Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sweet Potato Hawaiian Casserole

I'm guessing some of you are wondering how I can be a busy graduate student and still find the time to cook healthy meals. Well, I've learned a few tricks over the years.

When I lived alone, it was easy to make a meal Sunday night, large enough to feed a family of 4 or 5, and eat it for dinner every night that week. Now that I live with Ben, it is a little more difficult to do that, since one large meal with 4 servings last Ben and me only 2 nights. I have found myself cooking dinners 3 or more times a week.

On the plus side, we have a lot more variety in our week (and I have more opportunity to 'try things' on him!), but it takes much more of my time planning and cooking those meals during the work week. And things have been especially busy lately as I finalize the details of my dissertation study before I begin recruiting participants. I have also been helping out the last 5 weeks with the novice learn to row class at my rowing club.

These are the times when I turn to really simple “standbys” that I have created over the years. Luckily, many of them are naturally gluten free!

One of my favorites is an adaptation of a Hawaiian yam casserole I found in a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook during my first year of graduate school. I made it a bit healthier and a more filling meal, rather than a side dish. As this cooks, my apartment begins to smell of cooking ham and pineapple and it always reminds me of the holidays. It is a great, easy, warming meal for these chillier days!

Sweet Potato Hawaiian Casserole:

3 to 4 sweet potatoes (fewer if they are particularly large)

1 cup cubed ham (or sliced ham, chopped)

1 small can crushed pineapple (in it's own juice!)

½ cup raw pecans

1-2 tsp ground ginger, to taste

Peel and slice the sweet potatoes length-wise. Then slice each sweet potato half into ¼ inch slices.

Layer the sweet potato slices, ham, pecans, and pineapple in a large casserole dish. Repeat the layers until you have used all of the ingredients. Sprinkle a few more pecans and the ginger on top.

Bake covered at 375F for about 1 hour (depending on your oven and the thickness of your slices).


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