I wish this was my kitchen. I wish I lived in a simpler, less cluttered, less complicated time. I wish I lived nearer my family so that they could stop by for coffee, and baby sitting, and Sunday Dinner. I wish that I didn’t have to Cook for the Year because we keep going hither and yon and back again. I wish. . . .well, I can’t ponder the “good ‘ole days” as we have soccer practice tonight and a lot of cooking to get done before then.
Today I have label as “Veggies”, but it is a bit of everything. Since legumes (bean family) taste better when cooked for a long time, we have been using the Crock Pot every night. Speaking of the Crock Pot let’s attend to the beef and pork roasts. Pour out that greasy, fatty water into a container. You don’t want that to go down the drain (or down your arteries for that matter.) Put the beef and pork roasts on a plate to cool. We are going to “pull” it once it is cool. Find a corner of your yard, and dump the greasy water out. Now rinse out the Crock Pot and add the split peas, a ham bone, salt, and some water. We will add to the Split Pea Soup as the day goes along. Turn the Crock Pot on HIGH instead of low as we want to finish up earlier today.
My kiddos love sweet potato casserole. By the time I get finished adding all the butter and brown sugar/molasses, it really is more of a dessert, but it is a vitamin packed dessert so I guess that justifies the marshmallow on top. Right?
Sweet Potato casserole is a three-step process, so that means it doesn’t happen on soccer nights, or Cub Scout nights, or Guitar nights, so basically if I don’t make it ahead it doesn’t ever happen. But before we start, what is the difference between sweet potatoes and yams? Or is it two different names for the same root veggie?
My bet is that none of us have ever eaten a true yam. Yams are grown mainly in Africa (95%) and come in 700 varieties. They are related to the lily family and are a tubular. Yams have skin more like bark–it is black or brown and rough. Yams have white flesh and can grown over 7 FEET in length. They are starchier and have fewer calories than sweet potatoes. Their overall nutrition punch is also lower as they are more starchy.
The confusion arises in that when a new soft flesh variety of sweet potato was introduced, it was introduced as a yam to differentiate between the firm fleshed (firm after cooking) and soft fleshed (soft after cooking.) Sweet potatoes are indigenous to South America and are in the Morning Glory family. Sweet potatoes have yellow, orange, light brown skin and can have yellow, orange or even purple flesh. Sweet potatoes back a vitamin wallop as they contain Vitamin A and C, beta carotene, manganese, copper, lots of fiber, and more. They are supposed to be good for you in all sorts of ways. They contain an enzyme that converts the starches to sugars. This continues to happen as they are stored and even as they are cooking. Yum. Yum. I love to eat my vitamins and fibers this way.
This is a photo of a sweet potato vine.
Sweet Potato 101 class is over. We have to work again. If you have a pressure cooker, get that out. Add a little water and some sweet potatoes and get them cooking. I like to cook up several casseroles, so while I am waiting for the first batch of sweet potatoes to cook, let’s do some chopping.
- Cream of brocoli Soup – onions, brocoli
- Split Pea Soup – onions, carrots
- Chicken Enchiladas – onions, cilantro, garlic
Once you have chopped some onions and carrots, throw them into the Crock Pot.
My Cream of brocoli Soup was a failure this year. The kids tasted it and didn’t like it. I will have to go back to the “drawing board” as last year they loved it. However, I agree with them. It didn’t taste quite right this year. So follow your own recipe, not mine.
As the sweet potato batches finish up, let them cool on a cutting board. They retain their heat for a long time, so let them cool before trying to peel them. Once they are cooled, peel them, and then chop them in about 1 inch sections before putting them in your Kitchen Aid to mash. The reason for this is that the sweet potatoes are very fibrous and if you don’t cut the fibers, you end up with 6 inch strings in your Sweet Potato Casserole. I add butter, brown sugar or molasses, salt and pepper, cinnamon, and then a little more butter. Put them in casserole dishes, cover with Saran wrap and foil, LABEL, then add them to the freezer. When I cook up the casseroles I sometimes add marshmallows, or a cereal topping tossed in butter (Like Honey Bunches of Oats).
The pork and beef roasts are probably cooled, lets “pull” them. Using two forks work your way through the meat. Add the Pulled Pork and Beef to a large bowl and throw in the BBQ sauce that you made yesterday. You can use containers or heavy-duty Ziploc bags for the Pulled Pork. I serve this on Kaiser rolls. All I have to really make for the meal is a veggie.
The Chicken Pot Pies need “lids”–pie curst tops. Everyone has their favorite pie crust recipe. If you don’t have one Better Crocker has a good, basic, recipe. If you want a savory crust just add some celery salt or some Lawry’s Seasoning. The pie crusts are really easy to add to the frozen Chicken Pot Pies. You can work with the crust easily as the Chicken Pot Pie is solid and also cold.
Hopefully the Split Pea Soup is finished. Take out the huge Ham Bone and turn off the Crock Pot. Let the Peas Soup cool. My kids like their Split Pea Soup pureed, so once you can work with the Split Peas, start running them through the blender or Food Processor. I usually find I have to add water to the soup in order for the Food Processor to really puree the soup. Again. Containers, LABEL, to freezer.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel up to making Chicken Enchilada’s today. Scratch them off the list.
Really. Truly. We are finished with onions and garlic and chicken broth and sautéing!!! The next time we cook it will be Grains–Granola, Rustic Peach Pie, bread, and Boston Brown Bread. It will be a welcome change. You will have renewed energy. Now take a hot bath–just be sure to lock the door!!! At My Whit’s End if you don’t lock the door it means you will get company.
We are almost there,
Thanks for coming along and cooking with me,
A parting shot. Little Man.