Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is a twist on normal twice-baked potatoes, straying from the usual suspects of butter, sour cream, chives, and cheddar cheese and using a sweet potato instead of a russet.  The spinach, cream cheese, and buttermilk bring an extra deliciousness to the already amazing-all-by-itself sweet potato.  I like this recipe because it shows that there are other ways to dress up a sweet potato other than with butter, cinnamon, and marshmallows (change. is. good.).

It also gave me an excuse to break in our new potato masher!  If you don’t have a potato masher,  I would recommend using a large fork instead.  Although using a whisk may seem like a good idea, it’s really not strong enough to incorporate all of the ingredients and you’ll just end up with a tangled mess.  But hey, if you want to go for it – by all means – you’re cooking!  Regardless of what you use to mash, I hope you try this recipe.

Although I’m not a huge football fanatic – *gasp* – I embrace the fact that it gives me an excuse to try new game day recipes!  I made this recipe for our dinner one night, but in retrospect I think this would make a great appetizer for t he big game on Sunday.  Instead of leaving the potato skins whole, just cut the potato skin in half and then into quarters and fill each skin with a generous scoop before covering it with cheese to go back in the oven.  Russet potatoes would also be great for this recipe as well.  Although they don’t pack the vitamin C punch that sweet potatoes do, they would be delicious with this filling.  Better yet, you could make two batches to offer a variety to your football enthusiasts.  Enjoy!

:: You will need ::

2 medium sized sweet potatoes

1 tsp. olive oil

1 small onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, finely diced or minced

9 oz. bag fresh baby spinach

4 slices bacon

4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese

¼ cup buttermilk*

1 tsp. vegetable oil

2 tbsp. mozzarella cheese

salt and pepper to taste

:: Let’s get going ::

(1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Wash, scrub, and dry the sweet potatoes; then, take a fork and puncture the potato in 15-20 places across the skin.  This will allow heat to escape and help prevent the potato from bursting open in the oven.

(2) Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and into the oven.  Bake for 45 minutes or until fork tender.  If you are pressed for time, you can speed up the baking process by microwaving the potatoes for 6-8 minutes before putting them in the oven.  This will cut down the baking time.

(3) While the potatoes bake, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan on medium and cook the onion for 3-4 minutes, or until they are soft.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

A trick for peeling garlic .. oh that stubborn garlic.  Take a knife with a wide blade and turn it on it’s side on top of the unpeeled clove.  Make sure the blade is level, or your garlic will shoot out the side!  Then, make your hand into a fist and whack the top of the blade.  This will smash the clove and make it much easier to peel and chop.  I know it’s a little daunting at first, but just be careful of the blade – you’ll get the hang of it.  Or not – but hey, at least you tried.  That’s half the battle.

(4) Turn the heat down a bit and add the entire bag of spinach.  Yes, the entire bag; it will wilt down to less than a quarter of its original size.  Cover the spinach for 3-4 minutes or until it has wilted.

(5) Set the spinach-onion-garlic mixture in a large bowl to the side.  In the same sauté pan (or another pan if you’d rather), cook the bacon until crisp on medium high heat.  When cooked, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.  When cooled, chop or break the bacon into pieces and reserve.

Mmmm… Bacon!

(6) When the sweet potatoes are cooked, let them cool for 5 minutes.  Carefully slice each potato in half and scoop out the inside of the potato, adding it to the spinach-onion-garlic mixture; try not to break the skin on the sides.

(7) Add the cream cheese, buttermilk, salt, and pepper to the bowl and mash together until smooth.

(8) Coat the outside of each potato skin with vegetable oil.  Fill each of the shells with the filling and top with a sprinkle of cheese.  Transfer each potato back to the baking sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the skins are crispy.  Top with the bacon bits and serve!

*If you don’t keep buttermilk on hand – and let’s face it, unless you bake a lot or just really like buttermilk, it’s doubtful that you do!  If you have lemon juice (or lemons, for that matter) and milk .. that’s all you need!  Mix 2 tbsp. lemon juice per 1 cup of milk, let it sit for 5 minutes, stir – and voila!  Buttermilk.  For this recipe, we only need 1/4 cup buttermilk, so that’s 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice.  This trick saves me every time!

Printable version.

Printable version with picture.



One Comment to “Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes”

  1. I think I might make these tonight!!! they look incredible!!!!

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