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SHEPHERD’S PIE

Oh man, you guys are gonna love this one! But first let me confess how I’ve been spelling Shepherd’s Pie as “Shepard’s Pie” for a while now and no one ever corrected me! As I got started typing up this food blog entry I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to double check the spelling. Glad I did! I’m kinda hoping I’m not alone in this LOL! Okay, so seriously I’m not exaggerating. You-guys-will-LOVE-this! This makes a big batch and depending on the size of your family, you could have the best tasting leftovers for DAYS.

This is truly a Shepherd’s Pie because I use ground lamb. Trust me, I tried ground beef the first time and it’s not the same as the best Shepherd’s Pie you’ve ever had wherever that may be. It must be lamb. Not half lamb, ALL ground lamb. If you’re hesitant to try lamb because you think it’s funky, let me reassure you that if you’re going to try ground lamb for the first time or give it another chance, this is the absolute way to go. I’m not just saying that, promise. Now that has been established, if you insist using ground beef or any other red meat by all means go for it… I do believe that changes it to a Cottage Pie though. This is important to know in case you do some traveling.

If you’re looking to make this meal low-carb, you just simply replace the mashed potatoes with your favorite cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe. There are tons of different recipes out there you can choose from but personally, I would just make my cauliflower mash the same way I would as my usual Red Skin Mashed Potatoes recipe. Just keep your eye on the amount of liquid when making them to get the right texture you want your cauliflower mash to be. As for using real potatoes, I keep the skin for extra fiber, vitamins, minerals, and all that jazz but feel free to peel them. Keeping the skin saves on time too!

You’ll see that I use quite a bit of Worcestershire sauce than your typical recipe. I have reasons! Any time I’ve used a few dashes or a few teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce to a recipe, I can’t taste it! It does nothing! Hardly at least. I want a big punch of flavor because that’s what comfort food is about. So just a heads up, start off not using salt at all. Maybe use half the amount of Worcestershire sauce to start, do a taste test. You can add more towards the end and also add salt to taste. It’s the only way you’re gonna master what you believe is the best Shepherd’s Pie!

One last thing, you can make this a day ahead. Just put the meat at the bottom of the baking pan, top with the mashed potatoes. When you’re ready to bake it, just pull it out of the fridge, top it with the cheese and bake. Some times I’ve made the meat filling ahead so that all I need to do was make the mashed potatoes or vice versa. It works in all ways.

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SHEPHERD'S PIE
Servings
servings
Ingredients
MEAT FILLING
MASHED POTATOES
Servings
servings
Ingredients
MEAT FILLING
MASHED POTATOES
Instructions
MEAT FILLING
  1. Saute the carrots and onion with the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Once the onions start to become softened after a few minutes, add the garlic. If the pan is starting to get dry, add a little more olive oil.
  2. Add the ground lamb, rosemary, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Using a wooden spoon break up the ground lamb into small pieces letting it brown through.
  3. Once the lamb is nearly cooked through add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, flour, and half of the vegetable stock. Stir every thing really well. Let the stock cook down most of the way and add the rest. Stir frequently, reduce the heat and let everything simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the peas and salt to taste if needed. Turn off heat and set aside.
MASHED POTATOES
  1. Place the cubed potatoes in a large pot, fill with water until it's about an inch above the potatoes. Bring to a boil and stir every so often.
  2. Strain the potatoes once they're softened. Turn off the heat. Place the pot back on the stove and add the butter. Pour the strained potatoes on top of the butter, add the pepper, milk, and half of the vegetable stock. Mash the potatoes to your desired consistency.
  3. Add more milk and/or stock as needed to avoid the potatoes from drying. Stir. Add more salt and pepper to taste as well.
ASSEMBLE
  1. Place the meat filling evenly in a 9" x 11" (or 9" x 13") baking dish.
  2. Then, top it with an even layer of the mashed potatoes.
  3. Top the mashed potatoes with an even layer of the shredded sharp white cheddar cheese.
  4. Bake at 400 F degrees for about 15 minutes or until everything is bubbling and the top is golden.

TUNA MELT

Homemade tuna melts taste a heck of a lot better than any restaurant out there. Part of the reason is because you can control what goes in your tuna salad, made with real ingredients, and prevent it from being super greasy. It’s really easy, even more so when you make a big batch of tuna salad to last you a few days ahead. If you’re looking to try a non-traditional version that won’t leave your taste buds hanging you have to try my Tuna Salad recipe. It’s slightly sweet with butter pickles and tangy from pepperoncini’s.

My version of a tuna melt is packed with fiber along with all that protein which is a happy pairing for the digestive system. I love using Alvarado Bakery’s Sprouted Flax Seed Bread because it’s low carb, high protein, and high fiber with just 100 calories for two slices. That leaves you some room to indulge with your favorite cheese for the tuna melt!

If you’re looking to go all out on the homemade end, feel free to try my Homemade Mayonnaise that only requires a few ingredients and a couple minutes to make with a standing mixer. For a healthy mayo it can be expensive so making it at home has its rewards at times. Feel free to use your favorite cheese, personally I love a sharp white cheddar that’s aged 2 years. It goes well with my version of a tuna salad. Enjoy!

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TUNA MELT
Servings
sandwich
Servings
sandwich
Instructions
  1. Spread the mayonnaise on one side of both slices of bread.
  2. Warm a skillet on medium heat.
  3. Place one slice of bread with the mayo side facing down and place a layer of tuna salad on top. Top that with the spinach followed by the grated cheese. Carefully transfer it to the hot skillet and then place the other slice of bread on top with the mayo facing up.
  4. After a couple of minutes gently flip the tuna melt with a spatula and cook for about another two minutes.
  5. Remove from the skillet and slice in half on the diagonal.

LOW CARB BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

Anyone can enjoy muffins health-fully now. I’m still amazed by the idea that we can take nuts, grind them up to a fine powder, and use it as a flour substitute. If you’ve never heard of this, I swear this is true. And it tastes amazing. Almonds have a lot of healthy fats so when used as a flour it yields a very moist muffin. So, no oils needed in this recipe. I’m sure this can be made using regular flour but I’m so not interested. These are super low carb, high protein, flavorful, diabetic friendly, and surprisingly filling.

Recently I discovered One Minute Muffins (OMM) which is basically a single serving of a muffin made in a coffee mug in the microwave; mostly prepared as a low-carb, high protein breakfast or dessert alternative. Sounds kinda weird but it’s incredible. I took the idea of a basic recipe, created my own version, and multiplied the ingredients for a half-dozen recipe to make in the oven to last through the week. They’re moist and they hold so well!

You can split this recipe in thirds and make just two muffins in ramekins. All you have to do is cook them in the microwave for about a minute to a minute and a half depending on your microwave. The amount of blueberries doesn’t have to be exact, it will if anything affect your cooking time, and you don’t have to spray the ramekins with cooking spray. All you’re looking for is a solid rise. Use a toothpick to poke down the center. If it comes out clean, they’re ready!

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LOW CARB BLUEBERRY MUFFINS
Servings
muffins
Ingredients
RECIPE FOR 2 MUFFINS
Servings
muffins
Ingredients
RECIPE FOR 2 MUFFINS
Instructions
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven at 375 F degrees.
  2. In a large bowl add the almond flour, ground flax seed, sugar and brown sugar substitute, and baking powder. Whisk everything together. Then, add the melted unsalted butter, eggs, and vanilla extract into the dry mixture. Mix everything together.
  3. Spray 6 of the muffin reservoirs of a muffin tray with cooking spray and add the muffin batter about 3/4 of the way.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes give or take. Edges should be golden, peaks stiff, and toothpick through the center should come out clean.
  5. Let them cool before removing. They're very moist, using a butter knife or spoon may help to scoop them out.
Recipe Notes

Feel free to use muffin liners instead of cooking spray.

SAUSAGE & ARTICHOKE PASTA

Making this Sausage & Artichoke sauce is not only easy but tastes better the next day, and even a few days after. It’s the perfect make ahead meal for leftovers through the week. It can be mixed with any kind of pasta and any shape that you love most. Personally, I love bite sized pasta like rotini but lately I’ve been keeping an eye on my total daily carb intake and so to compromise by not completely missing out on pasta, I’ve discovered this incredible Organic Black Bean Pasta by Explore Cuisine that is shaped as spaghetti. It has a total of 25g of protein and 8g net carbs per serving with 4 servings in the package of pasta. You can find them at most grocery stores and also at better cost on Amazon if you purchase a small bulk.

It literally cooks just like pasta, with the same bite like pasta, and surprisingly enough a fairly neutral flavor as well. Its color is of black beans but doesn’t affect taste nor does it bleed color into your food. I seriously didn’t think anything would ever convert me but this really did. With that said, it’s all types of diabetic friendly and great for those who live a low carb lifestyle. Oh, one big plus about this pasta is that you actually feel full and satiated in comparison to regular pasta.


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SAUSAGE & ARTICHOKE PASTA
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Fill a large pot with water, bring to boil, and follow instructions on the package to cook pasta.
  2. In a large pan, saute the turkey Italian sausage, onions, pepper, and salt. Use a wood spoon to break up the sausage into small pieces.
  3. When the sausage is almost cooked through, add the garlic powder, diced tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. Stir frequent until the sausage is cooked through. About 5 minutes.
  4. Add the goat cheese and spinach. Stir until the goat cheese melts and everything is mixed together well.
  5. Serve hot over pasta.

GUACAMOLE TOAST

I’m sure everyone has heard of Avocado Toast by now. It’s been trending big time as the healthy go-to snack. The purpose of it aside from being easy is that it’s also quick too. Which is great, but in all honesty. It’s kind of boring. Maybe it has something to do with guacamole being my number one favorite way to enjoy avocados. But I also love avocado in a pesto and sliced in a damn good sandwich. None of which are boring.

So, because I’ve always been the outcast who went against the grain because I thought trends were “dumb” for lack of better words; I’m making this Avocado Toast thing look even more boring by making GUACAMOLE TOAST using my Roasted Jalapeno Guacamole recipe! I have more reasons why other than being a brat about it LOL. It’s a healthier, low carb way to enjoy guacamole than with a bag of chips. Also, if you choose the right sliced bread it can be a very diabetic friendly snack.

I’ve been eating sprouted breads for about ten years now, they’re typically flourless, high in protein, and fiber. My favorite company is Alvarado Bakery and lately I’ve been eating their Sprouted Flax Seed Bread. It’s 100 calories for 2 slices. That’s 6.5g net carbs per slice. Alvarado makes other sliced breads that are super tasty and just as healthy depending on what your nutritional demands are. Making a batch of guacamole for toast will not result in wasting guacamole. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days as there’s enough citrus to keep it preserved. Just stir before serving and share it.

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GUACAMOLE TOAST
Servings
serving
Ingredients
Servings
serving
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Toast your slice of bread to desired toastiness.
  2. Slather the guacamole on top of the toast.