Fall is here. I know, it’s been here for a couple of weeks now, but I’ve been slow to notice that the trees are slowly turning, the air is getting crisper and there happens to not be a lot of daylight in the mornings anymore.

I like Fall, really I do. It’s poetic. It’s pretty. It gives you an excuse to eat anything with the words pumpkin, spice, apples, crumble, carmel in it like they don’t have calories and are somehow good for you. It’s the fact that Fall leads to Winter. And Winter makes me anexious. Not the part about Winter where we celebrate, have lights, parties and goodies galorie. The Winter in January, February, March and even into April. That makes me nervous. Long hours, short days.

Welcome cold toes in the early morning.

Welcome sweaty babies in way too many layers.

Welcome stuffy noses and sneezes.

Welcome colds, flus and random bugs.

Welcome no sun in the morning and no sun in the evening.

Welcome being shut indoors with nothing to do.

But really, the best part of Fall:

Hello trees in every shade of yellow, orange and red.

Hello Hot chocolate, Pumpkin Spice Latte and deep rich Caberniets.

Hello apple picking, pumpkin picking and corn maze hunting.

Hello jumping, walking and throwing leave parties.

Hello thick sweaters that hide your tummy after one too many fall treats.

Shepard Pie is like Fall in a small adorable container. Why didn’t I know this before? For me, Shepard’s Pie always fell into the same category as meatloaf [the not sure what it is, never have had it, who makes these kind of dishes anyway] but it had the bonus of having mashed sweet potatoes on top. Score!

For this pie, I made it healthy and hearty. For Fall of course.

Browned turkey sautéed with a ton of fresh vegetables [peas, carrots, parsnips] topped with mashed sweet potatoes. It is chalk full of protein, fiber, vitamins A, C and B6 and beta-carotene.

peel and chop.

peel and chop.

soaking in the flavors.

smash and mash.

layer it up. sprinkle it up.

Turkey + Sweet Potato Mini Shepard Pie

Inspired by a recipe from Skinnytaste

1 lb ground turkey or chicken
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion
2 organic carrots
1 organic parsnip
1 cup organic frozen peas
1 cup organic chicken broth or water
1 clove garlic
2 large organic sweet potatoes
1/2 cup 2% milk
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp thyme
pinch of allspice, mustard and chili powder – optional
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°

Peel and dice sweet potatoes into 2″ pieces and put into medium size stock pot. Fill with water until the potatoes are just covered. Add clove of garlic to water. Bring to boil and let cook for 15-20 or until potatoes are easily pricked with fork. Drain and let cool.

In large skillet over medium heat, add 1/2 of the oil and cook turkey until browned roughly 10 minutes. Make sure to get in there with a wooden spoon to break the turkey down into little pieces. Remove turkey from skillet and let cool on separate plate.

Add the rest of the olive oil to skillet and cook onion for 3 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add in carrots and parsnips and cook for another 10 minutes. Add peas, chicken broth and tomato paste. Season with salt, pepper, allspice, mustard, chili powder and fresh thyme. Simmer for an additional 4-5 minutes on low heat.

In medium bowl, take sweet potato chunks and mix extremely well with milk. You can either use your muscles for this or a blender. Either way, leave potatoes semi-chunky.

Using individual ramekins or pie dish, layer the meat/veggie mixture on the bottom followed by the mashed sweet potatoes on top. Sprinkle paprika on top.

Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool before devouring the pie.
For those days, when your mythical home chief doesn’t magically make you dinner – this is a great item to freeze individual portions of so you can take out a little at a time, microwave or heat in the oven for quick meal.