For a family reunion this weekend, we were asked to bring something. And, of course I waited until the night before to decide. It had to be a side dish of some sort, but I didn't want salad. That's always what people bring. Potato salad, pasta salad, regular salad, and I didn't want that.
Out of the blue I remembered when my grandma had one time made sweet potato casserole. With that memory came flooding back was the unbelievable taste in my mouth. It was around Easter this past year and it was the first time I had ever tried it. She didn't junk it up with those processed marshmallows or anything, just your regular candied pecan topping. It was so delicious and I definitely knew that's what I wanted to make. It isn't necessarily what you'd think to bring to a summer-ish family gathering, fall or winter's more the right time, but I had to have it!!
I found a super easy, super simple recipe, and decided to go with it. Having never made it before, I just went with what looked easy, but good. I planned to double the recipe because there were a lot of people attending, and because I knew I would want left overs for myself! The recipe has you mash your potatoes, then combine with all other ingredients. Then mix your topping up, and add it on top your filling. EASY!
One thing did seem a little off though... The amount of butter. I knew I was doubling the recipe, but it still seemed like a lot to have. It was made the morning of, so I didn't want to waste my time worrying. After I popped it in the oven, I waited. (In the mean time, my mom and I ate some of the pecan topping that we left off for us to munch on. It was sooo good!) When I pulled it out to check though... woah! It was all soupy and not what I had remembered sweet potato casserole looking like. So I put it in longer. Still soupy. This time though, you could see all the excess butter floating through out. Yuck. Normally I'm a huge fan of butter. I admit to having used half a stick (or more) one time for on my pancakes. But this just looked gross. So my mom and I thought of comical ways to extract the excess.
Try #1: A turkey baster. This probably would have worked the best except that we didn't have the rubber thingy that was supposed to go on the end.
Try #2: This syringe like thing used for when my sister could only be fed liquids after her surgery. Well this one didn't work out that well, but it was pretty funny trying to use it.
Try #3: Tiny coffee stirrer straws. I guess by this point my mom thought sucking it out with straws was the way to go. This was actually effective, except that you then either had to swallow the butter, or spit it out akwardly.
Try #4: A spoon. By tilting the dish to one side the butter would gravitate to the corner. Then using a spoon, you could just scoop it out. Sometimes the simplest things work best. As was the case here.
In the end, there was still a ton of butter in it, but we'd managed to get a good deal out. Once at the party, we put it in the oven some more, to heat it up and hopefully help with the butter situation.
It was funny because no one tried it by the time I got my food. I think people were unsure of what it was since no one else had taken from it. I guess people don't think of sweet potatoes yet in the year. But after I took my spoonful, they were able to see what it looked like inside, and then it go going.
So, the verdict: Loved it! Of course with less butter would have been ideal, but for not having it in such a long time this definitely was a treat! It got really great reviews from people at the party too. And of course leftovers the next day heated up in the microwave were great!
Sweet Potato Casserole
*For the party, I doubled the recipe. However, what is typed below is not doubled. Also, as I mentioned before, I did not like the amount of butter suggested. You could definitely afford to cut some out. I am confident it will taste fine with less.
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup butter
1 cup chopped pecans
Combine your filling ingredients, and pour it into a buttered large casserole dish. Mix your topping together and sprinkle over top. (I used my hands for the sprinkling part). Bake at 350 for 35- 40 minutes, until hot and browned. I pretty much cooked it the 40 mins. then just let it keep cooking for various time lentghs. I would walk away without a timer and just let it go. And honestly it rpobably still would have been okay to cook it even longer. Don't be worried about time is all I'm saying.
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