Cottage Pie with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

December 1, 2015
Cottage Pie with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes - Beloved by the British, this pub-food staple is a classic combination of beef and veggies in a delicious gravy, topped with mashed potatoes

Tuesday trivia!

What percentage of a person's total body weight is water?

Water Weight 1-650x

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Anywhere from 50-75%  (depending on a person's age and percentage of body fat)

This week, a short series about water.

What role does it play in the body?  How much should we be taking in every day?  How much do we lose?  What mechanisms does our body use to maintain the right balance?  During which phases of life might we require more or less?

If there's anything I've learned over the years, it's don't take anything someone tells you, at face value.  Experience drawn from being a coach and instructor in the fitness world, trying (my goodness, far too many) of the diet plans out there, and studying holistic nutrition.

We're all so different.  Trust to your gut, do your homework, but most of all listen, really listen to your body and how you feel.  It always knows seems to know what's


A few years ago, when I started my journey toward better health, one of the first things I did was join a gym and was quickly introduced to one of the fitness world's biggest mantras

“Water, water, water.  Drink your water.  It's important to flush all of the toxins and fat out of your system.”

Day one, I was handed a big plastic bottle, which I proudly carried with me, keeping diligent records of the number of times it was filled.  Certainly, I was winning points with my coach, but if truth-be-told, a gallon to a gallon-and-a-half a day wasn't making me feel the best.

I was always in search of the potty, and a good night's sleep became hard to come by.  I also noticed I'd become oddly obsessed with the amount I was or wasn't getting in.

My inner voice oscillated, “Being well-hydrated is a good thing” and “Can this be right? Keep drinking, even when you're not thirsty?”

Cottage Pie with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes - Beloved by the British, this pub-food staple is a classic combination of beef and veggies in a delicious gravy, topped with mashed potatoes

The other extreme came in January of this year when I was among a group of 50 Hawthorn students who were chosen to try Lyn Genet's “The Plan.”

Not only is The Plan very specific about the amount of water a person should drink, but the timing as well.  To find your daily allotment in ounces, one divides their weight by two, and nothing should be taken in (either food or water) after 8 pm.

For the most part, I did pretty well the first three days, although admittedly I struggled with thirst later in the evenings, especially on work nights when I'm awake until 1 or 2 am.

The morning of day four, things took a slight turn for the worse, when I awoke with such an incredible thirst.

Twenty-four ounces later, I thought I had it quenched, only to realize I may have shorted myself for the rest of the day(!)  By three o'clock, with my morning workout, and afternoon walk out-of-the-way, sadly my allotment of water was


Cottage Pie with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes - Beloved by the British, this pub-food staple is a classic combination of beef and veggies in a delicious gravy, topped with mashed potatoes

Things rapidly went downhill on day five, when I started not feeling well in general.  By day six, my mouth was incredibly dry, and my sweet husband was beginning to question whether any of this was good for me.

Day seven, I stopped following The Plan and went back to drinking on demand.  It was nearly two weeks until I felt like myself again.

It took not feeling well at either extreme, to forge my own path.  Granting permission for listening and trusting my body, and what felt best for me.

Along the way, as I've studied further, many of my questions have been answered.  All reinforcing what my body was telling me

all along

(to be continued .. )

Hello December 4-650x

Photo Credit: Instagram – Victoria Braund

When the temperature takes a permanent nosedive, rich, and delicious comfort food like shepherd's pie is one of the first things I crave.  A square, with its blanket of mashed potatoes and savory meat and veggie filling, is a very happy thing.

This is one of the classics with endless numbers of variations.  Make it with beef, lamb, or both.  I imagine it wouldn't be too hard to substitute the meat with quinoa and lentils, for an equally hearty, and wonderful vegetarian version

We really like this classic combination of veggies in the filling, but any bits you have in the fridge would be great.  Think left-over roasted squash, beans, cauliflower florets, edamame, or even something like sautéed cabbage would serve you well here.

Messing it up is hard to do, no matter what you throw in it.

A brief note about the history of the Shepherd's Pie.  It comes to us from England and is traditionally made with lamb or mutton. Here in the states were more of a beef-eating culture than a lamb, and when one is served “Shepherd's Pie” here, it's most often made with ground beef.

In England (and Australia and New Zealand) the beef dish is known as a “Cottage Pie” and the lamb dish as “Shepherd's Pie.” Whichever name it goes by, it's essence remains.  A layer of cooked meat and veggies, topped with mashed potatoes, and baked in the oven until the potatoes are well browned



ps:  You can read more about water in Part II  |  Part III  |  Part IV  of the series

pps:  Want to learn more?  Sources used for this series include:  Water:  For Health, for Healing, for Living by F. Batmanghelidj .. Water: The Essential Ingredient for Life by C.D. Shelton .. Journal of Water and Health .. CDC .. Mind Body Green .. and Mayo Clinic

— — —

~ Adapted from Alton Brown

Cottage Pie with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes


  • Potatoes
  • 1 ½ lbs russet potatoes
  • ¼ -½ cup whole milk
  • 2 oz unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg yolk

  • Filling
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ lb ground lamb
  • ¾ lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp freshly chopped rosemary leaves
  • 2 tsp freshly chopped thyme leaves
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen English peas


  • Peel the potatoes and cut into ½" dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt, and pepper and continue to mash until smooth.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12" saute pan and set over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 - 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine.
  • Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute.
  • Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 - 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
  • Add the corn and peas to the lamb mixture and spread evenly into an 11 x 7" glass baking dish.
  • Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula.
  • Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Serves: 8
Nutrition + Show
Calories 442
Total Fat 25.2g
Saturated Fat 10.5g
Carbohydrates 28g
Fiber 3.7g
Sugars 4.5g
Protein 26.1g
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