We’re wrapping up National Nutrition Month and there has been more chatter than usual about eat this, try that, it’s good for you, blah, blah, blah. One thing that is consistent with chatter about nutrition and healthy eating is, if it doesn’t taste good people will not eat it. Whatever the dish is, no flavor, no fans, no followers. Good taste is the secret ingredient to making the switch to the healthy stuff that’s good for you..
There are lots of Moms pushing veggies on kids for healthier eating and kids pushing them right back. I bet you even know a few grown-ups who “don’t eat, won’t eat their vegetables.” This one-dish dinner sneaks in plenty of vegetables—tomatoes, mushrooms, English peas, potatoes and carrots. And the tasters gave this casserole thumbs up. I made a few changes in the original recipe, to boost the vegetables and reduce the salt. I hope you’ll enjoy it and remember if you have a serving or two left, they’ll be even better the next day.
Shepard’s Pie with Cheese ‘N Carrot Smashed Potatoes
1-1/2 lb. ground chuck
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 (8-oz.) pkg. fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons minced garlic clove
1 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 (14-1/2 oz.) oven-roasted diced tomatoes
2 to 4 tablespoons dry red wine
Place ground beef in Dutch oven, brown ground beef over medium heat, stirring frequently 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove ground beef with slotted spoon; reserve 2 Tablespoons drippings in pan. Add onion, mushrooms and garlic; cook over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Return beef to pan; stir in peas, salt, thyme, and pepper. Sprinkle flour over beef and vegetable mixture. Increase heat to medium-high, cook, stirring constantly 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and red wine, cook stirring frequently 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened. Transfer mixture to a lightly greased 3-quart baking dish or casserole. Spoon Cheese ‘N Carrot Smashed Potatoes over meat mixture, smoothing with the back of a spoon.
Bake at 400° for 15 to 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. YIELD 8 servings.
Cheese ‘N Carrot Smashed Potatoes
These potatoes are inspired by a recipe from Chef Kocoa of Chicago.
1 (lb.) baby carrots
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 (24 oz.) pkg. refrigerated mashed potatoes
1/2 cup milk
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Place carrots and 1/4 cup water in large micro-safe bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; fold back edge, allowing any steam to escape. Microwave on HIGH 8 to 10 minutes or until carrots are tender. Drain. Stir in butter and coarsely mash potatoes with potato masher.
Place potatoes in 2-quart mixing bowl; stir in milk. Stir in cheese, thyme, pepper and carrot mixture, mixing until well blended.
NOTE: If serving potatoes as side-dish, prepare carrots as directed in microwave oven. Place potatoes in 2-quart saucepan, stir in milk, thyme and pepper and cook, stirring often over low heat. Add carrots and cheese, mixing until well blended. Heat until potatoes are hot