbling a little.
If you use a stainless steel pan, you can skip putting the filling in a separate dish and just bake the whole thing in the pan.
Feel bad about using jarred garlic or frozen veggies because some blogger or TV chef says that fresh is better? Ignore them! Odds are good that they don't even do their own dishes. This recipe is amazing and taking shortcuts means it's actually going to get made regularly.