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: CoffeehouseMystery.com


“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


  1. This is one of my favorites Spunky is missing out ha. Thanks for sharing.

  2. This casserole is fondly called "Yamooze" in our family...why, you might ask? Because my dear nephew Christopher called it that the first time I made it 20 years ago!! I also decreased the butter after the first year to no loss in ymmy goodness...one more hint: if there is any left it makes a yummy breakfast then next morning!!
    Wishing you and yours a yummy Thanksgiving! I think the cats deserve a giblets treat on Thursday!

  3. Looks fantastic, Cleo--Happy Thanksgiving to you! Definitely rich, but eating heavy is what holidays are all about! Spunky is a cutie--hope he'll get a little turkey treat on Thursday. :)

  4. Sounds good. My cat, Smokie, Loves the side dishes and would definately help "test" the sweet potatoes! (She likes turkey too, but doesn't want to miss out on all the other goodies).

  5. I've been looking for a great sweet-potato-casserole topping - thanks, Pam and Cleo! I sweeten mine with no-sugar apple butter, so since I'm that virtuous, I can go for a buttery, sugary topping, right? And this one looks "yamooze-y!"
    Good thing you've got Spunky the Guard Cat around, Cleo, to keep those leaves away.

  6. Beautiful photos, Cleo. I just love Spunky! We don't have any sweet potato fans here, but I love your post nonetheless. Congrats on HOLIDAY GRIND's bestseller status. Love that most of all!

  7. Looks beautiful, Cleo. And Spunky, well, too delicious for words!

    Congrats on your bestseller status. Way to go!


  8. Amazing casserole. I love the topping.

  9. This looks a lot like my recipe and I have cut the butter in the potato mixture as well as the topping. Still very yummy!

  10. Replies to...

    @Babs - LOL! Spunky will just have to wait for that turkey. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Babs!

    @booklover - Love "Yamooze" - much better word than casserole. Methinks Christopher is on to something. And Spunky thanks you for the giblet treat idea. :) Have a great week of feasting, Nanc!

    More replies to come...

    ~ Cleo
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  11. Replies to...

    @Elizabeth/Riley - For sure. Comfort food is good food, especially this week!

    @Catherine - Smokie!! A cutie, too. I still remember the pics you sent to me. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Bob, and Crystal! Sending very special thanks to the 3 Lanes for your longtime support of my Coffeehouse books. :)

    More replies to come...

    ~ Cleo
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  12. Reply to...

    @Laineshots - Apple butter is a brilliant idea to cut down on the sugar. I've seen recipes that use honey, as well, but I like your idea even better. Pam's topping really is to die for. I'm eating servings of her cold casserole for breakfast and lunch today (with coffee). It's delicious! The topping gets all crusty; the filling chills like a pumpkin pie. Served cold, it essentially becomes an upside down sweet potato pie with a brown sugar and pecan crust. Thanksgiving bliss (2 days early). :)

    TY for dropping by, Laine. I hope you and your family have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

    ~ Cleo
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  13. Replies to...

    @Julie - Aw, thanks for the Spunky love, and the nice words about HG. Have a great Thanksgiving -- sans sweet potatoes. You are not alone, my hub feels the same way, which means, of course...more for me. :)

    @Avery - Thank you again for all of your support. Have a great week of feasting!

    @briarrose - For sure - great comfort food. Thanks for dropping by, birarrose.

    @Alicia – Very glad to hear that cutting the butter works well for you. As with all classic, comfort food recipes, this one is a great starting point for fun culinary experimentation. I just loved making the full butter version, though, so decadent -- she typed with a forkful in her mouth. Coffee sip. Another bite. For sure, served cold this baby tastes like an upside down sweet potato pie! One more bite...

    Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!
    ~ Cleo
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  14. Congratulations on the success of HOLIDAY GRIND, Cleo! Woohoo!

    I'm so glad you posted this recipe. I was eager to know about Pam's fabulous dish!

    ~ Krista

  15. Cleo, congrats on Holiday Grind!

    Your pictures are great, as always. Spunky looks appropriately named. And I especially love the composition in the photo of the sweet potatoes and the citrus fruit. Very nice!

  16. Congrats on the book. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  17. Replies to...

    @Krista - Many thanks for your good wishes and the amazing support you give to all of us. And now...I'm counting down the days to your new holiday release - The Diva Cooks a Goose!

    @Lynn - Aw, I'm glad you like Spunky, too. Yes, you guessed right - his name fits him! Thanks for the congrats and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    @Gayle - Thanks you! I hope you have a great holiday weekend, too.

    ~ Cleo
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  18. Cleo, that Sweet Potato Casserole is begging to be tasted. I can almost taste that topping and the smooth potatoes.

    BTW your cutie pie Spunky looks just like my long ago cat, Sammy. There is nothing better than great comfort food, good coffee and a kitty cat nearby.

  19. yes this definitely looks like warming comfort food! :) great post!

  20. This looks so delish! Happy thanksgiving to you and your family!