On a different note, my recipes turned out to be quite tasty. I'm posting them here in case anybody reading this wants them:
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
printable here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/holidays/scalloped-sweet-potatoes/
2 lbs sweet potatoes
4 strips bacon
1 whole onion, diced
2.5 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups milk
grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 325. Cut potatoes into 1/4 inch slices (who the heck ever measures stuff like this? eyeball it.) Boil potato slices for 5 minutes, drain, and set aside.
2. Cook the bacon strips. (The directions have you save the bacon drippings to cook the onion. I microwaved the bacon and used olive oil instead of grease. It worked perfectly and was a smidge healthier.) Crumble and set aside.
3. Saute onion until tender. Stir in flour over low heat and stir until a dry paste forms. Add milk, salt, and pepper. I added more pepper than was called for...taste as you go. Cook over low heat and let the mixture thicken a bit.
4. Arrange half of the sweet potatoes in a baking dish. Sprinkle on half of the bacon. Pour on half of the milk gravy. Layer the remaining potatoes, bacon, and gravy.
5. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 20 minutes.
*This is a great alternative to sweet potato casserole (of which I am no fan). Easy and tasty!
Caramelized Onion Dip
from "Real Simple" November edition
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium onions, sliced or diced (I used one white and one yellow.)salt and black pepper
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 c sour cream
chopped fresh chives
1. Melt the butter and add the onion with 1/2 tsp salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, at least 30 minutes until the onions are very golden brown (but not burnt!). Remove from heat.
2. Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, chives, onions, 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper to taste. Stir well.
3. Serve with chips, crackers, pitas, or veggies.
*This was a huge hit. It was even better after it sat in the fridge for a few hours.