Sweet Potato Carrot Soup & Thanksgiving Menu

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup on Whisk Together-5457

 

Thanksgiving is here! Here is the Menu:

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast and Gravy-4501 on Whisk Together

One, We will be making this turkey again.  It is the best and we just can’t change it.  I have started roasting it in an oven bag, too.  It doesn’t get the skin as crispy, but no one here eats the skin that much anyway.  Make this turkey!  Need help with the gravy?  Here’s a great recipe that will ease your mind.  You can even make it and store it in the fridge the night before!  Just use the gravy portion of the recipe on the stovetop and do not use as much broth.

Two, we will have mashed potatoes.  A bag of russets, milk, butter, salt and pepper… there really is no recipe.

sweet potato casseroleCR

Three, my favorite side dish of all time:  Sweet Potato Casserole with Apple Cinnamon Topping.

Honey Wheat Rolls

Four, Honey Wheat Rolls.  You can substitute all purpose flour for bread flour.  Yes, you can bake them, cool them and freeze them for Thanksgiving.  Just set them out the night before to thaw on the counter.  Easier than going to the store!  (And tastier… and fewer ingredients…)

Apple Butter_2 on Whisk Together

Five:  To go on the rolls — Whole Apple Butter.  This is a new one I have not posted.  It is my Slow Cooker Apple Butter.  Instead of chopping the apples and discarding the core, I kept most of the core in the slow cooker for the apple butter.  Then, everything was pureed in the vitamix blender and turned into apple butter.  (I took some seeds out first because we don’t want to give anyone cyanide poisoning, do we?)

Dutch Apple Pie_1

Six:  Pie!!  Spicy Pumpkin, Dutch Apple and Cherry Blueberry Pie are our favorites.  Because you have to have pie.  Or pi.  Don’t want pie?  Make Caramel Apple Pie Bars instead!

Cranberry Orange Bread_3CR

Seven:  Cranberry Orange Bread – a quick yummy sweet bread that can also be frozen.

Bacon Wrapped Crackers_2 on Whisk Together

Eight:  BEST APPETIZER EVER: Bacon Wrapper Crackers.  We make these every holiday.  They take little prep time.  Taste amazing.  And you can keep them hot in the oven for quite a while as the guests arrive.  Just pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes or so.  Turn down the heat to 250 degrees to keep warm.  We kept them warm for about 20-30 minutes or so.
I know apps are served first, however I always make these last and always if I am the host.  I don’t want to use up someone else’s oven.  They can’t be prepped much ahead of time.  That’s okay.  They are sooo worth it.
Also, I have noticed a lot of Aldi’s crackers are not anything like the name brand.  The club crackers that I purchased don’t look, taste or snap like the Keebler brand.  I would recommend spending the extra 50 cents on the Keebler ones for this recipe because they won’t crumble in your hands when you wrap the bacon around them.  I never had this problem until I used the Aldi brand.  The same thing happened with the Aldi “Triscuits” too.

Apple Raisin Dressing_3 on Whisk Together

Nine, Apple Raisin Dressing.  Everyday ingredients.  And I use up whatever bread ends from loaves or loaves of bread that are accidentally squished in the deep freeze.  My favorite I have found so far that didn’t the chemicals from the box.

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup on Whisk Together-5460

 

Recipe:  But until that Thanksgiving Thursday comes, I still have to feed my family!  So here is a super simple and easy recipe that required little to prep and clean up.  The soup is ready in 10 minutes if made in the Vitamex blender.  It will take about 20-30 minutes in the pot on the stovetop.

Have too little time?  Have everything prepped in the fridge ready to go!  Or make and freeze for later.

I liked this soup because it was easy and delicious.  Everything is wholesome and fresh.

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup on Whisk Together-5464

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup & Thanksgiving Menu
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 1/4 onion, peeled
  • 1/2 Tb. olive oil
  • 1 sweet potato, baked
  • 1/2 apple, seeds or no seeds
  • 1 carrot, cut into four pieces (or 5 baby carrots)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. For a Blender: In the microwave, cook the onion and oil together for about five minutes. Stir once or twice.
  2. Put the rest of the ingredients into the blender.
  3. Turn the machine on 1. Work the blender up to maximum 10 and blend for 5-6 minutes. The soup will steam when finished. Salt and pepper to taste
  4. For No Blender: in a medium pot or Dutch oven, cook the onion and oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add a diced apple and carrots. Saute another 8-10 minutes.
  6. Add the baked sweet potato (or add one raw with the apple and carrots finely diced). Add the broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Blend in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Vitamix

 

 

Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Frittata

Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Frittata on Whisk Together

Book:  Our book club book this month is “The Nesting Place:  It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect too Be Beautiful” by Myquillyn Smith.  Funny, I was researching decorating and pick this book up in the summer.  I didn’t read it because it didn’t teach you how to decorate but more about life while decorating.

My friend read the newest book “Leaving Time” by Jodi Picoult and I’m definitely going to pick this one up.  I love Jodi Picoult!!  She is maybe one of my top five with John Hart being one of my all time favorites.

Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Frittata_1 on Whisk Together

Recipe:  Yes, another frittata!  Because I was afraid that not everybody would like a fajita frittata and I made this one as well.  I like them both and I like having options depending on what is in season or what I get in my co-op produce box.

I love the sweet onions and sweet potatoes with a hint of rosemary.  It looks and taste very restaurant-like without being fussy or hard to cook at all.

Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Frittata_2 on Whisk Together

Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Frittata

Ingredients

  • 1 large Vidalia onion, sliced thin
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthwise down the middle then 1/4" thick
  • 8 large eggs or 7 XL eggs
  • 2 ounces (or 1/4 cup if you like) shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary or 3 Tb. fresh rosemary, chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, heat 1-2 teaspoons olive oil on medium high heat. Add onions. Cook 5 minutes. Turn down heat to medium or medium-low. While cooking, fold in 1 spring of rosemary. Stir off and on and cook 15-20 minutes. The onions should turn deep brown. Add a sprinkle of salt and remove rosemary sprig. Store the onions in the fridge or move to the next step in making the frittata.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Grease a pie plate with cooking spray. Roast potatoes 25-30 minutes. Add onions. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Pour egg mixture on top of the potato and onions.
  4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the egg dish is set in the middle. Sprinkle with dried or fresh rosemary. Serve warm.
http://www.whisktogether.com/2015/02/22/sweet-potato-and-caramelized-onion-frittata/

Sweet Potato and Caramelized Onion Frittata
serves 6

1 large Vidalia onion, sliced thin
2 sprigs rosemary
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthwise down the middle then 1/4″ thick
8 large eggs or 7 XL eggs
2 ounces (or 1/4 cup if you like) shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried rosemary or 3 Tb. fresh rosemary, chopped

In a large skillet, heat 1-2 teaspoons olive oil on medium high heat.  Add onions.  Cook 5 minutes.  Turn down heat to medium or medium-low.  While cooking, fold in 1 spring of rosemary.  Stir off and on and cook 15-20 minutes.  The onions should turn deep brown.  Add a sprinkle of salt and remove rosemary sprig.  Store the onions in the fridge or move to the next step in making the frittata.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease a pie plate with cooking spray. Roast potatoes 25-30 minutes.  Add onions.  In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Pour egg mixture on top of the potato and onions.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the egg dish is set in the middle.  Sprinkle with dried or fresh rosemary.  Serve warm.

Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet Potato Soup_2 on Whisk Together

 

Book Update:  I began reading “Sugar, Fat, Salt: How the Food Giants Hooked Us” by Michael Moss.  (Photo from Amazon) 

Michael Moss won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010 – so, he isn’t some nut job trying to join the nutrition/food parade.  Instead, this is a journalist looking into how the food companies have tried hard and poured millions of dollars into hooking consumers on their food and products.  So far I have really enjoyed it.  He does mention the story that won him the Pulitzer Prize.  A woman named Stephanie ate a burger that was tainted with E coli and ended up in a medically induced coma, then paralyzed and cognitively impaired.  Following where the meat was processed took an entire book apparently… which is just scary in itself and part of the meat was traced as far away as Uruguay.  

Recipe Update:  Many people try to set goals and lose weight at the start of the new year.  I intended to try and put together my own weight update and journey for January 1st, and hopefully I will get that together soon.  This would have been a GREAT recipe to go with that topic!  In September 2010, I weighed 200 pounds.  Okay, yes I was pregnant at the time.  But STILL.   In January 2011, I was given the two thumbs up to go back to exercising again after giving birth to my ten pound baby girl.  I was at 165 lbs then (from water, fluids, baby, etc.).  After 2 months, I was back down to my original weight of 150 lbs.  After another 2 months, I was down to 135 lbs and stayed within 3 pounds of that weight for the past 3 years.  No pills, no shakes, no removing large portions of macro nutrients.

Now this soup would be a great and filling way to lose the weight or simply a comforting and delicious soup to go with any lunch whether you’re dieting or not.  This soup is so healthy, full of flavor and easy to make a large batch.  You are consuming the liquid that the sweet potatoes cook in, so there is no loss of vitamins through dumping any water out.  Note:  if you don’t like sweet potatoes, you won’t like this recipe.  I’m the only one in the house that will eat a sweet potato more or less and loved it.  The hubby didn’t like it so much which isn’t surprising… since he doesn’t like sweet potatoes. 

Freezer Friendly!  Simply cool and freezer in a freezer bag.  Thaw in the fridge and reheat!

Sweet Potato Soup
about 4  one cup servings (feel free to double the recipe!)

1/2 Tb. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 small, 2 medium or 1 super large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
3 cups chicken broth

1.  In a large 5 qt. pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  
2.  Throw in the onion, garlic, potato and coriander.  Saute them for 3-4 minutes.  The onion will begin to soften and become translucent.
3.  Add the chicken broth.  Bring to a boil and turn the heat down to medium low.  Simmer the soup until the potatoes are soft.
4.  Puree the soup in batches in the food processor, a blender, or use an immersion blender inside the pot.

Recipe adapted from Food Network Kitchen’s “1,000 Easy Recipes”

Maple and Cayenne Chicken with Sweet Potato Mash

Maple Chicken with Sweet Potato and Apples_21

Book Update:  No time for books.  We got two new kittens this weekend.  They are named Oreo and Bella.  Kittens are the sweetest little things ever!

Anyone who lives near me in St. Louis should check out the Community Helpings Co-op.  You get a huge basket of mostly local produce for $21.50.  I stopped getting this for quite a few months, but I have started up again.  Given that my child is 35 pounds, I can say that the produce equals about 30-40 pounds each week.  Also check out their other items like sweet potatoes and cilantro are much cheaper than the grocery store.

I’ve also bought part of a grass fed cow.  Next time, I will get the entire 1/4 cow.  The meat was fantastic.  Ask around for local farmers or maybe a butcher can help you locate one.  We found ours through a neighbor and the meat is $3.10/lb.

Recipe Update:  This was probably one of the yummiest new dinners we have had and I do wish the photo displayed that.  I love maple syrup and the flavor with the chicken and apples is just divine.  It was really easy to put together, though you do have to brush the chicken a few times to get a good glaze.  And the sweet potatoes with the apples are awesome!!  Good thing those two foods are in season at the same time, huh?

Maple and Cayenne Chicken
serves 4

2 chickens, cut in 1/2  (wing tips, spine and breast plate removed)  or
use 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast or thighs
olive oil
salt
1 cup maple syrup
2 tsp. cayenne pepper (for the kids, I reduced to 1/2 tsp.)

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Put the chicken in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Brush the chicken with oil and sprinkle with salt.
3.  Bake chicken for 15-20 minutes.
4.  Meanwhile, put the maple syrup and cayenne pepper into a small saucepan.  Cook this over medium heat.  The maple syrup will boil and reduce by about a half.   It will be thicker.
5.  Brush the maple syrup reduction on the chicken.  Put the chicken back in the oven for another 10 minutes.  Brush your chicken one or two times again during those last 10 minutes.
6.  Rest  and serve.  Chicken should be 165 degrees internal temperature when cooked through.

Recipe from Anne Burrell on Food Network

Sweet Potato and Apple Mash
serves 4

3 large sweet potatoes
3-4 apples, cored and sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 T butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
dash of allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

1 .  Cook sweet potatoes until they are cooked through.  I use my microwave on the “potato” setting.  Or you can roast them in the oven for 45 minutes.  Or, peel and chop them and boil them like mashed potatoes.
2.  Take the mashed potato and discard the peel.  Put this into a 7×11 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3.  Sprinkle  the apples, brown sugar, butter and spices and salt on this potatoes.  Sprinkle pecans last if you are using them.
4.  Bake covered with foil for 15 minutes.
5.  Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes.  Stir  and serve warm.

Low Fat Sweet Potato Casserole

sweet potato casseroleCR

This is my favorite sweet potato casserole recipe ever.  EV – ER.  I don’t like the marshmallow one and I think the pecan one is pretty good, but I love this one.  The calories on the other hand… well, they loved me a little too much.  Particularly on my hips!  So, I tweaked the recipe and took out some butter to make this just as tasty as the original without all the fat.  Here is the original recipe I posted last year.  Several friends contacted me that they were impressed how good this was AND that their kids would eat it.

I have also tried scraping the topping off.  I know … I’m weird.  But, it really did taste good.  So, I might just make them in the future without the topping.  Unless you have never tried the apple topping, make sure you do first.  It is GREAT.  Then you can try it without.

In regards to the amount of potatoes – it is really hard to judge since potatoes come in all shapes and sizes.  I boil the peeled and cut-up potatoes in my 5 qt. pot and they almost come to the top – about 1.5″ from the top.  I also have a 5 qt. Kitchenaid Mixing Bowl and when I turn it on some of the potatoes come flying out.  That is how full it is.  I have tried reducing them and changing this or that – NOTHING worked out.  This amount of potatoes always made this dish taste perfect.  Believe me.  I’ve made this sucker like 10 times.  I should be orange by now.

Low Fat Sweet Potato Casserole
yield 16-20 servings

6 -7 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 Tb. butter, cut into chunks
3 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup Splenda or real sugar
1 Tb. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tb. skim milk
1/4 cup whole wheat flour

Topping:
4 packages of instant apple cinnamon oatmeal or 2 Oatmeal Express Apple Cinnamon
2 Tb. flour or whole wheat flour
2 Tb. brown sugar
2 Tb. butter, cold and cut into chunks

1.  Boil potatoes until tender.
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3.  Add potatoes to mixer and beat the living daylights out of them.  Whip it – whip it good.
4.  Add 3 Tb. chunks of butter to the hot potatoes and this will melt the butter.
5.  While the mixer is on, I add the eggs, salt, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, milk and whole wheat flour.
6.  Then I beat it some more.
7.  Add this mixture to a sprayed/greased 9×13 pan.  Bake for 25 minutes.
8.  While it bakes, mix the oatmeal, flour and brown sugar together.  Cut in the butter.  Top the casserole and bake another 10 minutes.

You can also make this ahead of time by putting the un-baked potatoes in the 9×13 pan covered in the fridge.  Simply take them out when you want to bake and throw them in the oven.  You can also FREEZE it this way as well and put the topping mixture in a separate baggie on top.  I end up eating all this myself sometimes and make two small pans instead of one 9×13 pan.  So, I freeze the one and bake the other.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Apple Cinnamon Topping

I was never a huge fan of sweet potato casseroles.  The marshmallows always tasted funny to me and the pecans seemed to sit heavily with a vegetable puree.  Though there was one pecan topping one I did like, this new apple cinnamon topped casserole is my absolute favorite and it has healthier ingredients that of course you can substitute for the real thing.  For example, real sugar for the Splenda.  But in large casseroles like this, it is difficult to tell the difference.

Here is my favorite Thanksgiving side dish.  As proof, I’ve eaten half of the 9×13 pan already and it is day 2 or 3 after I made it.  The kids love this, too.  My friend Lindsay took the recipe from here and it is a hit with her kids as well.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Apple Cinnamon Topping
yield 13×9 – so 20 small servings, or 12 larger servings

6 medium sweet potatoes
3 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, room temp.
3/4 cup Splenda
1 Tbs. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbs. milk
1/4 cup whole grain flour

Topping:
4 packages of instant apple cinnamon oatmeal
2 Tbs. flour
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, room temp. and cut into chunks

1.  Prepare Potatoes:  using a vegetable peeler, peel the skins.  I always rinse the potato anyway too.  Slice peeled potatoes down the middle, then in 1/2″ slices.  Place in large pot.  (If you don’t have a pot that will hold them all, you can divide between two pots).  Cover with water to the top of the potatoes.  Bring to a boil on high.  Kick the heat down to medium-high and continue to boil until the potatoes are fork tender.
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Drain potatoes.  To avoid sweet potato explosions in my mixer, I put half of the potatoes in the mixer and beat until broken up.  Add rest of potatoes and beat on medium-low for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  It depends on how chunky or creamy you like them.  I like them creamy.
3.  Once beaten, add the remaining ingredients.  The heat of the potatoes will melt the butter.  Beat for another minute.
4.  Place into a 13×9 pan and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
5.  In a small bowl, combine oatmeal, flour and brown sugar.  Add butter and mix until it looks like coarse crumbs.  Put on top of the casserole and bake another 10 minutes.

**You can make this ahead of time using steps 1-3 and then put it in the fridge to bake the next morning.**
I haven’t tried this one, but I have frozen mashed potatoes in the past and it does work.  I would mix the topping in a separate bag to freeze separately and then both can thaw together.  Bake like normal after thawed.

You can make this using 7 medium sweet potatoes as well.  I scaled it down to 6 of them because 7 tends to make my kitchenaid mixer explode a little.

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