Monday, May 13, 2013

Beef & Vegetable Cottage Pie with Veggie Mash

I adore mashed potatoes!  Ever since I was a little girl, if you asked me to name my top ten favorite foods, mashed potatoes would be high on the list.  So, it's only natural that I would love Cottage Pie, a savory ground beef mixture topped with mashed potatoes.  Sadly, since my diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, potatoes are rarely on the menu at my house.  In this wonderful recipe, the veggie mash that tops this healthy Cottage Pie can go solo as a side dish, too.  This recipe is an excellent make-ahead meal because it can be assembled and refrigerated the night before, then served the next day.  When I served this dish tonight, it got rave reviews from my family.  As my husband said, "This one is a keeper!"

Beef and Vegetable Cottage Pie with Veggie Mash
Makes 4 servings

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
8 oz. baby bella or button mushrooms, chopped
1/2 lb. lean ground beef (90% lean or higher)
8 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 cloves garlic, chopped and divided
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup hot water
8 oz. yellow Yukon potatoes, large diced
8 oz. carrots, peeled and diced
8 oz. cauliflower florets
2 cups beef or chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

1.  In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil on medium heat and add the chopped onion.  Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the chopped mushrooms and a little salt.  Continue to saute until the moisture is released from the mushrooms and evaporates.  Move the onion mixture to one side and add the beef to the pan.  Break onto small pieces and cook until no longer pink.  Mix together the ground beef and onion mixture, add the chopped spinach and continue cooking until most of the moisture is evaporated from the pan and beef is very well browned.  Add one clove of garlic to the pan and mix together.  Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and water to the pan and stir to deglaze the brown bits.  Continue cooking and stirring until liquid thickens into a gravy.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Place the potatoes, carrots and cauliflower into a large pot.  Add the broth and remaining garlic.  Add water until vegetables are covered.  Boil vegetables until soft and fork-tender, about 15 minutes.  Strain the cooked vegetables in a colander and allow them to sit and release steam for 5 minutes until all the excess liquid has evaporated.  Meanwhile, add the butter to the hot pot to melt.  Return the vegetables to the pot and mash well. (I suggest using a handheld mixer for a smoother mash.)  Add salt and pepper to taste.

3.  To assemble the cottage pie, first spread the beef mixture evenly into a 9" square baking pan that has been sprayed with canola oil spray.  Top beef mixture with the veggie mash and spread evenly to cover beef mixture completely. (If desired, you can refrigerate the assembled casserole for up to one day before cooking.)

4.  To cook, bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until heated through.  Remove from oven and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information per serving: 294 calories, 30.4 g carbohydrates (7 g dietary fiber, 10.1 g sugars), 10.9 g total fat (5.3 g saturated fat, less than 0.1 g trans fat), 50 mg cholesterol, 817 mg sodium, 126.1 mg calcium, 1180 mg potassium, 18.4 g protein.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2013.

How does this recipe compare with traditional Cottage Pie?  This recipe is considerably less in calories, carbs and fat, plus it contains two servings of vegetables!  For comparison, the nutritional information for the same size serving of traditional Cottage Pie is an astonishing 546 calories, 36 g carbohydrate, 34.5 g total fat, 16.5 g sat. fat, 6 g fiber and 27 g protein.

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