91 days since my last post.
Can you believe that?
So what is my excuse? Writer’s block? Work? Graduate School? Family? I could go on and on, but basically LIFE happened.
Since I returned back to work after taking 4 months off with my third son, Dylan, I feel like my life has flashed before my eyes. New promotion and new job meant new headaches at the workplace coupled with several stressful work trips sans the family. The third kid certainly added to the mess, rearing duties and countless hours of sleep lost. On top of all of that, I also had to finish the last of my military graduate course which meant staying up late writing countless papers on boring military doctrine and history. After I completed my work obligations in May, I have done nothing but been L.A.Z.Y for the last two months.
I don’t know what has gotten over me, but after the kids go to bed I watch TV. Old Laura rarely watched TV. After the kids go to bed, I surf the internet and waste countless hours on social media or Pinterest and Houzz since I have dreams of updating my kitchen sometime this century. During this time “off,” we were also able to go on a 2 week long vacation and visit with family and friends on the East Coast. Instead of beating myself up, I am going to accept it. Maybe I needed this “me” time to veg and simply enjoy life. But I will be honest, this Laura does not do well vegging. I do not do well just chilling. As much as I complain about it, I like to be busy. I like to take on new projects and I like challenges. So after some coaxing I hope to be back at it, and this time for good. Like the notorious Slim Shady asks, will the real Laura Cross please stand up?
So you all know and can help me accountable, my goals for this summer are to start my eBook and look into applying for a Masters. That should keep me busy along with all there is to do with raising three crazy boys, cooking and feeding a family of 5, cleaning up after said family of 5, working out at least 5 times a week, work, etc. I think I have my work cut out for me. What do you think? Can I do it? How do you do it all? What are your secrets to success?
But before I “get cooking”, I must thank you all for putting up with my MIA-ness (if that is even a word). Any words of wisdom to get back on that horse and STAY on the horse? Let me know. Well if I do follow through with my promise and find the “old Laura,” then I need a delicious meal that I can make to help fuel me for those long nights ahead. I think that is a perfect segway to this delicious meal I want to share with you.
Paleo Shepherd’s Pie. What am I an old Irish chap? No just a crazy, Cuban, Latina woman who does not discriminate among any culture when it comes to food. I love it all. Trust me when I tell you the little prep work needed to make this dish is work it. So what is the difference between my Shepherd’s pie and the 1,000 other Shepherd’s Pie recipes found on the internet? For starters, I use ground beef instead of lamb. I also like mine a little sweeter than the rest (don’t worry I do not use sugar; my secret is cinnamon). Finally, I am not a fan of peas (I know, gasp) so I omit them altogether. Either way, I know you are going to love this recipe. Besides being tasty, what I love most about this recipe is it is super easy to make ahead and save for a rainy day. I love “casserole-like” meals because they save your ARS (yes, I meant @$$). Specifically, I love making this dish on a Sunday and after I assemble it all, I will save it in the fridge or freezer. When I am ready to make it for dinner later on, I just plop it in the oven and bake it for the last 35 minutes. How does that sound; dinner without messing up your kitchen during the middle of the busy work week? I am sold! So having that said, word to the wise, don’t skimp on this recipe. I know it makes enough to feed a mini Army like my family, but I love the leftovers and it never goes to waste. So make it as is; trust me, 3lbs is not a lot.
After you make this dish and completely fall in love with it like everyone else, make my Cuban Shepherd’s Pie too. It is very similar with a Cuban twist. Yummo!
- Your Crust:
- 2 heads of fresh cauliflower, coarsely chopped or 2 (16oz) bags of frozen cauliflower
- 1lb (16 oz) of fresh parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
- ½ cup of almond milk (homemade or from the carton) or coconut milk (full fat from a can)
- 2 tablespoons of grass fed butter, ghee or olive oil
- Your Meat Mixture:
- 3-4 large fresh carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 3 stalks of celery, cleaned and finely diced
- 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
- 4-5 slices of bacon
- 3lbs of grassfed (if possible) ground beef
- 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 3-4 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons of sage
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- Kitchen Appliances:
- Food Processor or Blender
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Get your sous chef hat on, and get ready to clean, peel and chop all of your veggies. First, tackle the cauliflower and parsnips that you will be using for your crust. If you use frozen cauliflower, half of your work is done. If you are using fresh cauliflower, make sure to wash it and roughly chop your cauliflower head, cutting off the big green leaves and white stems. Then take your parsnip and peel it. Also, chop it up in big chunks. Try to aim for all your pieces to be about the same size. Set it all aside until you are ready to steam them, which takes 10 minutes.
- Next, clean, peel and cut all the vegetables that you are planning on throwing in to the recipe. I would peel and dice your carrots, celery and onions small. Once complete, set aside along with your crust vegetables.
- Saute in a pan, 4-5 pieces of bacon on medium heat. Once the bacon is cooked to your liking (I like mine crispy,) drain bacon and set aside leaving the bacon fat in the pan. This usually takes about 5 minutes to include flipping the bacon a few times.
- When everything is chopped, throw your vegetables (carrots, celery and onions) in the the pan with the bacon drippings and saute them in the bacon fat rendered from the bacon. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes until the carrots are soft and the onions are translucent.
- Once the vegetables are cooked, add the ground beef and stir breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Add all the cinnamon, tomato paste, salt, garlic powder, sage and worcestershire sauce to the meat. Cook and constantly stir until there is no more pink.
- While you are waiting for the meat to brown and cook all the way through, you can steam your cauliflower and parsnips for the crust. I steam them for about 8-10 minutes until you can easily cut them with a fork.
- Once everything is done cooking, take the meat mixture and dump it in a greased 9 x 12 Pyrex pan.
- Take your cooked bacon, chop it up and sprinkle on top of the beef mixture.
- Then in your mixer, throw in your now soft and steamed cauliflower and parsnip and blend it. Once smooth, add the almond milk and fat of your choice and blend again.
- Once everything is creamy and blended, add the crust to the top of your meat in the Pyrex pan.
- Cook for 35 minutes uncovered. You may need to keep it in longer. I like my crust to be a little burned on the top and "crusty."
- Devour and don't forget to share.
So who else is adding this to their weekly meal plan?
See your Recipe Book.