Banner Webicurean Home Advanced Search E-mail Webicurean
What's Here
image: arrow Epicurean at Large
image: arrow Martini Lounge
image: arrow Healthy Eating
image: arrow In the Kitchen
image: arrow Dining Guide
image: arrow Great Escapes
image: arrow Holiday Center
image: arrow Gourmet Boutique
image: arrow Hot Clicks
image: arrow Forums

book cover: pomegranates
All About Pomegranates!
Buy the book logo
FREE e-Greetings!
Send a Card
View Your Card

Have questions or comments about this site? Contact Anne Papina.
The Secret to Healthful, Kid-Friendly Holiday Fare: Sweet Potatoes

Image: baked sweet potato (ARA) - For parents trying to keep kids on track to develop healthy eating habits, the holidays can be as frustrating as that granddaddy of all bad eating days, Halloween. Sugar-filled chocolate Santas and holiday cookies, starchy stuffing and fat-filled mashed potatoes all can conspire to derail parents' best efforts and intentions.

"Eliminating sweets and starches from our holiday fare probably isn't practical for most of us," says Holly Clegg, cookbook author and spokesperson for the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission. "But it's easy to prepare healthful, festive holiday meals that will also please your child's sweet tooth. Turn to the sweet potato for inspiration."

Yams for the holidays are an American tradition. Native Americans were cultivating yams when Columbus arrived, and sweet potatoes were almost certainly on the menu for the very first Thanksgiving. But when Grandma set that dish of candied sweet potatoes on the holiday table when you were a child, she may not have realized the health benefits she was sharing with her family as well.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest considers sweet potatoes to be one of the most nutritional vegetables out there. Sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene (which gives them their yellow or orange color), vitamins A, C, B6, and E, iron, potassium and fiber, and are naturally low in fat. What's more, says Clegg, yams are among the "good carbs" nutrition experts recommend.

Clegg and the yam experts at the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission offer these tips and recipes for sweetening your holidays:

  • Fresh sweet potatoes store well at low temperatures and low humidity, making them available year-round. There's no need to refrigerate uncooked yams; simply store them at 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Choose fresh yams that are smooth, dry, plump and clean.
  • When using canned yams in a recipe, add them at the end of the cooking process since they are already cooked before they are canned.
"Sweet potatoes are so versatile they can play a role in virtually every course of your holiday meals," Clegg says. "They are great as a side dish or dessert and can even be incorporated into soups and main dishes."

For more tips and recipes, visit

Appetizer: Sweet Potato Crunchies

3 cups fresh sweet potatoes (yams) cooked and mashed or 2 (15-ounce) cans sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
1 tablespoon margarine
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
3 cups crushed corn flakes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Add margarine, brown sugar, pecans, vanilla, flour and cinnamon. Mix well. Beat in the egg. Form the mixture into bite-size balls and roll in crushed corn flakes. Place the sweet potato balls on the baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray and bake for about 20 minutes. Serve with toothpicks. Makes 3 1/2 to 4 dozen.

Entrée: Pork Chops and Sweet Potato Gravy

1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds pork scaloppini (thin cuts of pork medallions) or boneless pork chops
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
2 cups water
1 pound sweet potatoes (yams), baked, peeled and mashed or 1 (15-ounce) can sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions

In a small bowl, combine paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. Sprinkle both sides of pork with seasoning. In large skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, over high heat, heat oil and brown pork on each side. Remove and set aside. Add flour, stirring constantly to brown the flour. Add onions and sauté until almost tender, about five minutes. Stir in pecans. Add water and bring to a boil. Gradually add sweet potatoes and blend until smooth. Stir in syrup. Return pork to pan, reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pork is done, stirring occasionally. If gravy gets too thick, add water. Sprinkle with green onions and serve. Makes six servings.

Side Dish: Baked Sweet Potato with Topping

1 Fresh sweet potato (yam)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon raisins
2 teaspoons sunflower seeds
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat over to 400 degrees F. Prick potato with fork. Bake on foil-lined baking sheet one hour, or until very tender. Split sweet potato and top with maple syrup, raisins and sunflower seeds. Season to taste.

Microwave instructions: Pierce potatoes with fork and arrange on paper towels. Microwave on high eight minutes; turn potatoes over after four minutes.

Makes one serving.

Dessert: Sweet Potato Brownies

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups grated raw sweet potatoes
1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2-3 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together. Add remaining ingredients in order listed, stirring after each addition. Spread batter in a greased 9x13x2-inch pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. For glaze, mix powdered sugar, butter, and enough milk to make a thin glaze. Spread over hot brownies. Cool before cutting. Makes 24 servings.

Courtesy of ARA Content

Home | Shop | Forum | Hot Clicks | Holidays | Dining Out | E-mail

Copyright 1996-2008 Anne M. Papina and Webicurean™. All Rights Reserved. Legal notices.
Designed by AP Web Productions.