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APPEALING FREEZER MEALS – Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Being in the midst of August’s slow summer days, it’s hard to imagine that busy September is just around the corner. Soon calendars will be bursting with appointments, karate classes, soccer matches, school and more. Take advantage of the quieter season to prepare a few freezer meals like this healthy twist on Shepherd’s Pie. It’s rich, filling and so easy to make. Your busy self will thank you.

When it comes to freezer meals, taste, texture and consistency are key. No one wants a soggy, bland, reheated dinner, so here are three tips to keep things fresh, tasty and freezer-friendly.

  1. When adding delicate vegetables like broccoli, asparagus and green beans; cook everything except these vegetables. Remove the dish from heat and add them raw to your hot dish. They will cook slightly during cooling, and completely when reheated. This will prevent them from turning soft and mushy.
  2. Top reheated freezer meals with fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro or dill. This will give a light and freshly-made taste to the meal. Serve with a side green salad, as well.
  3. For food safety and to prevent the overgrowth of bacteria, do not leave food to cool at room temperature for more than two hours. Once cool, transfer to the fridge or freezer. Do not put hot food directly in the freezer.

Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Makes 8 serving

Ingredients

1 small head of cauliflower, washed and chopped into florets
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
7 Tbsp oil (butter, ghee or coconut oil)
1 large white onion, chopped
2 cups frozen diced mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, peas, etc.)
700g ground beef
½ cup water
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp paprika
Pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. In a large pot, add a steamer and fill with a small amount of water.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes and cauliflower and steam until fork-tender. About 10 – 15 min.
  4. While the vegetables are steaming, add 3 Tbsp of oil to a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until tender, about
  5. Add ground beef to the pan. Cook until no pink remains. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, water, and mixed frozen vegetables. Bring the mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cook with the lid slightly ajar for 5 minutes more.
  6. When the potatoes and cauliflower are tender, transfer them to a bowl and add 4
    Tbsp of oil. Mash with a fork or potato masher, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. In a large baking dish, approximately 8” x 13”, or two smaller dishes, spread the meat mixture in an even layer on the bottom.
  8. Spread the mashed potatoes and cauliflower over the ground beef. Use a fork to create peaks on the surface.
  9. Place in a 400°F oven and bake until browned and bubbling, about 20 Broil for approximately 5 – 10 min to brown the peaks.
  10. Allow to cool before freezing the dish whole or divide into servings.

To reheat, preheat oven to 400°F and bake until hot and bubbling.

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