As the holidays rush in, I've been taking a moment here and there to reflect on what makes this time of year so special. With Thanksgiving in particular, I like to slow down and think about all the reasons I have to be thankful. I even started a tradition with Alex's parents that at the start of the Thanksgiving meal, we go around the table and everyone present must give at least one reason they're thankful. This year, having had so much time to spend with each of my grandparents tops the list (I experienced my first loss of a grandparent, my Grandpa Tony, this past September). Close behind include having a wonderful partner to share my life with, and being gainfully employed in such crappy economic times. The list goes on and on, but I won't bore you with the details.
Even though sappy sentimentality plays a big role in the holidays, I'd be lying if I said that food isn't an important tradition, especially this time of year. Family favorites, delectable treats, and special cocktails top the list for me. But as far as Thanksgiving goes, it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without my Mom's sweet potato casserole.
This particular casserole has always been a staple on my family's table each year, but it quickly grew in the ranking when Alex declared it his number one favorite holiday dish. We both bring it each year to our annual work potlucks as well as to Alex's parents house if we're enjoying our Thanksgiving meal there, and in an off year if my Mom suggests striking it from the menu in exchange for something a little healthier, you can hear the shrieks and cries from 400 miles away.
Since this dish holds such a special place in our hearts, I wanted to share it with all of you, in case you're looking to add something new to your holiday lineup, or if you've been tasked with bringing a dish to a gathering -- and you desire something really quick and easy that's a crowd pleaser.
Here's a picture of the front of the recipe card from my Mom, that was given to me, along with a collection of family recipes, at my bridal shower back in 2002.
Without further ado, I give you my Mom's sweet potato casserole...
- 29 oz. can sweet potatoes
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 stick melted butter or margarine
- 1 cup Ritz crackers, crumbled
- 1 stick butter or margarine
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans recommended)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
Drain and mash sweet potatoes. Add egg, sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 stick melted butter or margarine. Put into greased casserole dish.
Mix Ritz crackers, stick of butter or margarine, nuts, and brown sugar. Sprinkle over potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Yep, it's really that easy. One tip: my Mom has started cutting the topping in half to make it a little more waistline-friendly. It still tastes great and is very rich. Alex, on the other hand, might have misunderstood this tip one year and actually doubled the topping while making this for his work potluck (I think he's made it for them seven years straight now). People seem to gobble it up either way.
Do you have a dish that's a favorite in your family or one you couldn't see celebrating the holidays without? Maybe you'd like to share what you're thankful for this year? I'd love to hear all about it. Until next time, I'm off for a run, trying to workout in anticipation of next week's caloric onslaught. Happy Thanksgiving!
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