This post was written by my foodie sister Robin, who is now sharing all of her favorite recipes and kitchen tips regularly on the new “Make It and Love It – in the KITCHEN” portion of this blog. Try a few of her recipes…your belly will thank you! -Ashley
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Hey guys, it’s Robin back again!
I love a good shepherd’s pie. There is something so comforting about it. The lovely tomato and vegetable filling, topped with luscious mashed potatoes. Mmmmm….it sure keeps the tummy full for a while! However, I wanted to put a twist on it. I decided to create more of a “Fajita” flavor, with a sauteed chicken, pepper, and onion combo……but I also wanted to use a “mashed potato” topping that has a lesser carb count and higher nutrition content. I never knew how hard it was to control weight at an older age, until now (I just turned 36…wow!). Lifestyle has a big impact on that, I know. Time doesn’t allow me to run out the door for a soccer or basketball game like I used to. So this will help clear some of the guilt — right? So between the cauliflower layer and all the added fajita veggies………this is being added to my dinner menu rotation!
And I know a cauliflower mash isn’t exactly like our favorite mashed potatoes…..but when combined with all the other flavors in this recipe, it becomes the perfect creamy “potato layer” that this dish needs, without all the extra carbs. And even better, cauliflower has 5 times less carbs than its potato counterpart. I would imagine that maybe a third of the fiber content in cauliflower is insoluble fiber…….meaning it goes right through you, if-you-know-what-I-mean! ;)
So very delicious. Yum.
So let’s get started!
Take your cauliflower head and cut it up into medium sized pieces. This won’t need to be an exact science but it is good to have it about the same size to cook evenly. You can also use frozen cauliflower…don’t feel guilty. More nutrients are retained in frozen than fresh anyway. And that’s because once the produce is harvested, it is frozen right away, causing the nutrient degradation to stop right away. However, produce that is sent off to the stores continually loses nutrients, the older it gets. Interesting, right?
Anyway, place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl with the cream. Microwave on high for 10 minutes. Stir and coat the cauliflower well with the cream and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes or until the cauliflower becomes tender.
Place cooked cauliflower in a blender or food processor along with the butter, cheese, adobo sauce, and garlic powder. Blend well until it becomes a puree.
Chop up the onion and bell pepper and cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
I like to water sautee whenever possible and this is a time it works well. I just add a little bit of water (but not too much) as I go along to unstick the food from the pan. If you add too much water at a time you end up boiling it instead of sautee. So, just add tiny amounts of water at a time. Sautee enables the food to brown, where boiling you won’t get that browning or that taste that comes with it.
I start with the onion and bell peppers. They contain water so I like to get the water under control. Then I add the chicken and get those nice and browned. Once the chicken is cooked through, add the seasoning mix with a little extra water, around 1/8 cup. Don’t worry, the powder will soak up excess water and maybe thicken up depending what the seasoning mix contains.
Now you are ready to assemble the Shepherd’s pie. First place the chicken and vegetables on the bottom. Smother the green salsa on top to give it a little extra juice. Spread the cauliflower puree evenly on top.
Sprinkle with the cheese…and there you have it.
Pop it in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the cheese is nice and bubbly. Let it sit for 5 minutes so that it can set. If not, it starts to become soupy and the two sections (the meat and the cauliflower) are not as defined.
Top with sour cream, tomatoes, and a bit of cilantro.
And now go and enjoy a new feel good dish!
Low Carb Chicken Fajita shepherd’s Pie – Recipe card
Clean and trim cauliflower, cutting it into medium sized pieces. Place in a microwave safe bowl with 2 TBS of cream. Microwave uncovered on high for 10 minutes. Stir to coat the cauliflower with the cream. Microwave for another 6-8 minutes on high or until the cauliflower is tender. Remove from microwave and put into a high speed blender or food processor along with the butter cheese, adobo sauce, and garlic powder. Puree until smooth. Season it to taste with salt and pepper.
For the filling, chop the onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. I like to sautee my vegetables with small amounts of water but a little bit of butter will do as well. Start with the onions and bell peppers. Add the chicken and cilantro until cooked through. Add the fajita seasoning until coated. Pour chicken into an 8X8 casserole dish and spread the green salsa on top. Spread the cauliflower puree on top, covering the chicken and then top with the shredded cheese. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling. Cool for 5 minutes before serving to let it set. Serve with sour cream, tomatoes, and cilantro garnish.