I know, I know – it’s been a while. I hope everyone’s Christmas and New Years were spectacular and spent with lots of friends and family. Mine definitely were. I’ve been home at my parents’ house for the past two and a half weeks and it has been amazing. Especially after such a stressful and ridiculous exam week. But I survived and now I’m gearing up for another semester. We’ll be taking the hardest class in all of pharmacy school this semester, and I’m really hoping that it won’t take out all of my precious free time, but I’m thinking it just might. I will try my best to keep cooking and posting though!
They say that your taste buds are recycled and replaced with new ones about every 7 years, and with this replacement your tastes can sometimes change as well. I’m sure we all can think of foods that we once loved but now can’t stand, or vice versa. One of these for me is sweet potatoes. I never used to like them – I wouldn’t touch them whenever my parents made them (mainly at Thanksgiving and Christmas), even though I had no problem picking off the gooey toasted marshmallows from the top of them! This year though, I found a really promising recipe for a sweet potato casserole that I wanted to try. I figured if I didn’t like it, I was pretty sure that the rest of my family would. Surprisingly enough though, I couldn’t get enough of it, and not just the marshmallows on top this time! I think the combination of brown sugar, honey and cinnamon really helped with that. Those three ingredients are high on my list of favorite things, so they’re bound to make even the lame sweet potato taste good.
I’ve made this a couple of times since then, and I have one word of advice: do NOT microwave the sweet potato to cook it. I know, it’s so much easier and takes less time than baking it in the oven, but the one time I tried to microwave it, it was a disaster. Instead of getting the creamy, fragrant sweet potato mixture, I got a sticky, gummy glob of grossness. It was disgusting. I’ve always been a little suspicious of the idea of baking a potato in the microwave, and now I’ve been proven correct. So take the little bit of extra time and bake the sweet potatoes in the oven. I promise, it’s worth it!
I’ve given a range on most of the amounts in this recipe because it should really be made the suit the tastes of those who are eating it. For example, I like lots of brown sugar and honey in mine, but my parents like to rely more on the natural sweetness of the sweet potato, and use a lot less. I would start out at the minimum amount and keep adding more until it tastes right to you. There are also a lot of other things you could add in to add a nice crunch and some extra flavor. I like to keep mine plain, but I’ve added toasted pecans, raisins and apples to it before and that’s been pretty tasty, too.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Makes: 4 servings
2 large sweet potatoes
1/4 – 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp – 1/4 c. honey
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. mini marshmallows
Optional add-ins: toasted pecans, chopped apples, raisins
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray. It would be best if the cookie sheet had sides, like a jelly-roll pan.
2) Place the sweet potatoes on the cookie sheet and prick a few times with a fork. Bake for 40-50 minutes until very soft (a knife will go easily through the potato when done.)
3) Trim the ends of each potato and peel the skin off. Mash the potatoes in a large bowl until smooth. Add in the brown sugar, honey, cinnamon and vanilla, mixing well. If the mixture is too thick, add a few drops of milk until the desired consistency is reached.
4) Spoon the sweet potato mixture into a greased baking dish and spread evenly. Top with the marshmallows.
5) Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until potato mixture is warmed through and marshmallows are browned, about 15-20 minutes.