Streusel-Topped Sweet Potato Pie

10936676965 4d669ffd0d z Streusel Topped Sweet Potato Pie
This past Sunday, my hometown was hit by a tornado that completely devastated the area.

My best friend and her husband live just a block away from homes that were destroyed.

 Streusel Topped Sweet Potato Pie

Source

A neighboring town of about 15,000 people, just 9 miles from my parents’ house, had literally hundreds of homes destroyed and businesses damaged. The number of families without water, heat, power, or even a roof over their heads on Sunday night was mind-boggling. Currently, the town is closed off to help prevent more accidents.**

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Chicken and Smoked Sausage Stew

Chicken and smoked sausage stew e1354235433732 Chicken and Smoked Sausage Stew

I have a confession: I am really weirdly picky about soup.

Cheese had better be involved. Also, if there is cream in that situation, that’s even better. Bean-based soups are pretty good, too. But broth-based soups? Not exactly a fan. In fact, I tend to avoid them if possible. Sure, I’ll eat them…they just aren’t my favorite.

So when I found a broth-based stew recipe in Midwest Living magazine, I was surprised to find that it was calling to me, begging me to make it happen in my kitchen. I mean, of course I had to alter it quite a bit…but the general structure is still there. And there isn’t a drop of cream or speck of cheese in sight. And you know what? I really liked it. WEIRD, I know.

IMG 2694 e1354236531736 Chicken and Smoked Sausage Stew

In fact, my father has declared this to be his new favorite soup of all time. Big statement, right there. I think he would eat an entire pot of this soup by himself if he could. But if you’re going to eat a giant pot of soup, this might be the one to choose. It’s hearty and will warm you up from the inside out, but is full of all sorts of winter veggies to keep you healthy during these long, cold months. Plus, it freezes extremely well, making it a great option for making ahead and reheating later. Consider serving it on top of some brown rice for some extra hearty goodness.

Maybe this is all a sign that I’m starting to grow up and appreciate soups that are actually good for me…Yikes!

IMG 2682 e1354236476946 Chicken and Smoked Sausage Stew

Adapted from December 2012 Midwest Living Magazine.

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Stew
Yield: 6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups cubed sweet potato
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon each dried parsley and dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup cooked chicken
  • 1 13-ounce package smoked turkey sausage, sliced
  • ½ bunch kale, stems removed and cut into manageable pieces
Instructions
  1. In a dutch oven, saute onion, carrot and garlic in the oil until onion is soft. Add stock, potato, undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, dried herbs and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer 20-25 minutes, until potato is tender. Stir in chicken, sausage, and kale. Simmer until heated through and kale is wilted.
  2. Will last for about 4-5 days in the refrigerator and 3 months in the freezer.
Notes
The longer this sits, the more the flavor of the smoked turkey sausage mingles with the rest of the soup. You might consider making this the night before, then reheating and adding the kale just before serving.

 

Sweet Potato Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

IMG 2434 e1350260524181 Sweet Potato Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

I know, I know. While everyone else is going pumpkin crazy, I am clearly obsessing over the sweet potatoes. But how could I not? They’re just wonderful.

Any sweet potato farmers out there lookin’ for a lady to romance?

I told you last week that I would be bringing you another amazing bread pudding recipe, and you know that I like to keep my promises. And while last week’s recipe was good, the truly awesome thing about this recipe is that it utilizes just about every wonderful fall flavor I can name.

IMG 2427 e1350259223213 Sweet Potato Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

We start at the top with a caramel pecan sauce. Yep, things are starting off right.

Then we work our way down to a lightly sweet potato-flavored bread pudding. Ok, I can totally handle this.

And then, just when we thought things were perfect enough, we hit a layer of sweet, brown-sugar-and-butter-kissed apples at the bottom. Oh sweet child in Heaven, take me now; my life might be complete.

There is a chance that this might just be the perfect fall dessert. And if there were to be, I don’t know…say, a poultry-filled holiday looming in the near future, these bread puddings might be just the thing to replace that boring pumpkin pie.

But that’s just some crazy-talk for ya.

IMG 2435 e1350259141312 Sweet Potato Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

On a slightly different note, those of you who frequent EYHO may have noticed that my posting schedule has somewhat deviated recently from my normal Tuesday/Thursday schedule. That is because I have had the immense honor of guest posting on some amazing blogs – have you checked out my Raisin Bread Pudding and entered the Coffee-mate giveaway on The Realistic Nutritionist yet? And on Wednesday I will be featured on yet another great blog…so be sure to check back to see what is up!

Recipe adapted quite a bit from Southern Living.

Sweet Potato Caramel Apple Bread Pudding
Yield: 6 six-ounce ramekins
 
Ingredients
For the bread pudding:
  • 5 cups cubed bread (preferably a crusty Italian bread or something similar)
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
For the apples:
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
For the caramel pecan sauce:
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Place cubed bread into a large bowl.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all other bread pudding ingredients. Pour over the bread and stir to thoroughly combine. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 8.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease six 6-ounce ramekins; set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, toss together the apple slices with the lemon juice and cinnamon.
  5. In a skillet, melt together the butter and the brown sugar over medium-high heat. Add the apple slices and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the apples are just starting to soften around the edges and are coated in the butter and brown sugar. Remove from heat.
  6. Divide the apple slices evenly into the bottoms of each prepared ramekin, topping with any remaining brown sugar sauce.
  7. Spoon the chilled bread mixture on top of the apples.
  8. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes, covering with foil after 30 minutes.
  9. During the last 15 minutes of baking, prepare the sauce: In a medium skillet over medium heat, toast the pecans 3-5 minutes (stirring frequently), or until toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat.
  10. In a small saucepan, cook the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 3-4 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans.
  11. When the bread puddings have finished baking, remove from the oven and drizzle with the caramel sauce. Bake for an additional 5 minutes (uncovered), until sauce is heated through and begins to bubble. Serve warm.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes

IMG 2502 e1349053257329 Sweet Potato Cupcakes

Sometimes I feel like a salad.

More often I feel like a carb. Pick a carb, any carb.

And it is with that in mind that I apologize for the abundance of sweet carb-filled recipes that may show up here in the next couple of weeks.

I mean, I’m sorry…but I’m not really that sorry. Trust me, I’ve got some great recipes to share with you. Starting with this one.

Sweet potato cupcakes…topped with a lovely brown sugar frosting…and garnished with glazed pecans. Do I even need to say more??

IMG 2500 e1349053314740 Sweet Potato Cupcakes

I didn’t think so. After all, it’s rude to talk with your mouth full.

Frosting recipe from Cupcake Project.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes
 
Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup cooked, pureed sweet potato
  • ½ cup buttermilk
For the brown sugar frosting:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
For the glazed pecans:
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 heavy pinch cinnamon
Instructions
To make the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. On a piece of parchment paper (or in a medium bowl), sift together the flours, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and ginger. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugars until pale yellow and no clumps of brown sugar remain. Whisk in the coconut oil, vanilla, pureed sweet potato and buttermilk until thoroughly combined.
  4. Slowly add in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  5. Spoon batter into a lined baking tin and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting:
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium to medium-high heat. Add in the brown sugar; bring to a steady boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to boil for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Stir in the milk and return to a steady boil, still stirring. You should now have a lovely caramel sauce.
  3. Remove from heat and (carefully) pour into a medium bowl. Allow to cool.
  4. Once the mixture is lukewarm, beat in the powdered sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and your desired consistency, adding a bit more powdered sugar to thicken or a bit of hot water to thin.
  5. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes and quickly garnish with glazed pecans.
  6. Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To make the glazed pecans:
  1. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a medium skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. After several minutes, the sugar will start to get sticky, and with a bit more time will start to melt. Keep stirring to coat the pecans.
  4. When all of the sugar has melted and is a lovely amber color, Pour the pecans onto the prepared sheet pan. Use two forks to separate the pecans. Allow to cool. Use to garnish cupcakes. Store leftover pecans in an airtight container.
Notes
For a less coconut-y taste, substitute melted butter for half or all of the coconut oil in the cupcakes. Additionally, it is really important that your sweet potato be pureed and not just mashed in order to achieve a good cupcake texture, so give it a whirl in the food processor.

 

Southwestern Style Veggie Burgers

IMG 2416 e1348533686922 Southwestern Style Veggie Burgers

Umm…is it Friday yet?

No? Well, shoot.

I have to make a confession to you: Lately, my weekday meals have been a little on the sad side.

Now, weekends are a different story. Weekends have become my time to work on recipes for the blog, which means that I eat pretty well on Saturday and Sunday.

But during the week? Not so much.

I think a lot of it has to do with my new job. Don’t get me wrong – I love this job more than I even thought possible. But I have been working my @$$ off, and with a variety of other things happening in the evenings, I’m exhausted by the time I get home. I’m lucky to bother doing anything aside from collasping in bed, much less making a balanced meal for just myself.

IMG 2407 e1348533778805 Southwestern Style Veggie Burgers

So I’ve been trying to come up with things that I can make over the weekends and then either freeze for later or eat throughout the week. Chicken and noodles were an option recently. And last week I decided to give these Southwestern Style Veggie Burgers a try.

This recipe makes 8 decent-sized burgers, which means that there is enough to eat and put into the freezer for later meals. Just cook ‘em, let ‘em cool, and wrap ‘em up. Then just let ‘em thaw before reheating in a skillet. Easy. And quick…just what I’m looking for these days!

And hey…remember that taco seasoning from last week?

Yep, that’s totally going in these bad boys.

IMG 2414 e1348533767966 Southwestern Style Veggie Burgers

Adapted from Edible Perspective

Southwestern Style Veggie Burgers
Yield: 8 burgers
 
Ingredients
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups cubed sweet potatoes (skin on), cooked
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen corn
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 4-ounce can green chilis
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 6 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash half of the black beans completely. Add in the remainder of the beans, lightly mashing just to combined (less than half of the beans should be left whole).
  3. In a large bowl, mash the cooked sweet potato until each piece is mashed, but the mixture is not creamy.
  4. In a food processor, pulse the rolled oats several times until the oats are mostly ground – you are looking for some of the mixture to be a flour consistency, while the rest is small pieces of oats.
  5. Add the onion, green chilis, corn, black beans, quinoa, flaxseed, ground oats, salt, taco seasoning and olive oil to the sweet potatoes, mixing until just combined. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and/or taco seasoning as needed.
  6. Using a ½-cup measuring cup, portion the mixture into 8 balls. Flatten the balls into ½-inch thick patties, placing them on the prepared sheet pan.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes.
  8. Serve warm with your favorite fixings!
Notes
To refrigerate or freeze burgers: Place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Store burgers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days; alternatively, wrap individual burgers first in plastic wrap, then in foil, and place in a zip-top bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, allow frozen burgers to thaw completely. Head in a lightly greased pan over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes per side, or until heated through.