sweet potato cupcakes with toasted marshmallow frosting

you guys i have so many cupcake recipes to share with you.  i am so excited.  during my blog hiatus i didn’t stop baking and taking pictures, so i have a plethora of cupcakes and cookies and other desserts to post (don’t worry, i haven’t just been eating sweets – i’ve just making a lot of the same ol’ savory dishes).

this past weekend, i posted the irish car bomb cupcake recipe and next on the list are these sweet potato cupcakes with toasted marshmallow frosting.  i made these earlier this year for our office’s holiday party.  they definitely have a more fall/winter holiday to them because they are inspired by sweet potato casserole.

my colleague and friend actually picked out the recipe from my pinterest when i was trying to figure out what to make.  here we are below at the holiday party.  we had an ugly sweater contest.  i loved my sweater but she won and it was well deserved.  check out the feathery bird headband she was wearing.  amazing!

it is crazy how much is tasted like sweet potato casserole.  it really is just the casserole in cupcake form.  crazy!   the sweet potato keeps the cupcake incredibly tender and the warm spices are divine.  then the toasted marshmallow frosting just takes it over the top.  it is sticky and toasty just like the marshmallow topping on sweet potato casserole.

to make the sweet potato cupcakes, start by roasting some sweet potatoes.  i just poke each potato a few times with a fork (this keeps the potato from exploding while it bakes).  then place them on a silpat or foil liken baking sheet.  bake the potatoes at 425 degrees f for 45-60 minutes, or until they are fork tender.

allow the sweet potatoes to cool, then peel off the skins and mash the sweet potatoes.  i did this prep the night before so i didn’t have to worry about doing too many steps in one go.

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sweet potato risotto

remember how i have just under 10 pounds of mashed sweet potato just chillin’ in my freezer because for some crazy reason i thought it would be okay to buy a 10 pound box of sweet potatoes?  well slowly but surely i’ve found different recipes to use up our mashed sweet potato.

i recently found a recipe for sweet potato risotto.  although i already have a recipe for roasted sweet potato and spinach risotto, this one is a bit different because it uses mashed sweet potatoes instead of roasted cubes of sweet potato.  this recipe definitely reminds me of thanksgiving and fall time.  but on these cold winter nights, it’s perfectly warm and comforting.

this sweet potato risotto is also easy to make  – well i guess only if you already have mashed sweet potatoes on hand, otherwise this would definitely be a more time and effort intensive meal.  but i was able to make this dish on a weeknight in about 45 minutes.  not too bad at all.  i served this as a main dish – just by itself, but you could use it as a side dish instead.

it starts off with some onions and garlic sauteed in a little bit of white wine.  next add the arborio rice.

  

after cooking for a minute or so, add the mashed sweet potato and just a 1/2 cup of warmed broth.

stir, stir, stir until the liquid is complete absorbed.

then add in another 1/2 cup of broth and stir some more until the liquid is gone again.

repeat this process  until the rice is nice and tender.  all in all it should take about 20 minutes.  then remove it from the heat and add the parmesan cheese, rosemary, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

  

finally, serve warm.  enjoy!

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sweet potato gnocchi with spinach cream sauce

last night i had a crazy idea.

i decided i would make gnocchi on a weeknight.

i know sooo crazy.

okay, i guess not so crazy but i definitely thought that it would take too long and we would be eating dinner at 10:00 p.m. by the time i was done cooking.

well you know the rebellious side in me decided to go for it and hooray, i was able to make sweet potato gnocchi with spinach cream sauce on a thursday night.  plus we ate dinner at 7:30 p.m. not bad at all, especially considering that i went to the gym right after work too.  so all in all it only took about 45 minutes to an hour.  not bad at all.  but i would say it  unless you happen to have peeled, cooked, and mashed sweet potato already on hand, i would suggest using canned pumpkin instead of sweet potatoes because it would definitely take longer if you had to cook and potatoes and all that jazz.

so start with making the sweet potato gnocchi.  i used the same recipe and cooking technique as the sweet potato with brown butter and sage i made a little while ago.

while you’re pan frying the gnocchi, fry up some bacon in a separate pan.  you know, bacon makes everything better!

this spinach and garlic cream sauce comes together very quickly.  i used frozen spinach but if you have some fresh on hand you could definitely use that instead.

then just put it all together.  easy peasy!

and there you have it homemade gnocchi on a weeknight.  totally doable and totally delicious.  rich, flavorful gnocchi plus a light spinach and garlic cream sauce plus crunchy bacon – you can’t go wrong.

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sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter and sage

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for some reason i thought it would be a good idea to buy a 10 pound box of sweet potatoes from costco.  well after only using a few of them for the roasted sweet potato and spinach risotto we still had quite a bit left.  i was excited to try new sweet potato recipes but we’ve had a busy couple of weeks and i  wasn’t able to get to any of them.  unfortunately, some of the potatoes were already starting to look a little funky.  so earlier last week, i peeled, steamed, and mashed a whole lot of sweet potatoes.  then i divided them up into ziplocks and stored them in the freezer.  i figured this would be a good way still be able to make different sweet potato recipes without the pressure of making them in a limited amount of time.

but soon enough, on sunday i found some time to make sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter and sage.  as i was looking for recipes for sweet potato gnocchi, recipes for pumpkin gnocchi kept popping up too.  the recipes looked fairly similar so i actually used a pumpkin gnocchi recipe and substituted the pureed pumpkin with the mashed sweet potatoes since we didn’t have any pumpkin on hand.  i also added some sweet italian sausage to add some protein and make it a full meal.

oh and then as i was reading the recipe i realized that tammy actually made it too.  great minds certainly do think alike.  check out her post on pumpkin gnocchi!

finally, can i tell you this is one of the easiest fresh pasta recipes i have made.  it was incredible.  soo much faster than making the gnocchi recipe i tried before and definitely easier than the three cheese tortellini.  since these gnocchi are pan fried you don’t have to worry about making them pretty with all of those fancy grooves.  so if you’re looking for a good pasta recipe to start off with, i would definitely suggest trying this one out.

step 1: mix up all of the gnocchi ingredients except the flour…

  

step 2:  sift half the flour into the bowl.  mix slightly until just incorporated…

step 3: sift the rest of the flour into the bowl and knead gently with your hands until the dough comes together.  be very careful to not over knead the dough…

step 4: on a lightly floured surface, cut the dough into four equal pieces.  then roll each piece into a 1 inch thick rope…

  

step 5: cut each rope into 1 inch pieces and lay them on to a large sheet pan…

  

step 6: once all of the gnocchi are done, it’s time to pan fry them.  heat up a large saucepan with butter and olive oil.  then add about half of the gnocchi making sure they don’t touch each other…

step 7: after letting them cook fro 1-2 minutes, flip each gnocchi over and let them cook an additional 1-2 minutes…

step 8:  put the finished gnocchi on the sheet tray and repeat with the rest of the gnocchi.  then clean out the pan and add in the rest of the butter and oil.  once it’s hot, add the sage leave and allow the sage leave to get a little brown and crispy…

step 9: remove the sage leaves and then add the balsamic vinegar.  WARNING: it splatters everywhere!  like my kitchen was covered in a mixture of oil, butter and vinegar.  not good.  so be prepared with a splatter guard to keep that from happening to you.  you could probably also let the butter/oil mixture cool a little before adding the vinegar.  then pour the sauce over the gnocchi (and sausage) and toss gently.  garnish with the crispy sage leaves…

this sweet potato gnocchi was delicious – even though it was a bit rich the lemon zest in the gnocchi and the balsamic vinegar in the sauce really helped brighten up the dish.  plus i love the slight crunch of the panfried gnocchi, definitely a nice change from regular boiled gnocchi.  i highly recommend this recipe!

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roasted sweet potato and spinach risotto

the last time that i made risotto, i made it with tammy and we made a delicious herbed risotto with chicken and caramelized onions.  it was much easier than i though it would be to make risotto.  but you know why that was?  because we were using a non-traditional, hands free technique to make the risotto.  i guess we were kind of cheating – oops!  but  no wonder we weren’t stirring and stirring the risotto like i normally see people do on the food network.

well this past weekend, i made risotto the more traditional way and spent 45 minutes stirring.  fun fun.  but it was well worth the effort because we ended up with an amazing, creamy, roasted sweet potato and spinach risotto to eat with our apple stuffed pork loin roast (recipe coming soon).

we bought a humongous box of sweet potatoes from costco and it’s been lots of fun trying to figure out new ways to eat them besides baked sweet potato fries.  i think i’m going to try out sweet potato rolls next.  yum!  so anyway, the first step to making this risotto is to roast the sweet potatoes…

then saute the onions (the recipe called for shallots but i just used some red onion) and garlic in butter…

at the same time, simmer the chicken or vegetable broth in a medium pot.  it’s important that you add hot broth to the risotto as you’re making it (this picture was taken a bit into the risotto making so you’ll definitely need more broth than this)…

after adding in wine and stirring a bit, it’s time to start the constant stirring.  first you add a cup of broth and stir until it gets a bit dry.  then you add in another cup of broth and stir some more until it gets dry again.  you repeat this process until the risotto is cooked and you’ve used up all of the broth, which took about 40 minutes.  check out how creamy it gets after being stirred and stirred…

the final step is to add the roasted sweet potato, spinach (i used frozen spinach because that’s all i had on hand, but the recipe called for fresh), and parmesan cheese.  once everything is combine it’s all done.  time to eat!

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