What is FOOD?

Inspired by Cheating (on my diet)

Shepards Pie & Strongbow
Image by herrea via Flickr

Dont you hate it when you finally decide to throw caution in to the wind and cheat on your diet, only to finally taste the food you were so coveting… and be sadly disappointed?

Such was the case this past Sunday when my husband and I haphazardly decided to go to the nearest Irish Pub to watch the 2nd half of the Jets versus Patriots game.

My two young sons were attending a birthday party at the space themed mega restaurant/arcade in Midtown,  MARS 2112. Unfortunately the party was exactly the same time as kick off.  As there were no TV‘s on “Mars”, waiting for them at the “Mars-bar” was out of the question. Luckily I remembered that the newly opened Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square has an AMAZING bar/restaurant, called appropriately enough “The Stadium”, featuring no less than 50 GIANT and I mean GIANT  wall-to-wall televisions all playing the New York Jets game. We were lucky to snag to seats at the bar and enjoyed the first half with a beverage or two.

Right before half time, I looked at my watch. Oh no. It was time to pick up the kids. My husband chided me saying, “there is no way that party is over. Those parties take at least 2 hours.”

I did not know whether he was saying this because it was true OR because he did not want to leave the wall to wall TV coverage of the football game. I insisted that we go as I did not want to leave the kids stranded in space, so I dragged him off his stool and we ran a few blocks north to MARS 2112.

Unfortunately, it seems that the party was on “Martian time” as when we arrived, the party had barely begun. The birthday cake was yet to be served and the 1/2 hour of included arcade time had yet to begin. Our generous hosts said, “come back in an hour minutes. The kids are having a great time.”

Since we were given another 1 hour reprieve, we ran across the street to “O”Looneys” (not real name) to take in the second half of the game.

By this time, I was hungry. I quickly scanned the menu and decided that today was the day I was going to cheat. I figured we were in an Irish pub, there is a GREAT  football game on TV and I LOVE pub grub. I proudly  informed the waitress that I was going to have the Shepard’s Pie and a pint of their best dark draft beer.

Shepard’s Pie or “Cottage pie” as it was called, up until 1870’s is a British or Irish mince meat pie with mashed potatoes baked on top. Creamy mashed potatoes on top of savory ground meat and veggies, baked until its bubbling hot is my idea of the perfect meal on a cold winter night.

By the time the food came, I was ravenous. I greedily grabbed my fork and dug in.

Well, either it has been so long since I actually ate mashed potatoes and therefore lost all taste for them or these mashed potatoes were powdered. This was one of the worst “shepherds pie” I ever had AND it was full of CARBS! . I glumly ate 1/2 of the oval-shaped meat and potato pie cursing myself for ordering it to begin with.

I decided right then that I was going to make a perfect low carb version of this savory comfort food the following day.

I LOVE FOOD DIET – Low Carb Shepard’s Pie

  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • 1/4 lb of bacon – chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 med onion – chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • Head of cauliflower – cut up into florets and med size pieces
  • 1/4 cup of 1/2 and 1/2 or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 3/4  cup of shredded cheese

Brown ground beef and chopped bacon until cooked through. Add chopped onion and garlic and tomato paste. Season with salt and black pepper. Drain excess fat and pour into a oven-proof baking dish.

Boil the cauliflower until tender. Drain throughly. Puree cauliflower adding the 1/2 and 1/2 and butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the mashed  cauliflower over the seasoned beef. Top the cauliflower with the remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Pair this with your favorite low carb beer.  🙂

Although the Shepard’s Pie at O’Looneys was pretty inedible at least it inspired me to create this delicious low carb recipe AND did I mention that the JETS won! 🙂

Chow for now!

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