Mad Scientist: Sweet Dreams Sweet Potato Casserole

My unfocused, scatter blogging is taking another turn into the world of cooking.  A fellow blogger, A Bloggy Mom  asked followers and friends what they are doing for Thanksgiving and I responded,

“turkey purchased so dinner at my house. Wanna come? I make an awesome gravy and my sweet tater casserole is heaven!”

To which she responded,

“how do you make your sweet potato casserole?”

So, I promised to whip up a new blog post with the recipe included because I’m all about sharing. Especially delicious recipes because what’s the point in being selfish? I’m pretty sure the majority of the people who read my blog can’t come over for Thanksgiving dinner and how else would they get to experience the deliciousness of something I love?

This recipe has it’s roots in one that was gleaned from a newspaper by my Mom years ago. It fast became a family favorite and, thank goodness, because one Thanksgiving tradition I always took a pass on was sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows on top. Gaaag! Oh how I hate that dish. My family really didn’t have a choice since I’m the cook and they don’t get a vote. I made minor changes to make it work better for me and my need to make things my own.

OK time to shut up and put up…. the recipe.


disclaimer: Not a photo of my cooking. Don’t judge. I only recently started blogging my recipes and don’t have an awesome photo of my delish casserole.

Sweet Dreams Sweet Potato Casserole


Preheat oven to 425 degrees

  • 3 medium fresh yams or sweet potatoes cooked

(boil in 2 quarts water with half cup of brown sugar until fork tender & drain)
or 29 oz can of sweet potatoes drained

  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • ½ Stick butter or margarine cut into chunks (works best with cold butter)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup milk

Crumb topping:

  • ½ cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


Drain sweet potatoes and cut into *bite size pieces.  Put potatoes in bottom of greased casserole dish. (A square glass cake pan or a 2-1/2 qt. round French White Corning Ware casserole dish.)

2.5 qt Corning French White Casserole Dish

Mix all other ingredients and pour over sweet potatoes.

“Shred”  frozen margarine/butter into flour and sugar mixture. ( use large holes on cheese shredder-hat tip to Alton Brown of Good Eats for this tip) Mix with a fork until like coarse crumbs. Add nuts. Then top the casserole with the crumb topping mix. You can get fancy here and arrange some 1/2 pecans on the top to make it pretty. Or not. It still tastes the same.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425 then lower temp to 350 degrees and bake an additional 30-40 minutes, then let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

* – Some sweet potato casserole recipes mash the potatoes. I loath mashed potatoes so this option of bite size pieces creates a palatable dish for me.  If you want one of  those recipes, forget about it! Try this one and you will be a convert.

Mad Scientist (Holy Grail Chili)

I’m stepping outside of my normal blog posts here to do something I do everyday. I do it well if I might brag on myself a bit. Something I didn’t include in the description about me is I’m a pretty darn good cook. I have a knack for re-creating recipes into something different and often better then becoming my own. I’m also good at opening the fridge, freezer and pantry and whipping up something new and delicious when I haven’t planned anything for dinner or just feel like something new or different. I’m a bit of a mad scientist when it comes to the kitchen. I’m not in the least bit afraid to put things together and I have a good sense of what will and won’t play nice together.

I’ve been on a quest for years to make the perfect red chili. Each time I’ve made it I’ve adjusted and changed an ingredient here and an ingredient there. Tonights batch is the culmination of my Arthurian Crusade for delicious red chili perfection and I believe I have found my version of the Holy Grail. Nice girl that I am I will share with you today and you may share it as well if you deem it worthy of the title “Holy Grail! Red Chili” .  FYI, I am not a foodie snob when it comes to ingredients. I used canned beans in this recipe which in my opinion stand up just fine in any recipe calling for beans. Besides, it cuts about eight hours off of the cooking time. If you are so inclined, go ahead and cook your own beans up. I won’t judge.

Without further ado, I give you my recipe.

Deb's Holy Grail! Red Chili

Deb’s Holy Grail! Red Chili

  • 1 pound ground beef (I used 80/20)
  • 1 Can Pinto Beans drained and rinsed
  • 1Can Navy (white) Beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 can Black Beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (8oz) Herdez brand Salsa Verde
  • 2 cans (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper seeded, de-ribbed and chopped
  • 1 small onion (yellow or white is fine) chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp Beef Base
  • 4 Tbsp California Chili Powder (this is the magic spice here – do not go for plain Jane get the California)
  • 2 Tbsp dried cilantro or 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste

Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until meat has a nice brown crust on one side ( like a good/flat top grilled fried hamburger)

While meat is cooking combine all remaining ingredients into a large crockpot/slow cooker and mix well. This will be a soupy type base so don’t be doubting my mad cooking skills. Trust me. As soon as meat is done cooking transfer everything in the skillet into the crockpot. Notice, I did NOT tell you to drain the meat. Hey, I didn’t say this was health food; I said it was good! Now stir it up, cover your pot and cook on low for at least 4 hours or on high for 2 hours. I think chili is much happier when it cooks and simmers longer.

When your delicious pot of chili is ready to be consumed, have some side ingredients ready for everyone to add at their will or leisure.

  • Diced Red Onion
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Fresh chopped Cilantro
  • Sliced (in the jar) jalapenos for the daring
Ladle up, trick it out and eat it up! Nom Nom Nom!
Linking up with Kludgy Mom and her “I love fall food” linky party and give away! I’ve added this new favorite Fall recipes.