Thursday, March 3, 2011

Low Carb Shepard's Pie

I have already expressed my love of frozen foods, mostly for their convenience and because I can manage to muster up some pretty tasty meals using mostly nonperishable items that I can keep around for whenever. It is very important for me that I have good food choices readily available so that I never have to use the excuse "I didn't have any other options."

I was peeking around some low carb reciepe forums and saw someone mention using califlower as a substitute for mashed potatoes and I instantly had the idea to make Low Carb Shepard's Pie. This is the perfect recipe for on-diet St. Patty's Day festivities.

Here is how it goes:

1 lb lean ground beef
1 bag frozen peas and carrots
2 bags of frozen cauliflower
1/2 bag of frozen pearl onions
1/4 can of cream of mushroom soup

Garlic Powder
Butter (optional)

Brown your meat in a large pan.

I used lean ground beef because it is what I had around. You could also use ground chicken, or chicken chunks and make a "Cottage Pie" using the same recipe.

Once your meat is browned drain the fat and add your peas and carrots and your onions.

Add 1/4 can of cream of mushroom soup. This is only for a touch of flavor and a bit of creamyness. Remember it has a lot of fat and carbs so add just enough to make it creamy. If you require a more "creamy" texture try adding some milk.

Add salt, pepper and any other spices to taste. You can try things like parsley, onion powder or garlic powder to add more flavor to your filling.

Once all of the veggies are cooked through you can pull them out and set them in a casserole dish. The dish should be fairly shallow, I am only using half of this dish.

You can also choose to make individual pies and use ramekins instead.

Now for the fun part. The "mashed potatoes":

Cook up your frozen cauliflower. Try to overcook it just a touch so it is really soft. This will make the next steps easier.

Add some salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Using a potato masher mash your cauliflower until it is about the consistency of rice.

This will make the cauliflower easier to blend in the next step.

Put your cauliflower in the blender and blend until smooth.

You may need to pulse a few times or use a spoon to mix the puree since it will tend to trap air very well.

If you have a food processor you can skip the mashing and blending step and just process the cauliflower until smooth in your food processor.

Spread your cauliflower mash on top of your meat and veggie mixture.

Use the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula to smooth the mash out.

This step is optional.

Add a few pats of butter to the top of your mash. This will aid in the browning of the cauliflower.

You can skip this step but your cauliflower won't brown at all.

For this part I usually only use my broiler since everything is cooked throughly. I set my oven broiler to high and set the pie in until it browns.

Notice the browning only where I set the butter?

You can also choose to bake your pie in your oven at about 350F for 20-25 min.
 Last step: Cut a slice of pie and enjoy.

 Makes ~ 6 slices

1 lb lean ground beef (776 cal)
1 bag frozen peas and carrots (151 cal)
2 bags frozen cauliflower (267 cal)
1/2 bag frozen pearl onions (79 cal)
1/4 can cream of mushroom soup (65 cal)
1 tablespoon of butter (100 cal)

~  1438 cal / 6 servings =  240 cal !!!

Boy I love it when a meal comes together. Don't forget you can eliminate the butter for even less calories. Maybe then you can even squeeze in a green beer for St' Patty. But then again, maybe green beer really isn't meant to be consumed.

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