Moroccan-Spiced "Knock-Off" Shepherd's Pie

Who doesn't like shepherd's pie?!  I mean, even my (born and raised) Italian husband enjoys a good shepherd's pie every now and again!  Unfortunately for him, this time around I only made enough for my son's lunch (and my husband ended up with his regular panino with mortadella!).  Sorry, child comes first! ;-)

I guess you could say this is a "knock-off" version of shepherd's pie because it is deconstructed (meaning, it's not cooked in the traditional casserole dish), not baked in the oven, nor does it contain any butter or dairy products (which actually makes it a healthier version too!).  Why "Moroccan-spiced?"  Well, that's easy to explain...cumin and cinnamon are common spices used in Moroccan cooking.

Try this toddler-friendly version for yourself...you'll be surprised at how a different take on the "norm" could be so tasty and easy to make!  Serve it up to baby as well by simply pureeing all the ingredients.

(makes about 2 cups)
1 medium-sized yam
1/2 cup frozen veggies (I used peas and carrots)
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
10 oz ground beef (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. fresh or frozen parsley, finely chopped
1 ice cube size frozen homemade vegetable broth (or 2 tbsp. low sodium organic store-bought broth)

Defrost veggies with 1-2 tbsp. of water in the microwave for 2-3 minutes or until softened.

Wash yam thoroughly, slice in half then poke each piece 4-5 times with a fork.

Cook in the microwave on high heat for about 10 minutes (cooking time will depend on how powerful your microwave is) until softened and fork tender.  Set aside and allow to cool slightly.

Once cooled enough to handle, spoon out the inside of the yam, mash with a fork and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan on medium heat for 1-2 minutes.  Add the ground beef, spices, and parsley.  Cook for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through and no longer pink.

*TIP: "Chop" the meat with a spatula or large spoon during the cooking process to break apart any large chunks.

Once meat is cooked add broth (which adds more moisture to the meat) and veggies.

Stir and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the broth has evaporated and the veggies are warmed through.

Add mashed yam to ground beef and veggies and stir until heated through and well combined.

Serve warm and enjoy!

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