Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Paleo Shepherd's Pie - Yes, I'm doing Whole 30 again

Happy June. It's hard to believe that it's already June. We've had so much rain and so many stormy days this spring, I thought we'd never have sunshine and heat. Not that I'm looking forward to 100+ degree weather, but cold and rainy is strange for May in Texas.

So, I have gotten a bit off track with my eating recently. Yeah, right. I totally have derailed. My hip is better, thank goodness, so I'm not in pain all of the time anymore. The Airrosti doctor did a fantastic job on my hip and hamstrings. Not a painless treatment method, by any stretch of the imagination, and I was left with some interesting bruises after my sessions, but I'm not in chronic pain anymore. Yay!  The pain did a number on me mentally. I couldn't work out, I couldn't run, even sitting became painful after a while. Did I watch what I ate? No. Unless you counted watching it disappear in to my mouth. I have no excuses for what was available to eat. I do the grocery shopping and the cooking, after all. If there are Doritos in the house, I let them in. When The Sisterhood mentioned that they were starting a Whole 30 on June 1st, I took it as a sign to get back on track. This thought was reinforced by seeing how round I look in pictures. (We got our picture taken with two of the guys from Firefly at a recent fan con.) That's life. Time to move on.

Back to the Whole 30. When I tried this a couple of years ago, I went a bit crazy on the coconut oil wagon. Bad mistake. It does not agree with me in the slightest. I had so many strange reactions that I quit halfway through the 30. I am committed to following this at least through Fitbloggin. Hopefully I'll be back on track enough by then that I don't get too crazy.

Part of following this plan is thinking about what I'm eating. I can't rely on having some cheese when I get hungry or having a sandwich for lunch. I can't even rely on sauces or salad dressings to spruce things up because so many commercial foods have sugars and starches in them. That leaves me with a bunch of whole food ingredients, standing in my kitchen, trying to figure out what to make to eat that will make me happy. Today, it's shepherd's pie.  I was going to call this post "everything but the kitchen sink..." shepherd's pie, but then I thought, no, if the kitchen sink is paleo, it's going in there, too. It was more of a clean out the fridge shepherd's pie. I had half of a large box of mushrooms that needed to be used, a head of cauliflower, a partial bag of green beans, part of an onion... you get the picture. I think the only vegetables I didn't use were the beets, zucchini and the clam shell box of "power greens."

Paleo Shepherd's Pie (serves 6 generously)

1 T olive oil
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 celery ribs, sliced
¼ cup diced onion
1 cup fresh green beans, chopped
1 20 oz package lean ground turkey
1 T garlic powder
1 t ground thyme
3 T tomato paste
1/2 c chicken stock
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 T no-salt seasoning mix
1 T parsley
1 t marjoram
salt/pepper to taste

1 T kudzu (you can use cornstarch if you aren't making this paleo)
1/4 c chicken stock

1 head of cauliflower, chopped and steamed
1 sweet potato, chopped and steamed
1 T ghee
salt/pepper to taste
drizzle of olive oil
parsley flakes

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a medium sized skillet over medium high heat. When pan is hot, drizzle in the olive oil. Saute the mushrooms until soft. Add in the ground turkey, using a spoon to break it in to small pieces. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until meat is no longer translucent. Add in the carrots, celery, onion, green beans, tomato paste, spices and chicken stock, stirring well to combine. 

In a small bowl, combine the kudzu and chicken stock, stirring until there are no lumps. Add this to the mixture in the skillet and stir. 

Let mixture simmer for 15 minutes to let the vegetables soften. While this is happening, chop your cauliflower in to florets and peel and dice the sweet potato. I use Ziploc steamer bags to cook my veggies in the microwave. Follow cooking times on the bags. When these are cooked, place the cauliflower and sweet potato in bowl, add the ghee and salt and pepper. Mash with fork or use a stick blender until fairly smooth.

Spoon turkey mixture in to an 8x8 baking dish, making sure the vegetables are evenly distributed and that the ground turkey doesn't have any large chunks.

Spread the mashed cauliflower/sweet potato mixture on top, smoothing the surface with the back of a spoon. Top with parsley, black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. 

When it's piping hot and lightly browned on top, it's done! This really hit the spot today. I wanted something creamy, but I couldn't rely on dairy. It's meaty, but not too meaty, and it's full of really tasty vegetables.  This is so good, I'm kind of glad The Aussie isn't a turkey or veggie eater! More for me!