Add mashed cauliflower to this mixture of ground turkey, corn, scallions and spices for an easy, low-carb, comforting meal. Photo by Leslie Bridgers

It was before the pandemic when I started making this quick and simple, low-carb yet still comforting version of shepherd’s pie for an easy weeknight meal. At first, I tried to put some effort into it, attempting to make a gravy or chopping up garlic and onion to feel like I was actually cooking. Lately, however, my laziness in making this dish is only matched by my lack of effort in getting dressed in the morning.

I used to cook (read: microwave) the corn separately so the dish could be layered in its presentation. Now, I just dump frozen corn from the bag into the pan of ground turkey. That reduced the number of steps, and dirty dishes, by about a third. I’ve replaced the alliums with their powdered versions, though I’ll still throw in some scallions if I have them, only because I can slice them with scissors and not bother with a cutting board. Chopped chives or parsley would also work, in the meat and corn mixture or on top, if you have a need to add something green to your dinner plate. I used to.

There are all sorts of ways you could customize this dish: substitute turkey with beef or lamb, add more vegetables like peas and carrots, maybe even mix in some spices to change up the flavor profile – chili or curry powder perhaps. But now I make it pretty much the same every time because that’s what I like about it: It requires zero thought and cannot be screwed up. Isn’t that the new definition of luxury dining?


Serves 2 plus leftovers for lunch

1 tablespoon oil
1 pound ground turkey
Garlic and/or onion powder, salt and pepper to taste
1 package of frozen mashed cauliflower
Half a 16-ounce bag of frozen corn
Two scallions, optional

Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Dump in the package of turkey, season with desired spices and saute. Meanwhile, microwave cauliflower according to package instructions. When the turkey is almost cooked through, add corn to the pan, slice in scallions if you want, and continue cooking until corn is heated through. Portion into bowls and dollop cauliflower on top. Or mix it all together. Whatever.

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