Marshmallows, Pecans…or Beef?

by HEAB on November 26, 2010

I hope all of my fellow Americans enjoyed their Thanksgiving, and to all of my international readers, I hope you enjoyed your Thursday. 🙂

CD and I kept it low key yesterday. After his 5-mile road race, he came home, and we just hung out all day. I had every intention of taking Summer to cheer for Chris while he ran with a big sign that said “Go Dad!”. However, since Summer and I slept until in until 7 AM, we didn’t make it. CD, i’m glad you had a good race, and I promise we’ll be out there cheering for you next year!

My family drove 2 hours to my aunt’s house for the Thanksgiving day meal, but with our nursing, feeding, pumping schedule, Chris and I decided to stay home and do our own thing. I really enjoyed our first Thanksgiving together as a family, and thankfully, my mom dropped off leftovers this morning so that I can get my turkey fix. In honor of the holiday, I did try out a new sweet potato recipe for last night’s dinner, and it was delicious. Some people like topping their sweet potatoes with marshmallows or candied pecans, but the HEAB household prefers its sweet potatoes with beef!

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

Inspired by this recipe from the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission.


3 small sweet potatoes

3 TBSP butter

1 small onion, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 pound grass fed finished beef

1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce

1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp salt

1 TBSP heavy whipping cream


Preheat oven to 350℉. Pierce sweet potato skins and microwave until tender (about 6 minutes), and allow to cool. In large skillet, heat 1 TBSP butter over medium heat. Add onion and celery. Cook while stirring constantly until tender (about 5 minutes). Add garlic. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Add beef, stirring until it begins to brown. Stir in tomato sauce, Worcestershire, half of of the thyme and 1/4 tsp of the salt. Bring to a boil. Transfer to a greased baking dish, spreading evenly.


Cut cooked sweet potatoes into small chunks and blend together with the remaining butter (softened), remaining thyme, salt, and the cream. Blend until well combined.


I used my Vita-Mix, but you could use any blender or a hand mixer (might need to remove the potato skins first).

Spread sweet potato mixture over meat in baking dish and bake until bubbly, about 20 to 25 minutes.

IMG_6703.JPG IMG_6704.JPG
A recipe definitely worth repeating!

For dessert, enjoy some pumpkin pie a la mode, HEAB style…


Oat bran cooked in water with 1/2 cup pumpkin stirred in and topped with vanilla ice-cream and pumpkin pie spice.

Anyone else glowing orange today? 😉


Hanna M. December 2, 2010 at 11:17 am

I made this yesterday, but added leftover bean chili instead of tomatoes. Awesome!

Monica November 30, 2010 at 8:57 am

I love your recipes! They are always so delicious looking, straightforward, and healthy.

Glad you all had a lovely Thanksgiving!

Sheryl November 28, 2010 at 7:54 pm

This was good. I did ground turkey and added some baby portabello mushrooms. Nice nice nice.

Meagan November 27, 2010 at 10:34 pm

I’ve DEFINITELY made this before – cottage pie with sweet potatoes and it is DEFINiTELY one of my favorite things. Its also easy? LOL. After reading the title of this post I just HAD to read it word for word to see what the heck you meant! You made me laugh HEAB. I’m glad you had a super Thanksgiving.

Halley (Blunder Construction) November 27, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Have never heard of Cottage Pie before… now that I’ve what goes into it, I have to try it. It’s actually the perfect way to get through a lot of my surplus veggies this week. THANKS!

Meagan November 27, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Cottage pie is really what we American’s typically call Shepard’s pie. If you want to be correct with the names, then when the dish is made with BEEF you call it cottage pie, and when it is made with LAMB you name it shepards pie, since shepards would have lamb. Cottage pie comes from England.

HEAB November 27, 2010 at 10:51 pm

So interesting – I never knew the difference. Thanks for the info!

Heather November 27, 2010 at 9:39 am

I never would’ve thought to do something like this with sweet potatoes! Looks delish! It’s a wonder I’m not turning orange…I’ve been having pumpkin or sweet potatoes every day for prob the last month!

I really want to try kabocha squash but I cannot seem to find anywhere. I went to the farmers market in Nashville a couple of weeks ago and when I asked about it, the people just looked at me like I was crazy and tried to give me a buttercup! Where is this Asian market where you get it?

HEAB November 27, 2010 at 10:27 am

Hey Heather, hope you find some kabocha soon as I think you would love it. I get mine from the K&S Market on Charlotte – right off of White Bridge Road. They throw them in the same bin with the the buttercups and so make sure you know the difference: Kabochas are much better!

michelle November 27, 2010 at 6:14 am

I always do pumpkin shepherds pie with sweet potatoes. In Quebec it’s pate chinois.

HEAB November 27, 2010 at 8:07 am

Yes, my dad used to request that for dinner (he was born in Canada). Never actually seen it spelled out, but I remember my mom making it for dinner. However, she always used white potatoes…man, were we missing out!

Dea November 27, 2010 at 2:28 am

I recently made a cottage pie with mashed squash on top, was also good. I’ve also made it with sweet potato, the mix of the sweet and savory is heavenly!

HEAB November 27, 2010 at 2:38 am

Dea – yes, that sweet savor combo is so good. Can’t wait to make the cottage pie again!

Becca November 27, 2010 at 12:07 am

Haha I think I may be orange on a daily basis, just no one tells me. Considering building a whole new pumpkin pantry. shaped like a pumpkin. painted orange. That cottage pie looks amazing!! definitely tradition worthy 🙂

HEAB November 27, 2010 at 2:39 am

Hehe, I like it. 😉

Paige @ Running Around Normal November 26, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Between pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash lasagna, I’m definitely glowing orange!!

Mandiee November 26, 2010 at 11:30 pm

I’m so glad you had a great Thanksgiving as a little family :). I love your pumpkin “pie” :D. I similarly prefer to eat my pumpkin pie in a non-traditional way, pumpkin pie pancakes! I am definitely glowing orange, too. When I met my wisdom teeth surgeon (ugh!) a few days ago, he actually asked me why my hands were yellow-y/orange. It was an embarrassing story. While I’m fine with it on my hands (since I know it’s not toxic—but I’m not a fan of it on my face, too), I am looking for ways to lessen the “glow” without reducing my orange consumption. Any ideas?

Have a lovely day!

HEAB November 27, 2010 at 2:41 am

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving as well, and as far as your orange glow goes, I wish I could be of more help. I’m afraid to say that the only thing that has ever helped me is to eat less of the orange goodness. 🙁

Mandiee November 27, 2010 at 11:44 am

Well that’s not going to happen :P. I guess I’ll just have to embrace the glow then. At least we glow together :D.

Have a lovely day!

clare November 26, 2010 at 11:26 pm

all year round baby, all year round.

HEAB November 26, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Me too!!! Thank goodness for my local Asian Mkt. and year-round kabocha! 😉

FoodCents November 26, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Hi Heabster!!!! Glad you, CD, Summer & the pups had a relaxing Thanksgiving. BTW, how did Summer’s first walk go? 🙂

The sweet ‘tater concotion looks very good. I much prefer sweet ‘taters in a savory dish, vs. that of a sweet one. I have actually had the infamous sweet ‘taters & marshmellows. Not sure how I have escaped it in all my years, but then marshmellows don’t appeal to me.

Good vibes from sunny CO 🙂

HEAB November 26, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Hey Dot! The walk went well – we covered 3 miles, and Summer was wide awake the entire time. She definitely inherited her dad’s energy. 😉

Georgie (Georgie Goes Healthy) November 26, 2010 at 6:04 pm

That dish looks amazing. Heavenly. I want some of it now! I am definitely glowing orange – butternut pumpkin squash up the wazoo. I am about to make butternut squash quinoa – I guess I can’t get enough of it!

Susan November 26, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Now THAT is what I’m talking about 😉 That looks delicious! I think candied sweet potatoes are more of an American tradition. Two Christmases ago my mom made an Oprah-inspired dinner and my family was horrified by the marshmallows on the sweet potatoes. They still talk about what a weird dish it was to this day 😛

HEAB November 26, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Yeah, the marshmallows horrify me as well. So unnecessary in my opinion.

Mary @ Bites and Bliss November 26, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I’m definitely glowing orange. We ended up making two pumpkin pies!! One of them which was frozen and saved for me to take back to school. No complaints. 😉

melissa @ the delicate place November 26, 2010 at 4:08 pm

ugh i hate marshmallows! i like my veggies straight up! basically, i’m trying so hard not to eat anymore pumpkin for a while haha i don’t want to turn orange!

Kelly November 26, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Yay! An NC inspired dish! Not only do we provide a lot of sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving meals, most of the turkeys come from NC as well. I’m glad you had such a nice first Thanksgiving as a family of three. 🙂

HEAB November 26, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Kelly, I love your state. 🙂

Victoria Williams-Fisher November 26, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Missed you yesterday, hope you enjoy the turkey! We’ll do it next year and Summer will have a drumstick!

HEAB November 26, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Missed you too Vickey. Turkey was yummy. 🙂

Shelby November 26, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Just the other day I had sweet potatoes with beef and broccoli. So good! I love the combo. I will have to try your cottage pie.

I didn’t have any orange veggies! Gasp! I pretty much just ate turkey and dumplings all day. Oh and a slice of pumpkin pie…that counts right? 😉

HEAB November 26, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Shelby, yep, pumpkin pie totally counts. 🙂

grocery goddess jen November 26, 2010 at 3:31 pm

I think I might be glowing orange, too. Today I’ve had carrots, sweet potatoes, AND pumpkins. Perhaps I should mix it up for the rest of the day 🙂

Katie November 26, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I didn’t do a traditional thanksgiving dinner either. But I did eat my orange root veggie.- kabocha is back, folks!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) November 26, 2010 at 3:04 pm

“but with our nursing, feeding, pumping schedule, Chris and I decided to stay home and do our own thing.”

Can I just say that that was the story of the first 12-18 mos of my life with Skylar. I know EXACTLY what it’s like (I think all moms do, but espi those who pumped a lot) to have your schedule revolve around pumping, nursing, and feeding sessions. And even if it would be easy to break the schedule, the thought of actually getting in the car and going anywhere and doing things out of the ordinary…it just sounds like such a monumental task requiring wayyyyy too much energy and effort b/c you’re already so tired.

Heather, I know how it feels. Hang in there. You’re doing awesome! This will pass one day. And you will look back on it and not really know how you did it, but will be glad you tried your best 🙂 That’s all you can do. And give yourself permission to stop…when ever that time is.


Tabitha November 26, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Yep Thursday was an ok day, I was very envious of all you Americans having an extra Xmas day!

The Fit Collegiate November 26, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Looks like you had a great, relaxing Thanksgiving. I’m a huge fan of Shepherd’s Pie, but I’ve never had it with sweet potatoes–sounds delicious! Your pumpkin pie oatbran looks delicious and just reminded me that I haven’t had pumpkin oatmeal in wayyyy too long.

Nicole November 26, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Happy Thanksgiving! I definitely made the typical sweet potato with pecans on top … it was so good that Dennis request I make it every year instead of the one he usually makes (in other words, mine was better !!) i love savory sweet potato casseroles too and this one looks fabulous. Enjoy your turkey today!!!

Liz @ IHeartVegetables November 26, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Yum! That oat bran + ice cream combo looks tasty! Like a healthy take on pumpkin pie! Hope you, CD and Summer had a great thanksgiving!

Victoria (District Chocoholic) November 26, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Yum – love savory sweet potato recipes.

Anita Ruiz November 26, 2010 at 1:58 pm

What a wonderful first turkey day for Summer.

Felicia (a taste of health with balance) November 26, 2010 at 1:47 pm

I’ve been glowing orange all month! 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving to the new little HEAB family!

lindsay (goodiesgalore November 26, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I’m not a big beef eater or meat eater for that matter, but your beef meals always look so good. I’ve been having a hankering for your mustard stir fries.

HEAB November 26, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Mmm, mustard stir-fry is so good. I think you should try it. 🙂

Lindsay McAlester November 26, 2010 at 1:25 pm

That Beef and Sweet Potato Dish is little Shepard’s Pie-ish and looks soooo good! I truly LOVE sweet potato and pumpkin ANYTHING! I too many look a little orange…most days. 🙂

When my daughter was 4 weeks old, we had our first famil T Day at our home with just us three. Calm and nice! I am glad you enjoyed your time with yours.

Ann Claire November 26, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Love the variation on sweet potato casserole! The HEAB household eats always look so good. Glad you enjoyed a low-key thanksgiving with your precious baby girl.

Melissa November 26, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I saw him fly by the opposite side as I was on oh, about mile 2. He was screaming along ! He’s in the paper in the Local. Great job.

HEAB November 26, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I’ll have to get today’s paper – thanks for the heads up. CD got 7th and was pleased with his time. Not a PR or anything, but he was pretty tired. 😉 Someone yelled “Show Summer how it’s done” from the opposite side, and CD had no idea who it was. Too funny!

Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun November 26, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I bet a low key day was just what you needed and I’m glad you got to enjoy it. 🙂 We definitely do our sweet potatoes with the pecans and brown sugar. I just had some leftovers for lunch in fact.

Hope you have a good day!

Dorry November 26, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Glad y’all got to have a relaxing, cozy day at home! It seems like the perfect way to spend your first Thanksgiving with Summer. I’m definitely glowing orange but surprisingly not sick of it yet as I had a huge bowl of pumpkin oats this morning and plan to eat some pumpkin pie cookies later. 🙂

Meg November 26, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Mmm I love sweet potato ANYTHING – this recipe is perfect 😀

Hope you and your beautiful family had a great Thanksgiving, Heather!

Erika [FoodFitnessFun] November 26, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Glad you had an amazing Thanksgiving, Heather! I didn’t eat anything orange yesterday, can you believe it?! [Usually I choose pumpkin pie for dessert, but this year apple won out!] 🙂

HEAB November 26, 2010 at 2:32 pm

No, no I can’t. 😉 That being said, I usually choose apple over pumpkin as well…especially if ice-cream involved. Nothing like a little apple pie a la mode. 🙂

Amy at TheSceneFromMe November 26, 2010 at 12:24 pm

I like your style of pumpkin pie! Looks delicious!
I was satisfied yesterday, not stuffed. So feeling good today!

Rachel November 26, 2010 at 12:13 pm

That recipe looks really yummy! I’m glad you had a relaxing Thanksgiving. Sometimes it’s just best to lay low and get some rest! Glad you’re still going to get your turkey fix! 🙂 Your “pumpkin pie” actually sounds a lot better than the real deal. Plus, it’s hard to go wrong with ice cream on top! Thanks for sharing.

Christin L. November 26, 2010 at 11:47 am

I would have never thought to make a shepherd’s pie with a sweet potato topping! Brilliant! 😀 I’m glad you got to have a nice low key day with the most important people in your life! <3

Jen November 26, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Yeah, I’ve seen that some people do it with mashed cauliflower too. I’d prefer a combo. 🙂

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