We had cottage pie for dinner that was quite yummy. For those that don't know, cottage pie and shepherds pie are basically the same thing...except that shepherds pie is supposed to be made with ground lamb, and cottage pie is made with ground beef. We like both around here, but beef is usually cheaper and more likely to be on hand.
It was pretty simple, and doesn't really need a recipe, as a description will suffice. I cooked a pound of ground beef. When it was done, I transferred it to my baking dish (more on that later). In the same skillet, I cooked a chopped red onion and about 6 oz sliced (and broken) crimini mushrooms with salt, pepper and about a teaspoon dried thyme. I bought the package of sliced, and didn't quite use the whole thing. And I broke them into smaller pieces so they would mix in better. When the onions and mushrooms were about done, I added a can of green beans to warm thru. I then added all that to the baking dish and stirred it all together. I then made gravy in the same skillet by bringing a couple cups of beef broth/stock to a boil with several dashes worchestershire, then thickened it up with some Wondra flour (read the carton to learn how). I then poured this into the casserole.
For the potatoes, I do like instant mashed potatoes. They are seldom lumpy, and you can flavor them however you want. These I made regular, seasoned with just salt and pepper. I made them a little thinner than usual to aid in spreading. I would recommend using a knife, and scooping some up and scraping them off on the side of the baking dish, as you want a seal around the edges to keep the gravy in. If you put dollops in the middle of the casserole to spread around, it displaces the filling and everything oozes out the edges as you go. Trust me on this. So anyway, spread the potatoes evenly across the top of the pie. Dab some butter all over (or spray with butter flavored pan spray) and broil until golden.
Now a note about baking dishes. Any Pyrex pan I have ever seen says not to broil it. So I have never tried. If you have done it, and it didn't shatter, yay for you. I am too chicken to try. So I looked for baking dishes that could be broiled, and found Le Creuset oval stoneware baking dishes. They are a little more pricy, but I got them when Macy's was having a sale with free shipping (they didn't carry them in store) and got 2...one equivalent to an 8x8, and the other to a 9x13. And an added bonus, *nothing* sticks to them. Not cheese, broiled on potato, lasagna. I love my pans :)
Our dinner was quite yummy, and there were left overs for me to have next week. Can't beat that!