Sweet Potato Spoon Bread

1Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Spoonbread: it’s a southern American staple. Kind of like savory a bread pudding, kind of like a soufflé, kind of really delicious. Right now I’m imagining the menu for my perfect Thanksgiving Day meal… each guest with a tiny ramekin of this good stuff. I don’t have a big house or a large table to seat my family just yet, but I can dream! I think this is like if your sweet potato mash and cornbread had a baby. It’s soft and has wonderful flavor from the sweet potato and thyme combo. A fine cornmeal gives it just enough structure to hold up. I just love the idea of digging into this with a spoon. Warm, pillow-y goodness. It’s a home-cooked comfort side that’s sure to please!


Yield: 8-10 servings — Hands-on time: 1 hr — Total Time: 2 hrs

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Pinch of ground red pepper
  • 1 cup plain yellow cornmeal (I prefer the fine grain)
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 3 medium-size sweet potatoes, baked, peeled and mashed
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tsp baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bring first 5 ingredients to a simmer in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Whisk cornmeal into milk mixture in a slow, steady stream. Cook, whisking constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture thickens and pulls away from bottom of pan. Remove from heat, and stir in butter. Cool 10 minutes.

2. Place potatoes in a large bowl; stir in cornmeal mixture. Stir in egg yolks and baking powder, stirring until well blended.

3. Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form; fold into potato mixture. Spoon batter into a well-buttered 3-qt. baking dish (or small ramekins!)

4. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and puffy. (Edges will be firm and center will still be slightly soft.) Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Southern Living, www.southernliving.com

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

1Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Ultimate comfort food: chicken pot pie. One spoonful gets you everything you want– buttery crust, chicken, and flavorful veggies. A great weekend Autumn meal. My favorite part about this recipe is the individual size. I used two 6″ diameter (yet pretty deep) oven safe dishes. Double the recipe and you can save the rest to bake another night! Another great time saver is the ready-made pie crust rolls. I save my homemade crust for things like desserts and pies. Don’t sweat this one– It’s ready in a little over an hour. And so worth it when you take that first bite.


Yields: (4) 6-inch pies (or in my case, (2) 6-inch deep dishes — Active time: 50 min — Total Time: 1 hr 20 min

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (or more chicken broth)
  • 2 cups shredded chicken breast, cooked
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 2 rounds refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 large egg

You’ll also need: 6-inch individual foil pie pans or alternative

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring the vegetables around, until they start to soften, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir to combine. Cook the flour-coated veggies for 1 minute, then pour in the chicken broth (and wine, if using!) and stir to combine. Let it heat up and start to bubble and thicken, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the chicken, then add the turmeric and thyme, then season with salt and pepper. Add the half and half, then stir the mixture and let it thicken, about 3 minutes. If it seems overly thick, splash in a little more broth. Turn off the heat and let the filling cool to room temperature.
  3. Meanwhile, roll out the pie crusts slightly and cut out 8 (if making 4 pies) or 4 (if making 2 pies) dough circle. Press a dough circle into each pie pan, making sure the dough comes just to the top of each pan. Fill the pies with the chicken mixture. Lay a second round of dough over the top of each pie. Press the dough so that the edges meet, then pinch all around to close or use a fork to seal the edges. Mix the egg with 2 teaspoons of water and brush it all over the surface of the crust. Poke the top of the pie with a fork to vent.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the pies on a baking sheet and bake 25-30 minutes, until the crust is deep golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Enjoy!

If you make extra, freeze them by placing the pies on a baking sheet and flash-freeze 45 minutes. Then cover tightly with heavy-duty foil and freeze up to 6 months. To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the foil-covered pies for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake 30-50 minutes more, until hot and bubbly.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine.

2Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco