Sandy’s Sweet Potatoes in Orange Cups

Every Thanksgiving, there is one dish I look forward to more than anything else because I only get it once a year on Thanksgiving Day: Aunt Sandy’s sweet potatoes in orange cups. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to travel back to California for Thanksgiving for the past few years so I haven’t been able to enjoy the dish from Aunt Sandy herself. So, I begged her for the recipe so I could make them myself.

I love these sweet potatoes because they’re different than the traditional heaps of sugary, one-note sweet potato casserole. These come in little individual servings inside hollowed out orange peels, which is not only convenient but also gives the sweet potatoes a little citrusy kick. I love the citrus in these because it cuts the over-the-top sweetness. Don’t worry, I still add marshmallows and this could still pass as a dessert. But the orange adds another layer of flavor to an otherwise simply sweet dish.

This delicious side dish comes in individual servings and tastes like candy. Yum!

This delicious side dish comes in individual servings and tastes like candy. Yum!

What you’ll need:
8 sweet potatoes
1 stick of butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
12 oranges
4 eggs, beaten

What you’ll need to do:

Start by boiling the sweet potatoes in their jackets in a large pot of water for about 45 minutes. Poke the sweet potatoes with a fork to check tenderness.

While the potatoes boil, cut your oranges in half, juice them, and then scoop out the flesh. This is by far the most time-consuming part of the job – luckily I had my Mom here to help me this year! Be very careful of scooping out the flesh because you don’t want to tear the orange cups. Save the juice because you’ll need it later. Arrange the hollowed out orange cups in a casserole dish.

When the sweet potatoes are soft, peel the skin from them and mash. Add the butter and mix with an electric mixer. Add the eggs. Next, add the sugar and spices. Add 1/4 cup orange juice from your reserves to the mixture – the rest of the fresh-squeezed orange juice is a treat for the chef! Mix the potato mixture thoroughly.

Scoop the sweet potato mixture into the orange cups. Cook for 40 minutes on 350 degrees.

You can even make these ahead of time and freeze them!

You can even make these ahead of time and freeze them!

When you have about 10 minutes left in cooking, top the sweet potatoes with marshmallows and pop them back in the oven.


Sweet Potato Chips

I love carbs. A meal doesn’t feel complete without a protein, veggie, and starch. But carbs and starches can be the worst calorie offenders of the meal, offering empty calories and a sugar crash that makes you feel hungry sooner. But I crave carbs with my meals, so I’ve had to figure out how to enjoy my favorite carb-goodness while filling myself with healthier foods. Sweet potatoes are a more nutritious starch swap that’s just as satisfying as that hunk of bread or giant scoop of white rice.

One of my favorite sweet potato recipes is my sweet potato chips. They’re kind of a hybrid between sweet potato fries and the crispy potato chips you’re used to. So instead of having soggy fries (because I bake them) or by painstakingly slicing them on a mandolin for thinner chips, I just slice them with my knife, throw them on a baking sheet, spray with cooking spray, and bake. What you’re left with is a super healthy, crispy-on-the-outside and softer-on-the-inside, flavorful side dish.

I served my sweet potato chips with my citrusy kale salad and basic lemon chicken. You’d never guess that such a delicious dish was so healthy!

What you’ll need (makes 2 servings):
1 sweet potato
Salt and pepper

What you’ll need to do:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and then spray with cooking spray.

Slice your potato in thin circles and layer them on your baking sheet. Once all your potatoes are sliced and on your baking sheet, spray them with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Sliced and ready to go in the oven. You can see that my slices are thin enough to qualify as chips, but not so thin that they’re a pain to cut!

Bake for about 20-25 minutes (you’ll know they’re done when they’re golden brown around the edges).

You can see that they’re just barely brown on the outside. If you flip them over, you’ll see that the other side is much darker. These actually look better if you flip them halfway through the cook time, but in the essence of simplicity, I don’t flip them. They still taste just as good!

Simple as that! They’re great to pop in the oven before you start cooking chicken or make a salad.

For those of you who are interested, let’s break down the nutrition. In a head-to-head comparison of white potatoes versus sweet potatoes, you’ll find that these two tubers seem very similar. In a 100-gram portion, the white potato has 92 calories, 21 grams of carbs, 2.3 grams of dietary fiber, and 2.3 g of protein. The same amount of sweet potato, on the other hand, has 90 calories, 21 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.

The difference comes in the nutrients. Sweet potatoes have twice as much vitamin C as white potatoes, and sweet potatoes have 380% of the daily recommended value of vitamin A. Furthermore, sweet potatoes are loaded with antioxidants, they’re rich in beta-carotene, and vitamin E. Basically, you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck by swapping out the sweet potato without sacrificing flavor.