Sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner

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Are you already thinking ahead to your Thanksgiving dinner? I know I am!

In just over two weeks, many of us will be thawing our turkey, stocking up on canned pumpkin and pie crusts, and baking cornbread for our favorite dressing. My mouth is watering just imagining the mashed potatoes, cranberry salad and all of those yummy leftovers!

If you like sweet potatoes on your Thanksgiving Day menu — I sure do! — I have a new recipe you can try. The slow cooker recipe, from Pillsbury, is made with fresh sweet potatoes, not canned, and cooks while you prepare the rest of the meal.

I made the recipe for my family on Sunday morning, peeling the potatoes and cutting them into chunks. That’s the only time-consuming hands-on part of the recipe, and it didn’t take very long.

I made very few changes to this recipe. I did make my own pumpkin pie spice, and I omitted the marshmallows. We aren’t big fans of marshmallows on sweet potatoes at my house. Instead of marshmallows, I added a few toasted pecans to the top of the sweet potatoes before serving.

I was so pleased with the results of this easy side dish. The potatoes were so tender and not too sweet or too spicy. The sweet potato cubes also stayed intact while they cooked and were such a pretty orange color, dappled with the sweet spice mixture.

On Monday night, we had a chicken dish for supper and ate the leftover sweet potatoes with that. They were delicious as leftovers as well. I was also thinking how good the sweet potatoes would be mashed.

Pillsbury has a number of Thanksgiving recipes in a Thanksgiving Made at Home Wow Guide for November. Check it out at www.pillsbury.com.

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice*

1 tablespoon vanilla

3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes

2 cups miniature marshmallows (I omitted and added toasted pecans, instead, to individual servings.)

Spray oval 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.

In large microwavable bowl, mix brown sugar, butter, pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon water. Microwave uncovered on high 1 1/2 minutes, stirring once. Stir in vanilla. Add sweet potatoes; stir to coat thoroughly.

Pour mixture into slow cooker. Cover; cook on high heat setting 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until fork tender. Reduce to warm heat setting until ready to serve.

Stir mixture; top with marshmallows, and cover 1 to 2 minutes or until marshmallows melt slightly.


* Instead of prepared pumpkin pie spice I used 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.