Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Slow Cooker Squash Casserole and Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Chile Cream

I have experimented with a few Thanksgiving-ish recipes this week.  Last night's squash casserole and roasted sweet potatoes were both very good.  I would happily serve (and eat) these on Thanksgiving or anytime.  And, both recipes were quick and easy to prepare.

This month's issue of Southern Living included a recipe for squash casserole that is cooked in a slow cooker.  It is full of tasty squash, zucchini, and cheese.  I spent about 30 minutes putting everything together. 

I was briefly disappointed when I saw that the final 30 minutes of cooking with the lid removed had produced a dark brown crust on the bottom of my casserole.   But, this turned out to be really tasty- it was like a cheese crust to the light, souffle-like casserole.

  2 lb yellow squash, sliced
  2 lb zucchini, sliced
  1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
  2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  2 cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs
  1 (8oz) container sour cream (I used reduced fat)
  2 large eggs, beaten
  1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  1/2 tsp pepper
  3/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese

  Cook first three ingredients in boiling water to cover in a large pot for 10-12 minutes or just until tender.  Drain well in a colander, pressing squash with a spoon. 
Stir together squash mixture, Cheddar, and next 5 ingredients.  Spoon into a lightly greased slow cooker.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.
Cover and cook on low 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until center is set and edges are golden brown.  Uncover and cook 30 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes.

I am always excited to try sweet potato recipes.  This month's issue of Bon Appetit included a recipe for sweet potato wedges with smoked chile cream.  This recipe is a unique and healthy way to serve sweet potatoes without masking their flavor with sugar and marshmallows (not that this is always a bad way to serve them).  And, you get to eat the nutrient-rich skin.  I'm addicted.

  1/3 cup sour cream
  3 Tab finely chopped green onion tops
  2 tsp chipotle hot pepper sauce
  2 tsp fresh lime juice
  3 lb sweet potatoes, scrubbed, cut lengthwise into 3/4" wide wedges with skin
  3 Tab olive oil
  1 1/2 tsp cumin

  Whisk sour cream, 1 Tab green onion tops, chipotle hot sauce, and the lime juice in a small bowl.  Cover and chill.  (This can be made 1 day ahead.)
Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Combine sweet potatoes with oil and cumin in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Arrange potatoes, cut sides down, on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Roast until tender and browned in spots, about 20 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place potato wedges on a large platter and drizzle with chile cream.  Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tab green onion tops.  (My chile cream was too thick to drizzle, so I just served it on the side.)

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