Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Thanksgiving has come and gone and i'm sad cuz its one of my favorite holidays. Yeah the turkey is always good but its the side dishes that I always look forward too. My all time favorite are these stuffed sweet potatoes. I really don't care for sweet potatoes plain but when they are stuffed with pecans, brown sugar and toasted marshmallows, even the pickiest eaters will love them! Too bad they are only made once a year! Yummy!

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
6-8 large sweet potatoes, with skins
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 cups pecans, toasted and coursely chopped
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1. Heat oven to 400˚
2. Place potatoes on baking sheet. Pierce potatoes in several places.
3. Bake in 400˚ oven until fork-tender, about 55-60 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl, stir together butter and sugar until well blended. Gradually stir in pecans, marshmallows and flour until mixture forms loose crumbs.
5. Remove potatoes from oven. Cut a slash lengthwise in each potato. Using oven mitts, gently push together ends of each potato to open the slash. Season potatoes with salt and pepper. Stuff opening with marshmallow mixture. Return to oven.
6. Bake in 400˚ oven until stuffing is golden brown and melted, 5-7 minutes, taking care not to let the marshmallows burn. (I find that the marshmallows melt before this time is up. I like to add more to each potato when there is about a minute left.)


Cheesecake Brownies

I apologize again for my delay in posting new recipes but I have been incredibly busy, between work and planning my wedding! :) I know that isn't an excuse.....

Anyways to make it up to you, I am posting some brownies....also some cheesecake. No wait even better, brownies and cheesecake combined into one wonderful morsel of yummyness. These are so yummy if you let them sit out for an hour to get to room temperature. Enjoy!

Cheesecake Brownies
recipe from Baking Bites
1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt

8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.

In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt into the bowl and stir until just combined.

Pour into prepared pan and prepare cheesecake mixture.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter. Gently swirl two batters with a butter knife.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.

Cool in the pan completely before slicing and serving, either at room temperature or chilled. Brownies can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.

Makes 16 large brownies.


My Stepmom's Mashed Potatoes

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I had to post my stepmom's mashed potatoes recipe. However, this is really more of a technique than a recipe. There are tons of ways to make mashed potatoes and none are any better than the next. But for some reason, this recipe just tastes better then any other mashed potato I've had.

Simple Mashed Potatoes
serves 4 or 5
• 5 or 6 large Yukon gold potatoes or 8-9 Mini Yukon Gold Potatoes (this potatoes seems whip better and doesn't end up too starchy)
• 1 stick of butter
• Milk (I can't give a measurement because I just pour it in)
• Salt and Pepper for Flavor

If you are using large potatoes, cut them in half.

Put the potatoes (not peeled) in a large pot of water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling cook until potatoes are tender (about 25-35 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes).

Put a stick of butter in a large bowl.

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and put immediately in the bowl with the butter.

Salt and pepper and dont be stingy with the salt because the potatoes suck up the seasoning. (Seasoning is very important or you will have some bland potatoes!)

Pour in some milk. You can do this in increments because you dont want to add too much milk. You can always add more milk but you can't take it out!

With a hand mixer, mix the potatoes until smooth. If they are too thick, add more milk. Also, taste the potatoes. If they seem too bland, add more salt!

I find that mashed potatoes seem to get cold pretty quick. I like to just cover with a paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds immediately before serving.



Shrimp Scampi Pasta

There are some days that I just don't want to have a heavy dinner. This dish is light yet incredibly satisfying. It has a lot of flavor and besides that, I love shrimp! You can use any kind of pasta you like but I love the curly noodles, cellentani. I'm sure linguine or fettuccine would go well with this also.

Shrimp Scampi with Pasta
16 oz. box of any kind of pasta you desire
2 Tbsp. of Butter plus and extra 4 Tbsp. of butter
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil plus and extra 4 Tbsp. of oil
2 Shallots, Diced
10 cloves of garlic, diced
1 pkg. grape tomatoes - cut in half
1 Lb. uncooked shrimp, deviened
3/4 cup white wine
1 Lemon, juiced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Red Pepper flakes, salt and pepper for flavor
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for topping

For the pasta, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When it has come to a boil, add a handful of salt & the pasta. When pasta is done, reserve a cup of pasta water (you can use this later if the pasta is too dry) Drain the pasta, then set aside.

Meanwhile, in another pot or large pan, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in 2 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute shallots, garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes until shallots are translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Season shrimp with salt and pepper, add to pan. Add grape tomatoes to pan. After about 2-3 minutes, remove shrimp and grape tomatoes from pan and set aside. Add wine & lemon juice and bring to a boil. Let cook down 2-3 minutes. Add remaining 4 Tbsp. butter and 4 Tbsp olive oil. When butter has melted, return shrimp and tomatoes to pan, along with chopped parsley and cooked pasta. If the pasta looks dry, add some of the reserved pasta water to pan. Stir well and season with salt and pepper and more red pepper if you like. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil, top with grated parmesan cheese and serve. Goes great with a Caesar salad.