Gratitude & Acorn Squash Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on gratitude, with a delicious Acorn Squash Shepherd’s Pie Recipe, a potluck dish or great weeknight meal.

Sometimes it seems we only talk about “gratitude” in the month of November, when in reality being “thankful” should impact every area of our daily lives.

For most of us, we’d rather get out of difficulties than be thankful for them–we all have hurts, losses, failures, hard times–but we can experience a change of heart and have actual JOY in our lives when we start giving thanks …. So beautiful, so real.

I love this time of year!

We learn to give thanks when we experience the bounty, but we also give thanks in the shadow of great loss. We’ve all been there.

Even in those times, I’ve found that being grateful not only helps my attitude, it gives me motivation and renews my passion. It helps me focus UPWARD and not inward. :)

I also love this recipe I’m sharing today, because we used up the last of the acorn squash from our garden. It feels to good to be eating what we’ve grown, even in our humble little garden beds (on a city lot).

This year I’m grateful that there was not only plenty to enjoy in our home, but also much to give away to others.

Do you think gratitude is something to be practiced, or do you think it naturally comes to us all?

Acorn Squash Shepherd's Pie Recipe


  • 3 – 4 cups acorn squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1-2 capfuls Liquid Smoke
  • Fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, lemon thyme), sautéed in butter
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter + 2 Tbsp.
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • Dash each garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper
  • 2 T. Worchestersire sauce
  • 1 cup gravy
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (or peas and carrots)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place squash in a large microwave-safe dish with 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook the squash in the microwave for about 12 minutes, until the squash is tender. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet, adding the onion. Stir occasionally, cook until slightly browned, 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Raise heat to medium high. Add the ground turkey, chopped garlic, 1/4 tsp. of salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper to the skillet. Cook the turkey thoroughly, about 12 minutes.
  5. Drain any excess liquid from the skillet, and transfer the mixture to a casserole dish sprayed with nonstick spray. Top with gravy, followed by frozen mixed veggies. Set aside.
  6. Drain the excess water from squash and mash well. Sautee the fresh herbs in butter. Add to the squash the liquid smoke, fresh sautéed herbs, pine nuts (optional), 1/4 cup butter, and remaining 1/4 tsp. of salt, and mix thoroughly. Evenly layer the squash mixture over the mixed veggies.
  7. Bake in the oven until the topping is slightly crispy, approximately 30 minutes.
All images and text ©

Acorn Squash Shepherd's Pie Recipe

14 comments on “Gratitude & Acorn Squash Shepherd’s Pie Recipe”

  1. This post is so real and true. Definitely finding little things to be thankful for is what makes every day brighter. This shepherd’s pie sounds fantastic too, I have been craving it lately!

  2. OK go with me on this: let’s start a movement starting January 1 to do a “365 days” of thankfulness (like a lot of people are doing on Facebook, but the entire year) with no repeats! In fact I think I may look into that a little more… :)

  3. I love his recipe and it’s always the little things, they mean the most.

  4. Just yesterday I was searching for a turkey shepard’s pie recipe, and look what you posted today! I love the addition of the acorn squash, Sandy!

    I think gratitude is practiced, and comes with age and wisdom. I don’t remember thinking about thankfulness or gratitude when I was a child (execpt on Thanksgiving). As I get older, I count the blessings in my life (there are so many) daily. My younger brother passed away suddenly and unexpectantly this summer, and although I am still trying to make sense of it, I am thankful and so grateful for each and every day. I seriously wake up every morning and thank God for the gift of another day with my family and loved ones.

  5. Looks like a tasty recipe.
    I really don’t use squash enough.
    I never had it as a kid. (Can you believe?)
    This just might be dinner tonight :)

    ~ Dana
    Cooking At Cafe D

  6. I believe gratitude takes practice, at least for me. I have little reminders to keep me on my toes, which especially helps when I’m in a not particularly grateful mood. Reading One Thousand Gifts really amped up my gratitude consciousness, too. This shepherds pie looks so good and comforting, yum!

  7. I think it takes practice…at first? then maybe reminders…I’ve definitely taken notice on how I recognize and practice gratitude lately. What an attitude changer! And I was thinking same thing…should be practiced all year long, not just November, though November is a great time to start.

    I have been thinking of this shepherd’s pie since I saw you mention it on IG. I have an acorn squash that needs to be used, this looks awesome.

  8. Look at this rendition of shepards pie! So comforting and delicious! I think gratitude takes practice. You see others give it and you slowly develop it too. It also comes with age and the experiences you go through in life that make you see things differently and become more thankful and more blessed. Thank you for letting me reflect on this. I love how your posts aren’t just stories about your life, but they’re also stories that pose a question and make you think! :)

  9. This such a good idea! I’m always looking for more ways to cook acorn squash.

  10. Oh Sandy, I haven’t had shepherds pie in SO LONG. This is the perfect time of year.

  11. My sister-in-law and I were just discussing shepherd’s pie yesterday, I haven’t ever tried it but I’m thinking this would be wonderful!

  12. This is really delicious (I’ve made it once for myself and once for a freezer meal swap), but you never say what to do with the wortchestersire?

  13. Pingback: Random Meals from Last Week | K Wadley's Kitchen

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