Matthew Atkinson’s (Thomas) Mom Connie’s Sweet Potato Casserole
What does this dish mean to you? “Every year, my mom likes to make the same dishes, but the number one dish that pops up every year for me — and if it wasn’t there, it would be very, very depressing — is my mom’s sweet potato casserole. It is incredible.”
What do you like most about the dish? “What’s not to like? It’s got cinnamon and brown sugar, and there are obviously marshmallows on top, and you just can’t get enough.”
How would you describe this dish? “It’s addictive to its core. That’s what I’ll say.”
Have you ever tried to make it yourself? “I’m actually excited to get the recipe from my mom for this so I can finally try and make it myself. You know moms and their recipes, so this is a big deal.”
Any other tips? Connie Atkinson says, “I learned to cook from my mom and she does cooking by sight or feel. No specific measurements so I’ll give my best approximation, but definitely add all spices to your taste.”
2 large cans of cubed sweet potatoes
½ cup milk
½ cup butter
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
¼ cup ground allspice
¼ to ½ cup ground cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar
A pinch of cloves, to taste
A pinch of nutmeg, to taste
One 16-oz. bag of marshmallows
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place sweet potatoes in a mixing bowl.
3. Add butter, and then mash. Then add milk, eggs, sugar, spices and vanilla extract, and whip them all together.
4. Place mixture in an oven-safe casserole pan or dish and bake for 30-35 minutes.
5. Remove dish from oven. Add marshmallows to top and then broil, just for a few minutes — “literally watch them” — until browned.
6. Serve and enjoy.
Sean Kanan’s (Deacon) Sautéed Carrots
Where did you get this recipe? “My mom used to always make these carrots, which were so good. I’ve always loved them, which is why I included it in my book, The Modern Gentleman.”
Any suggestions for how this recipe could be tweaked or personalized? “She used to use a little orange juice instead of sugar. I say experiment with it. You could also throw in a tablespoon or two of Frangelico instead if you’d like, or your own favorite orange-flavored liqueur. Also, instead of sugar, you can drizzle with a little bit of honey. Personally, I love to take recipes and put my own spin on them.”
What do you like most about this dish? “It’s very healthy. You’ve never seen a rabbit wearing glasses! I’ve always liked carrots — and the fact that root vegetables are Thanksgiving-specific, which goes back to the origin of the holiday.”
Any suggestions for leftovers? “There are a bunch. You can add them to your turkey soup. [Wife] Michele will take stuffing mix and put it in muffin trays and when they pop up, she’ll cut off the tops, add the carrots, turkey and cranberries and then put the tops back on and it’s just like your own little Thanksgiving meal. And you can also use them for carrot cake. You’ll have to shred them but if you want to do that, make a big vat of them and repurpose them for other dishes.”
Any other tips? “For a littler lower-cal [swap], use Splenda instead of sugar.”
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large clove of garlic, minced
2 pounds of washed, peeled carrots, about 16 pieces. For an easy cheat, use packaged baby carrots
1 Tbsp. sugar
½ Tbsp. salt
¼ Tbsp. fresh ground black pepper
¼ Tbsp. nutmeg
¼ Tbsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. dried marjoram
4 Tbsp. lemon juice
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley. For an easy cheat, use parsley flakes
1. Place carrots in a five-quart pot of cold water and boil for five minutes.
2. In a medium nonstick frying pan, heat 1½ tablespoons of butter over low heat.
3. Add garlic, carrots, sugar, ¼ teaspoon of salt, pepper, a pinch of dried marjoram, nutmeg and cinnamon.
4. Cook covered for five minutes.
5. Uncover, gently increase heat and stir until the carrots soften and begin to brown, for approximately another five minutes.
6. Remove pan from heat and stir in the remaining butter and salt, lemon juice and any remaining marjoram.
7. Garnish with fresh parsley.