OWTK Recipe Box and Contest: March Madness Spartans Turkey Shepherd’s Pie Appetizer Recipe

March Madness Spartans Shepherd's Pie Appetizer Recipe

You are hear for an incredible Turkey Shepherd’s Pie Appetizer Recipe but first, a quick story…

Many of you may be aware of my undying love of Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Men’s Basketball program (there was even that time I got to share appetizers with Coach Izzo and Mateen Cleaves at his house in East Lansing, MI) but I have a dark and dirty little secret: I was once a Michigan Wolverines fan. Or at least I thought I was. Because we’re friends and this is a safe place, I’ll tell you that in my drawer as a young child there once sat a heather grey sweatshirt, a boy’s extra large, with that hideous maize and blue helmet embroidered. I grew up infatuated with Detroit sports and first gravitated toward U of M because, I think, of its proximity to the D before quickly seeing the error of my ways. I was never destined to fall in line with a fancy private school’s athletic department. That’s not my style — never was. By 1991, just a couple years after my Red Wings love was spawned, I was all green & white, all Michigan State, all grit, all Spartans.

The MSU basketball program of the past two decades under the stable leadership of Coach Izzo has come to stand for grit, determination, effort, and class on and off the court. It is one of the most prestigious collegiate programs in the country yet the roster is never stocked with 1-and-done future NBA superstars, although it could easily be. Tom Izzo is more interested in helping young men succeed on and off the hardwood over a course of a college life not merely a semester and a half. Why this extensive backstory for a shepherd’s pie recipe? Because this dish is a lot like my beloved Spartans: hearty, hard working, sensible and undeniably excellent on game day and every day.

Do you have a delicious game day recipe involving turkey? Share it with Life of Dad during Shady Brook Farms (and Honeysuckle White) #TurkeyMadness and win cash to help pay for all of those March Madness bracket contests you’ll be entering!

Without further delay, here’s the March Madness edition Tom Turkey Izzo Spartans Shepherd’s Pie Appetizer Recipe for the tournament!

Spartans Shepherd's Pie Ingredients


10oz Shadybrook Farms Ground Turkey
2 Carrots, diced
1 Onions, small and diced
4 Russet Potatoes
1 Handful of Cauliflower
1 Cup Veggie Stock Concentrate (2 tbsp plus 1 Cup of Warm Water)
2 tsp Flour
1/2 Cup Frozen Peas
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove
1 tsp Dried Thyme
3 tbsp Ketchup
3 tbsp Milk
Salt & Pepper to taste
Non-Stick Cooking Spray

Spartans Shepherd's Pie Cooking 2


Heat the olive oil and saute the carrots, onion and garlic on medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes until brown. Add the Shadybrook Farms Ground Turkey and the dried thyme and continue to cook until the turkey is cooked through and begins to brown. Next, squirt in the ketchup and cook until everything is nice and caramelized. Yum.

Spartans Shepherd's Pie Cooking 4

The broth goes in next but first stir the flour into it until smooth-ish, then pour into the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. During this time, the Tom Turkey Izzo Spartans Shepherd’s Pie stuffing will begin to thicken. Finally, toss in the frozen peas and any salt & pepper you’d like to add.

Spartans Shepherd's Pie Cooking with Peas

While ALL that is happening, make mashed potatoes however you normally do but this time toss in the handful of cauliflower. The flavor will be so close to 100% potato that your kids won’t even notice the serving of veggies they are getting with their mashed potatoes! You’re welcome!

March Madness Spartans Shepherd's Pie Appetizers Cauliflower

To finish off the March Madness edition Tom Turkey Izzo Spartans Shepherd’s Pie Appetizer Recipe, scoop some turkey filling into ramekins, top with mashed potatoes and give it a spritz of cooking spray (to help form the crust in the oven). Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or so, keeping an eye on your tasty tournament treats all the while.

March Madness Spartans Shepherd's Pie Appetizers Filling and Mashed Potato

*The turkey filling can be made in advance and will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, meaning if you make March Madness edition Tom Turkey Izzo Spartans Shepherd’s Pie Appetizers on the first Thursday of the tournament, you can enjoy them throughout the entire opening weekend of games!

Makes 8 Servings

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad   and Shady Brook Farms / Honeysuckle White for this promotion.

March Madness Spartans Shepherd's Pie Appetizers Spartans Magic

Enjoy and GO GREEN!

March Madness Spartans Shepherd's Pie Appetizers Eating

Ok, now it is your turn! Enter the #TurkeyMadness recipe contests at Life of Dad. Starting today, there’s a new recipe competition every week this March, each of which will have a $250 winner!

#Turkappetizer: March 7-13

Create a delicious gameday appetizer including turkey and a whole lot of spirit from your favorite college basketball team. Ex: Jayhawks Seventeen Layer Turkey Dip.  Share photos with your recipe that show how awesome turkey and Kansas University are together.

#TurkBQ: March 14-20

The Turkey BBQ. We’re not just talking turkey burgers here. How are you going to take all of the splendor that the BBQ can offer to transform turkey from an oven-baked classic, to a slow cooked, smokey masterpiece? BBQ that turkey breast to the standards of perfection that would blow away pitmasters from KC to Austin.

#SouperiorDinner: March 21-27

Create a soup that’s not only delicious, but is considered a meal, in and of itself. Using Turkey as the main protein, we want you to elevate soup from being a side thought to the main course of a meal. Create a soup that’s delicious enough to satisfy the most finicky of 3-year olds, but also filling enough for any parent to walk away feeling healthy and full.

Create and photograph your own turkey recipe using the guidelines below.
Share the photo of your image on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter using #TurkeyMadness and email your recipes and photos to

See Full Official Contest Rules

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