Sweet Potato Casserole

Thanksgiving is over, the dishes are done, and even the leftovers are gone. This year I did something a little adventurous (or maybe crazy or even brave) and, with the exception of the turkey and my mother-in-law’s dressing, I made our entire Thanksgiving meal from Pinterest recipes. This is the first of the Thanksgiving Pintesting recipe reviews – the Sweet Potato Casserole.

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

I’ll be honest; I didn’t see this initially on Pinterest. First I saw this TipHero video through my Facebook feed. I really like that TipHero gives credit to the original sources for their videos – just like they did for my Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake when they made it into a video. If you scroll down to the end of the recipe you’ll see the credit. When I went to their site for the recipe, I noticed that it gave credit for the recipe to Nikki’s blog Chef In Training so I went straight there and pinned her Sweet Potato Casserole recipe.

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

Don’t hate, but I find the mini marshmallows on so many sweet potato casserole recipes just too cloyingly sweet. If that’s your thing, then by all means, keep making your sweet potato casserole the way you prefer. But I should warn you – this recipe is now my go-to recipe. More on that later – for now here’s the Pintesting.

 The Pintesting:

The ingredients are pretty simple. Nikki used boiled sweet potatoes while TipHero used baked. I had a LOT of recipes to make so I went with baked since the oven was already on for the turkey.

Note: Multitasking is wise when you are making all of Thanksgiving dinner.

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

Mix until blended and smooth. I like that the baked sweet potatoes were cooked soft enough that I didn’t even have to get the mixer out.

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

Put into a greased 9×13 casserole dish and top with the streusel topping and bake it in a 350-degree oven.

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

This is how it looked when it came out of the oven. It smelled incredible!

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

My HH proclaimed that this sweet potato casserole was better than pumpkin pie. He said it one of the best desserts that I’ve made. I let him know that it is a casserole and not a dessert. He disagrees and calls it dessert. We do agree that it’s delicious both warm and cold. It’s like a crustless sweet potato streusel pie. So if you can’t be bothered with making a pie crust or if you’re on a “diet” and can’t have dessert or if you just want an easy side dish with a lot of wow factor, this is the casserole for you!

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results: 4.55 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  This recipe performed exactly as Nikki (and TipHero) said it would.  5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty: The directions from both the Chef In Training and TipHero recipes were quite simple and straight forward. I really liked that I didn’t have to get the mixer out for this – one less complication when juggling 4 recipes at once. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Time: Since I baked the sweet potatoes while working on other recipes I had a tough time judging this. On one hand, it took about an hour to bake them which is a lot of time to add to a recipe. If I had boiled them it would probably have only added about 10-15 minutes. On the other hand, just the post baking time would shorten the prep time to only 5 and 25 minutes of baking time. Averaging out the 1 1/2 hours and 45 minutes that’s still over an hour so I’m giving this 3 Pins.

Rated 3 Pins

Cost: Most of the ingredients are kitchen staples. The pecans and sweet potatoes were all that I had to buy for this recipe and I only needed 2. The recipe makes a 9×13 inch casserole dish which is a LOT of casserole/dessert but due to the pecans and sweet potatoes, I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Practicality:  This has been a pleasantly surprising Pintesting. I was expecting a good sweet potato casserole. I wasn’t prepared for one that was not only easy but also delicious enough to be one of the high points of our Thanksgiving meal. I was planning on making a pumpkin flan for a dessert, but HH said to not bother and went for another serving of this sweet potato casserole. Bonus points for making my life easier. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

Does anyone else seem like you make and eat the same meals? The dinner rut is a tough one to deal with because we all have our favorites, comfort foods, and quick-on-the-table meals that are the family approved stand bys. Don’t get me wrong – pizza night is not to be trifled with, but you can completely mix it up with different types of crusts, sauces, and toppings. Taco Tuesdays are a close second, but even there you’ve got a lot of choices that can make it seem different from week to week. Sometimes changing the side dishes can change the taste and feel of a whole meal.

That’s why I was super excited when i saw this pin for Cheesy Broccoli Orzo by Kristin from Iowa Girl Eats. It’s the perfect trifecta of a side dish.

  1. It’s fast
  2. It’s easy
  3. It only uses a handful of ingredients (most are likely to be in your kitchen right now)

Pintesting Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

Well, who’s going to argue with a trifecta? Not me – I choose my battles, so let the Pintesting begin.

As I said, there are only a handful of ingredients – 6 if you don’t count the salt or water to boil the pasta and broccoli.

Pintesting Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

Boil the orzo pasta. Now this seems easy, but wait…

Pintesting Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

Kristin says to cook for 3 minutes, add broccoli, then cook for another 3 minutes or so.

Pintesting Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

My orzo box calls for 9 minutes of cooking time for al dente. You can see in the picture below that it still has a way to go, so I waited another couple of  minutes before adding the broccoli.

Pintesting Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

Next I added the broccoli and cooked it for about 3 minutes to let the orzo get to the al dente state and let the broccoli cook well.

Pintesting Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

Drain everything really well.

Pintesting Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

Return to the pot and add the cheeses, butter, and milk.

Pintesting Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

After mixing and per Kristin’s instructions, I checked the seasoning. Good call! I added a touch of salt and several grinds of pepper.

Pintesting Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

That’s it. Really! We’re done – except for the plating.

Pintesting Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

I love risotto, and this totally puts me in mind of that creamy dish but without the half hour of constant stirring. It’s the perfect alternative if you need something quick, and want to get some extra veggies in your meal. And who doesn’t need extra veggies? That’s what I thought. So let’s get to the Pintesting Results:

Overall Results: 4.6 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  The dish was delicious, uncomplicated, and quick. The flavors of the pasta with the broccoli and cheeses all played wonderfully together. But the pasta cooking time was off by 50%, and a novice cook might not catch that. In all fairness, it might have been the difference from one pasta brand to another, so keep an eye on what the directions on your box indicate. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Difficulty:  There’s nothing hard about this dish. I bought the broccoli florets pre-cut which eliminated a lot of the prep work. I did grate the cheeses to balance the level of work (and because I like fresh-grated cheese better). Boil, drain, mix, serve. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Time:  The whole recipe came together in under 20 minutes even with me taking the pictures. PERFECT for a busy weeknight dinner. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Cost:  The broccoli ($2.00 on sale) and orzo pasta (less than $2.00 – not on sale) were the only two ingredients that I had to buy, and there was enough of each to double the recipe and still have leftover broccoli. The remaining ingredients came to about $2.00. At $4.00 for 4 servings, that’s $1.00/serving.  5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Practicality:  The trifecta totally worked with this recipe. Not only is it a delicious side dish, but it has the makings for an easy casserole just by tossing in a cooked protein of choice. (I’m thinking this would be a great way to use up some leftover turkey next Thanksgiving…)I bet you could play with the cheeses for slightly different takes on the flavor, too. It’s also very kid-friendly – it’s practically mac & cheese with broccoli. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins