sweet potato shepherd's pie

I wonder if I just start cooking things with sweet potatoes and pumpkin and then light some candles around the house and make a pot of tea it'll become fall more quickly.  I'm ready to use a blanket on the couch, to put Anderson in a cozy sweater, and to go for a brisk walk.

Reality is, it's only August and we have yet to take another trip, this time to the beach in Delaware.  I suppose Summer will have one last hoorah after all.

These days we've given into the air conditioner and instead of running it at 73, then 75, then 77 to save money, we have it going at a consistent 73 around the house. It's just too unbearable to take the heat anymore.  Since it's been more tolerable inside I've become okay with using the oven again.  I'm not ready to have anything in there for long but if it takes under an hour, we're good.

I decided to make this recipe to use up some of the remaining venison burger we had but also to make something that Benjamin and I could eat, along with Anderson.  I'm done with baby food, but more importantly he is too.

This dish isn't anything fancy, but it works.  You can opt to use kale or chard over the collard greens and if you like some heat you could throw in red pepper flakes too.  If you're looking for something a bit healthier try using ground turkey as the original recipe calls for.  This is one of those recipes that really can turn into an "everything but the kitchen sink" situation.

{Recipe thanks to and loosely adapted from Good Housekeeping}

{Ingredient's You'll Need}

  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch collard greens (or kale or chard!)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 lb ground venison (or ground turkey or beef)
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
*Note- this is a recipe that can be made in steps! Bake your potatoes earlier in the day, saute your greens earlier in the day, even brown your meat before you're ready to bake this.  If you do make things ahead of time just store them separately before you assemble and possibly cook for a little longer so that everything has heated through!

1.  First off you're going to need to get your sweet potatoes soft to that you can mash them.  I find it easiest to bake them at 350 for an hour or if you peel and chunk them (or buy them already peeled and chopped) put them in a saucepan and steam them with some water until they are soft!

2.  Preheat your oven to 400 then mash your potatoes with the milk and season with salt and pepper.

3.  In a skillet saute your onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil then add in your greens and cook them until they are wilted, seasoning them with another pinch of salt.  When they are wilted turn off the heat and place them in another bowl.

4.  To the saute pan add your remaining teaspoon of oil and then add in the garlic.  Allow it to cook for just a minute then add in your meat and brown everything up.  Next add in your Cajun seasoning, tomato paste, and season with more salt and pepper.  Cook for 2 minutes then turn off the heat.

5.  Assembly time!  In an 8" baking dish or casserole dish in my case, put a layer of sweet potatoes then top with the meat, greens, then more sweet potatoes.  Bake for 30 minutes and enjoy!

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