Desserts, Pies, Recipes

Mystery Dish: Sweet Potato Pie with Cranberry Compote

Good morning, everyone! I’ve got a wonderful pie to share with you today! But not just any old pie–Sweet Potato Pie with Cranberry Compote!

sweet potato pie with cranberry compote | thepajamachef.comRegular readers know that I don’t usually post on Tuesdays [I’m on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule] but this month our Mystery Dish posting happened to fall on a Tuesday. So here I am! 🙂 As a refresher, Mystery Dish is a fun new blogging group that I’m a part of– the premise is this: each month, one blogger will create a mystery box of ingredients. Ingredients can be themed related to a cuisine, a meal, a season, a specific ingredient, or anything else creative. Then, the other eleven bloggers have to create a recipe using some of the ingredients. SO FUN! This month it was Nora’s turn to come up with our assigned ingredients. Nora blogs at Buttercream Fanatic [yummmm] and she chose:

  • Sweet Potato
  • Kale
  • Squash (any kind, including pumpkin)
  • Nutmeg
  • Venison
  • Turkey
  • Cranberries
  • Caramel
  • Candy Corn

Since I made a pie for the first edition of Mystery Dish, I didn’t intend to make another one for this go-round. It just happened. I saw a picture on instagram of a sweet potato pie and inspiration struck! I have always wanted to try sweet potatoes in a pie and here was my chance. Oh, and Ben nixed the idea of anything else butternut squash, pumpkin, or kale. I guess he’s tired of those ingredients. I don’t understand… But I digress.

sweet potato pie with cranberry compote | thepajamachef.comI’ve typically shied away from making sweet potato pie because it seems so close to pumpkin… but YOU GUYS! It’s not! It’s pumpkin pie’s savorier cousin. It has a subtle sweetness, and when paired with tangy sweet cranberries, each bite is like Thanksgiving. Seriously. So I hope you make this pie and can look past the photos I took at 7 am in the morning because central time and fall and having a full time job are [gratefully] messing with my photography/blogging rhythm. The pie is great with coffee for breakfast, great for a late night snack, and just great all around. Try it out!

So there you have it. Mystery Dish is fun and Sweet Potato Pie is just as amazing as I dreamed it was… but don’t just check out my recipe. There are eleven permanent members in the group, and one guest each month who have each made something utterly fabulous! This month, our guest is Cate of Chez Catey Lou. She’s super sweet so be sure to check out her site! For a look at what everyone else made, check out the collage and links below. Enjoy my pie, and enjoy your day! 🙂

Mystery Dish Collage

1. Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream
2. Roasted Acorn Squash with Cranberries, Almonds, and Brown Sugar
3. Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup
4. Pumpkin Magic Bars
5. Pumpkin Pie Cake
6. Sweet Potato, Smoked Turkey, and Cranberry Croque Madame
7. Caramel Candy Corn Poke Cake
8. Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza with Kale and Ricotta
9. Sweet Potato Cranberry Quick Bread
10. Venison with Sweet Potato Hash & Fried Egg
11. Orange Cranberry Bread
12. Sweet Potato Pie with Cranberry Compote

Sweet Potato Pie with Cranberry Compote [pie recipe slightly adapted from Paula Deen]
click to print


for sweet potato pie

  • 2 large sweet potatoes [~1.25 lb]
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 9 inch pie shell, unbaked – I used the recipe and method here

for cranberry compote

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel sweet potatoes and cut into large chunks. Place in a microwave safe dish and add about 1/2 cup water before microwaving for 10 minutes, checking halfway through for doneness. When potatoes are very soft, add butter and mash until smooth. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine sugar, eggs, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice in a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until combined, then pour in milk and mix again. After potatoes have cooled, add to sugar and milk mixture and beat on low for 2-3 minutes until very smooth.

Pour into unbaked pie crust, and bake for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If the crust starts browning too much during cooking, cover with aluminum foil.

To make cranberry compote, stir together sugar, water, and orange juice in a small pot. Bring to a boil, then add cranberries. Return to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cook until berries begin to burst, stirring occasionally. Cool completely then store in the refrigerator.

Cool pie completely before cutting.

To serve, cut pie and top each slice with a generous serving of cranberry compote.

Time: 75 minutes.

Yield: 8-10 servings.

Breakfast, Egg Dishes, Recipes

Sweet Potato and Kale Egg Bake

Since this week has been all about breakfast so far, why not continue the trend? For Friday, this meal is a little less sweet than the waffles and oatmeal I shared before, but less sweet does not equal less tasty. No, no, no. Sweet Potato and Kale Egg Bake is a hearty, cheesy, veggie-filled breakfast that you do NOT want to miss!

Sweet Potato and Kale Egg Bake | The Pajama Chef

This easy egg casserole can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is just so good! I filled the classic bread-egg-milk bake with healthy kale, tangy red onions, and two kinds of potatoes! I personally thought the shredded sweet potatoes added a ton of flavor, while the roasted white potatoes  [I used Russet, but use whatever you have on hand] were a great base for all the yummy veggies. Oh! And what egg bake doesn’t get better topped with a big handful of sharp cheddar cheese? This one is no exception.

Sweet Potato and Kale Egg Bake | The Pajama Chef

We enjoyed this egg bake for dinner one night, then saved the leftovers for breakfast over the next few days. It heats up beautifully and is a great start to your day! Enjoy! 🙂

Sweet Potato and Kale Egg Bake [a TPC original]
click to print


  • 2 large Russet potatoes, cubed
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 a large red onion, diced
  • 1/2 a bunch kale, rinsed, dried, and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces day-old bread, cubed
  • 1 large sweet potato, shredded
  • heaping 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Place cubed Russet potatoes on a large baking sheet. Season with freshly ground black pepper, then drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast in oven for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through.

In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Then add kale and toss to coat with oil, then cover for 2-3 minutes and cook until wilted.

In a large bowl, gently stir together eggs, milk, seasonings, bread cubes, and sweet potato. Pour mixture into prepared pan, then add roasted potatoes. Top with onion and kale mixture, pressing into the eggs. Cover with shredded cheese and more pepper as desired.

Bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through.

Time: 75 minutes [10 minutes active].

Yield: 8-10 servings.

Bars, Breakfast, Recipes

{Healthy} Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bars

Would you like a rich, chocolately, fudgy bar for breakfast? They have a hint of cinnamon and cayenne reminiscent of the fancily flavorful Mexican Hot Chocolate that is so addicting once you get past the fact that you’re drinking something with a little heat. I bet you’ll love them.

{Healthy} Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bars | The Pajama ChefBut…… I know, I know. Chocolate for breakfast is everyone’s dream. Emphasis on dream, not reality. Especially in near brownie form, complete with chocolate chunks and coconut flakes. Perfecto! Nah, you say. No can do. Welllll, what if I told you they were healthy. What if I told you they were healthy without seeming healthy. What would you say then? I hope you’re in. I hope you’re game. Because these Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bars are secretly healthy. Made with a base of [gasp] sweet potatoes and black beans, this is one breakfast treat that anyone can get into eating.

I don’t usually calculate nutrition stats for my recipes, but I did for this one and discovered that each bar is 247 calories each, with 6 grams of fat. Thanks to the sweet potato and black beans, each serving has as much protein as an egg [6 grams] and as much potassium as a small banana [300 milligrams]. Add in the 6 grams of fiber and high amounts of vitamin A, this is a breakfast to be proud of. Unfortunately, the sugar content [29 grams] is higher than many breakfasts, but there are a couple ways this could be lowered–by using less honey or unsweetened versus sweetened coconut [or even subbing nuts for coconut altogether]. But that stat aside, I [the non-nutritionist, dietitian, and professional that I am] feel pretty good about eating this for breakfast. A bit indulgent, yes, but homemade, nutrient rich, tasty, and satisfying. Paired with a piece of fruit or some skim milk to round out the meal, these bars are really filling. Seriously… for the girl who usually eats a midmorning snack, a couple days when I ate one of these for breakfast at 8 am after a workout with a piece of fruit I wasn’t hungry until 1 pm. CRAY cray!

But don’t just take my word for it. Nutrition and all that boring info aside, I’m guessing you might be a bit hung up on the sweet potato/black bean base. I have two words: don’t. worry. I promise. Pinky swear, in fact. No one will be able to tell.

{Healthy} Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bars | The Pajama Chef

Case in point: the whole time I made these, Ben was playing video games in another room. True to routine, after they were baking, I visited him with the batter spoon for a test taste. Mum was the word, and he licked the bowl with a vengeance. They were pulled out of the oven and set on a cooling rack next to an assortment of clean dinner and baking dishes air-drying on a towel. Ben said they looked like brownies, and that he was looking forward to a breakfast treat. He even tried a piece that had cracked off the top and said it was delicious. Still, I said nothing. It was only when we had gotten into bed that I fessed up. What can I say… I can’t go to bed in deceit. Without batting an eye [at least, I think so… it was dark], Ben just laughed. He’s used to my kitchen games by now. And then, the next morning he took one to work for breakfast, along with a few others for his co-workers to try. That night, he came home with rave reviews. If that’s not an awesome testimony, then I don’t know what is.

{Healthy} Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bars | The Pajama Chef

I mean, I FINALLY tricked my husband into eating [and loving] something secretly healthy. I mean, I did here, so it’s been done before. But I failed here, and also have failed with a  smattering of other dishes over the years. Believe me, Ben eats plenty of healthy foods, but when it comes down to it, he would choose a rich, chocolately brownie over a bowl of sweet potatoes. Who wouldn’t? But why should you have to choose? If no one can tell, then I say game on and serve a secretly healthy Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bar in the morning. You won’t regret it…. especially if you heat ’em up for about 20 seconds before enjoying. Melty chocolate in the morning is the bestttt!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bars

  • Servings: 12
  • Print

heavily adapted from Eliza’s Edibles


  • 1 1/2 cups no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed [a 15 ounce can or cooked my way]
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 large sweet potato, scrubbed, peeled, and cooked [about 1 1/4- 1 1/2 cups]
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of cayenne pepper [optional]
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chunks + more for sprinkling on top
  • 1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes + more for sprinkling on top


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly grease and “flour” [using cooca powder] a 9×9 pan.

Add black beans and honey to a food processor and process until smooth, taking care to scrape the sides periodically to eliminate unsightly black bean chunks. Then chop sweet potato into small chunks and add to food processor along with the buttermilk, egg, peanut butter, and vanilla. Process again until everything is fully combined and very smooth. Mixture will be thick but not heavy.

In a small bowl, stir together cocoa powder, flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.

Transfer black bean mixture from food processor into a large bowl, then fold dry ingredients in. Stir until well combined, then add chocolate chunks and coconut flakes.

Spoon batter into prepared pan, then top with extra chocolate chunks and coconut flakes. Bake for 40-45 minutes, covering with foil for the last 10 minutes or so to ensure coconut on top toasts, not burns. Test with a toothpick to ensure bars are done, then cool completely before cutting. Keep refrigerated.


Recipes, Sides, Vegetables

Streuseled Cran-Apple Sweet Potato Casserole

Christmas is coming, faster than we know. And I didn’t want to let the season go by without sharing this awesome roasted sweet potato dish. Even though it’s a sweet potato casserole, it bears little resemblance to the typical marshmallow-y sugar concoctions that are ever so traditional. Streuseled Cran-Apple Sweet Potato Casserole

I made this recipe for my family Thanksgiving dinner. I love roasted sweet potatoes as a side dish or light meal any time of year, so I thought that they would be the perfect basis for a new sort of sweet potato casserole! To make them a little more special than normal, I roasted the sweet potatoes in a lovely spiced maple syrup sauce. After they were nice and roasted, I added in some crisp apples and tart cranberries. A sweet oat streusel topped off the dish, and boy was it good! Even Ben, who usually passes on sweet potato casseroles, went back for seconds. That’s a success if I do say so myself!

Streuseled Cran-Apple Sweet Potato Casserole | The Pajama Chef

Plus, as with all good Thanksgiving or Christmas special side dishes, most of this can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until it is ready to be baked and served. It is absolutely delicious and would be a great addition to your Christmas table! I would love to make it again soon. Enjoy! 🙂

Streuseled Cran-Apple Sweet Potato Casserole [adapted from Cooking Light]
click to print


  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks–about 6 cups, [peeled or unpeeled, your choice]
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup, divided
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided
  • 1/2 of a large granny smith apple, diced
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup half and half [I used fat free]
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place diced sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Whisk together olive oil, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, then pour over sweet potatoes. Using your hands, coat sweet potatoes with olive oil mixture. Roast for 25-35 minutes, turning occasionally, or until fork-tender.

After sweet potatoes are done, transfer to a 10 inch round casserole dish [a 9×9 square dish should work too]. Mix in apples and cranberries.

Next, whisk together half and half, the egg, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Pour over sweet potato mixture, then bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

***Casserole can be made ahead up until this point and refrigerated until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, prepare the streusel. Stir together oats, brown sugar, flour, and pumpkin pie spice. Add melted butter and toss to form coarse crumbs.

Before serving, sprinkle streusel topping over sweet potatoes. Return to oven and bake at 375 for 10 minutes or until topping is browned.

Time: 75 minutes [15 minutes active]

Yield: 4-6 servings.

Quinoa, Recipes, Sides

Sweet-Tart Quinoa Salad

So, sometimes when I don’t take my beloved black bean wraps in my lunch, I like to make big salads on the weekend, filled with veggies and protein and oodles of flavor, that I can dish out throughout the week. At home I love leafy green salads, but for portability and ease, grain-based salads are my BFF. They don’t get soggy or mushy, they have tons of different flavors and textures, and the dressing is already mixed in–no need to juggle a bajillion containers! These same salads are also great for a meatless dinner or a healthy barbecue side dish for practically all the same reasons, but I just tend to eat them more for lunch!

This salad is no different from my normal grain-based salad loves, though technically quinoa isn’t a grain. But in my little world, like most of the rest of the culinary empire, it’s lumped right in. Don’t go lumping this Sweet-Tart Quinoa Salad in with other quinoa salads, though!

This salad pairs the basic Mexi-grain salad components with something new, something fresh. Something sweet–some sweet potato and bell peppers, perhaps?–meets something tart. Not just the Mexi-staple tartness of lime. But the unexpected, refreshing burst of…. Grapefruit. Whaaaaat? What initially started as a scaredy-cat substitution because I realized I was out of limes and needed more liquid to mix into this salad turned into a “oh darn, I should have used more grapefruit juice” during the test tasting stage. Crazy!

See, here’s the deal. You toss together some quinoa, bell peppers, onion, black beans, and sweet potato. They’re great. Pantry staples, healthy, filling, relatively affordable. They’re filling and flavorful on their own, yet adaptable to a pretty wide range of seasonings. Then you add the Mexi-spices and flavors, including cumin, cilantro, red pepper, the typical lime juice, etc. Leave the salad alone here and it would be pretty good. But add some grapefruit juice and take it to the next level. Beyond the tang of lime there’s a familiar yet unexpected tartness. An explosion of yummy flavors that makes each bite enchanting and divine. Sweet-Tart Quinoa Salad is the perfect familiar yet unexpected addition to your next lunch conundrum, meatless meal, or barbecue side dish.

And yes, if you’re wondering… “Sweet-Tart” in the dish’s name was a nod to my all-time favorite childhood candy, SweeTarts, which I would happily munch on all day, everyday if that was a nutritionally sound choice. 🙂

What’s your all-time favorite childhood candy?

Sweet-Tart Quinoa Salad
click to print


  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, dry
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped + more for garnish
  • 3/4 cup bell peppers, diced [I used green, yellow, and red]
  • 3/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
  • freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place onion and sweet potato in a large baking dish, then sprinkle with garlic, red pepper, and cumin. Drizzle with olive oil, then use your [clean!] hands to mix everything together. Bake for 20-22 minutes.

While the sweet potato and onion mixture is a-cooking, prepare the quinoa. Boil 1 cup water, then stir in the quinoa. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cover, cooking for 12 minutes.

Remove quinoa from heat, then stir in cilantro, bell peppers, black beans, lime juice, and grapefruit juice. After everything is combined, cover and set aside.

After sweet potato and onion mixture is ready, add to quinoa, and season with lots of freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy!

Time: 25 minutes [10 minutes active].

Yield: 2-3 servings.

Notes: If raw peppers aren’t your thing, you can roast then with the sweet potatoes and onions. Also, feel free to use any combination of citrus juice–orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, etc. in place of the lime-grapefruit mixture.