Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

If you like sweet potatoes, then you’ll love Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes!

By the time these make it to your plate, all the work has been done for you. You’re left with a shell that’s filled with creamy sweet potatoes and topped with a brown sugar, candied pecan, and bacon awesomeness! It’s almost dangerous. Once you start eating it, there’s no going back… and there’s also no keeping count of how many you’ve had!

On that note, this recipe makes 6 stuffed potato shells. It would easily double or even triple depending on what kind of crowd your feeding. I think this would be a perfect addition to any Thanksgiving feast! This is a great recipe for doubling or tripling because it’s just a matter of adjusting your measurements without actually adding to your cook time!

Try these for Thanksgiving or any other meal that you’d like to make deliciously special!

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Meal type Side Dish
Occasion Thanksgiving



  • 3 sweet potatoes (on the small to medium size)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (cut into small bits)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 2 thick slices of bacon
  • 1/4 cup candied or honey roasted pecans
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (cut into small bits)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour


Step 1
Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees, and washing your potatoes.

I thought I'd show you a reference picture of the potatoes I used since saying "small to medium" might be taken differently from everyone.
Step 2
Hopefully this will help, considering that almost everyone knows the size of an iPhone!

Line a baking pan with aluminum foil, and poke around on your potatoes with a fork.
Step 3
Pop these guys into the preheated oven for about 45 minutes to an hour.
Step 4
When they're finished, you should be able to squeeze the sides and actually feel the potato squeezing.

It's up to you how you choose to cook your bacon slices, but here's my little tip.

I've started baking my bacon in the oven on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and it's so easy!
Step 5
As you can see, besides the fact that I accidentally baked four extra slices (yeah that's right, I thought I might need to sample a little bacon to make sure it was safe for my family to eat!) the bacon sheet baked right along with the potatoes.

I usually cook bacon at 400 degrees for anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes depending on the thickness.

Once your potatoes have cooled enough for you to handle them without yelping, slice them in half lengthwise.
Step 6
Carefully scoop the insides right into the bowl of your mixer.
Step 7
It doesn't have to be perfect, but try not to poke through the skins. Also try to leave enough in them to give you a fairly sturdy vessel for your fancied up insides.
Step 8
Add one tablespoon of the butter, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream in with the potato innards.
Step 9
Now beat the ever lovin' sweet potato out of it!
Step 10
Seriously though, I beat mine on high for about two minutes... scraping down the sides once.

Lay your sweet potato shells on a parchment lined baking sheet, and refill with their new and improved insides.
Step 11
Make sure your oven is reset to 400 degrees, and prepare the yummy topping for the potatoes.

I wanted to show you that when I say 1/4 cup chopped candied pecans I measured out a heaping 1/4 cup first,
Step 12
and then chopped them up.
Step 13
Add the chopped pecans, butter bits, bacon bits, sugar, and flour into a bowl.
Step 14
Give it all a good toss,
Step 15
and evenly distribute amongst your taters.
Step 16
Try to make sure that everyone gets a little of everything the topping has to offer, and bake for 10 minutes.

When the timer goes off, pull them out of the oven and check for spots where the sugar still looks like sugar. Dot these with small bits of butter.
Step 17
Bake another 5 minutes, and prepare to fall in love!

Step 18
These are insanely good, so I'd say bake more than you think you need!
Step 19
I ate two easily, and I don't regret a single bite!

Kale Pesto

My four year old ate a bowlful of noodles coated in kale pesto!

If that doesn’t convince you that this is a tasty way to get some raw kale into your diet, then I’m not sure what will. This is my traditional pesto recipe just replaced with kale instead of basil.

I actually love kale. It’s something that I had to talk myself into trying, but now I can’t believe how much I love it! It’s basically a nutritional powerhouse, being one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. However, as much as I may love raw kale in a nice fall salad with dried cranberries and pears, trying to talk Wyatt into eating a kale salad is laughable. Believe me… I’ve tried. He’s been blackmailed into trying small bites of raw kale before in exchange for the promise of dessert. It’s never been worth it. He takes the smallest bite humanly imaginable, shudders while he dramatically chokes it down, and then gets to eat a cookie for his trouble.

The night I made this pesto, I made sure to use a fun-shaped noodle that he hadn’t seen in awhile. I also never used the “k-word”. It was strictly referred to as “green noodles”. Dinnertime with Wyatt has become hit or miss as of late. Some nights he’ll just eat happily, and others (I’m afraid the majority) he needs to be coaxed or hounded into taking every single bite. I have to say that this was one of the easiest dinners (not to mention tastiest) in recent memory!

Please try this and let me know what you think!

Kale Pesto Recipe

Allergy Milk, Tree Nuts
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Condiment, Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Gourmet, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot


  • 6 cups washed baby kale (most of a 9 oz package)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup chopped marcona almonds (or salted nut of your choice)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Step 1
Even though pesto is a raw sauce, I decided to turn the olive oil into garlic oil. It's a really easy process.

Add the 1/2c olive oil into a small saucepan, and add a tablespoon of minced garlic.
Step 2
If I'd had a fresh head of garlic I would have simply added in about 2 or 3 cloves. We always have a jar of minced in the fridge, so even though it's more to scoop out later, it'll taste just as garlic-y!

Heat over low/medium heat. Usually I say medium/low heat, but you really want to be careful not to scorch the garlic here so make sure it's set to the lower end of things for this. Give it about 10 minutes to really infuse the oil.
Step 3
Expect some bubbles the last couple of minutes, but pull it off the heat early if you think it's about to really boil! After about 10 minutes pull the pan off the heat; allow to completely cool before you add it into your pesto.

Add two overflowing cups of kale into your food processor.
Step 4
I have a mini-prep food processor, which I love, and use for almost everything. Now, however, is definitely the time for your large food processor if you've got two size options.

Look how full my larger processor is with just two cups... I can't imagine how long it would have taken if I'd had to use my mini-prep!
Step 5
Pulse kale about 4 times. Add 2 more cups kale; pulse again. Add the last 2 cups of kale; pulse again.

Here's what 6 cups of pulsed kale looks like, if you'd ever wondered.
Step 6
Add in the chopped nuts, parmesan, and lemon zest.
Step 7
Pulse about 8 times.
Step 8
Add the tablespoon of lemon juice, and pulse about 3 more times.

This smells fantastic by the way!

Now, using a slotted spoon, scoop the garlic out of your cooled oil, and add it into the pesto.
Step 9
Replace the lid of the food processor. Turn it onto the lower setting (mine has 1 or 2... I picked 1) and slowly pour in the garlic infused olive oil.

Unfortunately I'm not skillful enough to pour a steady stream of oil into a running food processor and photograph it... so here's what it looks like after adding the oil and letting the machine run for about 20 seconds.
Step 10
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add salt and pepper to taste. I added 1/2tsp salt and 1/4tsp black pepper.
Step 11
Run the processor one last time for about 10 seconds, and you're left with this beautiful pesto!
Step 12
Of course the obvious use for this is simply tossed with your favorite pasta shape of the moment...
Step 13
but you can really use as you would any other condiment. Brian's already tried it as a sandwich spread and inside burritos!
Step 14
I was thrilled that Wyatt ate up the "green" noodles without a fight, and I hope that everyone in your house is delighted with these healthy dish as well!

Beef and Black Bean Chili

With the weather beginning to cool down, I couldn’t wait to make a pot of chili! This beefy chili with black beans makes the perfect dinner or lunch on a cool October day!

I used some local grass-fed beef from my family’s favorite farm White Oak Pastures. They are really a farm that’s doing it right. They care about the welfare of their animals, and giving them a humane existence. Being a butcher, the quality of the meat that ends up on our family table is very important to me. These animals are antibiotic and hormone free, and spend their days grazing on White Oak’s lush pastures. It’s a truly inspirational place.

Wherever you get your beef from, make sure to use a cut that will braise well. I used shoulder clod, but any number of other tough cuts would work: chuck blade, chuck, bottom round, eye round, boneless short rib. I’m a fan of anything shoulder or “chuck” related for chilies like this. Just don’t get anything too tender. If you begin with a cut that’s tender to start with, it’ll overcook in the chili and actually become tough. So save the money and buy something cheap and tough!

I fell in love with the pumpkin beer that I used here. I’d never tried one before, but I’m a sucker for all things seasonal so I gave it a go. It’s smooth and light, and it worked great in the chili! Use anything you’d like to drink on the side. I also think a stout beer would work well here, because I love to use stouts in braises. If you’re not a beer drinker just use an extra cup of beef broth.

Happy fall, and I hope you love this chili!

Beef and Black Bean Chili Recipe

Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Soup
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot


  • 2lb lean beef shoulder (in small cubes)
  • 3 cups diced onion (about one large onion)
  • 2 cups bell pepper seeded and small diced (about 2 on the larger side)
  • 1 cup poblano pepper seeded and almost minced (about 2 large poblanos)
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 can pumpkin beer (or your favorite seasonal beer)
  • 2 cans black beans (15.5 oz cans)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz can)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus another 2 tsp. later)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder (plus another 1 Tbs. later)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (plus another 1 tsp. later)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (plus another 2 Tbs. later)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • sour cream
  • sliced green onion


Step 1
I like to get everything seasoned and chopped before I start, so that I'm not scrambling around to cook and take pictures. Since you'll just be cooking without the photo shoot, you could probably get away with chopping your veggies while your meat browns.

Anyway, I'm a non-multitasking scaredy cat so I chopped my veggies first. Here's my line-up.
Step 2
I had one gigantic onion, a large and a medium bell pepper, and two large poblanos. I wouldn't get too hung up on the measurements or sizes being exact. I measured just to give you a guideline, but feel free to add more, less, or different veggies to make the chili your own!

I completely seeded my peppers.
Step 3
I'll be attempting to feed this to an almost four year old. So wish me luck, and feel free to add some seeds for extra heat in your chili.

Another thing I did to help get Wyatt to eat this was to practically mince the poblanos.
Step 4
As you chop the veggies, add them into a bowl, and top with the minced garlic.

Now is a good time to heat up 2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium high heat.
Step 5
Here's the beautiful grass fed beef. This is exactly 2 pounds of shoulder clod that has been: seamed out, trimmed of excess fat, and chopped into very small cubes.
Step 6
Just so you know, my "chili-sized" small cubes are small enough that you could easily scoop up three or four pieces per spoonful.

Toss the first round of spices in with the meat: 1tsp. salt, 2tsp. garlic powder, 1tsp. cumin, 1/2tsp. cinnamon, 1/2tsp. black pepper, 1Tbs. chili powder.
Step 7
Add half of the seasoned beef cubes to your heated oil, and brown for around 2 minutes.
Step 8
After the first batch is brown, pull it to a bowl. Use a slotted spoon so that you leave all of your flavorful grease in the pan for the second round of beef.
Step 9
Now brown round two for another 2 minutes. This smells fantastic by the way! After it's brown add it to the bowl of beef.
Step 10
Add one more Tbs. of oil into the hot pan, and dump in your big bowl of veggies. Give them a good stir to get everyone tossed in the beef flavored oil.
Step 11
Cook around 8-10 minutes over the medium high heat, tossing occasionally.

Once they look softened and tasty, it's chipotle time!
Step 12
I scooped 2 heaping Tbs. right out of the can. I avoided any bigger pieces, and also made a point of getting plenty of adobo sauce in both of my scoops.

Stir those in with your softened veggies, and let that cook for a minute or so while you crack open some cans.
Step 13
Open and add:

a large can of crushed tomatoes,
Step 14
two cans of black beans,
Step 15
one can of beer,
Step 16
and two cups of beef broth.
Step 17
Stir everything together.

Add in the rest of your spices: 2tsp salt, 1Tbs garlic powder, 2Tbs chili powder, 1tsp cinnamon.
Step 18
Add back the browned beef and all of it's tasty beef juices.
Step 19
Stir everything together again.
Step 20
Realize you haven't used a big enough pot.

Dump the whole thing into the dutch oven you should have used in the first place.
Step 21
*Or you could skip that step by just using a big enough pot in the first place!

Anyway, bring the whole shebang to a boil.
Step 22
At this point the beef shoulder still needs to braise a bit. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Simmer for an hour stirring occasionally.

After it's cooked an hour covered, the beef should be tender enough, but now it needs to thicken up some (unless you'd like Beef and Black Bean Soup). I let mine simmer another half an hour uncovered still on medium low. Then I increased the heat to medium, and let it bubble and thicken for about 20-30 minutes.
Step 23
I strongly recommend serving this with sour cream and sliced green onion.
Step 24
Of course whatever beer you cooked with will be perfect on the side.
Step 25
If I'd had any cornbread it would have been great with this.
Step 26
But since I didn't, I just dove into the bowl!