Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's Pie

This is a filling meal that makes great leftovers. It takes a bit of planning because you’ve got to cook/prep the ingredients before assembling and baking. Sometimes it can feel like a waste to have to put hot food in the oven to bake for another 30 minutes when it’s fresh off the stove and tastes great as-is. But trust me, the time in the oven is really what pulls it all together, otherwise you’re just eating an inconveniently mini-bite-sized stir fry and mash. The food just needs to get to know each other and bond (so it doesn’t fall into a pile when served). Plus it gets crispy on top – a little crunch is good! I’m a texture fan.

I substituted cauliflower mash for the potatoes, which I encourage for their added fiber and vitamin content, but it’s a matter of taste and ease. I get it, sometimes food processors are a pain – if mashed potatoes are your jam, go for it! I’ve made this dish with colored cauliflower too (yellow) and it was just as tasty then too.

Shepherd’s Pie

Cauliflower Mash Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 3 T butter (garlic butter, if available)
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • cheddar cheese, optional (I used about 1/8 cup)

Filling Ingredients:

  • 20(ish) oz. ground beef (1 package of their organic beef, for you Costco shoppers out there)
  • 2 T oil (I used coconut oil, but any will do)
  • 3 cups frozen veggies
  • 2-3 T worcestershire sauce
  • 3 T water
  • 2 T corn starch
  • salt/pepper to taste

Directions:

Chop the cauliflower into florets and steam. You want it to be extremely well-cooked. To the point where it takes no effort whatsoever to pierce through. This is what will give them a mashed potato consistency when processed. (I’ve tried roasting cauliflower to create a cauliflower mash but it didn’t turn out as mashed potato-like as when they were steamed through.)

If you don’t have garlic butter, that’s fine, you can steam some garlic at the same time. Just make sure to remove the skin when you add to the cauliflower mash.

While the cauliflower is steaming, start cooking the filling. Mix the ground beef with salt and pepper to taste. I like a blend of white pepper and freshly ground black pepper, but this is up to you! Heat up the oil in a pan and when it’s nice and hot, add the ground beef and sauté.

Cook the veggies. Microwaving them is a time-saver and saves you from having to wash another pot =) I like sticking them in the microwave with a few teaspoons of water until tender (5-6 minutes depending on your microwave). It’s a quick way to steam them and by the time they’re nuked, it’s prob about time to add them to your ground beef.

You want the ground beef to be about 80% cooked through when you add the veggies. Drain the water from the veggies before adding and then mix ’em all up together. Turn the heat down to low and prep the sauce/gravy.

Mix the worcestershire sauce, water, and corn starch in a small dish or cup so there are no lumps. Add this mixture to your pan, turn the heat back up to medium, and watch gravy appear as you mix (the cornstarch will cook and thicken). Mix it all up so the filling is even all around. Turn off the heat and set aside.

By this point the cauliflower should be cooked through. Add the florets to a food processor, along with whatever you’d usually add to mashed potatoes. Garlic butter and a bit of cheese were my choices, but regular butter and steamed garlic will do in a jiffy. Feel free to add a bit of broth, cream, or milk if your into that too. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Here comes the part where the flavors come together!

Find yourself a dish/a few dishes. It can be a 9×13 casserole dish like I used. It can be smaller individual portion-sized ramekins. Whatever floats your boat. Add some filling to the dish until it’s about half full, then top it off with cauliflower mash! Make sure the mash goes all the way up to the edges of the dish so the filling/sauce doesn’t bubble up.

Stick these pies in a 400°F oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the top is just crispy. 

Let it cool, and enjoy!

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Simple Seared Salmon

salmon

Seared salmon is scrumptious, satisfying, and salutary.

I’ll let you in on a secret. When I was in elementary school, my mom told me that fish made me smarter. Truth! And she wasn’t wrong. Those omega-3s are beneficial for memory, synapses, and more. This meal reminds me of those simpler times. I also love being able to taste the essence of foods. Blanched green beans are not boring. They are beanful. GREEN beanful. Salmon has that umami essence of the sea, without smelling too much like the ocean. More like melt-in-you-mouth flavor complimented by a crispy, chewy, skin.

As an “adult,” I’ll admit that the loveliest part of this seared salmon meal is that I went from kitchen to dining table in less than 10 minutes. Okay, so the veggie part of this was already done (thank you leftover green beans!).

Salmon pairs so perfectly with basic veggies too. I made a batch of green beans earlier this week which served me well here! The salmon came frozen, so I’d taken a moment the night before to move it to the fridge. I guess this does take a bit of planning. By a bit I mean ten seconds =)

Simple Seared Salmon

  • Wild salmon filet, skin on
  • Salt
  • Oil
  1. Oil a pan and heat over medium. I’ve been using garlic oil lately which adds a nice aromatic flavor to the salmon.
  2. While oil is heating, generously cover both sides of the salmon with salt. I like Himalayan pink salt.
  3. Once the pan is hot, lay the salmon filet skin side down for 4 minutes.
  4. Flip the salmon over and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Salmon should flake but still seem moist! Remove from heat immediately to avoid overcooking.