Baby It’s Cold Outside (Cottage Pie and Caramel Yogurt Dip)

18 Jan

Texas has certainly received its share of winty weather this year.  And there’s nothing more perfect for a cold winter night than warm cottage pie (like shepherd’s pie but made with ground beef instead of ground lamb).  This is basically the recipe from the January 2007 issue of Shape except I used ground beef instead of turkey (already had ground beef in the fridge), I varied the seasoning a little, and I used a different recipe for the mashed potatoes on top.

Cottage Pie:


1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups small baby carrots
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tsp minced garlic
1 lb ground sirloin
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 lb baking potatoes, peeled and cut into inch cubes
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp chives

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and salt and sautee 3 minutes, or until veggies are tender.  Remove vegetables from pan and set aside on a plate.

Brown ground beef in same skiletover medium heat (about 5 minutes), breaking up the meat.  Add in thyme, oregano, and black pepper and stir to coat beef in herbs.  Return sauteed vegetables to skillet with the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 5 to 10 more minutes, until liquid reduces and sauce thickens.

While beef and vegetables are simmering, place potatoes in a large saucepan and pour enough water to cover.  Boil potatoes until fork tender, drain, and place in large mixing bowl.  Mash potatoes with milk, butter, and chicken broth (proportionally add more milk and chicken broth if potatoes are not easily spreadable).  Season to taste with salt and black pepper if necessary.  Fold in chives.

Transfer ground beef mixture to a deep dish casserole dish.  Spoon mashed potatoes on top and spread evenly with the back of the spoon.

Place casserole dish on a baking sheet (in case of spillovers) and bake 12 to 15 minutes, until top is lightly brown and filling is bubbly hot.

Serves 4 to 6.

Cottage pie, though comforting, is a heavy dish.  So for dessert, I lightened things up with a creamy fruit dip served with wedges of apples and pears and slices of bananas.

Caramel Yogurt Dip


4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
2 tbsp caramel topping (like the squeezable Smuckers kind), plus additional for drizzling

Beat cream cheese, yogurt, and caramel topping in medium mixing bowl until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.

Drizzle with additional caramel topping and serve with sliced fresh fruit.

Serves 4 to 6.

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