Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sweet Potatoes

For Thanksgiving this year, I decided to try something a little different with the sweet potatoes. I usually make them heavy with brown sugar and Cinnamon and they turn out more like a sweet potato pie. I was digging around on the Eating Well website and I found this recipe. The comments about the orange flavoring caught my eye and everyone loved the flavor. This smelled wonderful while I made it. The taste was refreshing and not really sweet. The topping mixed with the sweet potatoes was so good; I did not miss the old sweet potatoes at all.

Sweet Potato Casserole

2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes (3 medium) Peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
2 large eggs
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp honey
1/2 c milk
2 tsp freshly grated orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt


1/2 c flour
1/3 c packed brown sugar
4 tsp frozen orange juice concentrate
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp butter melted
1/2 c chopped pecans

Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil. Cover and cook over medium heat until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well and return to pan. Mash with a potato masher. Measure out 3 cups. (reserve any extra for another use)

Preheat oven to 350. Coat an 8 inch square (or 2 qt) baking dish with cooking spray.

Whisk eggs, oil, and honey in a medium bowl. Add mashed sweet potato and mix well. Stir in milk, orange zest, vanilla, and salt. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish.

To prepare topping: Mix flour, brown sugar, orange juice concentrate, oil and butter in a small bowl. Blend with a fork or your fingertips until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over casserole.

Bake the casserole until heated through and the top is lightly browned, 35 - 45 minutes.

Print Recipe


Friday, November 26, 2010

Appetizers - Cucumber and Celery

This year for Thanksgiving I wanted some appetizers that were easy to make finger foods and could be prepared the night before. I knew I wanted to do something with celery and cucumbers. They are refreshing to eat and you don't really fill up on them. So many of the recipes for stuffed celery have raisins or nuts in them but I found one with cheese and ranch dressing which is a winning combo to me. I also looked for a recipe for cucumber sandwiches. After I made them I realized it was not the taste I remember from parties but this one was not bad. I used white bread party rounds so the bread held up. I actually have a few still in the refrigerator and the bread is still good.

Cucumber Appetizer
8 oz cream cheese
1 pkg dry italian dressing mix
1 c. mayonnaise
1 - 2 cucumbers
Italian baguette, slided thin, or white party rounds
Fresh dill

Mix first three ingredients to make the cheese mixture. Slice cucumbers. Spread cheese mixture on bread and then top with cucumber.

If you use the party rounds, you may assemble appetizers the night before the party. If you use Italian baguette, wait to prepare until same day.

Top with fresh dill.

Celery Appetizer
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup prepared ranch dressing

Mix first three ingredients and spread or pipe into celery. If you are going to pipe the cheese mixture into the celery, make sure cheddar is finely shredded.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Simple Macaroni and Cheese

If you struggle with making homemade mac n cheese, this is a simple way to make good old basic mac n cheese.

Simple Macaroni & Cheese
2 (7 1/4 ounce) boxes Kraft macaroni and cheese (Make sure to buy creamy variety)
1 cup milk (plus a little more)
2 eggs, beaten
1 stick of butter
salt and pepper
2 (8-12 ounce) packages cheddar cheese, grated

Boil macaroni until tender, then drain water completely. Put macaroni in a large bowl. While it is still hot, stir in the 2 Kraft cheese packages from the boxes, stick of butter, eggs and 1 cup of milk. Salt and pepper to taste. Macaroni mixture should be creamy and milky. If needed you can add a little more milk. I make sure my macaroni is covered in milk but not floating. This mixes with the eggs and makes a cheesy custard.

Pour half of the mixture into a large baking pan (I use my lasagna pan) and cover with 1 package of shredded cheddar. Pour remaining macaroni mixture into the pan and cover with remaining cheese.

If you like a crumble top, melt one stick of butter and crush a whole sleeve of Ritz or Saltines into the butter and top the casserole during the last 15 or 20 minutes of baking.

Cook on 375° for about 45 minutes, until cheese is golden brown.