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December's Healthy Dinner: Sausage and Sweet Potato Bake

Welcome to the Our Village's Healthy Dinners blog series! I'm Caroline Colley and I'll be your host for this culinary adventure. Each month I'll cook a new recipe and use My Fitness Pal to break down the nutritional facts. Then I'll feed it to my husband and 3 year old twins, and report back to you on the results. Happy cooking!

December's Healthy Dinner: Sausage and Sweet Potato Bake

Overview:

This recipe is basically a hug on a plate. It's a delicious and healthy meal that kids of all ages love. My mom made this for us when I was growing up and now I'm making it for my family. That's 7 kids eating this meal over 30 years without a single complaint! Tess even does a happy dance in the kitchen when she finds out we're having it.

Prep and Cooking:

This meal is so easy to prepare! It took me about 20 minutes to get it in the oven, then it bakes for 50-60 minutes. That's great if you're a little tired after lots of holiday celebrating. Here's the recipe...

Sausage and Sweet Potato Bake

1 pound of lean turkey or chicken breakfast sausage (I used Jennie-O this time)

2 large sweet potatoes

3 medium apples (I like Granny Smith or MacIntosh, but any apple works)

1 large sweet onion

4 tsp raw sugar

1 Tbs corn starch

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven to 375.

1 Brown the sausage and drain off any fat. Break up any large pieces (you want the pieces to be bite-sized for your kids).

2 Chop the potatoes and apples into 1 inch chunks. You don't have to peel the apples or potatoes unless you want to (I just let my kids pull the skins off at the table).

3 Peel the onion, cut it into wedges, and separate the petals.

4 Mix the sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, salt, and water until blended.

5 Layer the potatoes, then onions, then apples into a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle the sausage on top. Pour the water mixture over the whole thing. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes.

Recipe Notes:

• I usually serve this meal with a lightly dressed salad, but if I'm feeling nostalgic, I open a few cans of green beans just like my mom did.

• If you're really in a hurry, you could buy prechopped sweet potatoes, presliced apples, and precooked sausage.

• We usually eat this for dinner, but it would be a yummy brunch dish, too. It also reheats really well for leftovers. Just cover the dish to keep the sausage from getting dry.

Nutritional Information:

I used My Fitness Pal and called this recipe five servings. Here's the breakdown per serving:

Calories: 337

Fat (g): 9.8

Saturated: 2.4

Cholesterol (mg): 96

Sodium (mg): 974.7

Carbs (g): 38.8

Fiber: 6.7

Sugar: 21.4

Protein (g): 24.4

Nutritional Notes:

• This recipe is a little high in sugar, but it's mostly fructose from the fruit and veggies. The sugar in the sauce mixture could be eliminated, or you could substitute winter squash for the sweet potatoes if you're really watching your family's sugar consumption. The squash will probably take a little longer to bake.

• If sodium is a concern, you can eliminate the salt from the sauce mixture and choose a lower sodium sausage.

• I've tried this recipe with 99% lean sausage, and it really wasn't very good. It was dry and I just didn't feel satisfied after I finished dinner. I recommend sticking with regular turkey or chicken sausage.

I hope your family enjoys this recipe. See you next month. Happy, healthy eating!

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