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Tag Archives: Potatoes

Sweet Potato Patties – kids love them!

Sweet Potato Patties on PlatterWe have all seen that version of frozen “sweet potato patties”  or “yam patties” that you can get in the store.  I think they were even served regularly in our school cafeteria when I was a kid.  I am talking about these:

FrozenSweetPotatoYamPatties

Highly-Processed Frozen Sweet Potato Yam Patties

According to the website, the ingredients for those are: Yams (Sweet Potatoes), Sugar, Cornstarch, Buttermilk, Salt, Yellow 6, Red 40, Natural And Artificial Flavoring, Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate (To Retain Natural Color).

So while they do start out as a vegetable (a sweet potato, as a real “yam” is a totally different veggie), the manufacturer has added lots of sugar, artificial flavorings and two types of food dyes.  Yuck!  So, why not just make your own?

We had the day off school last week for a Teacher’s Professional Day.  We got to wake up late and I wanted to make the girls a filling brunch before we headed out to the Chickasaw Cultural Center.  If you live anywhere nearby, I highly recommend a visit.

I had only one sweet potato and it needed to be used. Since Sarah, especially, loves roasted sweet potatoes, I decided to shred it and make a hybrid between hash browns and a pancake.  I used a combo of mashed banana and honey to give it a bit of sweetness.  Since I put honey inside it, I did not serve any honey or syrup at the table.

I shredded the potato on my hand grater, but if you are doing more than one potato, using the shredding blade on your food processor would be great.  Or, if you wanted that totally puréed potato texture that the frozen ones have, then just throw everything in your food processor and purée it before cooking.  I add the flax-seed to boost the Omega-3′s and also to thicken the mixture without having to rely on any kind of flour.  I guess it also makes this gluten-free, if that matters to your family.

By the way, “pumpkin pie spice” is a mixture of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and either allspice or cloves.  If you do not have the ready-made spice mix, then you can mix together 1.5 tsp cinnamon + 3/4 tsp ginger + 1/4 tsp nutmeg + 1/4 tsp cloves/allspice,  all ground, to make your own. The girls all ended up LOVING them and surprisingly, it was Emma not Sarah who loved them the most, as she ate FOUR of them.

Sweet Potato Patties - IngredientsSweet Potato Patties
Makes about 12 patties

  • 1 good-sized sweet potato, peeled and shredded
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 large organic egg
  • 1 tablespoon real maple syrup or honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spiceSweet Potato Patties - Preparation
  • 2 tablespoon ground flax seed (optional)
  1. Mix all ingredients together in bowl.
  2. Lightly grease a frying pan, skillet or griddle  and place over medium high heat.  I used coconut oil to grease mine.
  3. When pan is hot, put scoops of the mixture in pan and flatten slighty with the back of your spoon.
  4. Cook until patties are brown on both sides.  Serve.

We enjoyed ours with a piece of nitrate-free bacon, an organic fried egg, grape tomatoes, apple slices and steamed french green beans.

Day off of School Brunch

The nutritional info from About.com’s recipe analyzer, for one patty: Sweet Potato Patties - Nutrition

Look at all that Vitamin A!  And the grams of sugars in my patties are much less than the storebought frozen ones, even with the little bit of honey in them.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili – a vegetarian recipe for everyone

You can definitely tell by the number of dishes including meat on my blog that we are omnivores, not vegetarians.  But, everyone needs to eat more fruits and vegetables, so a good vegetable stew or salad recipe is always helpful. 

The chili spices in this dish predominate, so you don’t even miss the meat.  I was concerned that with both the honey and sweet potatoes, the chili would be too sweet, but it isn’t.  To make the recipe vegan, substitute the honey with maple syrup or other vegan-acceptable sweetener and don’t use the optional dairy-based garnishes.

The coffee is just to give it a bit of a smoky taste. So if you don’t drink coffee, use water instead and then add a bit of smoked paprika.  That should give you the same effect.   I have given the recipe using canned beans and tomatoes; the ones I used were organic.  But, it is always better if you have the forethought to soak and cook your own beans and use fresh tomatoes.  But, I am not usually that organized.  🙂

The kids all loved this recipe.  We served ours with a dollop of plain yogurt on top, but no cheese.  You could also garnish with a bit of chopped cilantro.  The sweet potatoes will be giving you lots of vitamins A & C and the beans will give you lots of fiber.

– Stacey

Sweet Potato & Black Bean ChiliSweet Potato Black Bean Chili - potatoes and onions
Yield: 2 quarts, about 8 servings

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive, peanut, or coconut oil (I used coconut)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cans (15 oz. each) Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili - adding garlic and spicesblack beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese or mexican cheese blend, optional for serving
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream, optional for serving
  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili - ready to simmer
  2. When oil is hot, sauté sweet potatoes and onion in oil stirring often, until the onion is beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin and cayenne; cook stirring constantly 1 minute longer.
  4. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, coffee, honey, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.
  6. For serving, you can top with a dollop of plain yogurt and/ or a sprinkle of cheese.

Note: Another lazier option for making this is to just throw everything in your crockpot and cook on low for 3-4 hours.

Hamburger Pie – a variation on a traditional Shepherd’s or Cottage Pie

Hamburger Pie - Cross-sectionThe English tradition of meat pies dates back to the Middle ages.  The key to dating Shepherd’s pie is the introduction and later acceptance of potatoes in England. Potatoes are a new world food that was introduced to Europe in 1520 by the Spanish. But, potatoes were not commonly accepted by the British until the 18th Century.

Shepherd’s Pie, a dish of minced lamb topped with mashed potatoes was probably invented sometime in the 18th Century by frugal peasant housewives looking for creative ways to serve leftover meat to their families. It is generally agreed that it originated in the north of England and Scotland where there are large numbers of sheep — hence the name. The actual phrase “Shepherd’s Pie” dates back to the 1870s, when mincing machines made the shredding of meat easy and popular.”

In present day England, Cottage Pie is an increasingly popular synonym for shepherd’s pie, a dish of minced meat with a topping of mashed potato. Its widening use is no doubt due in part to its pleasantly bucolic associations, in part to the virtual disappearance of mutton and lamb from such pies in favour of beef…But in fact, Cottage Pie is a much older term than Shepherd’s Pie.

So, Shepherd’s Pie is made of lamb, but Americans don’t eat that much lamb.   My understanding is that when you use meats beside lamb it should be called “Cottage Pie”, but everyone is more familiar with the term Shepherd’s Pie.  Anyway, no matter what you want to call it, here is a recipe from an old hospital-issued diabetic cookbook called “Hamburger Pie”, that I modified.

Hamburger Pie
5 servings

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 1/2 can of tomato paste (about 4 – 5 Tbsp)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper and chili powder, to taste (more for adults, less for kids)
  • 0.5 to 1 pound fresh or frozen french-style green beans
  • 2 1/2 cups of real homemade mashed potatoes

Saute beef and onions together in frying pan until meat is cooked through.  Add tomato paste, sea salt, pepper, and chili powder and mix well.  Place mixture in bottom of casserole dish.  Cook the green beans. Place cooked (and drained) green beans on top of meat mixture.  Spread mashed potatoes on top of green beans.  Sprinkle with a little more chili powder.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes.

This dish was loved by all the kids… and parents too.  It says 5 servings above, but was enough for 2 adults and 4 small kids as the main part of the meal with just some cut-up fresh fruit added.   Other recipes add additional vegetables to the meat, such as carrots, peas, corn, and/or celery. If you wanted to make it really unique, you could try using mashed sweet potatoes for the topping.

– Stacey

Source for history of Shepherd’s Pie: http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodpies.html#shepherdspie

Creamy Potato and Leek Soup

We had dinner the other night at church as part of our book group that is reading “Consuming Kids” by Susan Linn.  The book is very insightful and there is a whole section on food marketing to kids, so I recommend reading it.  You can also check out the companion video on YouTube.  Anyway, each of the members of the book group brought some food to share and our coordinators, Craig and Michelle, brought the main dish.

Craig made some delicious crusty bread and I will post about that at a later date, but Michelle made Potato Leek soup that was enjoyed by everyone; several of us asked for the recipe.  She based it on this recipe at allrecipes.com, but she made a few changes and then I made a few more.

Also, I decided to make mine in the crockpot, not to save time really, but so I could throw everything in and then come back 3 hours later to find delicious soup.  I used my smaller crockpot, but if you only have a large one, you could double this recipe and have some to freeze for later.  If you want to make it on the stove in less time, then follow the shorter cooking instructions in the original recipe.

Creamy Potato and Leek Soup (crockpot version)
Makes 8 large servings or more if you are feeding kids

  • 1/2 cup butter (this is 1 stick or 1/4 lb.)
  • 2 small leeks (or 1 large leek), sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 quart chicken broth (or veggie broth for vegetarians)
  • 5 cups potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups half&half (or 1 cup cream plus 1 cup milk)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. In a small pan over medium heat, melt butter. While it is melting, clean and thinly slice your leeks.
  2. Cook leeks in butter until tender, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes.
  3. While the leeks are cooking, wash and dice your potatoes.  I left the skin on mine.
  4. Mix cornstarch well into broth and then pour broth into your crockpot.
  5. Add the leeks, potatoes and half/half to the crockpot. Preseason with salt and pepper, being conservative. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours.
  6. Adjust salt and pepper to taste before serving.  We also added shredded cheddar cheese as a garnish to ours.
Creamy Potato and Leek Soup

Creamy Potato and Leek Soup

Some Variations:

  • Loaded Potato Soup: Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled cooked nitrate-free bacon and chopped chives.
  • Clam Chowder: Add a drained can of clams, chopped. (or fresh ones if you live near an ocean; not an option for us in Oklahoma)
  • Potato and Ham Soup: Add some cubed leftover baked ham when you add the potatoes.
  • Add Veggies to make it healthier: sliced carrots, chopped broccoli, or chopped spinach/kale, green peas, whatever veggies you like
  • Kick it up a Notch: Add some cayenne to the crockpot while cooking or if you need to season at the table instead because some of your guest don’t like it spicy, just add a few dashes of tabasco to each bowl.

I am going to be honest here, even though there is a lot less butter and cream in this version than the original, there is still a lot of butter and cream in this soup.  So, if you would like, you can reduce the butter still further  to 1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) and switch the half&half to just whole milk.  It will not be as thick, so to thicken it up, you could take out about 1-2 cups of the finished soup and blend it in a blender until pureed, then add back to the crock pot or give the whole pot a few whirs with an immersion blender.

Since we try to eat real food, I am not going to suggest using Frankenfood low-fat spreads or abominations like fat-free half&half.  If you are going to do that, you may as well just open a can of Campbell’s potato soup with all its sordid ingredients and forget cooking.  Okay, off my soapbox.  🙂  If you want to avoid cream and butter, then instead of doing crazy substitutions, instead try this Leek and Potato soup that is broth-based not cream-based from Jamie Oliver’s site.

Also, if you use commercial chicken broth, there can be a lot of sodium in it; that is one reason why I can’t give an exact amount on the salt.  I used homemade chicken broth, so that wasn’t a big concern for me, but if using store-bought, find one of the lower sodium ones.

By the way, all the kids loved this soup and so did I.  Enjoy!

– Stacey

UPDATE:  Made another batch of this last night with the following changes: reduced the butter to 1/2 a stick (1/4 cup) and added some sliced raw baby-cut carrots and chopped raw spinach along with the potatoes.  Still Yummy!

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