Hi lovies!

Okay guys, milestone right hurr. This has to be one of my favourite dishes I HAVE EVER MADE (and that’s saying a lot BECAUSE LORD KNOWS I’VE MADE A FEW HUNDRED!). So basically, it’s my take on a healthier shepherd’s pie! Three layers of absolute PERFECTION & DELICIOUSNESS!

In a nutshell, it’s a gluten-free ground chicken cauliflower mash shepherd’s pie & I subbed the corn for a nice mix of diced carrots, onions & celery, sautéed & browned to perfection! Now, I’m not here saying corn isn’t healthy (& it has tons of benefits when consumed the right way). BUT, people eating the average American diet today unknowingly consume more corn than they know everyday in one way or another than they’d probably believe.

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH CORN?


Unprocessed, organic, non-GMO corn itself isn’t necessarily bad for you & it does actually have some health benefits! BUT, the kind of corn widely consumed every day is A WHOLE OTHER BALL GAME. The kinds of corn so commonly included in both children’s & adults’ diets today are the overly modified kinds, found in fried corn tortilla chips, buttery popcorn, high fructose corn syrup, corn oil, corn flour & other processed, packaged & refined foods.

WHEN EATEN IN AN UNPROCESSED WAY & PROPERLY PREPARED, non-GMO whole corn kernels actually have some impressive nutrients to offer (I mean, it is a veggie after all). Organic corn is packed with vitamin C, rich in magnesium & contains tons of B vitamins & potassium, as well as antioxidants linked to eye & skin health & tons of fibre & complex carbs that are a good source of energy!

GMO foods are produced in order to be able to grow in depleted soils that hold less nutrients. This is why it’s crucial to go organic & check for GMO labelling when buying corn or corn-cotaning products, since GMO corn doesn’t contain the same level of beneficial vitamins, minerals & antioxidants that organic corn has.

In the States & most other western developed nations, eating fresh, organic corn is NOT THE PROBLEM that most people face – rather, over consuming highly processed foods that have multiple chemically engineered ingredients derived from corn is. THE PROBLEM is that NEARLY all of the corn available in supermarkets is genetically modified & it’s UNRECOGNIZABLE considering how much processing it’s gone though.

ALL THIS TO SAY:

AVOID CORN WHEN:

– It’s genetically modified (about 88% of all corn grown in the USA each year is genetically modified).

– When it’s used to make high fructose corn syrup.

– When it’s found in other forms of processed foods (GMO corn is used to make dozens of different ingredients added to packaged, processed foods. This is why it’s CRUCIAL to read your food label to make sure the product is generally free from anything you cannot pronounce).

EAT CORN WHEN:

– It’s organic, non-GMO (Without proper labelling, avoiding any ingredient made with GMO corn can be VERY HARD, so the key is to eat REAL WHOLE FOODS & avoid those that come in packages as much as possible!).

P.S. ORGANIC FOODS by law cannot contain more than 5% GMO-derived ingredients.

 

NOW. BACK TO THIS RECIPE!!!!!

THE FIRST MAGICAL LAYER is sautéed lean ground chicken in coconut oil, garlic powder, cayenne, onion powder, sea salt & black pepper! 

THE SECOND MAGICAL LAYER is my replacement for the “usual” corn – I sautéed diced carrots, celery & onion in coconut oil, garlic powder, ground cumin & black pepper until they became browned, charred & cooked through!

THE THIRD MAGICAL LAYER is CAULIFLOWER MASHED POTATOES… Guys, h.e.a.v.e.n.l.y., like God-sent. NO JOKE. Made with just four ingredients: nutritional yeast, sea salt, black pepper & organic low-sodium veggie broth!

ARE YOU NOT DYING RIGHT NOW?!

Guys, I have to say I am impressed!!!! Every layer cooked perfectly, the top came out nicely charred, with the edges browned & just the right amount of crack & crumble! I have to say, this is the one I was MOST excited to share from this week’s meal prep menu because it’s A QUICK & EASY, ONE-BAKING PAN DISH & A SUPER WHOLESOME DELICIOUS MEAL!

And let’s be honest, it’s the perfect dish for a warm, comforting but clean & guilt-free winter meal! I mean, who wants to eat salad when you can have something THIS WARM & COMFORTING?!

And BTW, I just want you guys to know that there’s always a healthier alternative TO ANY & ALL OF YOUR FAVOURITE DISHES! You just gotta let your imagination run a little wild baby (or ask me!!!). I’m super open to recipe requests, suggestions, feedback, constructive criticism – whatever it may be!

I WISH I COULD PUT INTO WORDS HOW PERFECT THIS DISH IS, BUT THERE ARE JUST NO WORDS. Not only is every layer delicious on its own, BUT IT’S REALLY THE COMBINATION OF ALL THREE THAT MAKES THIS RECIPE A FREAKING BEAUTIFUL MASTERPIECE!

BTW, this masterpiece can also POTENTIALLY BE VEGAN!!!! All you gotta do is replace the ground chicken with SPROUTED GREEN OR RED LENTILS!

Now, let me tell you how to make this masterpiece YOURS!

My loves, YOU WILL NEED:

For layer one:

  • Coconut oil cooking spray;
  • 1 small white onion, DICED;
  • 3 cloves of garlic, MINCED;
  • 1 package of lean ground chicken (or turkey or beef!) – or make it vegan: replace the ground chicken with sprouted green or red lentils!
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder;
  • 1 tsp. onion powder;
  • Sea salt & black pepper for seasoning;
  • A few pinches of cayenne pepper.

For layer two:

  • Coconut oil cooking spray;
  • 2-3 large carrots, PEELED & CUBED;
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, DICED;
  • 1 medium white onion, DICED;
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder;
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin;
  • Black pepper for seasoning.

For layer three:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, ENDS CHOPPED & JUST THE FLORETS;
  • Sea salt & black pepper for seasoning;
  • 1/4 cup of organic low-sodium vegetable broth (sub for bone broth or beef broth, if you prefer);
  • 2 tbsp. of nutritional yeast (or Parmesan or romano or other cheese of your choice!);
  • TOPPING: More nutritional yeast, shredded cheese or Parmesan.

Now, for that HOW-TO?

  • Preheat the oven to 400F & set a baking dish aside for later (either a square or round one!);
  • In a large pot, steam or boil your cauliflower until tender;
  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat & spray it with coconut oil cooking spray!
  • Once the oil is heated, add in the garlic & onion & sauté until browned & fragrant & onion begins to look translucent, for about 5 minutes;
  • Once the garlic & onion are browned, add in the minced chicken & use a wooden spoon or spatula to break it apart. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, black pepper & cayenne & stir every now & then until cooked through & browned!

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  • Once your chicken is ready, set it aside!

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  • Now, spray a separate skillet with coconut oil cooking spray over medium-high heat. Once heated, add in the carrots, celery & onion, as well as the garlic powder & black pepper, ground cumin & season for about 7-10 minutes until veggies are browned, cooked through & fragrant. Set aside!
  • Now, at this point, your cauliflower should be boiled & ready to be blended! Completely drain it. Then, add the cauliflower to your blender with sea salt, black pepper, the vegetable broth & nutritional yeast & blend until smooth, thick & creamy! Basically, it should look like mashed potatoes.

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  • OKAY GUYS, NOW ASSEMBLY TIME!!!!!
    • First, spread the ground chicken mixture on the bottom of the dish! Make sure it covers the entire bottom of the baking dish.
    • Now, top the ground chicken with the veggie mix & spread it so that it evenly covers the meat!
    • Lastly, top the veggies with the cauli mash & use a spoon to flatten it out & make sure that it evenly coats all the veggies. Sprinkle some more nutritional yeast (or shredded cheese or Parmesan).

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  • ADMIRE YOUR CREATION. Then, part with it for just a bit to bake it – OBVS. Bake it for 35 minutes, or until the top is charred crackly & crumbly & browned on the edges!
  • DEVOUR!
    • Leftovers will keep well in an airtight container & refrigerated or you can simply cover the baking dish with aluminum foil & refrigerate it as is!

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