The other night I was really in the mood for sweet potatoes, so I made a sweet potato casserole. It was really good! A delicious prelude to next week's Thanksgiving feast.... Creamy sweet potato base (not too sweet) topped with a generous crunchy, nutty topping (I am intolerant of skimpy toppings, aren't you?)
The sweet potato casserole was a bit time consuming (peeling the potatoes, chopping and toasting nuts for the topping, etc.), but really well worth it. Since I spent a lot of time on my side dish, I made the rest of the meal ridiculously simple- baked chicken breast and spinach sauteed with a bit of chopped onion and olive oil. I do this a lot with my cooking- I choose one or maybe 2 dishes that I will spend a fair amount of time on, and then go super simple on the rest. It makes the meal special, without having to spend a whole day in the kitchen.
Also, this casserole can be done a day ahead, so you could make it on a Sunday for Monday night dinner (just pop it in the oven when you get home from work), or it would be a tasty addition to your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner (for those big dinners, I do almost everything a day or 2 ahead so I can actually enjoy the holiday, and hopefully not have a melt down in the kitchen on the big day itself!)
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This recipe calls for sweet potatoes OR Southern yams.... the difference between sweet potatoes and yams seems to cause a lot of confusion... so I did a little research. Apparently, true yams are difficult to find in the United States. Most "yams" sold in the U.S. are what are considered to be "Southern yams"- very similar to, and almost interchangeable with, a sweet potato. A true yam is native to Africa and is much larger and starchier (not as sweet) as Southern yams. So if you are shopping at a typical supermarket in the U.S., be assured that sweet potatoes and yams are almost the same and can be substituted for each other in most recipes. OK, botany lesson over :).
I am going to try (really, really try! I think I can, I think I can.....) to do a December newsletter (if you're not already a subscriber, you can sign up in upper right side bar of this blog.) There will be lots more messes in the kitchen this week as I work on a new recipe or 2 for that. You can click here to go to the Newsletter Archives. Each issue has free recipes, patterns and projects. Oh, and did I mention that it's free?