Carroll County Times
Carroll County Lifestyles

Carrie’s Kitchen: Four tasty sweet potato recipes to try this winter

Recently I was at the library, browsing through the cookbook aisles, and I saw a book called “The Sweet Potato Diet” by Michael Morelli. I like sweet potatoes, and I think of them as a winter food, so I took it home without flipping through it.

When I did crack it open, I was surprised to find that half the book was a specific diet about carb-cycling and eating a lot of sweet potatoes. I wasn’t in the market for a new lifestyle, so I skipped that part and went straight to the recipes. There were recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, though most were quite simple, with very little seasonings or fanfare.


The author did feel quite passionate about buying fresh, small sweet potatoes, however. He advises readers to look for small ones, about the size of a closed fist, and to be sure that the skin looks vibrant and is free of blemishes. Even if you cut off a spot with rot, the flavor of the whole sweet potato can be tainted, he warned.

I agree that smaller sweet potatoes are better. They’re easier to cut and they cook faster, and have a better texture once they are cooked. But it can be hard to find small ones. I think I will try to be more selective at the grocery store from now on.


This first recipe I made as soon as I got home, because I happened to have one medium-sized sweet potato that I had been wondering what to do with. I peeled it, then shredded it with the smallest size on my box grater, so that the sweet potato threads were very fine. I chopped the spinach as well as I could, and then mixed it with some ground turkey because that’s what I had. The recipe didn’t call for any seasoning, but I added 1 ½ teaspoons of Cajun seasoning and I was glad that I did. They turned out great! They were a little denser than a straight turkey burger, but they held together nicely and were still moist. My kids definitely noticed the spinach, but did not notice the sweet potato, so I call that a big win. Also I cooked them in a cast iron skillet indoors because it was too cold outside, but I think they would have held up well on a grill as well.

Second, I was interested in these sweet potato waffles. I found it interesting that they have both mashed sweet potatoes, which practically are a batter, and the spiralized sweet potatoes, which should maintain their shape through cooking. This reminds me of those “banana pancakes” that also have no flour, but rely on the produce’s starch and some eggs. I haven’t tried this one yet, but I will.

Third, I was interested in this recipe for kielbasa sweet potato and cabbage dish. I’ve done similar recipes before, but not with kielbasa specifically. The meat is a little spicy, the sweet potato and apple cider are a little sweet, and the cabbage and mustard are the earthy flavors. Sounds good to me.

I didn’t particularly like the desserts in the book, so I found this recipe online from a different author for chunky monkey stuffed sweet potatoes. It’s a baked sweet potato with dark chocolate chips and a banana nut sauce. It’s not a traditional dessert, but still a sweet treat to end a meal on.


BBQ chicken burgers

1 pound ground chicken

1 medium sweet potato, shredded

1 cup spinach, chopped


1 ½ teaspoons mixed seasoning, such as Cajun seasoning or Italian seasoning

Mix the chicken, shredded sweet potato, and spinach, and form into patties.

Grill burgers; make sure the thermometer reaches 175 degrees to ensure chicken is fully cooked.

Sweet potato waffles

1 small sweet potato, peeled and spiraled

1 cup mashed sweet potato

2 eggs, beaten


3 tablespoons coconut milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together.

Spray a waffle iron with oil spray and preheat.

Drop ½ cup onto the waffle maker. Cook until outside is crispy.

Kielbasa sweet potato and cabbage

1 pound kielbasa, sliced


½ onion, sliced

2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

½ small head of red cabbage, 1 1/2 -inch sliced, then cubed

½ cup apple cider

1 tablespoon spicy mustard

½ teaspoon dried basil


Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, add olive oil and brown the sausage. Add onion, sweet potato, and cabbage. Pour in the apple cider, mustard, basil, salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Source: “The Sweet Potato Diet” by Michael Morelli

Chunky monkey stuffed sweet potatoes

For the stuffed sweet potatoes:

2 medium sweet potato

1 medium, ripe banana, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)


1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips/chunks

For the banana nut sauce:

1 Tbsp nut butter (such as peanut or almond)

1/2 medium, ripe banana, mashed (about 1/4 cup)

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Splash of almond milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry your sweet potatoes, and prick them all over with a fork before placing them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and baking for 45 minutes, or until soft and tender. Remove the sweet potatoes from your oven and let them stand for about 10 minutes, or until they’re cool enough to handle. Reduce oven temp. to 350 degrees.


Use a sharp knife to put a deep slice in each sweet potato, cutting lengthwise and making sure not to cut all the way through. You want to create a little “bowl,” so leave enough of the bottom in tact so that it can support your fillings. Use a fork to “fluff up” the flesh.

Divide the banana slices between the two sweet potatoes, making sure the slices are sitting in there nice and snug, and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the banana slices have caramelized and the chocolate chips are all melty.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by mashing the half banana in a small bowl before adding a spoonful of nut butter. Mix until smooth, adding a splash of almond milk to reach your desired consistency.

When sweet potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool slightly before drizzling them with the banana nut sauce and any additional toppings of choice.