Try these sweet potato casseroles at holiday meals

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Outdoor cookouts with falling leaves make for a wonderful family outing. My sister, Pat, has a large in-ground pit cooking set-up, and each fall we enjoy going to her home for outdoor cooking. We get fresh kielbasa, bratwurst and homemade hot dogs from Esicar's and cook it all down with quite a large pile of sliced onions. The baked beans cooking over the fire pick up just enough smoke flavor to really be good. While the food is cooking, the kids take long walks in the woods and collect persimmons and other treasures found in nature. I have learned in my short time on earth that time spent with family is precious and I want to take advantage of every minute, and what a better way to do it.

  • Ann Lewis from Sikeston, Mo., is submitting her recipe for raspberry bars. She is an avid Recipe Swap reader and an excellent cook. She works in the Intensive Care Unit at Southeast Missouri Hospital, of which I am told many of the employees in this department, both male and female, are excellent cooks.

    Raspberry Bars

    1 1/2 cups sifted flour

    1 cup packed brown sugar

    1 teaspoon salt

    3/4 cup butter

    2 cups oats, uncooked

    1 1/2 to 2 cups raspberry jam

    1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

    Combine flour, brown sugar and salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in oats and pecans. Save 1 1/2 cups of mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture into a 9-by-13-inch-baking pan. Spread raspberry jam over crumbs. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups crumbs over jam. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned.

    I am always amazed in which recipe requests stir up the most responses. Recently we had a request for oxtail soup and we have already shared one with you, and today we have three more. Lorene Wood of Cape Girardeau brought these recipes to me at the Senior Center.

    Onion Oxtail Soup

    1/3 cup flour

    1 teaspoon salt

    Dash pepper

    5 pounds oxtails, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths

    1/4 cup cooking oil

    1 can condensed beef broth

    1 cup water

    1 cup dry white wine

    1 large onion, chopped, about

    1 cup 1 tomato, peeled and chopped

    1 large carrot, finely chopped

    1 medium turnip, peeled and finely chopped, about 1 cup

    2 cloves garlic, minced

    Few sprigs parsley

    1 bay leaf

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Dash pepper

    2 cups pearl onions or frozen small whole onions

    3 medium carrots, sliced, about 1 1/2 cups

    Combine the flour, the 1 teaspoon salt, and dash of pepper. Coat oxtails with flour mixture. In a 10-quart Dutch oven slowly brown oxtails, half at a time, in hot oil, turning often; drain off excess fat. Return all meat to pan. Add condensed beef broth, water, 1/2 cup of the wine, the chopped onion, tomato, the chopped carrot, turnip, garlic, parsley, and bay leaf. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove and discard parsley and bay leaf. Skim off fat. Return to boiling; reduce heat and stir in remaining 1/2 cup wine, the 1/2 teaspoon salt, and dash pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add pearl onions and sliced carrots; cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes more. Makes 5 to 8 servings.

    Basic Oxtail Soup

    Brown well in a little hot fat in kettle 1 1/2 pounds oxtails, cut into 2-inch pieces


    1 1/2 quarts water

    1 teaspoon salt

    Simmer covered about 3 1/4 hours. Remove meat from bones. Return meat to soup.


    1/2 cup diced onion

    1/2 cup diced raw celery

    3/4 cup diced raw carrot

    2 tablespoons white rice

    Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Skim off fat. Add: 1 cup cooked tomatoes Heat and serve. Makes about 6 servings.

    Oxtail Soup

    Wash and cut up two oxtails, separating them at the joints. Select about half of the largest and nicest joints to brown in hot fat before cooking. Simmer, in enough water to cover well, until perfectly tender. Take out the browned joints and boil the rest to rags; strain, cool and remove fat. Reheat this stock, adding one-quart strong brown stock, more salt and pepper if needed, and the reserved joints. It should be served boiling hot.

    Sweet potatoes are usually a regular item on the Thanksgiving Day menu. And with Thanksgiving Day so close in the future, you might consider one of the following recipes for your special dinner. From a recent request for sweet potato casserole, we have several recipes to share with you today. The first two were sent from the ladies of Altenburg.

    Sweet Potato Casserole

    1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered

    1/2 cup sugar

    1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

    1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

    3 eggs

    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    1/4 teaspoon cardamom

    Small amount lemon juice

    Cook potatoes until tender; drain and mash. Add sugar, butter, milk, eggs, cinnamon, cardamom and lemon juice. Transfer to 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until set.

    Sweet Potato Casserole II

    2 cans sweet potatoes, drained

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    4 eggs

    2/3 cup brown sugar

    1/2 cup milk

    1 teaspoon vanilla

    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    1/2 teaspoon allspice or cloves

    Mash sweet potatoes, add the rest of the ingredients, combining well. Bake in a greased casserole dish at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

    Debbie Sutherland would also like to share her favorite recipe. The crunchy topping sounds delicious.

    Crunchy Topping Sweet Potato Casserole

    3 cups mashed, cooked sweet potatoes

    1/2 stick margarine

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon vanilla

    1 cup sugar

    1/2 cup milk

    2 eggs, beaten

    Mix the above seven ingredients. Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

    Topping: 1 cup light brown sugar; 1/3 stick margarine; 1 cup chopped pecans; 1/3 cup flour. Mix together the topping ingredients and place on the potato mixture.

    Debbie Cato of Cape Girardeau makes a wonderful casserole as well. Her topping is quite the same and the casserole bakes up light and fluffy.

    Streusel-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole

    6 medium-size sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds)

    3/4 cup sugar

    1/3 cup milk

    1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

    2 large eggs, lightly beaten

    1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

    1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

    Cook sweet potatoes in boiling water to cover 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. Let cool to touch; peel and mash potatoes. Combine mashed sweet potato, sugar, and next six ingredients in a large mixing bowl; beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until smooth.

    Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart casserole. Combine sugar and remaining ingredients; sprinkle over sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Yields about 8 to 10 servings.

    In looking ahead to Thanksgiving, if you have a special recipe or family tradition that you enjoy, please send it in to share with us. It is fun reading recipes from others and how differently each family celebrates with their own traditions.

    Have a wonderful week, and until next time, happy cooking.

    Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at or by mail at P.O. Box 699; Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by the Southeast Missourian staff.

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