Monday, November 12, 2012

Turkey and Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

So the dieting isn't going so well.  Remember my simple calorie counting strategy?  Apparently it would actually help if I was actually counting (and logging) my calories.  Like everyday.  Turns out estimating calories in my head is probably not very accurate.  Since October 1st I've lost 3 pounds and gained back 2.  Not quite the results I hoped for.  Time to refocus. 

I'll be getting some healthy inspiration from my best friend Crystal's new blog, Both HalvesCrystal and I go way back.  We have been BFF's since our sophomore year in high school.  Back in the day we both used massive quantities of hairspray and may have been known to coordinate outfits on occasion.  Though we've pretty much abandoned hairspray and no longer wear matching outfits, we do have a common love of food, and more specifically, baking.

Crystal has been baking and blogging with me for the past year and half with Club:Baked.  She recently gave her blog a complete makeover and really focused her point of view.  Both Halves is about embracing and balancing a love of traditional desserts with a love of healthy clean eating.  The mast head on her blog says it all...3 beautifully stacked blocks of butter on the left and a bundle of fresh mint on the right.  She's posting raw (vegan) desserts that definitely intrigue me (an area I have a lot to learn in).  Like this totally unbaked Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake.  Hello chocolate.  Desserts aren't the only thing on the blog menu.  I also have my eye on this healthy Italian Rabe recipe and I'm looking forward to more inspiration from my girl! 

Believe it or not today's recipe is pretty healthy, despite the fact it comes from Paula Deen (no offense Paula).  It's a Thanksgiving take on Shepherd's Pie.  The bottom layer is ground turkey, carrots, parsnips, celery and onion surrounded by a sauce of chicken stock, tomato paste and a bit of flour to thicken it.  The top is a light fluffy sweet potato mash.  It's a nice pre-cursor for the flavors to come in just a week and half when Thanksgiving arrives.  Which I can't wait for by the way.

This dish can be made ahead and baked when you are ready to eat.  It serves 8 so there are plenty for leftovers for us.


Turkey and Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
adapted from Paula Deen

Serves 8

3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (1-1 1/2 inches)
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped thyme
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped rosemary
1 pound of ground turkey (Paula uses 2 lbs)
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of flour
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
4 ounces of softened cream cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 10 ounce bag of frozen peas

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Place cut sweet potatoes in a medium sauce pan and cover with cold water and add salt to taste.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil.  Add carrots, celery, parsnips and onions and cook for about 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add ground turkey and cook until lightly browned and cooked through.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Stir in tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, flour and chicken broth and cook for 5 minutes or until sauce thickens.  Add frozen peas and stir.

Meanwhile, drain the water from the potatoes and add to a large bowl.  Add in cream cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and use a hand mixer to turn the sweet potatoes into a mash.  Add some of the hot potato mixture into the eggs, to temper the eggs so the hot mixture doesn't scramble them.  Season with salt and pepper.

Place meat mixture in the bottom of your prepared baking dish.  Evenly spread sweet potatoes over the meat mixture.  Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes or until shepherds pie is bubbling and top is lightly golden.


  1. This looks soul-soothing and delish!

  2. Thanks so much for the generous mention, BF! I am very honored.

    Your Sherperd's Pie looks delicious and healthy at the same time. This is the perfect meal for a winter night or a cold blustery weekend (even a so cal 'winter' night needs this food). This has been added to my 'to-do' list in the next couple weeks. Beautiful pics. Is the bread in the pic one of your homemade recipes ? -it looks very yummy with this dish!

    1. :) The bread is Hubby's rustic country bread. He's been making a round or two every week. Perhaps this is another reason I'm not losing weight! Haha.

  3. I love this take on Shepherd's pie. You can't help but, love Paula can you? :) She's just likable. At least this is one of her lighter dishes too. Perfect timing to post :)

  4. You lost a pound! Celebrate. A pound a month and you have lost 12 pounds. That's my goal. Actually at my age just maintaining present weight is a challenge!
    So this recipe looks just delicious. I do love sweet potatoes, poor hubby has tried but just doesn't like them! Usually I roast them along with russets that way we are both happy.

  5. I don't want to mention diets and losing weight, especially now that the holiday season is upon us! Let's pretend we are just doing fine:)
    I know I will be making a lot of sweet potato dishes as I love, love, love them! This version of shepherd's pie really appeals to me.
    Did I tell you that your photos are gorgeous? Of course I did!
    I hope to see you one of these days:) Are you coming for FBLA cookie and cookbook exchange?

    1. Ha Lana! Given the holiday's I think it's inevitable that diet is going on hold.

      I am so bad. I haven't been to FBLA event since the last cookie and cookbook gathering a year ago! I will check out the calendar and see if the date works. I would love to see you and catch up!

  6. This looks so amazing!! I love regular potatoes in shepherd's pie too, but these sweet potatoes are so much prettier :) Plus my husband wouldn't eat it so more for me lol! I love the little white dishes you baked it in - do you remember where you found them?

  7. I love that it's topped with sweet potatoes! I've actually never had or made Shepherd's pie and always wanted too, but I want to try this version first! My weight loss is going worse than yours, I gained 25 pounds this year!! So that would be a definite gain, no loss-lol. Some day soon I will care. The time isn't quite here, but hopefully it will be before I have to buy bigger pants.