Showing posts with label sweet potatoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sweet potatoes. Show all posts

Monday, December 7, 2015

Turkey Without All The Trimmings

I wasn't going to post this. After all, it barely qualifies as a recipe. It's not particularly pretty, even if it does taste good, and it only has two ingredients. But in the end, I decided someone might appreciate it.

Some of my friends have already had their big family Christmas get togethers. There are a lot of new traditions because families are so large and people live so far away. You might be one of those who wants turkey for two without a fuss at Christmas. Or maybe you're going to a relative's house for dinner. You won't have a fridge stuffed with leftovers for the turkey sandwiches you love so much. Or you're going to a friend's house for dinner, and she's serving ham. Waah! You wanted turkey! Or maybe you just can't deal with all the work. After all, a big Christmas dinner involves a lot of cooking. So here's my quick and easy solution.

In all honesty, I cook this at least once a month. It's fast, it's easy, and my dogs and cats can eat it, too, as long as it's relatively plain. The oven does all the work!

Now, if you must have some of the traditional side dishes, then pick the ones that are important to you. Cranberries or stuffing, perhaps? It's still an easy meal.

I usually (gasp) roast the turkey and the sweet potatoes without any seasoning. Seriously, turkey and sweet potatoes don't need a lot of help. If you're inclined, you can always rub your turkey with salt, pepper, and herbs or baste it with butter. If you're big on the skin, then by all means season it. If you discard the skin anyway, then leave it plain. Oh, and no skin for the dogs or cats, please, it's too fatty for them.

I recommend using small sweet potatoes. Have you seen the ones the size of a small watermelon? Don't use those because this won't cook long enough. When you take the sweet potatoes out of the oven, the peels will almost glide off. You can mash them if that's what you want, or top them with marshmallows and stick them back in the warm oven, or serve them sliced. They're so good for us! And they're so naturally sweet. They really don't need a lot of help for terrific flavor.

If your turkey breast doesn't want to sit up properly, you might want to use a V-shaped rack. You can also use the sweet potatoes to prop it up a little but don't crowd it so that the meat doesn't cook.

Roast Turkey Without the Trimmings

1 turkey breast
2 to 6 smallish sweet potatoes

Preheat the oven to 400. Rinse the turkey breast, pat it dry, and set it in a large baking pan. Wash the sweet potatoes, remove any price or brand stickers, and pop the potatoes into the pan. Plan on the turkey breast roasting for about 1 1/2 hours. I usually set the timer for 1 hour and 15 minutes and then check it periodically after that.

Be sure to let the turkey stand for 30 minutes before cutting it! Otherwise, it will be dry.

Speaking of cutting - I heard recently that the best way to cut the turkey is against the grain. So slide a knife along the top of the breastbone, pull off the meat in a big chunk, and slice against the grain. It's not pretty, but it's very tender!

Pop the turkey breast and sweet potatoes into a baking pan.

The peel glides off!

See how easy they would be to mash?

Or just slice them!

Slice the meat across the grain.

The juices from the pan. The fat rises to the top in the fridge and you can use the rest when you warm leftovers!

Can you stand one more giveaway? Leave a comment with your email address
 and you could win your choice of these two books! Good luck!



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Central Park Walk and a Sweet Potato Twist from Cleo Coyle

Pop Quiz: Where was the above photo taken?

A. New Hampshire

B. Vermont 

C. Central Park

If you guessed C., you would be correct. Okay, so my post title gave it away, but (honestly) could you have guessed otherwise? I took the photo this past Sunday, during a lovely rainy-day walk in Central Park with my husband. 

Cleo Coyle, whose husband
is also her partner in
crime-writing, is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries.
This was Marc's first long day out after some major surgery last month. He's recovering very well, which  is why this walk was more than just a walk for us: It was a happy day of thanksgiving for his continued recovery...

And, speaking of Thanksgiving, if any of you are coming to the city for the parade or shopping, consider a walk in Central Park. It's a wonderful experience...

The red marker in the photo shows the location of the Delacorte Theater.
This is where you would go to see a Shakespeare in the Park performance,
and it marks the general area of our Sunday walk.
So what's in Central Park? 

250 acres of lawns, 24,000 trees,
150 acres of lakes and streams, 
80 acres of woodlands, 9,000 benches, 
26 ball fields, 21 playgrounds,

and a partridge in a pear tree...
(but only during the holiday season). 

Actually, the park is one of the
top bird-watching spots in the USA
with over 200 species moving through
during migration months.

Below is my photo of the empty Delacorte Theater 
from a hawk's vantage point. "Hawk watchers"
with binoculars can be seen up here on occasion.

Two life-size sculptures stand at the front of the theater, celebrating
two of Shakespeare's plays. One of them was inspired by
The Tempest. The other is below. Can you guess it without looking
at the pedestal?

Click the photo to enlarge it.

We then walked through "The Ramble," one of the oldest parts of the park, 37 acres of hilly woodlands with secluded arches, ponds, benches, and bridges like the one below...

Two mallards float near a rowboat on the park's 18-acre lake.
Oak Bridge stands in the background.
(Click the photo to enlarge and see the other duck!)

Below you'll find another view of the Central Park Lake.
For the first time on our walk, we can see that we're in a city!
What are the two towers rising in the background?
Scroll down to the caption...

The two towers rising in the background are part of a famous
apartment building called the San Remo (built around 1930).
It sits along Central Park West's Historic District and,
over the years, has had a few tenants you may
have heard of: Steven Spielberg, Steve Martin, Dustin Hoffman,
Tiger Woods, Stephen Sondheim, Glenn Close, Demi Moore,
and Aaron Spelling. (And, no, we did not see any
of them on our walk. :))

The cast-iron details of the "Ladies Pavilion" makes in a notable
example of 19th century American decorative arts. It sits prettily
on the Central Park Lake, which was once used for ice skating in the
winter months. After 1950, the city moved the skaters to a rink
to allow the wildlife's former residents to return.
(Click on the photo to enlarge.)

When we emerged from the park, we saw this sight:
bleachers on Central Park West. Why?
The city is already getting ready for next week's
Thanksgiving Day Parade!

And speaking of Thanksgiving,
Mystery Lovers' Kitchen will be celebrating
a week of Thanksgiving recipes,
kicking off this Thursday and ending
on Thanksgiving next Thursday.

Be sure to stop by every day for a new recipe
If you missed my recipe from last week,
(pictured below) be sure to check it out.


So what's the twist?
On my facebook page last week, 
a few people mentioned that they might try
my holiday appetizer recipe (pictured above)
using sweet potatoes instead of
butternut squash.

I think that is a fabulous idea,
and if you have a few extra 
sweet potatoes
after your Thanksgiving menu is made, 
this is a tasty way to make use of them!

To see my above recipe for
"Nuts on Horseback,"

I'll have a new recipe for you next week.
In the meantime...

Marc and I wish you
Happy Trails!

Coming from us
December 3rd...

A Coffeehouse Mystery
by Cleo Coyle 

(Marc and I collaborate as "Cleo")

"Top Pick"
RT Book Reviews

A Mystery Guild
Featured Alternate Selection

"...a highly satisfying mystery."
~ Publishers Weekly

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
13 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's Christmas Cookie Time Again!

Can you believe that it's time to bake Christmas Cookies again?

The 2014 Domestic Diva Mystery takes place at Christmas and it involves a cookie swap. So I'm looking for your favorite Christmas cookies to include in the book! No kidding. If you've always wanted to see your name in a book, this is your chance.

Preference will be given to favorite cookie recipes handed down in your family. If there's a story that goes along with the cookies, I'd love to hear it!

All you have to do to enter is send your Christmas cookie recipe to me at Krista at KristaDavis dot com. If it came from a cookbook, please include the title and the author. If it came from the Internet, please provide a link.

I'll be doing the baking. An impartial panel of my family and friends will be doing the tasting! Good luck, everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. At my house, there were two new and different, for us anyway, dishes on the table. Avery Aames asked for a sweet potato recipe yesterday, so I'm happy to oblige with this recipe that was very popular with my guests.

It all started when I heard that Southern Living was making stripes on their sweet potatoes by alternating rows of crushed gingersnaps with marshmallows. That sounded fabulous to me. I couldn't find their recipe on-line, though, so I cobbled this together using one of their other recipes.

I used a baking dish that matches my china, hence the oddball size. I think an 8x8 baking dish would work fine. If you need more, double the recipe.

I also made this a day ahead of time, and baked it on Thanksgiving Day, a feature that I think is so important when there are a lot of dishes to be made.

Sweet Potatoes with Gingersnaps and Marshmallows

1 10x7 baking dish

2 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/8 cup milk
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

5-6 gingersnap cookies (I used Mi-Del)
mini marshmallows

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into like size chunks (1 1/2 inches or so). Add water to cover, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down so they simmer and cook until you can easily cut them with a fork.

Place in mixing bowl and cool. Add sugar, butter, and milk and beat. Add egg, vanilla, and salt and beat well to combine.

Pour into the baking dish. At this point you can bake, or refrigerate to bake the next day.

Preheat oven to 350. Sprinkle gingersnap crumbs in lines, leaving space for the mini marshmallows.

Bake 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes.

Place the mini marshmallows in between the lines of gingersnap crumbs. Bake 10 more minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes and serve.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Guest Blogger Melinda Wells with Pie a La Murder!

Please join me in welcoming a wonderful mystery author to our Kitchen. Melinda Wells' "Della Cooks" mysteries feature the spunky Della Carmichael, who runs a cooking school in California, stars on her own cable TV cooking show, and often finds herself mixed up in murder.
     Pie a la Murder, the 4th book in Melinda's popular series, is coming out next Tuesday (July 5th). Although she's already hard at work writing the next entry in her series, I asked her if she wouldn't mind taking a moment to tell us a little about Della's new adventure. She not only obliged me, she brought a delicious recipe for us.
     Melinda (a pseudonym for Linda Palmer) is a delightful person, and I invite you to learn more about her by visiting her Web site here. Her site also lists her signing appearances for the new release. Take it away, Melinda! ~ Cleo Coyle

Melinda Wells (aka Linda Palmer)
is the author of the
"Della Cooks" mysteries.

In Pie a la Murder, the 4th installment of my Della Cooks mystery series, Della Carmichael gets a major shock when Nicholas D'Martino, the man she loves, tells her that he has a daughter that he'd never mentioned.

Della knew that Nicholas had been married before (a long time ago) and that his ex-wife moved to Europe. He explains that he hadn't told Della about having a daughter because he never thought he'd see her again. But now the girl, Celeste, is eighteen-years-old. She telephoned him from Vienna to say that she has decided to come to Los Angeles to live with him. She arrives at the end of the week.

Della is genuinely happy for Nicholas, and looks forward to getting to know Celeste. But Della's best friend, Liddy, is horrified to hear the news. “Don't you know that the biggest threat to a romantic relationship is the man's daughter from a previous marriage? You hear about it on all the daytime talk shows.” 

Liddy is sure that Della's "love boat" is heading for choppy waters. Della appreciates Liddy's concern, but she doesn't believe it. She assures Liddy that her relationship with Nicholas will be fine. Liddy isn't convinced. But not even in Liddy's wildest imagination could she have guessed that the trouble in Della's future was going to involve murder. 

Pie a la Murder, from Berkley Prime Crime, will be published on Tuesday, July 5th. As with all of my Della Cooks mysteries, Pie A La Murder includes a bonus recipe section. I’m delighted to share one of those recipes with you today…

Mira Waters'
Sweet Potato Pie

“Who is Mira Waters’?” you might ask.

Mira is an actress and Della's friend. Among Mira's film roles, she’ co-starred with Muhammad Ali in The Greatest, and also in the lovely classic, Sounder.

She’s a fabulous cook, too. Her sweet potato pie is my favorite version of this dish.

~ Melinda


4 large sweet potatoes (boiled in their skins)
2 eggs
2 cups of sugar (or 1-1/2, depending on how sweet you want it)
1-1/2 teaspoons Rum (Mira says this is the secret!)
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. When the sweet potatoes are cooked, and after they've cooled for a few minutes so you don't burn your hands, strip off the skins. Mash the sweet potatoes in a mixing bowl.

Add the eggs, sugar, Rum, butter, milk, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whip all the ingredients together and put into an unbaked pie shell. Mira says you can use a prepared pie shell, but she and I both prefer to make our own crust. My personal favorite crust is the Standard Pastry Crust recipe found in the Betty Crocker cookbook—but be sure to use several tablespoons of ice water, not just "water." Using whatever crust you prefer, bake the Sweet Potato Pie for 35 minutes. (Be sure the oven doesn't over-heat.)

Visit Melinda Wells
(aka Linda Palmer) at her online home:

Thank you, Melinda!

To leave a comment for Melinda,
click the "comments" link below.

Read with joy!

~ Cleo

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sweet Potato Casserole and a big Thank You from Cleo Coyle

SWEET NEWS! I can't believe it, but my little Coffeehouse Mystery reprint, Holiday Grind, has once again made the Top-20 bestsellers list of all mass market paperbacks at Barnes and Noble stores across the country! Three weeks running! YES!

Thankful is such an important word this week, and I am incredibly thankful to all of you who have supported this book--readers, reviewers, bloggers, including (and especially) my fellow mystery writing cooks. Sending love, blessings, and heartfelt thanks your way.

And now for today's tasty post...

This blog post was chosen by Foodbuzz, a wonderful international community of foodie bloggers, as one of their Top-9 Picks for Thanksgiving Day 2010. Thank you, Foodbuzz!

Still looking for a delicious side dish for Thursday? Look no more. "Sweet Potato Casserole is what I'm asked to bring time and time again," wrote Pam Bigham Fulk in her comment on my Mashed Potato Makeover post last week. "I never come home with leftovers! Enjoy!"

Cleo Coyle, who believes
every cat should have
3 names, is author of the
Coffeehouse Mysteries.
Thank you to Pam for sharing this classic, comfort food recipe. With so many of you commenting that your favorite Thanksgiving side dish was sweet potatoes (no marshmallows!), I just couldn't resist making and photographing this one for today's post.

So here we go: Pam Fulk's Sweet Potato Casserole recipe (no marshmallows!)...with a little help from my cat Spunky (aka "Otis" aka "Otis Spunkmeyer" because every cat should have at least three names).



Thanks to Pam Fulk for sharing
her foodie love of this classic...


3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (see Cleo’s note)
1 cup brown sugar  
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)


1/2 cup brown sugar 
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
1 cup chopped pecans

Cleo Coyle's Note #1: Now you know freshly boiled and mashed sweet potatoes are going to taste much better than canned. Simply peel 3 medium sweet potatoes (between 1-1/2 to 2 pounds in total weight).

Slice them up and throw them into water that's been brought to a rolling boil. Cook them 20 minutes, uncovered in the boiling water. Drain well and mash. Do it the night before, store in the fridge, and you're all set to throw together this casserole on Thanksgiving day.

Mashing fresh potatoes always tastes better than canned. And you get a free session of primal smashing therapy--just before the in-laws arrive! Priceless. 

Casserole Preparation:

Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish. (In my photos below, I used a 1-1/2 quart dish). Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot and browned.

Cleo's note #2: This is one delicious casserole. Thank you, Pam! Only one small note of warning here. With the amount of butter and sugar in this baby, this is also one very rich casserole. But, hey, it's once a year, right?

Still, I think this casserole would taste just as good with the amount of butter reduced. Next time I make it, I'm going to reduce the butter by half, cutting it back to 1/4 cup each in the potatoes and topping. (1/4 cup = 1/2 stick so that would be a total of one stick of butter for the entire recipe instead of two.)

With thanks again to Pam,
I present my photos of her recipe...

Sweet Potato Casserole -
unbaked in 1-1/2 quart casserole dish...

Still unbaked with brown sugar
(I used dark brown) and
pecan topping added...

Baked and cooling casserole
on Cleo's back porch...

"Spunky? Are you going to help me
taste this? Where are you, Spunky?"

It appears Spunky is busy
chasing falling leaves.
Looks like we're on our own.
That's okay. More casserole
for you and me! Dig in!


Eat with joy!

Cleo's cat Spunky.
(Still holding out for turkey.)

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

A Coffeehouse Mystery

The TOP-9 national
mystery bestseller in 
hardcover is now a 
TOP-4 national mystery
bestseller in paperback!

To get more of my recipes, sign up to win free coffee, and learn about my Coffeehouse Mysteries, visit my *virtual* coffeehouse at:


“Fun and gripping…” —The Huffington Post

“Some of the most vibrant characters I've ever read. Coyle also is a master of misdirection and red herrings. I challenge any reader to figure out whodunit before Coyle reveals all.”
Mystery Scene

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Sweet Potatoes from Heart in Hand

This Thanksgiving I made Jenn McKinley's Sweet Potato Balls crusted with coconut for Thanksgiving. They turned out great and everyone loved them. I made them a few hours ahead of time, refrigerated them, and slipped them into the oven at almost the last minute. Easy cooking. Even better -- nothing exploded!

But there's also another sweet potato recipe that I adore. Made with Grand Marnier and pineapple, it takes a simple sweet potato casserole to new and elegant heights.

Many years ago, a friend of mine used to go to Heart in Hand restaurant in Clifton, Virginia. He very kindly gave me a copy of their cookbook, Cooking with Heart in Hand, by Suzanne Winningham Worsham. Over the years, I've enjoyed many of the recipes, but one stands out -- their Holiday Sweet Potatoes.

The restaurant and catering services are still in operation today, in a building once known as Buckley Brother's General Store, the largest general store in Fairfax County. Over the years, the likes of Nancy Reagan and Rosemary Clooney have dined there. And the opening scene of Broadcast News was filmed there!

The Worshams have very kindly given me permission to reprint their excellent sweet potato recipe. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Holiday Sweet Potatoes

Serves 8 - 10

4 1/2 cups mashed sweet potatoes, cooked
1/2 cup butter, melted
1-20 ounce can crushed pineapple, including juice
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1-5.33 ounce can evaporated milk
1/2 cup raisins
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
1/4 cup orange liquor (good quality)
2 tablespoons grated orange rind
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Puree sweet potatoes and butter in food processor. Combine the pineapple and juice, sugar, milk, raisins, and eggs. Mix well. Add Grand Marnier, orange liquor, and orange rind. Pour into buttered casserole. Sprinkle marshmallows and pecans on top. Bake 20 minutes.