We all are aware that Thanksgiving can be a very carb-happy holiday and this year was no exception for our family! My mother earned the nicknames “Martha Stewart” and “Paula Deen” for her kickass table arrangement as well as her constant reminder to “just use more butter” in recipes! Anyways, her famous butter rolls made their annual appearance and were a hit, even though they burned a little bit on the bottom. This year, instead of just contributing mashed potatoes, Will saw a sweet potato gratin recipe on my Pinterest page and decided he would attempt that. Needless to say, it was a huge hit and we look forward to having an opportunity to make it again. So we all definitely filled up on carbs for Thanksgiving, but man was it worth it! Plus, there is nothing better than a chilled butter roll first thing in the morning the day after Thanksgiving.
Cooking Notes for Rolls: Brown and serve rolls are the ideal way to go, especially if you can get the kind that are clover shaped. Otherwise, any sturdy rolls will do!
Prepare two baking sheets by covering with wax paper. If rolls are frozen, let them sit out for a few minutes to thaw before cutting. Slowly melt the butter in a skillet on the stovetop. Quarter each roll. Once butter begins melting, use small tongs to take quartered roll pieces one by one and dip them in butter. Make sure all four sides of the roll have absorbed the butter, then place on baking sheet. Once all the quartered rolls are prepared, place baking sheets in the freezer overnight. Bake for 10-15 minutes on Thanksgiving day, right before serving. These also make an excellent breakfast the next morning if you snack on them straight out of the refrigerator!
Cooking Notes for Gratin: Will followed the recipe pretty much to a “T.” However, our pan may not have been large enough, so after siphoning off milk the first time, I heard it really bubbling in the oven still, so I siphoned off about another 1/4 cup during the longer baking period, for fear it would boil over.
Sweet Potato Gratin
2 organic sweet potatoes, sliced into thin rounds
1 small red or yellow potato, sliced into thin rounds
1/4 tsp salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp thyme, roughly chopped (fresh or dried)
3/4-1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups low-fat milk (preferably 2 %)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a baking dish. Place the sliced potatoes in a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the thyme and half of the cheese and toss together. Transfer to the dish and pour on the milk. It should just cover the potatoes (or go up almost to the lip of the dish depending on your dish to potato ratio).
Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from oven. Carefully drain (we used the turkey baster) off a bit of the liquid, about 1/3 cup. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and return to the oven. Bake another 45-50 minutes, until the milk is absorbed, the potatoes are soft, and the top and edges are golden brown (drain more liquid if necessary during the second bake time, if it sounds/looks like it might bubble over). During the last few minutes, broil on low to really crisp the top. Let rest at least 20 minutes before serving.
Will’s Mashed Potatoes
A bunch of potatoes
The drained cheesy milk from the Sweet Potato Gratin
Boil potatoes in a pot, then drain them once soft. Return potatoes to pot and mash them. Add butter, allowing to melt into potatoes. Pour in milk and stir until thickened. Add feta cheese towards the end (he usually uses Parmesan, which he will melt in, but since he used feta this time, he left it chunky in the potatoes).