Sweet Potato Boats

HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY!

When I think about Autumn here in Canada, it could be likened to a      van Gogh painting. The landscape transforms into a beautiful tapestry of red, gold and yellow. As the days grow shorter and the mornings darker, your tastes turn from salads and cool drinks to your favorite comfort foods. Smells that bring you back to your childhood……. evoking so much from one moment in time is the sheer essence of Autumn.

The truth being is that fall just gives us a different perspective. The word Thanksgiving  itself makes one pause and ask, what am I thankful for this year? We start to reflect on the year we have had with it’s inevitable highs and lows.

Fall also represents a time of change. As nature bursts with it’s fabulous fall foliage, it gives us a little bit of extra time to make the most of what we have left in this year before the grand finale.

For the last 60 years, Canada has celebrated Thanksgiving Day on the second Monday in October. It’s one of those holidays that tend to bring families together, both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately though, in this highly technological age, it seems as if we have become more connected digitally than emotionally. Thinking about the food aspect of this holiday, sweet potatoes have become synonymous with Thanksgiving (and Fall).

Native to Central and South America, sweet potatoes are some of the oldest vegetables on the planet. Distantly related to commonplace, starchy Russets and Yukon Golds. Western markets have tagged some sweet potatoes with the deceptive name ‘yams’ to differentiate the southern from the northern crops. True yams are rough-skinned tubers, related to lilies.

Enter the ‘Candied Yam Casserole’. It seems to be the most divisive of the side dishes served, a real ‘love-it-or-hate-it’ kind of thing. Definitely not a venerated Thanksgiving tradition but more of a marketing promotion that caught on. It was 1917 when the first instance of sweet potatoes baked with a coat of marshmallows appeared in a recipe booklet commissioned by Angelus Marshmallow Company. The recipes in the booklet showed you how to incorporate marshmallows into everyday dishes so that their product wouldn’t fail and ‘viola’, the classic and capitalistic pairing was born.

I do remember my mother making this casserole for our special Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, being a kid that loved sweets, it tasted real good. At this point in time, I would rather just have them with salt and pepper for most part.

My blog recipe is one I came across in a Pillsbury booklet from 2010          ( pillsbury.com ). We have enjoyed it several times as it fits in perfect with a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Sweet Potato Boats
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Sweet Potato Boats
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
8
Servings
8
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil; spray with cooking spray. Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork & rub with oil. Place on baking sheet & bake 45-55 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp; remove & drain on paper towel. In bacon drippings, cook onion & celery about 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Add broth & 2 Tbsp butter; heat to boiling. Stir in stuffing mix, cranberries & 2 Tbsp of the walnuts. Remove from heat, cover & set aside.
  3. Remove sweet potatoes from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 F. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out potato flesh, leaving a 1/3-inch thick wall on inside of shell; set aside. Place potato flesh in a large bowl. Add 2 Tbsp syrup, remaining 2 Tbsp butter & the nutmeg; mash. Spoon about 1/2 cup of stuffing mixture into each potato shell; spoon mashed sweet potato mixture over stuffing, leaving some stuffing exposed around side of shell.
  4. Line a baking sheet with foil again & spray with cooking spray. Place potato boats on sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle potatoes with crumbled bacon bits & remaining 2 Tbsp walnuts; drizzle with additional syrup.
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Mushroom Caps with Spinach Souffle

I’m sure the appeal of mushrooms isn’t for everyone. For me, I love that earthy taste. There is hardly anything you can’t use mushrooms in from appetizers to main course.

I remember when I was growing up on the farm we would sometimes find edible mushrooms especially on humid days. My father had an area where hay bales where kept for feeding the cattle in the winter. It seemed this was where these mushrooms would pop up. There was never any great amount — just enough so we each had a taste. Mom would fry them in butter and they were so good.

For company barbecues, I used to make a stuffed mushroom that everyone really enjoyed. The recipe used a frozen souffle product from the Stouffer company. The only problem was every time I needed it I couldn’t seem to find any to buy. Since there are endless kinds of stuffed mushrooms, why not just make a different kind? That would have been too easy! In this recipe I tried to achieve the same kind of spinach souffle.

Mushroom Caps with Spinach Souffle
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Nice light, tasty little morsels, great as hors d' oeuvres or part of the main meal
Servings
15
Servings
15
Mushroom Caps with Spinach Souffle
Yum
Print Recipe
Nice light, tasty little morsels, great as hors d' oeuvres or part of the main meal
Servings
15
Servings
15
Instructions
  1. In food processor, combine eggs, soup, onion, garlic powder, & salt; pulse for 30 seconds. Add spinach, bread crumbs, thyme, nutmeg & Parmesan. Blend for another 30 seconds. Set prepared souffle mixture aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Remove stems from mushrooms. Wipe mushrooms with a towel as opposed to rinsing them with water. Dip outside of 'cap' in bottled, Zesty Italian dressing. Place in a shallow baking dish; stuff caps with souffle mixture & sprinkle with a few more seasoned crumbs. Bake 15 minutes or until souffle mixture is set.
Recipe Notes
  • This recipe is easily halved or make the amount of mushrooms you need then bake the rest of the souffle mixture in a casserole dish.
  • Mushrooms can be made earlier in the day & placed in refrigerator until ready to bake & serve.
  • If you prefer, use an extra topping such as grated cheddar or bacon bits.
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