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A Sweet Side Dish – Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

The sweet potato, in my opinion, is a side dish that often gets overlooked. At least I know in my house we forget about them a lot and we really shouldn’t see it is considered a super food. To me it’s a great side and has a lot more flavor than your typical Russet potato or Yukon gold potato and I would rather have a sweet potato than either of those. Anyway, I had come across this recipe from Guy Fieri on the Food Network when I was looking for something different to do with a sweet potato for dinner and I saw this simple recipe for twice-baked sweet potatoes. I actually changed it a little bit by microwaving the potatoes for 12 minutes first instead of baking them in the oven for an hour to soften them up so they could be done faster, but you can use either method and still get quality results.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

4 medium-sized sweet potatoes

5 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch cayenne pepper

1/2 stick butter

Vegetable oil, for greasing the roasting tray

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly scrub the sweet potatoes under cold running water. Place the potatoes on a roasting tray and bake the potatoes until they are tender, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and allow the potatoes to cool slightly before cutting of the top third of the potato lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh using a large spoon and be sure to leave enough on the base so the skin will be able to hold its shape and reserve the bases.

Add the sweet potato flesh, 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, the ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, cayenne pepper and the butter to a food processor. Process the mixture until the ingredients are completely combined and the puree is smooth. Season the potato mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle a roasting tray with a little bit of the vegetable oil. Set the potato skin bases upright on the tray and fill the bases with the sweet potato mixture.

Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and the pecans, if using, in a small bowl. Sprinkle the top of each stuffed sweet potato with the sugar-pecan topping. Bake the potatoes for 10 minutes. Finish the potatoes under the broiler for the top to brown, about 1 minute, if desired.

As I had said, I scrubbed the potatoes and poked them with a fork and cooked them in the microwave for 12 minutes until they were tender so I could significantly cut back on the cooking time and I think they came out just fine. The flavors of the potato with the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg were great and although I omitted the pecans, I did drizzle a little bit of pure maple syrup on each one for some extra flavor. To me, it’s a great way to make an easy side dish to go with just about beef, pork or poultry dish that you want.

That’s all I have for today. Check back tomorrow for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on March 20, 2014 in Cooking, Potatoes, Side Dishes, Vegetables

 

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Simple Southern Sides, Part 1 – Sweet Potato Corn Bread

I had made a Mardi Gras dinner last week at Sean’s request so I tried to find some recipes for some good side dishes that fit the theme we were going for and were going to be easy to make. Since I was making gumbo as the main part of the meal, I wanted to have some bread to go with it and what would be better than some corn bread? Well I found this recipe on Epicurious for a sweet potato corn bread that sounded really tasty and very easy to make, so I thought I would give it a shot.

Sweet Potato Corn Bread

1 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9 inch by 9 inch baking pan. Pierce the sweet potatoes in several places with a fork. Microwave the sweet potatoes on high until they are tender to the touch, turning once, about 12 minutes. Cut open the potatoes and allow the flesh to cool. Mash enough of the potatoes to yield 1 cup packed. Reserve the extra mashed sweet potatoes for another use. Place the 1 cup of mashed sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Whisk in the eggs and the buttermilk.

Blend the cornmeal, flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and ground ginger in the food processor. Add the pieces of chilled butter and blend in the food processor until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the cornmeal mixture to the egg mixture and stir until they are just blended. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan.

Bake the corn bread until it is a deep golden color on top and a toothpick or tester inserted into the center of the corn bread comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool the corn bread in the pan on a baking rack. Serve or let stand at room temperature and serve when you are ready.

Cooking the sweet potatoes in the microwave saves you at least an hour of cooking time in the oven and helps you get the corn bread made a lot faster. I think the bread came out really well. it was not at all dry like some corn bread can be and had a great flavor from the sweet potatoes. If anything, it maybe could even used a bit more sweet potato for extra flavor. This recipe makes a lot of cornbread and says it will serve 10 to 12 people. I actually cut the recipe in half and made a smaller batch for us and we still had plenty to last for the week. I think I would make this one again as it seemed better than some of the traditional cornbread recipes I have tried.

That’s all I have for today. Check back tomorrow for another recipe. I still have a couple of good southern sides to share – a red rice recipe and a baked beans recipe from Jamie Deen, along with the gumbo I made for Mardi Gras, some parfaits, a new pulled pork recipe, beef stroganoff, chicken fingers, 3 pork burgers and a whole lot more. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on March 11, 2014 in Breads, Cooking, Side Dishes

 

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