This post was originally meant to be a Superbowl recipe, but I had an extra busy weekend and wasn’t able to get on the ball in time (no pun intended… kind of. ha.) There were a couple nights over the past week when I would have had time to cook this dish and take photos, but I really need daylight to take the type of photos I prefer. This winter has been a bit of a struggle for me in that regard – during the shortest days of the year here in Massachusetts, it starts getting dark around 3:30 or 4 and all of the good daylight is gone for photo-taking. Luckily, the days are getting longer and giving me more of an opportunity to cook dinner at a reasonable hour, instead of noon like I have been. I love winter, but not the short days that come with it.
Recently I’ve been posting more indulgent recipes than usual and I’d like to get back to the focus of this blog (healthy eating), so I’ve decided to share a lightened up version of a classic.
Twice-baked potatoes have always been one of my favorites. Growing up, my dad (the foodie) would make them all fancy with Gruyère cheese and good quality bacon. When I was in college, I tried a friend’s twice-baked potato casserole and fell in love. It’s pretty much what it sounds like – the filling of the potatoes, sans the skin. It was then that I learned when you combine sour cream, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese, something magical happens. An irrestible flavor is created, similar to the base of buffalo chicken dip – tangy, salty, and cheesy.
But, I digress. In order to lighten up this dish, I made a few changes. First, I swapped out regular potatoes for sweet potatoes. I used a combination of Greek yogurt and reduced-fat sour cream, as well as reduced-fat cream cheese. Turkey bacon is substituted for regular pork bacon, and I cut the amount of cheddar cheese in half. I wouldn’t go so far as to say this casserole is guilt-free, but it will certainly save you a good amount of calories and fat. This dish is still full with flavor, and makes the perfect side dish or could even be eaten as a dip with veggies.
Technically I shouldn’t call this dish “twice baked”, because I actually boiled the potatoes beforehand. But if you prefer to bake your potatoes, go right ahead.
Twice-Baked Sweet Potato Casserole
makes 6-8 servings
- 2.5 lbs. (or about 4-5 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled
- 2 Tbsp butter (optional)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 5 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions or chives
- 1 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
- After peeling the potatoes, cut them into large chunks and place in a large pot with just enough boiling water to cover them. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Using a potato masher (or fork), mash the potatoes to desired consistency. Stir in butter, if using.
- Add all remaining ingredients to the mashed potatoes, reserving about 1/4 cup of the cheddar cheese, and a small handful of scallions and turkey bacon crumbles. Stir until well-combined.
- Transfer potato mixture to a greased 8 x 8 ” casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese on top and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is melty and golden-brown. Serve with extra scallions and turkey bacon.
Unfortunately, before I got a chance to take photos of the final product, I dropped my favorite camera lens and broke it 😦 As I was going to pick up my camera from the kitchen counter, the strap got hooked on a drawer knob and I did not react quickly enough to catch it as it smashed onto the ground. I’m glad it wasn’t my camera that broke and I do have another lens, but the one that broke was the one I use for all of the photos on this blog. This makes a sad, sad Hannah. I’m not sure when I’ll have the money for a new lens, so I apologize in advance if my photos over the next few weeks/months aren’t quite up to par with what they usually are.