Tyler Florence’s Roasted Sweet Potato Banana Puree

As promised, now that Thanksgiving is over and we have had a chance to do a post-mortem on what worked and what didn’t, I’ll be sharing the recipes that made the cut. First, is this delicious take on sweet potato casserole.

C found this recipe on the Fabulousfoodshow.com and has perfected it in the last year.  We kept it warm in a crock pot while other dishes took up precious oven and burner space.

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Tyler Florence's Roasted Sweet Potato Banana Puree
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and put them on a roasting pan.
  3. On another roasting pan prick bananas and lay out in a single layer.
  4. Roast sweet potatoes for 45 minutes until very soft and roast bananas for 25 minutes. (If you are in a huge hurry, you can boil the sweet potatoes, but do not try boiling the bananas!)
  5. Remove both pans from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  
  6. In a small sauce pot heat cream with bay leaf until reduced by half, then keep warm until ready to puree potatoes and bananas. 
  7. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into the bowl of a food processor (A blender will work, but only if the potatoes are cool).
  8. Add peeled bananas. Season with salt, add butter, cream (make sure you took the bay leaves out!), cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and puree until smooth (or if you like it a little chunky, a little chunky).
  9. Pour into an oven-proof dish. 
  10. Make the topping by combining flour, cold butter and brown sugar in the food processor and pulse until you have the texture of coarse bread crumbs.
  11. Sprinkle on top of the puree and place under the broiler until golden brown and crispy, about 4-5 minutes.

My opinion:
I really love this dish. This year we actually forgot the topping and it was still just as wonderful! You can make it a couple of days (no more than 2!) ahead of your holiday meal and keep it refrigerated. Then reheat in a crock pot like we did or in the oven. If you are keeping it in the crock pot, sprinkle each serving with the topping and use a brûlée torch to make it golden brown and crispy.

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World’s best hot chocolate

hot chocolate

I’m celebrating a miracle today. I survived a serious car accident in a blizzard without a scratch. Rather than my usual celebratory alcoholic drink, I’ve chosen to make the hot chocolate we usually have at Christmas. This hot chocolate can be made in a crock pot, though this time I used the stove. It’s simple, delicious and better than Starbuck’s any day.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry baking cocoa (Hershey’s is fine!)
12 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon salt (I just used a pinch or two)
7 1/2 cups water (more if you like your hot chocolate less thick)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (eyeball it)

Directions:
I have found it is easiest if you put the cocoa in the pot, then add the sweetened condensed milk.
hot chocolate

Stir to combine (it should look like chocolate caramel).

hot chocolate

Add the salt and the vanilla.  Then add hot water. Stir it together. Pour into cups and enjoy.
hot chocolate

My opinion:
I love this comforting drink. It’s perfect on a snowy day and best consumed with friends and family.

Crock pot Applesauce

I love homemade applesauce. But I never make it because I always thought it was too time consuming. Then Pinterest alerted me to this surprisingly easy version in a crock pot! The most time consuming part was peeling and chopping the apples. With a few tweaks, it tasted just like Gramma’s!

Ingredients:
8 to 10 apples of any kind (you might need more or less depending on the size of your crock pot)
2 cinnamon sticks (if you don’t have sticks, just use a few dashes)
1 teaspoon lemon juice (we actually used about 2 teaspoons)
5 tablespoons brown sugar (we ended up just using a quarter cup of light, use your best judgement and taste!)

Directions:
Peel, core and chop the apples. Put them in the crock pot. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon sticks and lemon juice. Cover. Cook on low for 6 hours. We stirred every hour for a total of six time. When the apples are cooked through, use a potato masher to make chunky applesauce. If you prefer your applesauce thinner, put it through the blender or the food processor.

My opinion:
We left out the lemon peel and fresh lemon juice from the original recipe because we didn’t have any lemons on hand. I was a bit saddened by how little 10 apples made! There was really only enough for about 2 and a half servings. I guess I’ll need a bigger crock pot!

Homemade Mag Mud

In honor of tailgate season (and Mizzou’s first SEC game against Georgia!) I wanted to share one of our most favorite tailgate dips, Mag Mud.

In Austin, Texas, is the most amazing restaurant, Magnolia Cafe. My very, very dear friend B insisted (it didn’t take much!) we go there whenever I visited her and it was always packed and always delicious. Regardless of time of day or night, B and I always started with their famed Mag Mud. It’s surprisingly easy and if you make it in a crock pot, last well through a long tailgate.

Ingredients:
1-2 cans black beans, drained (or if you prefer to soak your beans, feel free to do that instead just make sure they’re ready to go)
1 package Velveeta Queso Blanco, cut into squares
1 can Rotel, drained (we used medium, but go with the level of spice you want)
2 avocados, sliced
1 cup pico de gallo (store bought is fine!)

Directions:
Put the black beans in the bottom of the crock put. Turn crock pot to high. Wait about 20 minutes and add the cubed Velveeta. Stir. Let Velveeta melt (about 15 to 20 minutes). Stir. Add the drained Rotel. Stir. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips by topping cheese with avocado slices and pico.
*Note: The time depends on your crock pot. Ours has three levels, keep warm (low), Low (medium) and high. If your dip is a bit too runny (or slides right off the chips!), you can thicken it by adding shredded Mexican Blend cheese. We used about a half cup.

My opinion:
The original Mag Mud is layered, this one isn’t. Other than that, I can’t think of a single thing wrong with it. So good!

Green Chili Stew


One thing I miss about Texas is the abundance of Hatch green chilies at HEB. And the green chili enchiladas at Chuys. We’ve tried a few recipes from scratch to match the sauce and a stew without luck. Until we found Cookwell & Company’s Two-Step Green Chile Stew Mix. With a few modifications, it was the closest we’ve had since leaving Texas.

Ingredients:
Two-Step Green Chile Stew Mix
2 chicken breasts (Shredded or diced)
rice or barley (to help thicken the stew)
corn (we omitted this time, but will add in the future)
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chicken broth (if needed)
Mexican blend shredded cheese

Directions:
Heat stew over medium heat until simmering, turn down to low. Sautee chicken in oil until cooked through. Add to the stew. Add rice or barley. Cook for 10-15 minutes simmering until stew is cooked down, by about a third. Add the corn. If the stew has reduced too much, add the chicken broth. Add the corn and simmer for about 2 minutes or until heated through. If frozen, cook another five minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese.

My opinion:
Perfect for a late fall evening. Just enough spice and flavor to not need any additions. I cannot wait to try this in the crock pot later this winter!