Day 309–Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Quesadillas

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Farm fresh sweet potatoes from our NC farmers!

Our Produce Box local veggie delivery service is ending next week (just for the winter), so I ordered a stock up box of sweet potatoes to take me through the holidays. Now I’m realizing this is a LOT of sweet potatoes! Thankfully, I keep finding new and inventive recipes for incorporating more of these healthy sweeties into our diet. This recipe is adapted from a vegan recipe you can find HERE at Ohmyveggies. I’m sure the vegan version is great, but I had chorizo from Mae Farm and I love cheese, so we tossed vegan out the window this time. We also subbed Swiss chard for the kale in the recipe because that is what we have this week.

Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Quesadillas (makes 4)

  • 4 whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, scrubbed and pierced with a fork
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 c. Swiss chard (about 1 bunch), trimmed and chopped
  • 1 lb. chorizo sausage
  • 1/2 c. black beans (cooked or canned–not dried)
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shredded cheese
  • Salsa for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast sweet potatoes in oven for about 45 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly (you can do this the night before).
  2. Remove potato skins, transfer potato flesh to a small bowl and mash until smooth.
  3. While potato is cooking, crumble the chorizo into a large skillet and cook over medium heat until brown. Use the back of a wooden fork to break up any large pieces. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
  4. Reserve 3 tbsp. of drippings and discard the rest. Heat reserved drippings over medium low heat and add onion. Saute onion until caramelized, about 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in Swiss chard and sausage and continue to cook until greens are wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Combine black beans and paprika in a small bowl.
  7. Divide sweet potato, sausage mixture and beans evenly onto 1/2 of each tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese. Fold empty half over the filled half.
  8. Put quesadillas on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet and brush tops with olive oil.
  9. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes.
  10. Serve with salsa and a green salad!
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Day 302–Sweet Potato Pound Cake with Praline Glaze

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My sweet T’s birthday cake!

For the record, cake is not health food. I get that. Really. But as we prepare for Thanksgiving (3 weeks from today!), I’m trying to include as many fresh, local ingredients into our Thanksgiving meal as possible. And for the record, that meal involves cake. And pie.

Don’t judge–you know you want cake, too. Or pie. Or maybe both.

Here in North Carolina, we produce sweet potatoes. A lot of them. Not only are sweet potatoes naturally sweeter than their other tuber cousins, they are packed with vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. After watching THIS video about sweet potatoes, we typically buy organic sweet potatoes because who wants a “bud nip” cake? Not me. Not even with ice cream.

This cake is my “go-to” cake for holiday parties, autumn pot lucks and any time I want to look super fabulous to my family. The sweet potatoes make for a very moist cake. The original recipe is from Southern Living, but I’ve tweaked it a bit over time. I do use whole wheat flour, so my cake doesn’t have a super fine crumb, but it is still tastes great! It is not health food, but it is far better for you than grocery store cakes, which substitute hydrogenated oils and lots of sugar for more expensive (and flavorful) ingredients. They hope you can’t tell the difference, but there is a reason those cakes all taste more or less the same.

You can make this cake without the praline glaze, but I highly recommend making the glaze. The cake itself is not very sweet, so the glaze adds a lot without making the cake too sugary.

Sweet Potato Pound Cake with Praline Glaze

Cake

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1.5 cups organic cane sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (2 large or 3 smaller potatoes)
  • 3 cups whole wheat all-purpose flour (I love King Arthur’s flour)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon or ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt cake pan.
  2. Using a standing mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together until creamy.
  3. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined. Add sweet potatoes and vanilla and mix well.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Mix well.
  6. Gradually add the flour to the wet mixture, beating at low speed (unless you plan on wearing the flour) and mix just to combine.
  7. This batter will be very thick!
  8. Pour the batter into the greased and floured pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 70 to 75 minutes.
  9. Remove cake pan from oven and cool the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove the cake from the pan onto the wire rack and cool for 1 hour.
  11. When the cake is near the end of its cooling time, make the glaze.

Praline Glaze

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup spiced pecans (you can make these, but I buy them already “spiced” at Trader Joes)
  1. Chop the spiced pecans into rough pieces, but not too small.
  2. In a heavy saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Whisk constantly and boil for one minute.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Whisk in powdered sugar, a little at a time and mix with the whisk until smooth.
  4. Let sit for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until glaze begins to thicken.
  5. Pour over cooled cake. Sprinkle the top of the cake glaze with the spiced pecans.

Tip: “clean” the saucepan by dipping more pecans into the glaze clinging to the pan. Eat happily, considering this to be your baker’s reward 🙂

Day 299–Sweet Potato/Apple Hash

The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet po...

Orange sweet potatoes are abundant here in North Carolina and they are packed with nutrients and vitamins!

I have a super abundance of sweet potatoes right now, mostly because I keep getting them in my Produce Box and I was too busy to mess around with them. Thankfully, they keep well for weeks, so I could park them to the side and wait until I had more time. Most of the recipes I have for sweet potatoes involve long cooking times or messing about with pots of water–neither of which was possible until this week. But this weekend, I created a recipe that is super easy, quick, healthy, and used ingredients I already had around the house. We served this with a beef roast from our Farmhand Foods meat box and it was really good–savory and a teensy bit sweet, too!

Sweet Potato/Apple Hash

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 3 large apples
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 3-4 tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/8 c. pure maple syrup
  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and dice by cutting into planks, then matchsticks, then cutting across the matchsticks for a small dice. Set aside.
  2. Core, peel and dice the apple so that the apple and the sweet potato pieces are about the same size. Set aside.
  3. Peel and dice the onion. Set aside.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan to medium high heat. Add the sweet potato and a pinch of salt. Saute for 2-3 minutes until potatoes start to soften.
  5. Add the onion and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent.
  6. Add the apple, salt and pepper to taste and additional olive oil if needed. Saute for about 8 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft.
  7. Drizzle with maple syrup, correct for seasoning and serve!