Sweet Potato Biscuits

I’ve been using real butter over shortening in biscuits for a few years now. I feel like it’s a healthier alternative than shortening and the butter gives it a great flavor. Butter is always on sale during the holidays so stock up. Pair the sales with a coupon for a better stock up price. Real butter works the best for baking. Here’s a link to Land O Lakes coupons for the holidays. $2 or less is a great price and that’s what it works out to be when the coupons are doubled. http://www.landolakes.com/Offers/

I’ve been trying to share ways to reuse those holiday leftovers so you’re not sick of them by day two. An earlier post mentioned freezing is the ideal way to reuse them at a later date. Once you’ve eaten leftovers once, go ahead and divide portions into quart size bags. Do you have some leftover sweet potatoes or casserole? Freeze a 1 cup portion for this recipe from my friend, Stephanie. I believe she found it in a Southern Living Christmas cookbook. I looked up the recipe online, but was unable to find the exact one and I decided this one would be a winner.

I double my biscuit recipe and bake and cool them on a cooling rack. Biscuits should cool about an hour or so and then they may be frozen in quart or gallon size bags. They can be reheated in the microwave for a soft texture or reheated in the oven for a crunchy texture, but beware because they can become dry. Try reheating them in foil if you really like to have the oven texture. We find warmed biscuits in the microwave to be just fine when they are topped with applesauce from the freezer or served with scrambled eggs and turkey sausage.  Either way, the next time you make a big mess making biscuits, make a double batch and freeze the rest for a quick, delicious breakfast. You’ll thank yourself later when you pull out fresh, homemade biscuits.

Here’s how you can reuse your sweet potatoes from the holidays. If you are using a casserole verses plain sweet potatoes, try reserving the bottom/interior casserole excluding the topping if possible. I believe this would yield better results.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

4 cups all purpose flour

2 T. baking powder

2 tsp. salt

1 cup butter (2 sticks); cut up

1 c. cooked mashed sweet potato

1 1/2 c. buttermilk

3 T. butter, melted

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Stir together sweet potato and buttermilk, add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 3 to 4 times. Pat or roll into 1/2 inch thickness.

Cut dough with a 2 inch round cutter and place biscuits on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter.

Yield 18 (2 inch ) biscuits.

Make Ahead Holiday Meal

I have a confession to make. I don’t recall making a complete holiday meal on my own with all the fixings. In my fourteen years of marriage, I have always made several items to a family meal and feasted at someone’s house. Drum roll please-this year I’m going to make the turkey and all the fixings at my house and have leftovers, which I’m very excited about because I plan on freezing leftovers, of course.

So, I’m in the midst of planning my meal and I have found a few links for you to get prepared also. As I’m pondering over what to make my list becomes very daunting because there is so much hands on cooking and I start thinking about doing it in one day it feels overwhelming. Then I ask myself, why would I do everything in one day. Of course I can make desserts on a different day, which I think we all think of that, but what about the turkey and the stuffing and maybe the mashed potatoes. I’m brewing a plan to make ahead several items, including my turkey and have a less stressful Thanksgiving Day when my family is at home.

My thought is if I’m going to take time to make a feast, why not make a lot and freeze it for another feast!

Here’s what I’m thinking so far.

Turkey  (Wednesday; reheat Thursday)

Homemade Gravy (Thursday)

Mashed potatoes (peel and cut on Wednesday; store in cold water in fridge)

Fresh asparagus (Thursday)

Pumpkin yeast rolls (Thursday)  It yields 4 dozen rolls so I’ll have plenty to freeze for turkey sandwiches for lunches

Cranberry salad (Monday) I’ve got to locate my recipe from my mother-in-law and post it.

Pumpkin pie  with cool whip (Tuesday)

Homemade Ice cream cake for my son’s eighth birthday (Wednesday, leftovers for kids on Thursday)

Now I’ve got a menu and I’m getting all my recipes together to shop for this feast and we’ll supplement next week’s grocery trip with meals from the freezer, of course.

Have you made a menu yet or planned your items around your allowed time?

Got Leftover Turkey?

So often we eat on the leftover turkey until we are sick of it or we just can’t think of turkey again after baking it ourselves. What should we do with an enormous amount of leftover turkey? Here’s an answer, freeze it in quart size bags to make meals later. I suggest freezing the white meat in 1 to 2 cup portions depending on how large your family is. Of course, dark meat freezes as well, but not everyone likes dark meat.  Just make sure your meat is well cooled, ideally at room temperature for 2 hours and then refrigerate. Portion and freeze your turkey the next day. This will allow you time to decide how long you are going to eat leftovers. However, don’t wait until day five to freeze. Decide within the first or second day after it’s been cooked and start freezing.

I’m making a list of ideas for you to use your turkey leftovers. Feel free to comment on other ideas so we can all benefit. Ideally, think of entrees you normally use chicken and substitute turkey. Turkey has a mild enough flavor to use in a variety of dishes.  The ideas might sound a little odd because we’re not used to hearing them used with turkey, but why not utilize our leftover poultry for quick meals? Your family will never know it’s from Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Here’s a list of ideas:

  • Greek turkey pizza (feta, roma tomatoes, spinach, shredded or diced turkey on pizza crust)
  • Shredded turkey tacos (use msg free seasoning and hard/soft shells)
  • Turkey Panani sandiwches (use pesto or roasted red peppers, provolone cheese and day old bread)
  • Santa Fe Chili (shredded turkey, diced tomatoes, pinto and kidney beans, taco seasoning)
  • Turkey tostadas (shredded turkey with taco season, cheese, lettuce, tomato, guacamole loaded on a tostada)
  • Turkey quesadillas (diced turkey and pepperjack cheese, green onions, black beans and corn)
  • Turkey salad (diced turkey, light mayo, grapes, walnuts, celery on a croissant)

What are you going to do with your leftover turkey?

Sweet Potato Pound Cake {freezer friendly}

 

Make sweet potato pound cake with leftover sweet potatoes. If you have some leftover casserole or extra sweet potatoes lying around, try this recipe out. If you use leftover casserole with sugar in it, I would omit about 1/2 cup from the recipe and you may already have some pecans in the casserole which would be even better.

Or maybe you’re like me and you over buy when they are on sale and you’re not quite sure what to do with so many potatoes. Bake them like you normally would and peel the skin when they have cooled. Mash them in a quart size bag and freeze until you are ready to make this delicious sneaky baking recipe. The family may never know this dessert is made with a super food unless you tell them. SHHHHH!

I found the flavors to be better the next day. I’ve decided a lot of foods taste better the next day.  I’m sure you could substitute pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon and nutmeg. I was out of nutmeg and I left it out because I was not sure how it would taste. When I tasted it without the nutmeg, I immediately thought of pumpkin bread so that’s why I would suggest the pumpkin pie spice if you didn’t have nutmeg.

I adapted this recipe from a Country Living magazine that was recycled to me and I clipped it thinking this would work for my Thanksgiving leftovers, but I made it before then.

The picture is one of the two loaves the recipe yielded, prepared for the freezer. I allow the cakes to thoroughly cool on a cooling rack (about 4 hours) and then I wrap it in plastic wrap and stick it into a gallon size bag with the air squeezed out. This method further protects it from freezer burn and I can reuse the gallon bag for future breads.

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Nonstick spray with flour

  • 3 cups flour, I used 1 1/2 cups King white whole wheat and 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose or you could use 3 cups Eagle Mills flour (which is a combo of  white wheat and white flour)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups leftover mashed sweet potatoes (I think this amount is forgiving going either under or over)
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, optional (I left out because my kids go to nut free school)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325. Grease two 9-inch loaf pans with baking spray. In a medium bowl, add next six ingredients and sift with a whisk or fork.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Blend in sweet potatoes, then eggs, one at a time. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in thirds, combine just enough to blend.

Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans. Sprinkle pecans over batter if desired. Bake until cakes test clean when a skewer or toothpick is inserted into center. 70 to 80 minutes. Mine took 80 minutes so set your timer. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool completely on wire rack. Cool for about 4 hours before freezer preparation. It can be thawed for 24 hours at room temperature and served with cool whip or plain if desired. Don’t forget about portioning slices into snack size bags for lunch treats. They can be frozen and thawed the day the lunch is packed.

Not Everything Has To Be Thawed

I made a quick change in my meal plan and decided to make spaghetti and meatballs on a different day. However, the sauce was in the freezer. Around noon, I open three quart bags of frozen sauce with kitchen shears. I cut the zipper off and cut straight down the middle to open it easily and dump it right into mycrock pot. The temperature will be on high for six hours until it’s hot. I will add my freezer meatballs around 3 o’clock and the sauce should be softer by then. I’ll give it a stir to push it down and add those meatballs to warm with the sauce and serve dinner by 5:30 or 6:00.

Sauces, soups and broths can be heated from a frozen state, although it does reheat faster if it’s been thawed for 24 hours. I find the crock pot to be an essential cooking tool for freezer cooking.

Did you know you can freeze leftover cooked pasta. I’ll make 2 pounds of spaghetti and once I make enough leftovers for tomorrow, the rest will go in a quart size bag to be frozen. This will need to be thawed when I reheat it in the microwave for another day or I can throw it into a pot of boiling water to soften and heat, but not cook.

Have you ever done this?

Menu Plan 11/14/-11/20

My sweet Caroline is 6 months old!! Time is flying by with all of my four children. I’m trying to savor it in the midst of busyness. Freezer cooking allows me to spend more time with my family; that’s why I do it.

Sunday- Panini sandwiches, carrot sticks, chips and salsa

Monday-Baja Chicken Pizza (Kraft recipe I never made last week), green beans

Tuesday-Buttermilk pancakes, turkey bacon, fried eggs, homemade applesauce

Wednesday-Popcorn chicken, ranch oven potatoes, Vermont Cheddar Artisan Bread, leftover green beans

Thursday-Crockpot Spaghetti sauce and meatballs (freezer), garlic bread, salad

Friday-Chili (freezer) chips and cheese, salad

Saturday-chicken enchiladas (freezer), pintos and cheese (freezer), leftover salad

Weekly Sweet Treat: Sweet Potato Poundcake (I’ve been trying to make this for weeks too.)

I make a menu plan every Thursday before I shop on Friday. I use the magnetized weekly planners from craft stores that cost $2. It is a lifesaver. How are you doing with menu planning?