Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What's for Dinner Wednesday: Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

I decided to start (and hopefully keep up with) a series on the blog about what's cooking over at our house. If your house is anything like ours, it's hard to get everyone on the same page meal-wise. Here are our "eating truths":

  1. I am NOT a short-order cook. What you get served for dinner is what you eat for dinner.
  2. I have realistic expectations about what my kids will and will not eat...but we try everything.
  3. Kyle and I do not eat bland food.
At first glance, you may be thinking that these three things do not marry. Are our kids out of luck on chicken vindaloo night? Are Kyle and I drowning our baked chicken and pea sorrows in a pound of Chahula? NO and NO.

Lately I've been using a little method around here that keeps us all happy. I've been breaking down the elements of what you may write off as an "adult recipe" and serving the basics to the kids and spicing things us for us. For example, my kids will totally go for some crock-pot chicken over rice while I happily cook by vindaloo sauce on the side. And while they would both turn their noses up at my arugula pesto chicken pitas, they are happy to chow down on some chicken and pita bread.

First up on my recipe list are Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes. This time I used beef and gruyere but you could sub ground turkey. Or do chicken and peppercorn romano. Or sausage and leeks…I digress but it's all good!

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

3 sweet potatoes 
1lb ground beef
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 head of broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp cumin (I find that cumin is a spice flavorful enough but not "too spicy" for kids.)
1/4 tsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Gruyere (or other cheese of your liking!)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a casserole dish with foil.

Pierce skins of washed sweet potatoes with a fork several times and arrange in the casserole dish. Bake until tender, 45-60 minutes. (If you don't have a ton of time, start your potatoes for about 5 minutes in the microwave.)

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion (only use half if your kids are picky about this). Reduce heat to medium and sauté until onions just start to turn clear. Add ground beef, cumin, salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink. Transfer to two plates: one with a kid sized portion of beef (See "Kid Dinner" below) and one for the remaining portion.

When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut two of them in half lengthwise and gently scoop out the flesh leaving about 1/8 inch of flesh in the skins and put into a large bowl. (Sweet potato skins are pretty delicate.) Set the other sweet potato to the side for kid dinner - see below!

Mash sweet potatoes with a fork, masher or hand mixer until smooth. Stir in butter, milk, thyme, broccoli and beef. You can check your spice factor and add salt and pepper (or whatever else you like) at this point.

Mound your filling back into your sweet potato skins and top with cheese. Put the potatoes back into your baking dish and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Turn up the heat to broil if you want to brown the cheese on top.

Kid Dinner

You already have it cooked. Whew! Cut the remaining sweet potato into cubes or sticks (easy for little hands) and serve with ground beef. I also keep bags of frozen veggies (I like the Central Market Organics brand) so serve with meals such as these. Peas and lima beans are always a hit around here!

1 comment:

  1. Your family cooking style is identical to mine! And I am totally trying this recipe! Yum!!