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We Made Sweet Potato Casserole
in a Truck for Thanksgiving


Part of our 2009 Thanksgiving dinner was sweet potato casserole.

You will see it on the left side of this plate along with turkey, bread dressing, broccoli and cranberry sauce.

Thanksgiving dinner plate of turkey, bread dressing, sweet potato casserole and steamed broccoli, which we prepared and ate in the truck Mike drives for his trucking company.


There are many different recipes for making this dish. Our recipe does not involve exact amounts, but is done "by taste."

You may read more about our 2009 Thanksgiving dinner and the detail we've documented about cooking turkey in the truck that Mike drives for his trucking company.



Three raw sweet potatoes, waiting to be cleaned, cut and boiled for sweet potato casserole. We began with three raw medium-sized sweet potatoes.


Mike cleaned the sweet potatoes and cut them up into fairly good sized chunks in preparation for boiling. Cleaned and cut up sweet potatoes, waiting to be boiled and prepared into sweet potato casserole.


Cleaned and diced sweet potatoes in a fryer/steamer basket resting on the edge of a hot pot just before being put down into boiling water. The diced vegetables were put in the fryer/steamer basket, which is shown resting on the edge of our Presto Kitchen Kettle hot pot just before being put down into boiling water.


After the sweet potatoes have been boiling for a while, Mike tests their doneness with a fork, being careful not to get burned by the steam.

He said that for the size of chunks he prepared, the total boiling time was about 20 minutes after the water started to boil again.

Mike tests the doneness of the sweet potatoes with a fork, being careful not to get burned by the steam from the boiling water in the hot pot.


Mike peels the sweet potatoes after having drained them to a bowl and adding water. For faster cooling, some people add ice or very cold water. There is no need to 'skin' sweet potatoes prior to boiling since the skins slip off easily after boiling. Mike drained the sweet potatoes into a bowl and then added room temperature water to cool them enough to peel them.

For faster cooling, some people add ice or very cold water.

There is no need to "skin" sweet potatoes prior to boiling since the skins slip off easily afterwards.





Mike cut up walnuts before adding them to his preparation of sweet potato casserole. Mike cuts walnuts before adding them to his preparation of sweet potato casserole.


Mike mixes the cooked sweet potato flesh with margarine, brown sugar and walnut pieces.

Mike mashed up the cooked sweet potato flesh with margarine, cut up walnut pieces and brown sugar.

If it was not sweet enough to his taste, he added more brown sugar.

Other variations for making sweet potato casserole include adding canned crushed pineapple, which adds sweetness and reduces the need for brown sugar.



Thanksgiving dinner is served!

Both plates show a serving of turkey, bread dressing, sweet potato casserole and steamed broccoli.

The plate in the foreground also shows jellied cranberry sauce.

You can see the edge of the bowl with whole berry cranberry sauce on the right and the pan containing the remainder of the bread dressing in the background

Thanksgiving dinner is served! Both plates show a serving of turkey, bread dressing, sweet potato casserole and steamed broccoli. The plate in the foreground also shows jellied cranberry sauce. You can see the edge of the bowl with jellied cranberry sauce on the right and the pan containing the remainder of the bread dressing in the background.


While the raw sweet potatoes, brown sugar and walnuts do not need to be refrigerated or kept in an ice chest or refrigerator, the margarine does. Also, once the sweet potato casserole has been prepared, leftovers need to be kept cold until eaten.



Equipment we used:

  • Hot pot (with fryer/steamer basket);
  • Inverter;
  • A solid surface on which to cook and prepare the dish;
  • Bowls and plate; and
  • Cooking and eating utensils.


Cost of this dish:

Ingredient Total cost Cost per meal for 2 people
Sweet potatoes (three medium, 2.17 pounds, 2 meals' worth) $0.54 $0.27
Margarine (estimated) N/A $0.10
Brown sugar (estimated) N/A $0.25
Walnuts (estimated) N/A $0.25
Total -- $0.87




Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

We first became aware of the health benefits of sweet potatoes from Dr. Bob Arnot's Guide to Turning Back the ClockBob Arnot's Guide to Turning Back the Clock.

Sweet potatoes (which are often confused with "yams") have numerous health benefits, including being antioxidant rich and nutritionally powerful.(1)

Wikipedia states, "In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. Considering fibre content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium, the sweet potato ranked highest in nutritional value. According to these criteria, sweet potatoes earned 184 points, 100 points over the next on the list, the common potato.(NCSPC)"(2)

Bob Arnot's Guide to Turning Back the ClockBob Arnot's Guide to Turning Back the Clock

FoodReference.com lists other info of interest, including this: "Among root vegetables, sweet potatoes offer the lowest glycemic index rating. That's because the sweet potato digests slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar so you feel satisfied longer."



Available forms

Sweet potatoes are most commonly available in raw, frozen and canned forms. They can also be found in dehydrated and freeze dried forms.



Other cooking methods

Sweet potatoes may also be baked in an oven or cooked in a microwave oven.

NutritionData.com lists the nutrition value of sweet potatoes based on various cooking methods.

You may find other sweet potato casserole recipes online here.



Update for 2010:

We were able to find sweet potatoes on sale at a Wal-Mart in South Carolina two days before Thanksgiving for $0.28/pound. (For drivers in countries where vegetables are weighed by the kilogram, since 1 pound = 0.45359237 kilograms, that's about $0.62/kilogram.) That's a pretty good buy.






truck drivers money saving tip icon

Money saving tip: Sweet potatoes in and of themselves are nutritional powerhouses, much more so than regular white potatoes. They are also fairly inexpensive, especially when they are "in season" in November and December. We bought ours for about 25 cents per pound in advance of the Thanksgiving season.

If you can, compare the prices of sweet potatoes in the stores to get the lowest price per pound.

Vicki once purchased sweet potatoes in bulk at a good price at a state farmers market. The only drawback was that the box contained 40 pounds of this vegetable. This can be a bit too much for two people to eat from occasionally unless the vegetables are first processed into another form, like dehydrating, freezing or canning.

We have never prepared sweet potato casserole, then frozen it and re-thawed it later for eating. Based on our experience with keeping leftovers cold, liquid tends to pool up on top. We've always just stirred it back in.

We leave it up to the imagination of your home support team to process the vegetables as your family likes them.

Mike notes that sweet potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry environment, and not kept indefinitely under the bunk in your truck. If they are kept in non-ideal conditions, they can either rot or decompose rapidly. Of course, as tasty and nutritious as they are, sweet potatoes should be eaten in a timely manner.





Reference:

1. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=64
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_potato






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