Hungry Girl: A Comfort-Food Makeover Fit for a Prince!

10/20/2014 at 08:00 AM ET

HUngry Girl Cottage Pie
Courtesy Hungry Girl

Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of nine books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.

When we think about royalty, we generally imagine a pretty fancy lifestyle. But in a classic PEOPLE reveal, the former chef at Kensington Palace spilled that Prince William loves nothing more than good ol' cottage pie.

I can’t say I blame him. How can a person not go nuts for creamy mashed potatoes over saucy beef and veggies?

However, there are some really easy ways to health-ify dishes like this, so I’ve whipped up a hearty swap for the royal recipe. Mashing cauliflower with potatoes is one of my favorite tricks, and using extra-lean beef, fat-slashed gravy and light cheese will help keep the nutritional stats impressive without compromising taste.

‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!

Hungry Girl’s Queen of the Cottage Pie

Makes 4 servings

1 cup instant mashed potato flakes
3 cups frozen cauliflower florets
1½ tsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread (like Brummel & Brown)
¼ tsp. each salt and black pepper
⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 lb. raw extra-lean ground beef (4% fat or less)
2 cups chopped brown mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup fat-free or nearly fat-free beef gravy
¾ cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray an 8-in. by 8-in. baking pan with nonstick spray.
2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, thoroughly mix mashed potato flakes with 1½ cups hot water. Add cauliflower and mix well. Cover and microwave for 5 minutes. Stir, re-cover, and microwave for 5 more minutes, or until potatoes have thickened and cauliflower is hot and soft. Add butter, ⅛ tsp. salt, ⅛ tsp. pepper and nutmeg. Thoroughly mash and mix.
3. Bring a large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Add beef, mushrooms, onion, and remaining ⅛ tsp. each salt and pepper. Cook, stir, and crumble beef about 6 minutes, until the beef is cooked through and the veggies are softened. Add the gravy, and stir well.
4. Transfer mixture to the baking pan. Evenly top with potato mixture.
5. Bake until topping has lightly browned, 30 – 35 minutes.
6. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake until melted, about 2 minutes. Enjoy!

HG Tip: If you want fancy spuds like those made for the royal family, pipe the potatoes with a pastry bag. Just let them cool a little first.

1 serving (1/4th of pie): 330 calories, 10.5g fat, 565mg sodium, 25g carbs, 3.5g fiber, 5g sugars, 34g protein

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Showing 7 comments

MeohMy! on

Healthy?!?!? Using fake reconstituted potatoes?!? And canned gravy? And light butter? Also cottage pie doesn’t need to have cheese so skip if you want to go lower in fat. I agree the cauliflower “might” be healthy but maybe substitute real potatoes and boil in broth till just tender, drain, reserving some of the water, mash and season with salt and pepper. Flavorful, real and no fat. As for the gravy, use a good grade beef broth and thicken with the reserved water from the potatoes. Season with salt pepper, rosemary. Don’t forget all the veggies need in a cottage pie, peas, carrots and chopped celery. I prefer to use a good cut of beef that has been braised into tenderness or make the whole filling in a pressure cooker like a stew, thicken the gravy in the pot gets all the wonderful REAL beef flavor. When filling is done then fill a 3 qt casserole dish top with real mashed potatoes and bake. Now THAT’s healthy AND yummy!

mommytoane on

So making something that tastes like plastic and rubber is healthier eh? I think I’ll stick to old fashioned cottage pie with real ingredients and skip the fake subs.

Sval on

This girl makes me crazy. Instant potatoes and light whipped butter are loaded with chemicals and GMO ingredients!
Reducing the fat and the calories almost NEVER means replacing the fatty ingredients with other whole food ingredients.
Rule of thumb: When you see “light” or “reduced fat” think “chemical shit storm”
Just REDUCE the AMOUNT of the fatty foods you eat and that will vastly improve your health. If you load up on “fat free” or “light” foods you are just asking to get cancer

Guest on

This sounds disgusting. Yum, fake potatoes and gravy from a can. Microwaved cauliflower? GROSS.

How about next week’s recipe: Microwave hot dog for one minute. Serve on bun with desired condiments.

anonymous on

agree with the pp’s. this recipe is rubbish.

KingKing on

This is gross and not healthy. I would follow @MeohMy’s suggestion. Now that sounds healthy and yummy.

Suzanne on

She lost me at the first ingredient! Yuck. There are ways to make this healthy without the processed foods.

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