Direct Your Dining: Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole

Direct Your Dining: Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole

Welcome to Direct Your Dining! This cooking series will introduce you to energy efficient recipes full of tips to keep your meals delicious without using every appliance in the kitchen. Preparing recipes with energy efficiency in mind at least once a week will make cooking a little easier, and may even help reduce your monthly electricity bill. Check in every week for a new recipe full of flavor and creativity that will surely impress your friends and family.

Direct Your Dining: Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potatoes + marshmallows = Thanksgiving goodness!

Thanksgiving dinner in the South is not complete unless there is a decadent sweet potato-based dish sitting right alongside the turkey. Holiday meals usually includes more people than usual eating at the same time, which means you need to make more food – which requires increased energy usage. Don’t let the idea of preparing lots of dishes intimidate you as you stay energy conscious. This week’s recipe is a flavorful and delicious casserole that still manages to keep your energy use low.

I discussed alternate methods for preparing sweet potatoes in my Meatless Monday Autumn Hash recipe from last month. For this recipe, it took 4 sweet potatoes to yield the 4 cups of mashed prepared sweet potato needed to make the casserole. Even with having to do a couple rounds in the microwave, 15 minutes of total microwave time is way less than at least an hour of baking in the oven time.  As you can see in the photos for today, you can even skip the peeling and cutting step and just cut the microwaved potatoes in half and scoop the “baked” part right out with a spoon!

The best thing about this recipe with regards to flavor is my combination of sweets, spices, creamy, and crunchy elements to create the perfect sweet potato casserole. I use cinnamon, cloves, and ground ginger in my recipe to give a hint of spice that works perfectly with the sweet and creamy elements added to the filling.

Direct Your Dining: Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole
Like you really need an excuse to add more marshmallows to this dish.

To further increase your energy savings, my filling doesn’t use eggs and my topping is mostly pecans, and this shrinks the cooking time in the oven from 30 to 40 minutes to just 15 minutes. Nobody will know you did a couple of energy saving changes to a traditional recipe because the flavor is amazing!

You can also get creative with your sweet potato casserole topping designs! I’ve seen recipes online where people make designs or zig zag lines alternating nut toppings and marshmallows. I personally mix in mini marshmallows into the sweet potatoes for little marshmallow bombs to melt right into the casserole.

Let’s get cooking!

Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole

Filling Ingredients:

Direct Your Dining: Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potatoes are such a diverse food.
  • 4-5 Sweet potatoes, cooked (baked in microwave)
  • 1/3 c. Sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ c. Mini marshmallows
  • ¼ c. Mascarpone cheese, melted (or butter)
  • 1 tbsp. Maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. Pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. Sea salt

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ c. Chopped pecans
  • ¼ c. Light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Turbinado sugar
  • 1/3 c. All-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. Melted butter
  • ¼ tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground ginger
  • 1 c. Mini marshmallows (more or less dependent on casserole dish size)

Directions:

Direct Your Dining: Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole
Truly – baking your sweet potato in the microwave will save you considerable time and energy compared to preparing in the oven.

1) Wash the medium sized sweet potatoes. Poke a dozen holes a couple inches apart in each one with a fork. Wet 2 paper towels per potato and wrap the potatoes in the damp paper towels. Microwave 2 potatoes at a time for approximately 7 minutes or until soft (bigger potatoes take a little longer).

Direct Your Dining: Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole
The peel of the sweet potato tastes good in other dishes, but not this casserole. Send it to your compost bin!

2) Once all sweet potatoes have been microwaved and left to cool for a couple minutes, cut them in half, scoop out the “baked” insides, and discard the skins. Measure out 4 cups. Sprinkle the cinnamon, ground cloves, and sea salt over the potatoes.  Begin to mash with a potato masher.

Direct Your Dining: Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole
It’s all coming together now…

3) Continue to mash the spiced sweet potatoes and add in the sweetened condensed milk, melted mascarpone cheese, and maple syrup. Fold in the ¾ cup of mini marshmallows in with the sweet potato mash and spoon it into a lightly greased (with butter or spray) casserole dish.

Direct Your Dining: Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole
Now comes the sweetness and crunch.

4) In a small mixing bowl, add the pecans, brown sugar, turbinado sugar, spices, and flour from the topping ingredients list. Pour the melted butter over this mixture and mix all together for the pecan topping.

Direct Your Dining: Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole
Get in that oven!

5) Spread the pecan topping around the outer edges of the casserole dish as shown in photos. 6) Fill in the space left in the middle with a pile of mini marshmallows.

7) Bake in 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 minutes to cook pecan topping and brown marshmallows.

Direct Your Dining: Spiced Sweet Potato Casserole
Yes! It’s time to eat!

8) Serve alongside your other Thanksgiving side dishes or with any dinner!

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes to make for your family and friends? Share with us in the comments, and I will see you next week for another Direct Your Dining recipe!

Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan

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