Food Challenge: Sweet Potatoes
This week, we challenge you to make something with sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are great for a quick and easy side or a main dish when you are short on time. They are healthy, easy to prepare, and hard to mess up, believe me.
During the fall season, many military spouses are rushing around to different fall festivals or carnivals or kids’ activities and don’t have much time in the kitchen. Sweet potatoes are delectable treats that can easily be found in any commissary or grocery store during the fall and winter seasons.
They are not only a sweet addition to your meal, they are also a great source for vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron.
Choosing the right sweet potato is easy. You just need to make sure that the potato is firm and that it doesn’t have major bruising.
The main thing when dealing with sweet potatoes is storage. The ideal storage temperature is 50 degrees, like in a cool, dark pantry or cupboard. If you store them properly, you can have them on hand for three to six months, although they usually get eaten pretty quickly in my house.
As the holiday season approaches, try using one of these alternative recipes instead of the old fashioned ones, like I have on hand, that call for large amounts of sugar and butter.
Baked Sweet Potato with Barbecue Chicken
One of the easiest ways to prepare a sweet potato is by using it as a substitute for regular baking potatoes. Wash off the sweet potato, poke holes all over it with a fork, and wrap it in aluminum foil. After your oven is preheated to 350 degrees, bake the potato for 50 minutes or until soft. I usually do several at a time if I know that throughout the week I will need a baked sweet potato. You can also microwave them (minus the aluminum foil) for 8-10 minutes, turning once, if you are short on time.
I love having comfort foods like barbecue on chilly days. When you are like me and leave things to last minute, this recipe is great. I usually use a few boneless chicken breasts (usually equaling around a pound) and boil them in a pot with enough water to cover the chicken for about 15-20 minutes (or until there is no pink in the chicken). After it is cooked I pull/shred it by using two forks.
I then put the shredded chicken into a crockpot and add chopped red onions (or other onions), black beans, and a can of Rotel to make it a little spicy. You can leave this out or dice your own tomatoes. The recipe is flexible so you can adjust it to suit your own tastes. I then add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and barbecue sauce (I usually add a little homemade mustard-based barbecue sauce and a little red barbecue sauce). How much sauce and what kind, is really up to your taste buds.
If you prefer, you can cook the chicken and all the other ingredients throughout the day in the crockpot so when you get home all you have to do is bake the sweet potato or reheat it if you prepared it ahead of time.
Sweet Potato Fries
Often, I scramble to find a side dish when I am cooking hamburgers, steaks, or chicken. I have found that having sweet potatoes on hand really helps relieve that last minute panic. I simply clean the potatoes and cut them lengthwise to make them look like fries and coat them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can use whatever seasonings you have on hand like brown sugar for something sweet or season them with cayenne pepper and chili powder for something with a little more kick.
Since I am not much of a chocolate person, the sweet potato option is great to help satisfy that craving instead of reaching for a traditional dessert on a regular weeknight.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
via Sunset Magazine
I first saw this recipe on Kimberly’s blog last year and I knew that I had a few of the ingredients on hand to make this side dish and I have kept it in my arsenal ever since. When I first made the recipe I didn’t have all the ingredients so I just made do with what I had on hand – mainly just the sweet potatoes, apples, and olive oil. I usually just season them with what is in easy reach or what I have already used to season the main dish (usually because those seasoning are already out and I am lazy). I often like sprinkling the dish with salt and pepper along with ginger. I also add a tablespoon of orange juice to help tie everything together.
This dish is easy to prepare and goes great with most main dishes. Like I said before, I love having a colorful plate and this dish definitely adds the pop of color I need. Many times I have this by itself for lunch to help get me through the afternoon. By loading up on sweet potatoes it also helps curbs my appetite longer by stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Share your sweet potato dish with us on Instagram at #IDfoodchallenge. We want to see what you made!