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Sweet Potatoes and a Sweet Winter Treat

Joy Johnson, Master Gardener

Sweet potatoes are a lovely garden plant. They are a low calorie but highly nutritious food and have a beautiful color. Sweet potatoes can be harvested very late in the fall and are pretty easy to store over the winter. Best of all, they taste great. You will love this sweet potato recipe from Master Gardener Joy Johnson along with a bonus sweet treat.

Sweet Potatoes and a Sweet Winter Treat

I want to encourage you to grow sweet potatoes. They are a lovely garden plant, although their vines do take up a lot of room in the garden. The sweet potatoes can be harvested very late in the fall just before the first hard frost. It’s pretty easy to store an abundant crop of sweet potatoes in your home over the winter. That process can be found easily online. The sweet potatoes that I used in this recipe were ones that were grown last fall and stored over the winter. They are a low calorie highly nutritious food and of course have a beautiful color. This recipe makes use of your crockpot but it could also be baked in the oven.


Balsamic Seasoned Chicken and Sweet Potatoes



  • 2 lbs chicken thighs (You can use boneless skinless if you prefer)

  • 14 oz fat free chicken broth

  • One cup dry white wine, or Moscato if you prefer a sweeter broth

  • One tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • One teaspoon dried thyme

  • One teaspoon olive oil

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds (you can also use fennel seeds)

  • 4 sweet potatoes

  • ½ of a large onion sliced



Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over high heat, add the chicken and cook until browned on all sides. Let cool slightly. Combine the broth, wine, vinegar, and thyme in the crock pot. Add the chicken. Rub the exposed area of the chicken with the oil, sprinkle with the pepper and caraway seeds. Arrange the potatoes and onions around the chicken. Cover and cook on low until the chicken is tender the juices run clear and a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 170 degrees F and the potatoes are tender: 8 to 10 hours on low or six to 8 hours on high.

OR put the chicken in a large, deep casserole dish, pour the broth mixture over, add the spices, put the potatoes in, layering them with the chicken. Cover and bake in a 350-degree oven for two hours or until chicken registers 170 degrees and potatoes are done.

Serve this with rice or mashed potatoes or toast because you have a lot of delicious broth.


Chinese Almond Cookies


April 9th is national Chinese almond cookie day. Even though there are no ingredients that come from your garden, I thought you would enjoy this Chinese American treat that aren't authentically Chinese. Their round shape symbolizes coins and good luck. They are traditionally served for Chinese New Year. Here are a couple tips to make your cookies a success.


·       Make sure the butter is cold

·       Use almond flour not almond meal

·       Do not skip refrigerating the dough for two hours



  • 1 1/3 cups almond flour lightly packed

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

  • A pinch of salt

  • 2 large eggs, divided

  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup +2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • thinly sliced almonds, for decoration


Place the almond flour, salt, and butter into an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for three minutes. The mixture will become coarse and chunky looking. Add one of the eggs and the almond extract. Mix them in on low speed just until incorporated. Sift the flour, sugar, and baking soda together, and add to the mixture. Mix on low speed until just combined. Take the dough and flatten it into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator for two hours to chill.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg. Take pieces of dough and roll them into balls about 3/4 inch wide. Place them on the sheet about an inch apart and then press them down slightly with your palm to make a coin shape. Press 1 slivered almond into the center of each cookie. Then using a pastry brush or your finger, paint each cookie with the beaten egg.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until the edges just begin to tan. Cool on the sheet on a wire rack.

Photo credits: Joy Johnson (1, 2, 3)

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