Oh My, Sweetie Pie!

Sweet Potato Hash Browns

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Ingredients: 

2 medium sized sweet potatoes, cleaned, peeled and shredded

Grape seed oil (or extra virgin olive oil)

1 tsp or more (low sodium) salt

1 tsp or more ground black pepper

1/2 tsp or more paprika (optional, to taste)

1/2 tsp or more ground cinnamon (optional, to taste)

1/4 tsp or more nutmeg (optional, to taste)

1 tsp butter or margarine (optional)

Directions:

1. Clean sweet potatoes and bake in microwave on high for 1 minute.

2. Peel sweet potatoes with a knife or vegetable peeler.

3. Grate sweet potatoes (with a cheese grater or a mandilon) into a medium sized bowl.

4. Heat large skillet or pan on medium heat. Add grape seed oil or evoo (about 3 tbsp).

5. Add spices (salt, pepper, paprika, cinnamon and nutmeg).

6. Mix hash browns and allow them to cook on low to medium heat to absorb any moisture. Allow them to brown a bit before flipping them in the skillet or pan. Repeat. They may be a bit mushy and will lighten in color (orange to a yellow-orange).

7. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. If they begin to burn, turn to low heat and let them crisp up.

8. Top with cinnamon, a dollop of margarine/butter or sour cream. Or, my favorite, heinz tomato ketchup (optional) and enjoy!

Verdict: A healthier, and tasty, alternative to regular baked potato hash browns. Made them on a whim and they turned out excellent. Sweet, with a bite of crispy, these hash browns will make you wish you did not make more. Scramble a few eggs or eat them alone, they certainly would be a crowd pleaser. An excellent way to get potassium into your diet, while still being a bit gluttonous! They remind me of the holidays, when all I used to eat at Thanksgiving was potatoes! A wonderful, delicious side dish for any occasion. Serving size: 2

Suggestions: If you want to make the sweet potatoes not as sweet, add granulated garlic or onion to them. These potatoes would make a creative a casserole dish as well, paired with onions, mushrooms, peppers and sausage. Also can be used as a base for a sweet potato pancake.

*Note: I apologize for the terrible photographs. Poor lighting can really do some damage!

One Roux to Rule Them All

Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

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This is my first attempt at my very own mac and cheese. I followed a similar recipe I had found from the Food Network (by the Neely’s) as a basis to get mine started. Rich and luxurious, this mac and cheese will surely fill you up. The mild Gouda gives it a distinctive taste, while the mild Gruyère calms it down. In addition, the intense, four-year aged white cheddar gives it a sharp taste to your buds, and the goat cheese adds a much needed creaminess. I found my cheeses at Wegman’s. With their distinctive and plethora of imported and domestic cheeses, I knew I would surely find some to give my concoction a much needed flare.

Ingredients:

1 lb (one box) whole wheat pasta shells (or pasta of choice)

4 tablespoons (1 half stick) of unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 teaspoon shallots, diced (I used jarred)

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 cups heavy cream

2 or more cups 4 year-aged Cheddar, white

2 cups organic mild Gouda (origin: Holland)

1/4 or more cup Goat cheese (classic chèvere)

1 cup mild Gruyere

1/4 cup Sauvignon Blanc White Wine (Sutter Home, California)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (more or less to taste)

Ground red cayenne pepper, to taste

Paprika, to taste

Thyme leaves, to taste

French bread, toasted (to make into bread crumbs for topping)

Parsley (for topping)

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Directions:

1. Cook choice of pasta according to box directions. I like to cook it while I make the sauce, so the pasta does not sit for a while without being tossed. Cook until al dente.

2. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 13×9 (aluminum) pan with unsalted butter.

3. Meanwhile, on low heat, make a roux.

How to make a roux:

  • Melt butter in a medium to large saucepan.
  • The butter should bubble and become frothy. Add garlic and shallots. Be sure not to brown the butter too much – a light brown color is alright.
  • By the tablespoon, whisk in the flour. [Equal amounts of butter to flour is a safe ratio to use]. Be consistent in whisking, so the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan. A thick paste should form.

Tip: You can also use a wooden spoon if you do not want to whisk the roux

For extra assistance: http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/culinaryfundamentals/ss/roux.htm

4. Once the roux has finished forming, add the heavy cream. Allow the mixture to boil, on low to medium-low heat.

5. After it boils, add the Sauvignon Blanc white wine. Allow it to cook off for a minute or two. Whisk/stir frequently.

6. Add spices: black pepper, red cayenne pepper, paprika and thyme. In this instance, the cheeses act as a substitute for salt. However, if you feel the need, add a dash of salt.

7. Add the variety of cheeses (shredded): cheddar, gouda, gruyère and goat cheese. Whisk/stir frequently. The sauce should thicken up by this point. Add any extra spices. I added a bit more ground black pepper, because the nuttiness and intensity of the cheeses can overpower any previously added seasonings.

8. Toss the pasta into the sauce pan and make sure it is completely covered with the gooey, cheesy deliciousness.

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9. Pour the cheese-covered pasta into the greased pan. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and finely chopped parsley. You can also top it with bread crumbs after it goes into the oven. (To make the bread crumbs, all I did was cut a few slices of French bread into 1 inch cubes and allowed them to toast in the oven).

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10. Into the oven it goes, on 325 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, to bake through, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Allow the top of the casserole to brown up a bit before serving. Sprinkle with extra parsley and/or bread crumbs if desired.

11. Enjoy!

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Bunny. Eats. Design. has invited me to share one of my recipes in the May 2013 Our Growing Edge monthly blogging event (hosted by Sonya)! This event is aimed at helping inspire and connect food bloggers across the World Wide Web. I am truly honored! Thank you!

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