Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Everyday Food's Cheddar-Topped Shepherd's Pie

Here in Kentucky, the weather has changed drastically in the past week. We went from 80 and 90 degree days to cold, chilly, windy and 50 degree days. With such a drastic temperature change I found myself craving comfort foods. After flipping through books and magazines I finally settled on Everyday Food's Cheddar-Topped Shepherd's Pie. Not only did it look delicious, but it was something I knew I could lighten up to suit my diet.

About two months ago I mentioned that I gained the Blogger 15. I decided that it was time to lose that weight before it turned into the Blogger 30, especially with the holidays fast approaching. In these past two months I have managed to lose the Blogger 15 and couldn't be happier. Ever since having my second child, losing weight is a real struggle for me. It seems like my body doesn't respond like it did when I was in my twenties and it usually gets the best of me. This time I was able to find my motivation and I'm so excited about losing the first 15 pounds that I'm going to shoot for losing another fifteen. This next 15 pounds isn't going to be easy. In fact, it's the same 15 pounds that I've been struggling with since the birth of my second child, which was almost 4 years ago now. It's a very stubborn 15 pounds, but I'm hoping that I'm a little more stubborn.

I lightened up this shepherd's pie by using 95% lean Hereford ground beef, 2 teaspoons of oil instead of 1 tablespoon, and 2% milk instead of whole milk. I made it a little healthier by adding more vegetables and using whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose. The end result was absolutely fantastic!

Cheddar-Topped Shepherd's Pie
Adapted from Everyday Food's October 2008 Issue
Serves 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hr

2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4), peeled and thinly sliced
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (*I used 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil)
6 medium carrots, halved lengthwise, quartered if large, and thinly sliced
6 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (*my addition)
1 zucchini, chopped
(*my addition)
1/4 cup all purpose flour (*I used whole wheat)
1/4 tomato paste (*I used the entire 6oz. can)
2 pounds ground beef chuck (*I used 95% lean Hereford beef)
1 cup whole milk (*I used 2%)
1-1/2 cup shredded sharp white cheddar (I used regular full fat cheese)

Preheat oven to 450. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover by 1 inch with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a 5 quart Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high. Add carrots, celery, onion (zucchini & garlic if using). Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 8-10 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring 1 minute. Add beef; cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, 6-8 minutes. Add 1 cup water; bring to a boil, and simmer 1 minute. (I found I needed a little extra water, almost another 1 cup). Set beef filling aside.

Drain potatoes; return to pan. Cook over medium, stirring, until liquid has evaporated and thin film covers bottom of pan, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; add milk and 1 cup cheese. Mash until smooth; season cheddar-potato topping with salt and pepper.

Pour beef filling into a 13x9-inch baking dish. Drop dollops of topping over filling; spread to edges with a spatula. Using a fork, make decorative peaks; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until topping is browned and filling is bubbling rapidly, about 20 minutes (if topping and filling were chilled, increase to 35 minutes). Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Absolutely delicious, even lightened up! In fact, this meal will be something that I make at least a couple times this fall and winter. This is actually a really healthy meal with lean ground beef and lots and lots of veggies. The filling is really adaptable and a great way to empty out your veggie bin. If you serve this with a green salad you will definitely be getting all your veggies in!

Nutrition Facts as written in Everyday Food Magazine: 558 calories, 33.4g fat, 29.1g protein, 34.3g carb, 4.2g fiber

Serving 8, the Weight Watchers points for my lightened version is 9 points.

My daughter is on fall break this week and we've been spending a lot of time outside. Yesterday we made a scarecrow and named her Princess Pumpkinhead!


  1. Princess Pumpkinhead..how fitting! Adorable =) This shepherds pie looks awesome...it's the ultimate childhood comfort food-type dish for me! Want it now on this (now)47 degree (was 32...wtf) morning!

  2. Shepherds pie is one of my favourite comfort foods too. I just love it. Congrats on losing that Blogger 15 (LOL, love the name) Kim! The last 15 WILL come off. And Princess Pumpkinhead is too cute! :o)

  3. LOL on the blogger 15...I am so there - this looks scrumptious

  4. I love shepherds pie. I even made an Irish themed corned beef and cabbage shepherds pie. Your pictures are making me hungry. :o)

  5. The thing that I find about weight loss is that once you get IN a groove, it's not as hard as when you're just starting...at least that's what I keep telling myself as I continuously try to get INTO a groove. Congrats Kim! I'm so proud of you!

    This shepherd's pie sounds fantastic and I love what you've done to lighten it up! Way to not sacrifice flavor AT ALL.

  6. Congrats on loosing the Blogger 15 and good luck with your next goal. The shepherd's pie looks great :)
    *kisses* HH

  7. Kim, I am SO proud of your losing the blogger 15! My weight gain is from numerous sources, mainly from my inability to close my mouth and move more! But last year I started recording everything in January and lost 20 pounds, then gained 10 back, of which I'm back down to 15 of the original ....but with 100 more to go! Yes, I am obese....there I said it. I'm just so happy for you and that you've lightened up a wonderful recipe. For me, I'm just eating a LOT less of what I cook and let my skinny hubby eat it all cuz he never gaines a pound!

  8. Love the changes you made. It looks really good. I've also been craving foods like this now that it's cooled off. But I feel like I have to rush to make them b/c it's going to warm up again!

  9. Great shepherd's pie Kim. I wish I could shed some pounds too. The older you get the harder it is. Believe me, I know. Congratulations on losing the 15 pounds.

  10. Congratulations!!! I am so proud of you for sticking with it. Maybe there is hope for me yet!

  11. Mucho congrats on the Blogger 15. I am working on the Blogger 40???? (Yikes). This does look absolutely delicious and it is so fun to find ways to lighten favorite dishes.

  12. Congratulations on the weight loss. Looks like a delicious way to do it!

  13. What a great lightened up recipe. Looks like something my family would love. Congrats on the 15 pounds. That is really impressive!

  14. Congrats on losing weight and best of luck with the next 15. I love your lightened up shepherd's pie and princess pumpkinhead too! ;)

  15. Congratulations on losing weight! I wish I could drop a few pounds. Love the shepard's pie and the scarecrow!

    Totally agree with you about the drastic change in weather here. We have been eating more comfort foods too!

  16. Nicely lightened up. Love Pricess Pumpkinhead and congrats on the weight loss.

  17. Shepherd's pie has always been a favorite of mine since I was little. I love the Mexican version I make the best, but the Italian version is good too. I love the changes you've made to this recipe--I agree, it looks fabulous!

  18. Shepherd's pie is my husband's favorite meal and I love how pretty this version is. Mine are always ugly! Way to go on the weight loss!

  19. Congrats on the weight loss!

    We too love shepherd's pie - it's so easy and I like the changes you made.

  20. Congrats on your weight loss Kim! Your shepherd's pie looks absolutely delicious! I love this time of year. Your scarecrow is cute - love her name!

  21. Fabulous! I love shepherd's pie and with the addition of all that yummy cheese :) I'm definitely going to have to make this.

  22. Love your little pumpkin guy! You never cease to amaze me with the delicious things coming out of your kitchen. This looks so warm and comforting.

  23. Today, I was just thinking how a Shepherd's Pie would herald in a gentle Fall in California. This one looks like a winner. I'm on Fall break next week...off to sunny Palm Springs!

  24. I love Princess Pumpkinhead! ;-) The Shepherd's Pie looks wonderful, especially with your changes. Congrats on the weight loss--that's awesome!

  25. Yum, this in one of Charles' favourite foods. Yay cheese on top!
    Yeah, losing weight after kids.. try three! ;-)

  26. This looks delicious!! My kids LOVE shepherd's pie.

  27. Congrats on the weight loss, I'm envious. If only I could find where I left my will power! Shepards pie is a favorite with my family your version looks terrific.

  28. Congratulations on your loss! From the looks of this pie, I wouldn't even think is was low fat because it looks just full of flavor.

    Oh, and Princess Pumpkin is a hottie! ha ha

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