#SweetShortcuts

Between work, social lives and just gettin’ some rest, sometimes it feels like having well-balanced meals aren’t an option.  But once again, sweet potatoes are here to save the day! We’ve rounded up the best #SweetShortcuts to make life a little bit easier and definitely more delicious.

bfast-potatoesCarrots ‘N’ Cake has a simple & easy way to give a kick to your ordinary potato hash! Featuring a mix of russet & sweet potatoes and garnished with steak seasoning, this big batch can last you through the entire week in any meal of the day. Crack an egg on top for breakfast or add to a veggie bowl for lunch or dinner. No time? No worries!

sp-burritoWe know meal-prep is all the rage these days, so we couldn’t help but want to share Kim’s Cravings‘ Sweet Potato Breakfast Burritos that are freezer-friendly. Got about an hour to spare on the weekend? Make these little guys, wrap in foil or plastic wrap and put them in the freezer. They’ll be waiting for you on your busiest morning when you’re on-the-go!

For more quick and easy ways to enjoy sweet potatoes, take a look at our “How-to” page! From cutting to baking, microwaving or  grilling, there’s so many ways to prep these spuds for a fast meal!

What are some of your favorite #SweetShortcuts? Tag us in your ideas for a chance to be featured for our #WhatWeDig!

A Quick and Easy Holiday Recipe

Spicy Sweet Potato Patties
Thanksgiving has come and gone and all of my sweet potato recipes were a hit. Now we can turn our attentions to the upcoming Christmas season. December seems to be moving rapidly past and along with the threat of snow, each new day brings more things to do. This weeks recipe is perfect for anyone feeling the time crunch. It is fast, healthy and easy. You can make it from leftover sweet potatoes (of course, I never have any left over), and you can make it early and freeze for an upcoming party or get-together. This recipe has just the right amount of spice to add warmth to a cold winters night and plenty of nutrients to fuel another day of shopping, traveling, decorating and holiday activity.
Ingredients:
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
4 eggs
5 cups grated raw sweet potato ( or 5 cups plain mashed sweet potatoes)
1 cup grated onion
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoons diced fresh red chili or 1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs, then mix in remaining ingredients and spices.
2. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet and oil lightly. Drop batter by spoonful into the pan and cook slowly on each side until cakes are very golden on each side, about 25 minutes. If you started with mashed potatoes, it may cook faster. Keep warm under a tea towel while cooking the remaining cakes.

Makes 12

Classic Recipes with a New Twist

I have spent the last week sorting through my stacks of recipe books and recipe cards. As I have done so, I have rediscovered some family favorites. Some belonging to my mother and even my grandmother. That’s the wonderful thing about recipes – they become part of our own traditions as they get passed along to family and friends. The first recipe I want to share with you began life as a classic mashed sweet potato dish, but over time it has become a quicker, and easier version that now has less fat and more nutrients than the traditional version.

And while you are mashing your sassy sweets, be sure to sit two spuds aside to make a classic Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake. This recipe dates back to at least the 1940s, but it is anything but old-fashioned. This decadent treat is so moist and rich you will swear it was made by a noveau gourmet. This cake is packed with ingredients that take you on a pleasant stroll down memory lane. When I was a little girl, I helped my Granny prepare it. I ate this cake thinking it was a reward for helping prepare it. Little did I know that I was a mini-toddler sous chef!

This week, why not add these to your own collection of family favorites. Taste them, tweak them, and be sure to share them with friends.

Spicy Mashed Sweets

Ingredients
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 2 medium purple onions,  diced
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons light maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted
Instructions
  1. Peel and cube sweet potatoes. Combine sweet potatoes, onions margarine and salt in a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish.
     
  2. Bake, covered, at 375 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes or until potato is tender. Remove from oven.  
  3. Add syrup,lemon juice, red pepper, cumin and cinnamon; mash, leaving a few lumps.
     
  4. Sprinkle with pecans.

    Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake

    Ingredients

    • 2/3 cup butter, softened
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 4 eggs
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon baking cocoa
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked, mashed and cooled
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 cups chopped pecans
    • 1/2 cup raisins
    • Confectioners’ sugar, optional



    Directions

    In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and spices; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Beat in sweet potatoes and vanilla until blended. Stir in pecans and raisins.

    Transfer to a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350° for 70-80 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired. Yield: 12-16 servings.

    A Sweet and Savory Thanksgiving!

    Orange Glazed Sweet Potatoes

    This is the time of year when our Sassy Sweets really get the attention they deserve.  Would any Thanksgiving meal really be complete without sweet potatoes.  When my family gets together for Turkey Day, it is not unusual to have two or even three sweet potato dishes.  And why not?  Sweet potatoes are so versatile – roasted, mashed, fried, baked, boiled, and of course, casseroled!  The possibilities are endless. Unlike a lot of the foods we might consume in the coming weeks, sweet potatoes are really good for us. Just 4 ounces of sweet potatoes exceeds the RDA of Vitamin A, plus you get lots of fiber and potassium to boot.

    Since Sweets are so versatile, I decided to offer two recipes this week.  Both are roasted, but one is savory and the other is a little sweet.  Both are super quick and easy to make and both are delicious additions to any Thanksgiving meal plan. Bon Appetit and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

    Orange Glazed Sweet Potatoes 

    The tartness of the orange combines with the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes to make a dish that you will not soon forget. This one is almost guaranteed to become a holiday tradition.

    1 tablespoon butter
    3 large sweet potatoes or yams
    1 cup orange juice
    1 teaspoon grated orange peel
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar

    1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat a 9” x 9” baking dish with cooking spray.
    2. Brown butter in a small skillet over medium heat, swirling the skillet, until butter turns a nutty color. Remove from the heat and set aside.
    3. Peel sweet potatoes or yams, cut in half lengthwise, and then into 1/2”-thick slices. Place in the prepared baking dish. Pour orange juice over sweet potatoes or yams. Sprinkle with orange peel, salt, and nutmeg. Top with brown sugar and browned butter. Cover and bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until sweet potatoes or yams are crisp-tender. Uncover and cook 12 to 15 minutes, or until juices are almost absorbed

    Savory Onion Roasted Sweet Potatoes 

    This recipe is packed with so much flavor! Your guests will never realize that it only takes about 10 minutes of prep time.

    Ingredients:

    1 Envelope Onion Soup Mix
    4 – 6 Medium Sweet Potatoes, Cut into bite size pieces.
    1 small onion, cut into small chunks
    ⅓ cup vegetable oil
    Fresh herbs (parsley, chives, or rosemary are my faves)

    Instructions:

    Mix all ingredients in a 9×13 baking dish.  Toss until well coated.  Chop fresh herbs (or use whole sprigs of rosemary) and sprinkle over sweet potatoes. 

    Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or 425 degrees for 35 minutes.

    Warm Winter Food

    As the cold of winter approaches, I find myself looking for something hot to eat.  Not just steamy hot, a warm bowl of soup is great, but I like to have spicy hot as well.  Something that warms you from the inside and really stays with you.  One of my favorite winter recipes is Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Sweet Potatoes.  This aromatic Caribbean dish uses all of the “warm” spices” that conjure thoughts of fall at the very mention of their names.  Cloves, Cinnamon, Ginger and Allspice add their sweet warmth to an already pungent sauce seasoned with scotch bonnet peppers.

    Jerk Chicken gets its name from the  Quechua word charqui. Meaning dried meat. It is the same word that gave us Beef “Jerky”, but not for the same reason as Jerk Chicken.  In the southern parts of the world, especially the islands, dried meats were laid out on a grid of Allspice tree bark.  Imparting the same wonderful flavors that cause us to “jerk” the meat off of the bone today.  Blended with the other island spices, poured over beautiful sweet potatoes and topped with chicken. It’s the perfect meal for a cold winter’s night and it bakes in one pot for easy cleanup.  The sweetness of the potatoes mellows the heat for a dish that is so perfectly balanced, you have to try it to believe it.

    Jerk Marinade

    • 1/4 cup ground allspice
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
    • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 6 green onions
    • 2-3 scotch bonnet peppers (or Jalapenos for milder sauce)
    • 3-4 garlic cloves
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 Tablespoon oil
    • 2 teaspoons thyme
    • 1 bay leaf

    Directions:

    1. Roughly chop ginger, garlic, green onions, and jalapenos. For the peppers, remove seeds to reduce level of spice to suit personal taste.
    2. Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender, blend until fully pureed into a thick sauce.
    Marinade will season 8 pieces of chicken.  If possible, place your chicken in the marinade for 4 hours or overnight.  The longer it marinates, the better the flavor will be.
    One Dish Casserole
    • 4 pieces chicken (thighs work well)
    • 1/4 cup Jamaican jerk seasoning mix
    • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
    • 3 cups sweet potato, peeled and cubed
    • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  1. Preheat oven temperature to 400F (200C)
  2. In a medium casserole, add pineapple and sweet potato. Toss with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and arrange in an even layer.
  3. Mix chicken pieces with 1/4 cup Jamaican jerk seasoning until chicken is covered thoroughly. If possible, allow the chicken to marinate overnight for more flavor.
  4. Place chicken pieces in the casserole dish on top of the pineapple and sweet potato layer.
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until chicken tests done and sweet potatoes are tender.
  6. Preheat oven temperature to 400F (200C)
  7. In a medium casserole, add pineapple and sweet potato. Toss with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and arrange in an even layer.
  8. Mix chicken pieces with 1/4 cup Jamaican jerk seasoning until chicken is covered thoroughly. If possible, allow the chicken to marinate overnight for more flavor.
  9. Place chicken pieces in the casserole dish on top of the pineapple and sweet potato layer.
  10. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until chicken tests done and sweet potatoes are tender.
  11. Preheat oven temperature to 400F (200C)
  12. In a medium casserole, add pineapple and sweet potato. Toss with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and arrange in an even layer.
  13. Mix chicken pieces with 1/4 cup Jamaican jerk seasoning until chicken is covered thoroughly. If possible, allow the chicken to marinate overnight for more flavor.
  14. Place chicken pieces in the casserole dish on top of the pineapple and sweet potato layer.
  15. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until chicken tests done and sweet potatoes are tender.
  16. Directions:
    1. Preheat oven temperature to 400F (200C)
    2. In a medium casserole, add pineapple and sweet potato. Toss with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and arrange in an even layer.
    3. Mix chicken pieces with 1/4 cup Jamaican jerk seasoning until chicken is covered thoroughly. If possible, allow the chicken to marinate overnight for more flavor.
    4. Place chicken pieces in the casserole dish on top of the pineapple and sweet potato layer.
    5. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until chicken tests done and sweet potatoes are tender.

    ______________________________________________________________________________

    Christmas Tip

    Make your holiday sweet potato pies with Eggnog.  It adds a double punch of smooth and creamy, with just the right touch of seasonal spices.

      The Race Is On

      It is just past the start of summer and already the busy seasonal rush is in full swing. I had a great 4th of July and capped off the week with a trip to Norfolk Naval Station to tour a Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier. It was a very cool trip and when I arrived back home, I found that my garden runneth over. Ripe red tomatoes, fresh squash, zucchini’s as big as canoes, cucumbers and more were all waiting to be picked. Meanwhile, I need to get caught up from my trip and prepare for the upcoming week. The summer rush is on. This week, I will be freezing, and preserving all those garden delights so I will be quick and easy meals to give me more time. Grilling is always a great way to save time, and my dear hubby loves to cook outside after we are done toiling in the soil. Veggie kabobs are an easy way to use up some of your garden splendor. And if you don’t have your own garden, pay a visit to your local farmers market. Fresh food really is the best.

      These gorgeous kabobs combine the flavors summer squash, sweet potatoes, pineapple and bell peppers together with flame-kissed goodness.

      This quick kabob is perfect as a side and hearty enough to be a meal by itself. If you do not have enough veggies on hand and are too busy to make a grocery run, try these delightful Sweet Potato Rounds from the great chefs at the NC Sweet Potato Commission. They are quick easy and oh, so tasty.


      Grilled Vegetable Kabobs

      Ingredients:
      1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch chunks
      1/2 cup water
      3 tablespoons olive oil
      2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
      1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder or cayenne
      Salt and pepper to taste
      1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 2-inch chunks
      1 green bell pepper, seeded, cut into 2-inch chunks
      1 cup pineapple chunks
      8 (8- to 10-inch) skewers

      Directions:
      Remember, if you are using wooden skewers, soak them for 20 minutes before grilling to prevent burning.

      1. Place the potato chunks in a microwave-safe 2-quart casserole dish along with water. Cover and microwave for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are firm tender (do not overcook – they will be too mushy to grill).

      2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, parsley, chipotle, salt and pepper. Pour over the potatoes, mixing to coat. Alternately thread the potatoes, bell peppers, and pineapple onto skewers.

      3. Preheat grill to medium-high. Grill the kabobs, turning frequently, for 15 minutes, or until a nice brown crust forms.

      I Got One – Sweet Sweet Summer

      At long last, summer is here! Nothing says summer in the garden like juicy, ripe tomatoes hot off the vine. When I pick the first ripe tomato, I know summer has really arrived. And, finally, I got one – my first ripe tomato! After weeks of patiently watering, fertilizing, and pampering my plants, I was rewarded with a sweet, juicy, bright red fruit – Delicious.

      A ripe tomato is how I mark the beginning of the season, but for those that want a more “official” indicator, June 21st is the Summer Solstice. In addition to kicking off summer, June is also the traditional month for weddings. Many say that June’s favored status in the halls of marital bliss is directly related to the start of honey season. The nectar that those hardworking bees of the world gathered during Spring is ripe for the picking. This honey was traditionally made into mead and sweet treats and served at….you guessed it…weddings. This sweet coincidence gives us the word honeymoon. It is also the inspiration for this weeks recipe.


      PORK CHOP ROAST WITH HONEY SWEET POTATOES

      3 lg. sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled & halved
      6 pineapple slices
      6 bell pepper rings, cut 1/4″ thick
      6 onion slices, cut 1/4″ thick
      6 pork chops
      1/4 c. sifted flour
      2 tsp. salt
      2 tsp. oil
      1 tbsp. prepared mustard
      1 tbsp. brown sugar
      1/2 c. pineapple juice
      1/2 c. honey
      3 tbsp. melted butter

      1. Set out a large heavy skillet and a large shallow baking dish.
      2. Coat pork chops with a mixture of the flour, and salt.
      3. Heat the fat in the skillet over medium heat. Brown chops on both sides.
      4. Arrange pork chops in baking dish. Spread chops with the mustard and brown sugar. Top each chop with a pineapple slice, peppers and onions. Pour pineapple juice over chops.
      5. Coat sweet potatoes with a mixture of the honey and melted butter. Arrange cut side up around chops in baking dish. Cover.
      6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until meat is tender and thoroughly cooked.
      7. Garnish with Fresh Cilantro

      Create Your Own Spring Salad Bar


      Spring is a perfect time to host a luncheon. With so many fresh fruits and veggies in season, the flavors in your kitchen blossom as fast as the flowers outside. Keep the fare light and fresh with a Spring themed salad bar. The taste of spring is everywhere – strawberries fresh off the vine, fresh mesclun greens topped with a sizzle of pancetta and Ile de France Brie, toasty baguettes topped with fresh herb butters and Sweet Potato Butter. Try some Carolina Sweet Potato & Apple Salad, Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad, fresh fruit salad, or your own personal favorite.

      For that extra special touch, serve your salads a la carte, and give your guests Edible Cheese Bowls. Their beautiful golden color and lace-like texture adds an elegant (and delicious) accent to your meal. Firm aged cheeses such as Parmesan or Asiago work best. Another wonderful variety to try is the delicious Comte cheese. Each wheel has a unique flavor with flavors varying from nutty to sweet and fruity.

      To prepare, melt butter in a small skillet and sprinkle in a thin layer of grated cheese. Arrange your cheese in about a six inch circle. Cook on medium heat. As soon as the edges are golden brown and the cheese is bubbling in the center, remove pan from heat. Let cool for 30 seconds and then lift out the cheese with a spatula. Invert hot cheese onto the bottom of a bowl or glass. As it cools, it will form a beautiful edible bowl! What could be better that a salad bowl made out of fried cheese? Try adding chopped pecans, or a sprinkling of fresh chives as it cooks. The possibilities are endless.

      _____________________________
      Fun Tip:

      You can make your own flavored and herb butters by softening butter at room temperature and then stirring in the flavors. Roll it up in plastic wrap or wax paper and put it back in the fridge. It’s that easy. Try strawberry-mint butter, dill-Parmesan butter, or even orange-ginger butter. Let your imagination run wild.

      And The Winner Is….

      Sweet Potato & Rosemary Pizza

      What is this pizza, other than piquant provolone balanced with bold flavors of rosemary and nutmeg and topped with divinely caramelized sweet potatoes? It is a masterpiece of simplicity. It is a symphony of flavors that sing to the palate. It is all this and it is the $1000 Grand Prize winner in the Short ‘n Sassy recipe contest. Slashfood had the enviable task of tasting all of the recipes as part of the judging team. I am sure the final decision was a tough one, with so many unique options. You can read more about the judging here. Thank you to all of the entrants for your wonderful recipes.

      Congratulations Michelle Noyola on your win!

      Sweet Potato & Rosemary Pizza

      1 premade pizza dough, or bread dough brought to room temp.

      8 – 10 slices provolone cheese
      1 sweet potato, peeled and very thinly sliced
      1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
      1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese
      1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      2 Tablespoons olive oil
      salt and pepper

      Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

      Roll out dough to about a 10 inch round. Brush with some olive oil. Cover with a single layer of provolone slices. Cover cheese with a single layer of the sweet potato slices. Sprinkle with rosemary leaves, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.