I’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately…playing around with new dishes for my athletes and trying to create quick & easy meal options for some of my busy clients. The biggest excuse I get from client’s as to why they don’t prepare food is – LACK OF TIME. Between work, family obligations, exercise, etc., hunkering down in the kitchen a couple times a day to prepare healthy meals seems to get lost on the priority list.

One thing I’ve always recommended is to pick a couple days a week (Sunday & Wednesday for example) to prepare a bunch of food and then portion them out so you at least have lunch and dinner prepared for the next couple days. Sure, it may not be as healthy as picking fresh produce from the Farmer’s Market every single day but, on the “health spectrum”, it’s certainly healthier than most alternatives out there today. Some of my favorites dishes include Chili (wrote about it HERE), stir fry’s, and various casserole dishes.

When I was growing up, my mom always made a kick ass “Shepherd’s Pie”, or Cottage Pie as it was once called. Basically, it’s a meat pie with a mashed potato topping. To “healthy” it up a bit, I opted for grass-fed beef, sweet potatoes, and I added just about every veggie I had in the fridge/freezer.

Pie fixin's


Stars of the dish:
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
4 sweet potatoes

Veggies – Pick 4-5 and chop them up. I went with:
Couple carrots
Small onion
Broccoli floret
One summer squash
1/2 red pepper
Handful of frozen peas

Little tomato paste
Little dijon mustard
Couple “glugs” of beef stock
Couple “glugs” of chicken stock
Tablespoon of coconut oil
2 tablespoons of butter
S&P to taste (whatever that means)


Veggies & Beef – I sautéed up all the vegetables and beef for about 8-10 minutes. I then added the tomato paste, mustard, and beef stock. Once it was all worked in I poured it in a casserole dish.

Potatoes – I boiled the potatoes for about 20 minutes and then mashed them up. I added some chicken stock and butter and then scooped the potatoes out over the top of the beef & veggie mixture.

shepherd's pie

Getting ready for the oven

shepherd's pie

I threw it in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes and voila! 

Next time – I’ll probably opt for a different sweet potato next go around. I’m obsessed with Okinawan Sweet Potatoes which is why I chose them, however, they don’t make for the prettiest looking dish. There are many other sweet potato options out there so I’m definitely going to change this up next time. I may play around with some different veggies next time also.

All in all it probably took about an hour and 15 minutes to complete. Not too bad considering I now have lunch and dinner for the next couple days.

Bon Appetit! 


About Doug
Doug Balzarini, CSCS, MMA-CC, is the owner of DB Strength, which provides fitness training, education, and resources. He is also the strength and conditioning coach for Alliance MMA where he works with UFC Champion Dominick Cruz, Bellator Champion Michael Chandler, Phil Davis, Brandon Vera, Travis Browne, Ross Pearson, Alexander Gustafsson, and more. Prior to starting his own business, Doug worked at Fitness Quest 10 as a personal trainer, strength coach, and Operations Director for Todd Durkin Enterprises (TDE).

He has completed some graduate work in Biomechanics at SDSU and has obtained multiple certifications including ACE, NSCA-CSCS, MMA-CC, TFW Level 1, TRX instructor training, RIP training, EFI Gravity instructor training, LIFT Sandbag Certification, and FMS training. He has produced his 2 DVD projects on strength training for combat athletes, appeared in many fitness videos and articles, and was a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” FOX TV show in 2012.

For more information please visit www.dbstrength.com.