I was never much of a sweet potato fan until a couple of years ago.  Now they are one of my favorite vegetables.  Besides having them as part of a meal I like to keep a few baked ones on hand in the refrigerator for a quick micro waved snack. Apparently, sweet potatoes are considered to be the most nutritious vegetable and kiwi the most nutritious fruit.  I do use heavy cream in this recipe but any liquid such as chicken broth or low-fat milk may be substituted.  This casserole may be made ahead and reheated.  The amounts are approximate and can be increased or decreased accordingly.


6-sweet potatoes about 4 pounds (7 cups cooked)
1-cup heavy cream
1-cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
2-Tablespoons butter
1-1/2-teaspoons salt
1-teaspoon pepper

Topping:  Optional
2-3 medium bananas
3-Tablespoons butter AND brown sugar

Heat oven to 375° wash and cut a slit in each of the potatoes and bake until soft, about 1 hour.  Remove and let rest until cool enough to handle.  Scoop out potatoes and mash into a large bowl.  Add cream, cheese, salt, pepper and butter.  Mix well and place in a buttered 2-quart casserole.  If you are not baking the casserole at this time, wait until just before cooking to add the bananas. Slice bananas in thin diagonal slices placing on top slightly overlapping in concentric circles.  Microwave 3-Tablespoons butter and mix in brown sugar.  Spread on top of bananas as evenly as possible.  Bake the casserole in a 350° oven for about 45 minutes or until the bananas are slightly browned and the potato mixture is bubbly.
Serves 8

Here is a simple vegetable dish that is nice served with any Italian meal.  It has the versatility of being able to be served hot, cold or at room temperature.  The amount is for six to eight but it can easily be doubled and makes a nice buffet dish in winter or summer.  It can be made ahead and keeps well refrigerated for three to four days.  I think it looks best made with a combination of red and green bell peppers, but you can use any colors including orange, yellow or purple!  You can turn this into a more complete meal by adding about 1-pound cooked Italian hot or sweet sausage.


1-pound green and red sweet bell peppers (about 6 large)
3-Tablespoons Olive oil
1-two-ounce can flat anchovies in oil (chopped)
2-teaspoons dried oregano
2-teaspoons chopped garlic
2-Tablespoons drained capers
1-Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1-Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Fresh lemon juice (1 lemon in wedges)

Core and seed the peppers and cut into half-inch lengthwise strips.  Cut the peppers from the inside, they will be easier to slice. You should have about four cups.  Heat the Olive oil in a large skillet and cook the pepper strips about four minutes until lightly browned and slightly softened.  Add chopped anchovies, oregano, capers, garlic, parsley, parsley salt and pepper.  Cook another minute or so to combine the flavors.  Remove from the heat and sprinkle with some lemon juice.  Serve hot or cold with additional lemon slices around plate.  Serves 6-8

Spaghetti squash-----give it a try.  It is that melon sized cylindrical shaped light yellow “thing” in your produce department.  I love it and it makes a great substitute for high carbohydrate spaghetti.  I have friends whose children have wheat allergies who cook this all the time.  It does have somewhat of a bland taste, which is actually good since you can turn it into whatever flavor suites you.  You can bake, boil or microwave it.  I find microwaving to be the fastest and easiest.  Cut the squash in half, horizontally, scoop out the seeds and put the cut sides down in a microwave safe dish.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 10 minutes or until you can pierce the skin easily with a fork.  If you want to bake it, keep it whole and pierce it several places with a fork, place on a baking sheet and cook for 45-60 minutes at 350°


1-approximatey 4lb. spaghetti squash
1-Tablespoon good olive oil
1-teaspoon salt and pepper
2-teaspoons oregano or Italian spices
1/4-teaspoon dried pepper flakes (optional)
1-cup favorite spaghetti sauce or plain canned tomatoes
1-cup shredded mozzarella cheese

When the squash is cooked, cool slightly and with a fork scrape out the inside membranes, it will look exactly like spaghetti strands.  You should have about four cups.  Place in a bowl and add olive oil and seasonings and mix well.  Pour mixture into a two-quart casserole, top with sauce, shredded cheese and a sprinkling of olive oil.  Bake in 375° about 30 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese has melted.  Serves 4
You can also increase the size of the spaghetti squash and mix in some cooked chicken or raw shrimp before covering with sauce and baking.  Just think of it as regular spaghetti and the possibilities are endless!

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