A friend who is very smart said to me the other day: “If you did a weekly switch this for a healthier that type of post, I’d be all over it.” So the Monday Swap it Up was born – although it was hoping for a jazzier name.
We’ll start with the one you hear lot: swap sweet potatoes or yams for regular white potatoes. Yes, the humble yam is getting the glorious first spot. I do love me a good sweet potato. In fact, you could call me a Sweet Potato Queen if you like, although its not official.
Anyway, this is a great swap. Sweet potatoes and yams don’t raise your blood sugar as much as regular potatoes do. They are great sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants like Beta Carotene, along with wonderful fiber. And they are delicious, even without the marshmallows. Seriously, they really are. The lighter colored ones are similar to Yukon Golds in color and texture, and can fool those people who think they don’t like sweet potatoes. I pulled this over on my grandfather last year, and was not the least bit sorry when he had seconds.
The deal is, sweets or yams have more moisture than a regular Russet or red potato, and you need to cook them a little differently to get the results you want. This is the part they don’t tell you in those cute magazine articles. Store sweet potatoes and yams in the pantry where they can get some air and be in the dark, they will turn mealy in the fridge.
Baked Sweet Potatoes or Yams:
1. Line your pan with foil – you will thank me later
2. Heat oven to 400 F, a little hotter than with a regular potato
3. Scrub your spuds, then prick all over with a fork, and rub them with a little oil – canola or olive, doesn’t matter
4. Bake for about 44 – 50 minutes, they are done when a knife slips in and out easily
5. Cut an “X” in the top and push in the ends, they will open like a regular potato and be fluffy
Season to taste with salt, pepper and butter (a little goes a long way)
Roasted Sweet Potatoes or Yams:
1. Brush sheet pan or pans, depending on how many potatoes you are roasting, with canola oil (you can also use a paper towel to spread the oil, about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per sheet pan
2. Preheat oven with sheet pans inside to 400 F – hot pans make a crisper crust on the potatoes; if you forget, they will still be delicious just not as crispy on the outside
3. Scrub potatoes and slice into wedges, about 8 per potato
4. Toss potatoes with a Tablespoon of oil, salt and pepper (I like kosher or sea salt for this)
5. Place on preheated pans and roast until potatoes are golden brown, about 30 minutes, turning them over about halfway through (sometimes I skip turning them over, but they are better when you do)
If you are short on time, or just want some basic fries, the frozen sweet potato fries are great – make them in the oven using the directions on the bag, I usually find they need an extra few minutes to get as crispy as we like them in our house.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes or Yams:
For 4 servings, 2 pounds of potatoes
1. Scrub, peel and chop the potatoes into 1/2 inch dice (approximately, I’ve never actually measured a dice in my life)
2. Add potatoes to 2 Tbs. milk (1/2 and 1/2 or cream if you are having company) and 2-4 Tbs. butter, 1/2 tsp salt and a teaspoon of brown sugar in a medium saucepan (you should have 2-3 layers of potatoes in the pan).
3. Cook over low heat for about 40 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender
4. Mash in the pan, adding salt and pepper to taste
Trust me, this is one swap you won’t be sorry you made.