Sweet Potatoes are a great addition to any meal and pair well with most any meat, whether pork, chicken, beef, or fish. There are so many ways to prepare them, but sometimes they are best prepared in the most simple way.

To bake sweet potatoes, spear the tops of them several times with a fork to ventilate, place on a foil-lined baking sheet and place in the oven at 400˚F for 45 minutes or until tender. Slice open the top and season with butter or olive oil, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

If you want to change up your baked potato regimen, a twice baked sweet potato is another simple way to add flavor and variety to your meal. Prepare the potatoes and bake as above, but after they are baked, allow them to cool for 15-20 minutes, then slice open and remove the inner pulp of the potato and place in a mixing bowl. Put the shells aside. Place some minced white onions in a skillet with a bit of butter and cook until translucent and softened, about 7-8 minutes.

Then add whatever spices you wish. If you want to keep the flavor traditional, just add brown sugar and cinnamon to the pan. If you wish to ramp up the flavor and spice, you can add cumin, paprika, or some chili powder to the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture to produce a sweet and spicy combination. Combine onion mixture with sweet potato pulp and mix in a bit of greek yogurt, low-fat sour cream, or vanilla yogurt for a creamier texture, and re-stuff the shells of the sweet potatoes. Return to 400˚F oven and bake for 15-20 minutes more, or until the inner mixture begins to set and turn a golden brown.

Another way to change up your sweet potato routine is to make them into baked sweet potato fries. Cut the sweet potatoes into long strips, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and any spices you wish to add. Bake them at 400˚F for 25-35 minutes, depending on thickness of sweet potato slices.

Sweet potatoes offer great nutritional benefits and color to any meal. They are high in vitamin C, beta carotene, and dietary fiber. They can add a touch of sweetness to a meal and a bright pop of color to the plate. Sweet potatoes are a great alternative to the stuffed or loaded baked potato and can be a lower-calorie substitute for the typical steak-and-potato dinner.

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