There are a few healthy foods in this world that my husband actually enjoys. They are, in no particular order: sushi, yogurt, and bananas. He came to me with the love of yogurt and bananas. The sushi, on the other hand, is a food affinity that has developed as a result of careful and purposeful
manipulation negotiation. I reasoned with my husband, “If you love tuna salad sandwiches, doesn’t it make sense that you might possibly enjoy the taste of freshly prepared raw tuna?” To both our surprise, he did, and we have happily been enjoying sushi 2-3 times a week ever since.
A similar negotiation occurred a few years ago regarding sweet potatoes….
While in Atlanta, my husband brought me to one of his most favorite places on the planet, a little run-down shack known as the Ace BBQ Barn. While spying the candied yams behind the greasy glass, a plot begin to unfold itself in my mind:
Kitty: So, have you ever eaten candied yams?
Husband: Yuck. No.
Kitty: Why yuck?
Husband: Cause they are sweet potatoes, aren’t they?
Kitty: Well, hardly, I mean, you can barely even tell it’s sweet potato after they are through mixing them with brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, cream, topping them with marshmallows..it’s practically a dessert. You like dessert, don’t you?
Husband: Yeah…yeah I do.
And the rest was history…my husband started out with candied yams, and then slowly, gradually, I just left out the candied part. We now enjoy sweet potatoes at least once a week in various forms – roasted, baked, and sometimes, mashed.
But here is the best part: when you mash something, and it is a certain color, you can sometimes add other things that are about the same color, resulting in a finicky husband who hates veggies eating a delicious mash of sweet potatoes, carrots, and butternut squash.
Kitty’s Sweet Potato Mash (serves 4 as a side)
3 orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (sometimes sold as yams), peeled and cubed
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
1 cup pre-cubed butternut squash
1/2 cup half & half
1/2 cup lowfat milk
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste
- In a large microwave safe bowl, add a small amount of water, along with the sweet potatoes, carrot, and squash. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, pierced with a fork to release steam, and set microwave on high for 3 minutes or more, depending on your microwave. Veggies should be easily mashed with a fork when done.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan on stove, gently heat milk and half & half, along with butter, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
- Add veggies to saucepan, and mash with a potato masher until desired consistency.
This side dish is the perfect accompaniment to this All-American meal…breaded pork chops (my husband’s hands-down favorite dinner). You may notice the green peas on the plate. Shockingly, my husband will eat them, but that’s a story for a different day.
As far as the nutritional value of the sweet potato mash, this recipe is nothing short of an antioxidant powerhouse. The orange-colored family of root veggies are known to be loaded with vitamins A and C, which are great anti-inflamatories and fighters of heart disease. Carrots are the richest source of carotenoids around, which help to fight many cancers, and are loaded with vision loving beta-carotene.
On our official veggie fake out broccoli scale, I give this recipe 8 out of 10 heads of broccoli.