One of my favorite holiday recipes uses sweet potatoes, apples and cranberries. Normally I do not like to make such an elaborate dish but when special occasions roll around it is nice to bring forth something exceptional. The added benefit to this recipe is the nutritional value and lack of added sugar needed.
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, vitamin B6 and potassium, and a very good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese. Apples too are a good source of fiber; vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and Niacin; plus nutrients, phosphorous, magnesium, iron and potassium. This combination is a great source of antioxidants which help prevent heart disease and cancer, bolster the immune system, and even slow the aging process. The amount of dietary fiber in one medium sweet potato with the skin on 3.4 g and in apples, 5 g is actually higher than a bowl of oatmeal. Sweet potatoes also are a good source of vitamin E and they are fat free, unlike avocados or nuts. Apples made into applesauce make a fat free substitute when baking and can be used in place of oil or shortening. In addition to being good for you, applesauce makes baked goods taste moist.
In comparison, plain russet potatoes are generally high on the glycemic index (111) where sweet potatoes are relatively low (48). “White” potatoes should be avoided by people with diabetes, those looking to lose weight or those getting the best nutritional value for their calories.
Sweet Potato, Apply and Cranberry Casserole
2 – 3 medium sweet potatoes, boiled in skin until tender,
Peeled and cut into 1/4″ slices
Pinch of nutmeg
1 cup cranberries or craisins (dried cranberries)
1 large sweet apple, cored and peeled; thinly sliced
3 TBSP butter
1/4 cup dark rum
In a large casserole dish, grease the bottom with cooking spray or butter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Layer the sweet potatoes on the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with a light coat of cinnamon. Next make a layer of apples on top of the sweet potatoes then pour half the cranberries on top. Cover with the remainder of the sweet potatoes and dot with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg and the rest of the cranberries. Pour the rum over the top, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Serve either hot or cold.
In this recipe, the sweet apple and potatoes will counteract the tartness of the cranberries or craisins. The rum will make a nice syrup without adding too much sugar. Enjoy!