Cauliflower Mash

Who’d have thought that cauliflower was so versatile?! I mean, Fried Rice? Check! Pizza Crust? Check! And now a legit mashed potatoes substitute? BIG FAT CHECK!

I’m going to start by saying that I am a big fan of mashed potatoes. I love them. They are so warm and creamy and just plain delicious. You can serve them as a side dish to pretty much anything. The only thing is, while the potatoes themselves are pretty healthy (full of vitamins and nutrients), what makes mashed potatoes so good is also what makes them not as good for you. We’re talking butter at minimum here. Plus milk, maybe some cream cheese or sour cream. The calories definitely start to add up. Plus, they are quite carb-heavy.

For me, the person who adores mashed potatoes so much, to say these are a totally legit substitution, is saying a lot. I feel like I could have served these at Thanksgiving and no one would have known they weren’t potatoes.

AND THEY ARE SUPER EASY TOO. They take less than 10 minutes to make. These definitely fit my “Trifecta” criteria: Easy, delicious, and healthy.

Cauliflower Mash

1 bag of Steam-in-bag cauliflower

Garlic salt (to your own preferences)

2 tablespoons greek yogurt cream cheese

½ tablespoon butter

Heavy pinch of shredded parmesan cheese

Steam the cauliflower according to package directions. It will usually give you a range (like 4-5 minutes). I did the longer time to make sure they were really soft.

Dump the bag into a blender or food processor and the garlic salt. I used quite a bit, but you can use however much you like. Start off on the low end because you can always add more if you need to. Also, add the greek yogurt cream cheese. I’ve talked about this before and it is so good. And way less fat and calories than regular cream cheese. Plus it gives a punch of protein. Finally, add the butter (it’s not that much, but it helps give the dish a more “traditional” mashed potato flavor) and a heavy pinch of parmesan cheese. The cheese is optional, but I had it out already for the kids’ dinner, so I just put in a little bit.

Run your blender or processor until the mixture is smooth and creamy. This only takes a minute or two. I would recommend stopping it at about halfway and scraping down the sides.

At this point, give it a little taste test to see if you want to add anything else. If not, then you’re done! I actually let it blend a little bit longer than I needed to at a high speed to help whip in some air and make them a bit fluffier.

I swear, this is my new favorite side dish! I can’t even wait to have them again!

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Shepherd’s Pie

I was going to start out by saying that even though it is really, REALLY tasty, Shepherd’s Pie is not a “pretty” dish. Whenever I make Shepherd’s Pie, it always turns into a big ol’ mess when I serve it up. It does not photograph well. It tastes great. It is complete meal all in itself (protein, veggie, carb). It is primo comfort food. But it isn’t winning any beauty contests here.

I was going to start off that way, until I did a Google Image search for Shepherd’s Pie and found some quite lovely photographs of this dish. I mean, in reality, those are probably styled and photographed by people who know what they are doing. I have a nice camera that I use occasionally, but for this blog, I tend to use my phone because it is easier. I guess that means I don’t always get the best pictures of some things. I think I do pretty well, though, on most posts. Right?

 

Anyway, back to the food… As I you saw in my last post, I made mashed potatoes in the slow cooker. I really wanted to try that to see how it would work before Thanksgiving, but then I was going to be stuck with a bunch of potatoes. That’s when I decided to make Shepherd’s Pie. It is always a favorite in our house, so I knew it would be a good use of the potatoes.

A little background: Shepherd’s Pie (sometimes known as Cottage Pie, when not made with lamb) is an Irish dish. It dates back to the 18th century and was a way for the poor to use up potatoes and leftover meat (usually beef or lamb) and stretch their food supply.

I usually make mine with ground beef, but in an effort to be healthier, I made this one with ground turkey. My husband said it was still really good, but it did taste a little different with the turkey. I used all the same ingredients otherwise and I didn’t really notice a difference. Bottom line: you can use whatever ground meat you want (or roasted. This would be good with Thanksgiving leftovers).

Shepherd’s Pie

1 pound ground turkey

½ onion, diced

1-2 cloves minced garlic

3 medium carrots, peeled and diced

About a cup of frozen peas (eyeball it)

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1-2 cups beef broth *I’ll explain this in the directions. Also, chicken broth is acceptable, but it will taste MUCH different)

2 pounds of potatoes, mashed

In a skillet, add a little bit of olive oil and brown your turkey. Remove the meat from the skillet.

 

Add a little more oil to the same skillet (if you think you need it) and saute your onions, garlic, and carrots until the onions are translucent and the carrots are soft. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Add back in the turkey and the peas and cook until the peas thaw out mostly. 


Sprinkle the flour over all of it and stir to coat. Add the Worcestershire sauce. Then slowly add the beef broth until until the sauce forms. You don’t want it too soupy but you don’t want it too thick either. Find a happy medium so it’s like a gravy almost. That’s why I suggest slowly adding the broth until it is at a consistency you like.

Pour everything into a 9×13 baking dish in an even layer. Then top with your mashed potatoes. I made mine with a little butter, a little milk, and some parmesan cheese, but you can do whatever you normally do.

 

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

 

I know my pictures may not look as pretty as some of the others, but I can promise you this tastes really good!

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes (Thanksgiving Tip)

I recently discovered a kitchen trick that I have immediately added to my arsenal: Slow Cooker mashed potatoes!! 

OK, I’m sure you’ve been doing this for a long time. I’m almost positive I’m late to the slow cooker mashed potato party, but I’m here now and I’m excited.

I recently started sharing some tips and tricks for Thanksgiving on my Instagram (hint: follow me on Instagram!) and I just shared this one. It is so easy, I can’t believe I’ve been wasting precious stove space all these years!

Usually when making mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving, I would just boil the potatoes like usual on the stovetop and then mash them and add my other ingredients (milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese… whatever you like). It was always saved to the last minute so they would be warm, but the last minute is the most chaotic, amiright? Making the mashed potatoes this way will be a stress reliever, if nothing else. Here’s what you do: 

(Apologies ahead of time for the bad pictures. I was having issues…)

Cube about 3-4 pounds of potatoes (I used Yukon gold, but I’m sure you could use russet or red)

Add them to the slow cooker with about 1-1/2 cups of water and some garlic.


Cook on low for 3-4 hours, or until fork tender.

Drain the water and mash the potatoes with whatever ingredients you like right in the slow cooker. Don’t forget to salt them to taste too. 


That’s it. And if they are done earlier than the rest of the meal, you can just put the lid back on and set it to warm until you are ready to serve! I wouldn’t do this step too early, though, because you don’t want to risk drying them out.