Snowman Hearty Stew

TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 15 min.

1 pound ground beef
1 package (16 ounces) frozen vegetables for stew, divided
1 can (10-1/4 ounces) beef gravy
2 cups mashed potatoes (prepared with a small amount of milk)
16 whole black peppercorns
1/4 cup ketchup
In a skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Remove 24 peas and one carrot chunk from the stew vegetables; set aside. Add the remaining vegetables to beef. Cook until vegetables are thawed. Add gravy; mix well.
Pour into an ungreased 9-in. pie plate. Top with eight mashed potato snowmen, using 1 tablespoon of potatoes for each head and 3 tablespoons for each body. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, with a sharp knife, cut the reserved carrot into eight strips. Insert one strip into each snowman for a nose. Place three reserved peas on each for buttons. Add peppercorns for eyes. Drizzle ketchup between head and body to form a scarf. Yield: 6-8 servings. If serving small children, remove the peppercorns.