I have an embarrassing confession to make.
I hate sweet potatoes.
Horrid, right? What kind of southern girl hates sweet potatoes? That’s like, sacrilegious. Up until recently, that has been my deep, dark, sad secret. In fact, I try them every year at Thanksgiving just to see if maybe I’ve outgrown this problem, all to no avail.
Not too long ago, I tried some sweet potato fries, which were pretty yummy, so I decided that it may be time for me to try this Louisiana staple again. I’d been searching for a recipe that had the potential to convert me, and finally found one online. Monday night, I put these together and shoved them in the fridge to go with whatever I decided to make for dinner on Tuesday night:
Those just happened to be maple-topped, twice-baked sweet potatoes. Don’t they look pretty? They are loaded down with plenty of tasty, fattening ingredients that I will probably regret when I meet my scale later. On Tuesday morning, I started a Balsamic Roast in the Crockpot. Tuesdays are always the worst day of the week, so I figured the Crockpot would give me a leg up on the bad-day-meets-5-o’clock-dinner-rush. On Tuesday night, I rushed home, and threw my sweet potatoes in the oven. They came out looking like this:
They smelled soooooo good, and were like a bit of Fall aromatherapy for forgetting the 102 degree heat outside. I became very hopeful that this experiment would not end in disappointment. But, after I took them out of the oven, it occurred to me that these potatoes really do not go with a Balsamic Roast, and cooking additional rice or potatoes violates some inner mandate I have in my mind about serving two starches in a meal. WONDERFUL foresight on my part, I know. I quickly threw together some garlic bread:
My theory was that I could tear off large chunks of the bread and serve the roast over that. I know what you’re thinking smartass—bread IS a starch…but not in Louisiana. Bread is its’ own meal component (ya know, protein+starch+2 veggies+a bread= a meal). So, that crisis was averted, but then I realized I neglected to plan any vegetable with dinner. *smacked forehead here* I quickly whipped up some glazed carrots, because that’s the first thing I saw when I opened my fridge:
Only later did I realize I now had a plate full of two very orange things, thereby violating some inner mandate I have regarding meal color diversity:
At this point, I was ready to throw in the towel and retreat whimpering into my wine. The curse of Tuesday had struck again, and while I did get a hot meal to the table in 30 minutes after work, I could hear my inner-mom voice saying “what the heck kind of menu is this??” So, I did what any self-respecting, tired, working mom would do…I drowned that voice in Chardonnay, and patted myself on the back for providing my family a hot meal that did not come from a drive-thru…orange or not.
Regardless, it all turned out to be awesome. I loved the potatoes, as did my husband. In fact, he wants them to replace our old Thanksgiving sweet potatoes, because they are that good. You should try them too:
Maple-Topped Sweet Potato Skins
- 6 sweet potatoes
- 1/2 c. cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 c. sour cream
- 2 t. cinnamon, divided
- 2 t. nutmeg, divided (I grate mine fresh from a whole nutmeg. You can find them now in the spice section with all the McCormick’s spices and use a micro-plane grater. The bottle will set you back nearly 10$, but I’m still working on my first nutmeg of the four that were in there, and I bought the bottle a year ago)
- 2 t. ground ginger, divided
- 2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans
- 3 T. butter, softened
- 1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
- 2 to 4 T. warm maple syrup, depending on your preference
Pierce potatoes with a fork. Bake at 400 degrees until tender; cool. Slice each potato in half lengthwise; scoop out baked insides, keeping skins intact. Place potato skins on an ungreased baking sheet. Mash baked potato in a bowl until smooth; add cream cheese, sour cream and one teaspoon each of spices. Mix well and spoon into potato skins. In a bowl, mix nuts, butter, brown sugar and remaining spices; sprinkle over top. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-25 minutes, or until hot and golden and yummy. Drizzle with warm maple syrup. Makes one dozen.