Sweet potatoes originate from the morning glory family. They have a deep orange colored flesh and are shaped similar to a potato or sometimes are long and tapered at both ends. These vegetables are a nutritional champion due to the fact that they are packed with nutrients such as beta-carotene, potassium, and Vitamin B6. They are also a great source of fiber. Sweet potatoes also have a lower glycemic index, meaning that their carbohydrates are released more slowly in the bloodstream preventing a spike in blood sugar levels. My favorite asset of the sweet potato is its wonderful sweet taste. I love to bake them or pop them into my microwave for a quick side dish. I decided to mash them just like potatoes recently and loved this easy method of preparation and great taste. I have prepared the recipe without the brown sugar with just butter and pepper added for flavor. They taste delicious that way but I especially like the taste when I add either the brown sugar or maple syrup to add a sweeter flavor. My husband Jim likes the recipe version with the maple syrup added the best!
Sweet potatoes can also be roasted with other vegetables such as fresh carrots, broccoli, peppers, cauliflower or parsnips. Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Add bite sized pieces of these types of vegetables, drizzle with a small amount of olive or canola oil and add herbs and spices such as cracked pepper or one of your favorite varieties of Mrs. Dash spice blend. Roast in a 425- degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender. Sweet potatoes are also good in soups, homemade sweet potato fries or pies. Sweet potato pie is a favorite dessert in many southern states. The sweet potato fries can be easily prepared by first peeling your sweet potatoes and slicing them lengthwise into the shape of a french fry. Pour a small amount of olive or canola oil into a small bowl. Dip your fries into the oil. Season with salt, pepper or Mrs. Dash spice blend. Place the fries on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
- four small or 3 large sweet potatoes or one medium sized butternut squash
- 2 tsp butter or soft tub margarine
- Optional Ingredients: 1 TB brown sugar or maple syrup
- 3 TB chopped walnuts
- Peel four small or 3 large sweet potatoes. Slice squash or sweet potatoes into 2 inch pieces. Place in a microwave safe container. Add ⅓ cup of water. Microwave for 6-9 minutes on high
- setting. (The time will vary dependent upon the wattage of your microwave.) Test sweet potatoes with a fork to ensure tenderness. Mash with a fork or potato masher to a soft consistency similar to mashed sweet potatoes Add 2 tsp butter or soft tub margarine. Add chopped walnuts and stir in until well combined. If desired, add the brown sugar or maple syrup and combine well before serving. Season with a dash of pepper.
I would like to dedicate my my very first and second food and nutrition blog posts to my niece Maria who authors a food and nutrition blog concerning clean eating and Paleo diet friendly recipes called Maria Makes Muffins which I love to read. Her recipes are very healthy and delicious also! Maria assisted me in designing my first blog post and taught me how to blog on Word Press. I would also like to dedicate this blog to the late Jo Anna Lund. Jo Anna authored the Healthy Exchanges recipe newsletter and many cookbooks over the years. She was a native of De Witt, Iowa and always said that her recipes were for “common folk”. If the ingredients for her recipes could not be found in her small town grocery store, they would not appear in her newsletter. Her recipes were designed for people who were controlling their weight and others on special dietary restrictions such as carbohydrate controlled for diabetes, cholesterol restricted etc. She had a consultant registered dietitian calculate the exchanges, carb choices and other nutritional information. Jo Anna became very successful and hosted a weekly radio show in De Witt and was featured in national publications such as The New York times, People and Forbes. Jo Anna offered health professionals a free subscription to her newsletters. I frequently shared the recipes from the newsletters and cookbooks with my patients when I was employed as an out-patient dietitian. Jo Anna passed away at age 61 in 2006 from invasive breast cancer. She has gone to her heavenly home now, but she is not forgotten!
The above photograph was featured in the Quad City Times in 2006.