Friday, October 26, 2012

Sweet Potato Casserole

I guess you can sense a theme to the past few posts: Orange Autumn-inspired dishes!  'Tis the season for me to go overboard with wonderfully comforting vegetables such as butternut squash and pumpkin.  Another favorite is sweet potatoes, especially when they've been baking in the oven to the point that they are super sweet and need no butter (yet I still must use butter!).

I was a little bit too excited when I stumbled upon roasted, mashed sweet potatoes in the freezer section at Trader Joe's.  I was even more excited after reading the ingredients - Sweet potatoes and nothing else.  I was expecting them to be sweetened, but they weren't.  As much as I love baking a sweet potato, I don't always have time.  And let's face it, a potato "baked" in the microwave just never tastes as good as the real deal.  Baking the potato makes it so caramelized and there isn't much that comes close to that rich flavor!

This dish came together really easily (mainly because of the frozen potatoes).  I was roasting a chicken for dinner, so I just put the potatoes in the oven at the same time.  These potatoes are also a lighter alternative to some other sweet potato casseroles that are full of butter and sugar.  Not that there's anything wrong with that!

I would definitely make this dish again and I will be sure to stock up on a few bags of these potatoes next time I'm at Trader Joe's!

Sweet Potato Casserole
Serves 4-6

1 bag Trader Joe's frozen roasted mashed potatoes
1-2 T maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like your potatoes)
Handful dried cranberries
Handful pecans
Salt & pepper

The lineup: Dried cranberries, maple syrup, sweet potatoes, pepper, cinnamon, and salt.  Missing from the photo: pecans 

Sweet potato "puck"
Preheat oven to 450.  Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick spray.  Place the potatoes in a single layer in the prepared casserole dish.  Sprinkle with cinnamon, salt, and pepper (all to taste).  Sprinkle the cranberries and pecans (I just broke up the pecans in my hand) over the potatoes.  Drizzle with syrup.  Cover the dish with foil and bake for about an hour or until the potatoes are cooked through (should easily squish when you gently touch them).  You can serve as is, or stir to combine like I did.

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