Thanksgiving Treat - Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese

I love Thanksgiving! It's such a fun time to spend with great people--people you love! I WISH that I could spend mine with my family, but unfortunately home is too far away with too short of a holiday break to travel back.  

So, instead for the last couple of years, I have spent Thanksgiving with my local "adopted" family at what we've come to call Orphan Thanksgiving. Everyone who does not have a place to go or doesn't have family close by comes and joins us for a Thanksgiving feast. And I'm excited to spend Thanksgiving (and Apple Cup on Black Friday!) with them again!

MY first year at Orphan Thanksgiving, I made my Grandma Jane's twice baked potatoes. They're truly one of, if not my most, favorite foods.  They're delicious--but also quite butter heavy. And russet potatoes in and of themselves don't have the highest of nutritional content. So, instead, last year I decided to stick with my twice baked potato theme and instead make twice-baked sweet potatoes.

This recipe was one that my mom sent me from Sunset magazine! She knows I LOVE me some sweet potatoes, and she knows even more so that I love me some twice baked potatoes! Nom nom nom! Soooo delicious! So, I made this recipe - Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese & Bacon...AND THEY WERE A HIT!

These are actually super simple to make--I hesitate to say easy, because twice-baked potatoes are labor intensive and time-consuming. I won't shy away from that statement. You do have to bake the potatoes twice, stuff them, etc. And depending upon how many you're making, they can take a few hours!

I made 20 last year, but I came to the realization that that didn't mean I needed to double every timing aspect of the recipe.  But regardless, I'll share with you what I did for my 20 person sweet potato feast at Thanksgiving 2014--with a few modifications.

What you'll need:

  • 10 sweet potatoes (of varying sizes)
  • 1 lb of bacon - I used maple glazed
  • 10 oz of goat cheese
  • Olive oil - extra virgin
  • milk (I used an almond/coconut blend)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • chopped chives
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste

First things first, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

While it heats up, prepare the potatoes.  Prick the potatoes multiple times with a fork, and slather with olive oil so that it coats the potato skin.

Once the oven has heated, baked the potatoes for 1 hour to 75 minutes. (I did 90 minutes and this was too much).  Your potatoes should be cooked and tender, but not mooshy.  I know...it's a "technical" term haha.

While the potatoes are baking, sautee the bacon.  I cut my pound of bacon into 1 inch pieces and cooked until well-done. Once cooked, drain on a paper towel to remove the majority of the grease. Pat dry once drained.  Once dry, roughly chop the bacon, and then set aside half of the bacon for filling and half for later.

Once the potatoes have been cooked, please please PLEASE allow them to cool for at least 15 minutes before trying to scoop out the insides. Be sure to leave the oven ON.

 Once cooled, scoop out the insides of the potatoes. If you're new to twice-baked potatoes, make sure that you leave a little bit of potato on the interior of the potato skin. That will ensure that your potatoes maintain structure once filled with filling.  

Once the filling has been scooped out, crush the potato removed from skins with a fork. Then mix in half of the roughly chopped bacon.  Crumble half of the goat cheese into the potato + bacon mixture, and then mix in. As the goat cheese melt, you'll find your mixture gets VERY creamy.  

Fill the potato shells with the entire mixture, evenly dispersing it between the potatoes. 

Chill these filled potatoes before attending your party (assuming the party is not at your house...).

Prior to enjoying, bake for 20-30 more minutes.  Then top with crumbled goat cheese, remaining bacon, and chives!

I make no promise that these are "healthy," but they're a a healthier option! And it's always fun to try to find healthier options of your holiday favorites!

To make this completely 21 day fix approved--switch out regular bacon for turkey bacon! And/or decrease the amount of cheese! :-) And stick with smaller sweet potatoes!

ENJOY! And try to stay healthy this holiday season my friends!