Sweet Potato Hot Dish

March and April are tricky times of the year. The spring produce isn’t really in season yet, but neither are the root vegetables of Winter. So if you’ve got a few less than fresh sweet potatoes lying around, like I did, here’s a way to use them up that’s both tasty and healthy!

This is a recipe adapted from Cooking Light, they called it sweet potato mac n’ cheese, but based on the sweet-potato-to-cheese ratio, and maybe the fact that I’m Minnesotan, I really thought this qualified as more of a hot dish*.

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Sweet Potato Fries

I love sweet potatoes. For me, sweet potatoes are like the candy of vegetables. I get lots of healthy fiber and vitamin A, and I can put cinnamon and maple syrup on it? Yes please!

So really, it’s no surprise that I love sweet potato fries. It’s a natural extension of my adoration for sweet-meets-salty, and I can pretend they’re healthy because they are, after all, a vegetable.

What is surprising is that I have never attempted to make them on my own. The only fries I’ve ever had at home came from a bag, so I was a little intimidated when I decided to take these on. But once those puppies were fresh out of the oven, I just sat there and munched away, straight from the pan! For anyone toying with the idea of making fries at home, go for it! They’re easy, amazingly delicious and much lower in fat since mine are baked and not fried. Even my sweet potato hating boyfriend (How I ask you, HOW do you hate sweet potatoes?) went back for seconds.

Ingredients: Makes about 3 servings depending on how much you love sweet potato

  • 3 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley – substitute dried if you don’t have fresh on hand
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes in long sticks, about 1/4 inch thick.
2. Lay the fries in a shallow baking dish in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the garlic and parsley over the top. Mix, making sure all the fries are coated and put in the oven.
3. Bake for approximately 17 minutes, then switch the oven to broil and cook a few minutes longer to get a nice crispy outside.
4. Pull out of the oven and serve up with your favorite burger!

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream

Welcome to Day 1 of my Halloween series! All week, I’ll be posting tasty treats, perfect for your Halloween party needs! No costume required, just sit back, relax and let the treats come to you.

These are the perfect treat to bring to bring to your boss’s Halloween potluck party. Their tiny size makes them easy to fit on plates already piled with food and lessens the guilt of eating three in a row, you can make tons of mini cupcakes with a regular amount of batter, and with a simple garnish they lend a sophistication that says “Why yes, Mr. Robinson, I can get you that report you’re demanding in 20 minutes while still maintaining my perfectly calm outward appearance, and please remember these delicious cupcakes when you consider my raise.

I had never made mini cupcakes before, but I do own a mini cupcake pan; the result of my wild fantasies about seas of adorably frosted mini cupcakes while at a Pampered Chef party. It had been sitting in the back of my cupboard for quite some time, so I figured it was time for a test run!

And oh boy, am I ever glad I have that mini cupcake pan now! Mini cupcakes are almost easier to make than their big sisters. They have a shorter baking time, you can fit 24 of these little babies in a pan and your frosting time is cut in half! I would seriously recommend investing in a mini cupcake pan, if for no other reason than they put a fresh twist on a potluck staple.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 6 ounces (or one small) sweet potato, cooked and mashed
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2 sticks of butter (1 cup), room temperature
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 tbsp. dark maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup crushed pecans for garnish (optional)
For the cupcakes:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the first six ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
    3. Cream the butter in an electric mixer and slowly add the sugar until fully combined.
    4. Add the buttermilk, egg, sweet potato and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat until           combined. Be careful not to over mix!
    5. Add the flour mixture in batches and mix until there are no lumps in the batter, but               again, be careful not to over mix. You’ll get adorable little cupcake shaped rocks                 instead of adorable little cupcakes.
    6. Once the batter is mixed, line your mini cupcake pan with mini cupcake liners and                use a small ice-cream scoop to fill each cup 2/3 full.
    7. Bake in the oven for 11 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the               cupcakes comes out clean.
    8. Take out your cakes and let them cool to room temperature before frosting. While               you’re waiting is the perfect time to make that frosting!
For the Frosting:
  1. Cream the butter in a bowl with an electric mixer. Use the whisk attachment if you have one.
  2. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.
  3. Slowly add the sugar. Note: I usually use a rough ratio of 1:1 for my butter and powdered sugar (1 stick to 1 cup). Feel free to adjust for your desired level of stiffness and sweetness.
  4. Add the maple syrup a tablespoon at a time, beating throughly after each addition. Feel free to sample the batch after each tablespoon until you get the desired strength of mapley-ness!
  5. Secret Tip: Spoon the frosting into a zip lock bag. Squeeze the air out, seal the bag, snip off one corner and use that as a piping bag to get perfectly swirled frosting on your cupcakes.
  6. Crush some pecans and sprinkle them over your frosted cupcakes. This is totally optional, but it does look pretty and adds a nice salty note to counteract the sweetness of the frosting.
  7. Watch your little creations disappear!