With Thanksgiving just 9 days away, I sat down today and started creating my grocery/shopping list. In the past you would have found me rooting through scraps of paper and note cards, trying to pull together all the recipes for those traditional Thanksgiving dishes my family enjoys this time of year. A few years ago, I typed up every single recipe, all pretty and neat. I printed them all out on cute little snowman paper.
Then I headed down to Office Depot and bought a three-ring binder and some mylar sleeves. Now, when it’s time to put that shopping list together, I just pull the Thanksgiving/Christmas Recipe Notebook down from the shelf and all the favorites are right there, tucked neatly away in their little protective sleeves.
Sweet Potato Casserole for Thanksgiving
A favorite in our Thanksgiving feast is Sweet Potato Casserole. If it is a favorite in your family but you’ve never had a recipe you really liked, I think I can help you out. When it comes to “decorating” the top of our sweet potato casserole in years past, our family always had the “marshmallow vs crunchy topping” debate. Some folks liked it one way and some, the other.
In 2002, I came across a sweet potato casserole recipe in Southern Living that sounded great, but it was missing a few of the key spices I remember my mother-in-law always added to her sweet potato casserole. I really liked her recipe but unfortunately I had never written it down. Most of her recipes were what we call a “put in and taste recipe” meaning you put some stuff in, taste it and if it doesn’t taste just right, you put some more stuff in and taste it again. It’s kind of hard to write those type recipes down for future reference.
So I took that recipe and, added in a few of the spices I remembered my MIL to come up with my own version. It came out pretty tasty and per was very much like the old family recipe we all loved. One of the best parts was it ended the topping debate because this casserole combines the best of both worlds. You alternate the marshmallow topping with a delicious, easy-to-make, crunchy topping. Everyone’s happy!
Here’s a pic of the one I made last year.
Here’s a printable version of the recipe, including the 4 spices I always add to make it taste more like the sweet potato casserole our family loves.
- 4½ pounds sweet potatoes
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup milk
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teasoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups cornflakes cereal, crushed
- ¼ cup cup chopped pecans
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- I also include the following 4 spices to make it taste more like an old family recipe:
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- Bake sweet potatoes at 400º for about 1 hour or until tender. Let cool to touch. Peel and mash sweet potatoes.
- Beat mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, milk, butter, eggs, extract and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Spoon potato mixture into a greased 11 x 7 inch baking dish.
- Combine cornflakes cereal, pecans, brown sugar and butter in a small bowl.
- Sprinkle diagonally over casserole in rows 2 inches apart.
- Bake at 350º for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle alternate rows with marshmallows and bake 10 additonal minutes.
- Let stand 10 minutes before serving.