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Simple Sides: Apples and Sweet Potatoes

By Dennis Linden

A Scrumptious Comfort Food Alert should be included with every serving of this simple recipe that uses two of the fall season’s main harvest items to form one melt-in-your-mouth goodness!
Image of recurring kids
The competing schedules of today’s busy modern family make it difficult to share a home-cooked meal together, but not impossible. In fact, with a little planning, cooking together can become a fun family event and learning opportunity. This feature will focus on providing a child or a group of children, working together under the supervision of an adult, with one uncomplicated, healthy and delicious side dish recipe. The dishes will be centered on seasonal fresh produce items; the recipes will always contain tasks will allow even the youngest kitchen helper to contribute to the family meal. Parents should always read through each recipe carefully to judge the division of labor based on age and ability as well as to identify where adult attention might be especially needed.

Many of the recipes presented here will seem very basic -- this is by design. It is hoped that these simple preparations will provide the culinary foundation and confidence to inspire kids to try more challenging recipes as their experience in the kitchen develops. Melissa’s encourages parents to find the time to gather as a family unit at least once a week for a dinner that everyone pitches in to prepare. It’s a wonderful way to teach children some basic cooking skills and, more importantly, cooking with your children will build memories in all of your hearts forever.
Image of Organic Sweet Potatoes
A “Scrumptious Comfort Food Alert” should be included with every serving of this simple recipe that uses two of the fall season’s main harvest items to form one melt-in-your-mouth goodness! Roasted Sweet Potatoes have a lush, tender texture and concentrated flavor. When combined with just a few other ingredients -- fresh Sage, Lemon Juice, Agave Syrup and Apples lightly sautéed in butter -- the combination makes for a savory side dish. With just a hint of sweetness this dish pairs well with a roast of any kind – pork, tenderloin or even a roasted turkey.

Though this recipe has just five basic ingredients, there is a role in its preparation suited for each member of the family. An older child with some practiced knife skills can slice up the apples and sweet potatoes under adult supervision. A younger child can separate the sage leaves from their stems, measure out the ingredients and position the sweet potato slices on the baking tray. Both the stovetop and oven parts of this recipe should be done by the adult in the room. The kids could be included to an extent by timing the baking process, maybe even carefully flipping the potatoes with a spatula. Still, the adult in the room should do all the “hot” work and the recipe is written to reflect this “hand off” from kitchen helpers to adult in the procedure.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Apples and Agave-Sage Butter
Serves 6-8

1½ to 2 pounds medium Sweet Potatoes (2-3)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 medium-large tart Granny Smith Apple
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
½ cup chopped Sage leaves
1 teaspoon Melissa's Organic Blue Agave Syrup

What the kids can do:
Image of potato cut into wedges
Peel sweet potatoes, then cut each in half crosswise, then cut carefully cut into thick wedges.

In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the oil, 1 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.
Image of potato wedges on baking sheet
Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet for the oven.
Image of apple cut into wedges
Cut the apple in quarters, slice out core, cut quarter into 16 wedges and then cut each wedge in half crosswise.

Separate sage leaves from stems, hold a handful aside for garnish, chop the rest into large pieces.

Measure out lemon juice and agave and add to apple mixture.

When potatoes are done and added to the bowl of apples, add agave and lemon juice, mix gently.
Image of roasted sweet potatoes and apples on a serving plate
Once transferred to serving tray, garnish with more sage leaves.

What the supervising adult should do:
Image of heating potatoes and apples on a salute pan
Position a rack in the top third of the oven and heat the oven to 475°F. Once the kids have arranged the potatoes on the baking tray, roast for 10 minutes and then flip and continue roasting until tender and slightly browned, about 5 minutes more. Sauté the apple wedges that the kids have prepared in melted butter until browned on both sides. Add the whole sage leaves and stir until they wilt, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and supervise kids stirring the lemon juice and agave into the hot apples. Handle putting the hot potatoes into the bowl of apples and oversee the kids stirring up the mixture carefully. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer the hot mixture to a serving dish for the kids to garnish with a little more sage.
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