Chili is one of my all-time favorites…as is shepherd’s pie. I love turkey and sweet potatoes. Why do I mention? Well, as I began thinking about a weekend family recipe, childhood memories started flooding back. What would mom make? How would we help? Mom always prepared fabulous mash potatoes and I remember being the permanent little taste tester. Many times for a weekend meal, mom used our leftover mash potatoes to create traditional shepherd’s pie- hearty, healthy, filling and easy. Yet, I must admit, during my younger years I did not eat red meat. With ground lamb customary to the dish, I constantly scraped the mash potatoes off the top, like scraping all the frosting off the cake (which I have been known to do too!). Since the mash potatoes were taste tester approved, I still remained a very happy eater on shepherd’s pie weekends. On other weekends mom prepared her famous chili (always using 3 beans and vegetarian crumbles in place of ground beef for me). Another one pot, easily reheat-able and hearty dish. And who can forget sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving time? My ultimate turkey-day dish.
With Summer here and temperatures warming, I thought (selfishly) why not combine favorite recipes and ingredients to create a lighter version of not only shepherd’s pie, but chili? And with memories of a red meatless youth, turkey came to mind. And as I started surfing the web for recipes, to my delight, recipes existed for a Turkey Chili Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie. Can you believe it? This particular recipe is adapted from the Food Network. I have changed it to include coconut milk (a nod to the tropics as hot sunshine approaches), added more spices, fresh ginger and eliminated cheese in place of slivered almonds. Since turkey is a lighter alternative to ground beef and with sweet potatoes being rich in vitamin A, C, and dietary fiber (Alicia?!), this dish is flavorful, easy, healthy and freezable. As a child I loved helping mash the potatoes and as chief pot stirrer and taste tester, I ensured all the ingredients were cooked and seasoned properly. This is a fun dish to make with any child and taste-tester approved after our Big Brothers, Big Sisters Cooking Class approved!!! Take a look at some of our delicious photos here!! Catch the recipe under our Recipe Tab!