Monday, December 3, 2012

Shepherd's Pie, the healthy way

Shepherd's Pie really wasn't on my radar until just a few years ago when I found a recipe in Everyday Food.  I tried it and found it was fun to make and really tasty.  I think it also makes a great meal to take to a friend or family member.  But I can never just let a recipe be a recipe.  One of my most favorite things to do is to take a classic or favorite recipe and make it healthier.  A few weeks ago I was planning my meals for the week and had sweet potatoes and ground turkey on hand and *zing* a healthier version of Shepherd's Pie was created.  As usual, I have tried to sneak in as many veggies as possible.  Hope you enjoy!

My boys love cheese.
To make the recipe less fattening, skip the cheese :)

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

1.5-2 lbs lean ground turkey
1 tsp mince fresh garlic OR 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp dried Italian herbs (basil, oregano)
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup chopped carrots
2 bunches fresh spinach or kale, chopped
2-3 fresh sweet potatoes
3/4 cup coconut milk or whichever milk you prefer
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

For the sweet potatoes:
Steam or boil the sweet potatoes in a large pot of water.  This takes about 10-15 minutes.  Allow them to cool for 5 minutes in a collander.  Place the cooked sweet potatoes in a bowl and add 3/4 cup milk.  Using a mixer or potato masher, blend until smooth.  Using a rubber spatula add 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.  Now you have your topping!  *You can do this the day before and refrigerate up to 24 hours*

For the turkey mixture:
In a skillet, brown the turkey.  While cooking season with freshly ground black pepper, and Italian herbs.  When completely browned, remove from pan and place on a plate lined with a few paper towels.  Return the skillet to the stove top.  Add a drizzle of olive oil and heat up (about 30-60 seconds).  Add onions and garlic, stirring frequently until translucent.  Add chopped carrots and saute another 5 minutes.  Add the chopped kale or spinach, stirring frequently until the greens have shrunk.  Add the can of tomato paste + 1/4 can of water.  Stir until blended and then add the cooked turkey.  Stir again and simmer on low for 5 minutes.

Spoon the turkey mixture into a 13x9 baking dish and evenly spread it across the dish.  Spoon the sweet potatoes on top of the turkey mixture and spread evenly.  If you want to get fancy you can put the potatoes in a cake-icing bag and pipe them on top...but only if you want to :)

Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

Bake in a 350* oven for 30 minutes or until it's bubbling and the cheese is melted and starting to brown.

Thanks to all of the added veggies this can be the meal.  I also like to serve with steamed broccoli or a fresh green salad.

This quickly became a family favorite at my house!


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