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Baked Yam Casserole

Candied sweet potatoes were always a staple at our Thanksgiving feast. Mom made them with just the right sweetness. However, once the task of making the Big Dinner fell to me, I started looking for ways to streamline the preparation. One change I made was not candying the sweet potatoes, a last-minute chore to be done with many other last-minute chores. Instead I put them in a casserole with the same seasonings and threw them in the oven to warm 45 minutes before dinner. This was an instant success, even with Mom, and I've kept it ever since.

6 to 8 baked sweet potatoes
6 to 8 tablespoons of butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar or to taste
Sprinkling of cinnamon and salt
Chopped pecans, optional

Pierce and bake sweet potatoes on a piece of foil alongside the turkey. (You can also prepare the sweet potatoes the day before.) When done (depends on how high the oven temperature but usually an hour), scoop out insides and mix with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Spoon into casserole, sprinkle with pecans and set aside. Forty-five minutes before serving time, place in the oven until hot. Or microwave for 5 or 6 minutes, stirring once (don't add the pecans until after stirring).

The Secret: In a pinch, use canned sweet potatoes. Drain and mash well. The flavor isn't as yammy as baked fresh potatoes, but it's still yummy.

Nancy Anderson

Thursday, November 18, 1999

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