One-Skillet meals are the bee’s knees in my book and this One-Skillet Shepherd’s Pie Stir Fry is an out-of-the-box twist on a classic with all that lovely classic flavor. Made in under 30 minutes, its the perfect quick meal for those (all too frequent) busy days.
I’m going to be real and honest with you guys. This recipe was born out of pure laziness. A complete and utter desire to get dinner on the table quickly AND do as few dishes as possible after a long day of work. See, Tuesdays and Thursdays are a bit nuts-o around my house. Both my husband and I work a full day, we reconvene at home for a few hours before my husband then takes off for his night college class. Then I’m on my own to do dishes, pack lunches and go through our nighttime routine with our spirited 5 year old daughter. See…..nuts-o! But, I don’t let the craziness stop us from soaking up much needed family time….because that is a must no matter what else life throws at us, in my book.
So, in those precious few hours we are all home and together, we try to jam in as much quality time as possible. Namely with a sit-down family dinner. Which needs to come together as quickly as possible.
Typically, I use a meal from my weekly meal prep or throw something in the slow cooker to be ready and waiting for us. And then there are some days where I totally don’t have my act together and have to wing it at dinner time. Namely, the day this recipe was born.
On this particular Thursday, I rushed in the door, late getting home due to the ever-present traffic here in San Diego. Alice and Ken disappear into her room to read books and have some daddy-daughter time while I stared blankly into the fridge, trying to conjure up some sort of quick dinner plan. Lots of colorful words went through my head at this moment, wondering why I hadn’t thrown some soup or a chicken into the slow cooker before I left for work. I finally stopped trying to figure out what to make and just started grabbing ingredients. A sweet potato. Some broccoli. A pound of pasture-raised ground chicken meat. Some baby spinach.
“Yeah. I can make something out of all this. Dinner will happen and I get to keep all my mental faculties intact!” I declare silently to myself, as I head for the stove. I started to get out a plethora of baking sheets and pans to cook with. I paused, thinking of all the dishes that will be left behind and how I am the only adult around this evening to scrub them clean.
“Yeah, screw that. Everything is going into my giant cast iron skillet.” Because, honestly, who wants to do more dishes than they have to. Easy. NO ONE.
In the big ‘ol cast iron everyone goes. Mama ain’t got time for anything fancier or complicated.
“Mmmmmm, this is good!” my husband declared about 25 minutes later as we are eating dinner. “It’s kind of like a shepherd’s pie….but only a stir-fry.”
Hmmmm. I guess he was right. Ground meat with potatoes and veggies all kind of slopped together (I know that’s a super elegant and appetizing way of describing the food, but lets just be honest that THAT is exactly what shepherd’s pie is). The flavors were quite similar, but this dish was a heck of a lot easier to make then the traditional kind. Yeah, I’ll bite. For better or for worse, I just totally made shepherd’s pie into a stir fry. And it’s a win!
And, ta-da, this recipe was born! So riveting, I know….but this is how it goes in the kitchen sometimes. You cook by instinct and sometimes something pretty tasty and easy is born.
Moral of this recipe’s birth story: experiment. Trust your own cooking skills and instincts in the kitchen. Recipes are awesome for inspiration, but are not always a requirement. Use this recipe as an outline for your own one-skillet creation. Hate broccoli? Substitute it with something you do love. My feelings won’t be hurt. No ground chicken? Use beef! Or turkey! It’s totally cool. The recipe police will not be called and an amazing dinner will still get on the table in record time.
Makes 4-5 servings
2 cups diced sweet potato
2 tablespoons avocado oil, butter, ghee or cooking fat of choice
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup loosely packed and freshly chopped Italian parsley or 1 1/2 teaspoons dry
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dry
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 pound ground chicken (I used pasture raised dark meat)
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped broccoli florets
1/3 chopped green onions
2 handfuls baby spinach
- Head cooking fat in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add diced sweet potatoes. Cook, stirring a few times until potatoes start to soften (about 7-9 minutes)
- Add garlic, herbs, and spices to skillet. Stir to coat potatoes and let cook until garlic becomes aromatic (about 3-4 minutes).
- Crumble ground chicken meat into the skillet, stirring frequently and using spoon to break up the piece of chicken into smaller crumbles. Cook until your can’t see anymore pink on the chicken (about 5-6 minutes)
- Add chopped broccoli and green onions to the skillet and stir in. Cook for about 5 more minutes.
- Finally, add the baby spinach last. Stir to combine and allow it to cook with the other hot ingredients just for just a minute or two until it starts to wilt.
- Serve immediately and enjoy warm.
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