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!

Better Than Applebee’s

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

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Referred to Martha Stewart’s Hot Spinach Dip recipe

Ingredients

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for sautéing and to coat baking dish)

1 medium sized Vidalia onion, peeled and chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

18 oz (2 9 oz bags) fresh spinach

5 or 6 (about 1/2 a can) artichoke hearts, washed and drained

Light margarine (to add to spinach and artichoke sauté)

1/2 cup water (to add to spinach and artichoke sauté)

1/4 cup milk (any type, or can substitute heavy cream)

8 oz (1 bar) 1/3 less fat Philadelphia cream cheese

4 oz (or about 1 hefty spoonful) Breakstone sour cream (can substitute reduced fat or fat free)

Hot sauce, to taste (optional)

Worcestershire sauce, to taste (optional)

Salt, to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

1 1/2 cup (Kraft) Italian shredded cheese (1 cup for mixture and 1/2 cup to top)

Tostitos Scoops! tortilla chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a 8×8 glass baking dish. A ceramic dish would also work fine.

2. In a large skillet or sauce pan (or a medium sized pot), heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, just until glossy, before they brown. Then add minced garlic. Cook for a total of 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Add artichoke hearts and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add spinach in four additions, adding a bit of water after each addition. Finish with a dollop of margarine.

4. Drain spinach and artichoke sauté in a strainer or colander (this step is optional, it would be fine to add the sauté drippings to the mixture, and would certainly taste delicious).

5. In the same saucepan, heat milk over medium to low heat. Whisk in cream cheese and sour cream. Be careful not to burn the mixture or let it curdle.

6. Toss in spinach and artichoke mixture, in addition to salt, pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Mix in Italian cheeses.

7. Add contents to oiled glass dish, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or put on low broil for about 10, or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly.

8. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Substitutions:

  • Can use frozen spinach instead of fresh (thawed and drained)
  • Serve with baguette slices or crackers of choice

Verdict: Being that this was the first time this recipe was attempted without following any exact directions, it was delicious! Creamy, with just the right amount of artichoke to spinach ratio, this dip will definitely serve as a great appetizer for a party or a cheesy snack. The only thing I thought should be done differently would be to put in more hot sauce, to give it some extra heat. Otherwise, this dip certainly turned out better than expected, but I cannot complain about that!

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*Second Edition*

When made a second time, I used:

2 1/2 (9 oz) bags of spinach

1 full can artichokes, drained

all heavy cream (substituted for milk)

Verdict: much heartier than last time, but the extra spinach and artichoke was spot on!