Yes, This IS the Best Yam Casserole EVER! 2.0 Version for Double the Delish

 

I started making this simple side dish six years ago; we have enjoyed it for a number of holidays.  I like it alongside a roasted meat like ham or turkey.  I always serve it on Thanksgiving Day: far healthier than that casserole full of sugar and marshmallows.  For all the yummy food I serve for big feasts, this humble side dish often gets the most praise.  There generally is very little leftover. I made it last week for a teacher luncheon; no leftovers 😦 but some raves!

I love it because it is healthier than most yam/sweet potato casseroles.  It is free of gluten, grains, eggs and refined (read white) sugar.   If you use something other than butter it can be dairy free too.  No tons of butter, marshmallows or cup of brown sugar.  Less than a quarter cup of sweeteners make this a good choice for pre-diabetes.  I generally use the coconut oil rather than butter; it adds a subtle flavor I enjoy.  Plus yams themselves are quite good for you. We love their natural sweetness.easter-036

And it is so easy to throw together. Just peel and dice up the yams, mix up the other ingredients in a small saucepan and pour over, bake and enjoy.  So easy but the flavor is subtle yet very pleasing.  I suggest 4 large yams but I often use 5 or 6 smaller ones. Simple, tasty and healthy; side dish home run!

yam casserolle

It shrank a bit in the pan but still a nice amount of delish to share. Looked fantastic before I took it to the luncheon; darn but I forgot to take a picture….

NOTE: I am doubling this for all those who wish for a bigger pan of this delish side. Look at old posts for the smaller version!

Honey Spiced Yams

8 good sized yams
1/2 c. butter (or coconut oil)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
4 tsp. molasses
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger (dry not fresh)
1 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash sweet potatoes (yams), peel if you like (it’s not all that necessary), chop into fairly uniform 1/2 inch cubes or do 1/4 inch slices and place them in a 9×13 inch baking dish that you sprayed with cooking spray. Be sure NOT to use the one with flour added…. Over low heat, melt the butter and coconut oil in a heavy small saucepan. Stir in the honey, molasses, and spices. Mix and drizzle over sweet potatoes, then sprinkle with salt. Stir to evenly coat, then bake for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes or until yams are fork-tender. I like to stir it up once or twice while it bakes so that yummy sauce can sink into every bite of yam.

I can’t remember where I found this recipe: I think it was in a magazine.  The original version left the skin on but I am not that brave with company; but go ahead and try it….let me know if people like it that way.  This recipe was originally posted by me in late 2014.

 

Almond Frangipane Tart

I still am not rolling out pie dough so I did my favorite shortbread cookie crust made in my stand mixer in a few minutes with no real work. This simple press in crumb recipe by Annalise Roberts is sweet and has a perfect texture. And so easy… There were still apples from our fall picking expedition so that seemed to be what I could plan a family dessert around.

I had a bag of whole almonds that needed to be used up.  So, I went with the classic frangipane filling under thin slices of Granny Smith apples. I used the almonds to make my own almond paste (the recipe is a blog post by me last year) but you can buy some if you prefer. I pre-baked the crust as I feared the almond filling might make the raw crust

The tart was a rousing success; the crust tasted delicious; the almond filling fused the skinny apple slices into the crust as a cohesive whole that was delightfully almondish!

Notes: I used Granny Smith as they hold their shape under oven heat; some baking apples can mush down too much. Don’t change that or you might end up with a saggy top.

apple tart with frangipane filling only

apple frang tart with applesapple frang tart bakedApple Frangipane Tart with Cookie Crust

 

Ingredients:

CRUST:

1 cup gf flour (King Arthur basic gf blend)

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. xanthan gum

¼ tsp. cinnamon

5  Tbsp. cold butter

FILLING:

8 oz almond paste

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 butter, softened

2 eggs

3 Tbsp.  KA basic gf blend

3 cups of peeled, cored and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples (3 large  apples)

1 Tbsp melted butter

1 Tbsp. coarse sugar for topping

DIRECTIONS: Crust: use a stand mixer; put dry ingredients in bowl, add cut up butter and mix on medium until crumbly. Spray 9 inch tart pan with cooking spray and press in crust, heat oven to 375 degrees.  My pan has a removable bottom but I don’t see why you couldn’t use a plain pan.  Bake crust 6-7 minutes; let cool while you make filling.

Filling: Mix filling in medium bowl; put almond paste (break up if chunky: can grate it if hard) and sugar. Mix a bit, add butter; mix well, add eggs one at a time, beat well between eggs and 3 minutes after second egg; add flour; chill. Gently spoon into tart pan on cooled crust, fan out apple slices in circles or any pattern you like, brush with melted butter and sprinkle top with coarse sugar.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake on lowest shelf in oven, 35-40 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool at least 30-60 minutes before serving. Best eaten within 2 days; I thought it was actually even better the next day. Vanilla ice cream is great with apple tart! Enjoy. apple frang tart slice

Apple Tart…Veganized But Still Yummy

 

My assignment was to make a vegan (and gluten free) dessert to take to a small gathering out of town. I have to confess I am not particularly fond of some vegan desserts I have tried: the mouth feel is sometimes odd and the texture can be heavy especially icings. But I felt those things could be avoided. There were still plenty of apples from our picking expedition in October so that seemed like a great place to plan from. I am not yet rolling out pie dough plus it has an egg in it so that’s a no…so I did a shortbread cookie crust made in my stand mixer in a few minutes with no real work. I really didn’t miss the rolled out crust; this simple press in crumb recipe by Annalise Roberts is the very best crust for sweetness and texture. And great for gimpy folks like me!

The tart was a complete success; the crust tasted delicious and not weird. All gone in moments; silence as everyone inhaled their slice. Shortly thereafter two other non-vegan guests sidled up to me and quietly thanked me for a great dessert; they were probably glad there was no weird icing involved, LOL! This could be an excellent holiday dessert if you need one that is vegan.  It travels great; I have a pie saver – big diameter, low cylinder tupperware meant just for pies and tarts.

Notes: I used a mixture of baking apples; some golden delicious and Jonagold. Any baking apples will work (Not red delicious as they are best eaten raw) …no honeycrisp either; best raw.

vegan apple tart unbaked

vegan apple tart baked

I forgot to take a picture of my slice before devouring it: sorry; it was great looking, everything held together perfectly.

Apple Tart with Vegan Cookie Crust

Ingredients:

CRUST:

1 cup gf flour (King Arthur basic gf blend)

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. xanthan gum

5  Tbsp. cold Earth Balance (sold in sticks just like butter)

FILLING:

3 -4 cups of peeled, cored and sliced cooking apples (4 good sized apples)

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp. Tapioca flour or KA basic gf blend

1/3 c sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 Tbsp. coarse sugar for topping

DIRECTIONS: Crust: use a stand mixer; put dry ingredients in bowl, add cut up Earth Balance and mix on medium until crumbly. Spray 9 inch tart pan with cooking spray and press in crust, heat oven to 375 degrees.  My pan has a removable bottom but I don’t see why you couldn’t use a plain pan.

Filling: mix dry ingredients in a small bowl, Mix filling in medium bowl; dump in apples, sprinkle with lemon juice and then sprinkle over all with all of the dry mix. Gently place into tart pan on crust and sprinkle top with coarse sugar. I took the time to arrange mine in a pretty pattern but you can just pile it in if you are in a rush.

Bake on lowest shelf in oven, 35-40 minutes until lightly browned and bubbling. Remove from oven and cool at least 30-60 minutes before serving. Best eaten within 24 hours. Vanilla ice cream is great with apple tart! Enjoy.

Note: You can use the convection setting; takes about 25-30 minutes to bake.

Bratwursts From Aldi’s are the Best!

This re-post is one of my most popular posts ever. I don’t think any other product review even comes close. We had them for supper tonight. As great tasting as ever. So here it is again!

I bought the package of 4 uncured Bavarian bratwurst at Aldi’s. They were kinda pale and unexciting looking in the shrink wrap but when I pan fried them in a bit of olive oil they browned up nicely. Each brat was still juicy and tender with a delicate flavor I was very impressed with. bratwurst

 

I have bought brats before at other grocery stores and found them rather dull and pedestrian. These are thinner, longer and far tastier.  bratwurst packageUncured means they have less junk added in the curing process of many sausages.  Definitely a yummy and healthy-ish choice for sausage in any recipe. They cook in about 8-10 minutes. They make a quick supper with some pan fried potatoes and a veggie. And grilling them is on the package as an alternative to the frying pan.I need try them on my grill. Maybe for camping next year…

They are imported from Germany and I have heard that they are very authentic compared to most of the brats made in the USA. I give these an A plus in every category. Enjoy!

Originally posted June 2018.