Weeknight Shorts: Pocket Casserole

Shepherd's Pie is a favorite casserole dish and a fantastic way to use leftovers, particularly leftover potatoes. I tend to have it every month or so during cold weather months. But when the sun melts the cold away and picnic season is upon us, instead of packing away those recipes with winter's sweaters, I give them a spring makeover that leaves me with some truly fantastic picnic food:

Casserole fixings tend to also make fantastic fillings for pocket sandwiches. Even a good, thick stew (something wanting a fork, not a spoon) can be an amazing filling. One of my favorites is leftover stir-fry. You get the idea. Instead of grabbing the microwave and eating those leftovers over the kitchen sink, give them new life by wrapping them in biscuit dough and baking them until you have a delicious, portable meal or tweak the original recipes to give them a mobile makeover like these sandwiches. Grab your picnic blanket and your favorite hat and get ready for an after-dinner nap. After all, this kind of comfort food tends to leave us all wanting a bit of time to digest!

Great pairings for pocket sandwiches like these include simple green or fruit salads, your favorite chips or pretzels, and something lovely to wash it down with. You could also begin your meal with some cheese and olives. Before you know it, you'll be making a pocket sandwich picnic a weekly warm weather tradition. So hold onto those comfort food casserole recipes and make 'em mobile!

Shepherd's Pie Pockets

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef (or lamb)
  • 1 tsp. seasoned salt (I used Penzeys Chicago Steak Seasoning)
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely shredded
  • 1/3 c. sliced green onions
  • 1 c. mashed potatoes (I used unpeeled red potatoes)
  • 1/4 c. cream cheese
  • 1 can refrigerated flaky biscuits

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet, about 10 minutes, adding the seasoned salt about halfway through the cooking process. While the beef is still warm, add the carrots and green onions and mix to combine.

You can either boil the potatoes for mashing while the beef cooks or make the mashed potatoes ahead of time. Either way, make sure the potatoes are hot and stir in the cream cheese until it is melted and fully incorporated into the mixture.

Open the can of biscuits and either using a rolling pin or your fingers, press a biscuit flat until it measures 4-5" across. Carefully add a spoonful of mashed potatoes and cover the potatoes with a spoonful of the beef and vegetable mixture. Roll another biscuit to the same diameter and carefully lay it over the fillings. Use your fingers to pinch the two flattened biscuits together at the seams and carefully set the pocket sandwich on a baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining biscuits and filling to make 4 pocket sandwiches in total.

Bake the pocket sandwiches in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the biscuit dough is golden. Slice each pocket in half and serve while warm.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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