Thanksgiving is a couple of weeks away, but it's not too early to plan the menu, especially if you're the one doing the cooking. My Thanksgiving menu is almost identical to the one my mother served every year. Some of the food is prepared using her recipes; the rest from recipes I've acquired over the years that have become family favorites.
One difference in our menus is my mother always served sweet potato casserole. Some years, I don't even serve sweet potatoes. When I do, I alternate between sweet potato casserole and Quick and Easy Candied Sweet Potatoes.
The terms sweet potatoes and yams are used interchangeably even though, technically, they are two separate vegetables. Southerners tend to call sweet potatoes "yams." To confuse the matter, cans of sweet potatoes are often labeled yams. Unless you're in a specialty shop, chances are the can of yams you're buying is actually sweet potatoes.
The recipe for Quick and Easy Candied Sweet Potatoes calls for two 15 ounce cans of sweet potatoes. My grocery store sells a 29 ounce can considerably cheaper than two 15 ounce cans. I save the money and use the 29 ounce can. There's no need to change the proportions of the other ingredients for one less ounce of sweet potatoes.
Unlike sweet potato casserole which is baked in the oven, Quick and Easy Candied Sweet Potatoes are cooked on the stove. You need two burners -- one to heat the potatoes and one for the sauce -- but I usually have more burners available than I do space in the oven! When you heat the potatoes, don't stir them too hard or they'll fall apart. To keep the potatoes intact after heating them, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon, allowing the liquid to drain off. This dish takes less than 15 minutes to prepare, so it's the last thing I cook before we sit down to eat.
Some people -- like my husband and son -- don't like sweet potatoes, but my in-laws and I do. If your family doesn't like sweet potatoes either, check my blog Monday for a Thanksgiving side dish that doesn't get any respect at all!