Get ahead by baking several sweet potatoes tonight and using for quick and easy dinners throughout the week.
Credit: Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

Two spuds are better than one, but nine? That’s where the real magic happens. Bake a fleet of sweet potatoes at once to maximize your oven space (cooking several takes just as much time as cooking one). Enjoy a few tonight and refrigerate the rest for later. The uses are endless: stuff with your favorite filling, mash for cakes or casseroles, puree for soups, or dice and crisp in the pan for a fantastic hash. This is get ahead cooking at its best: not one dish that you’ll tire of after one or two days, but three completely different meals starring one cooked and ready-to-go ingredient.

Starter Dish: BBQ-Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes

While the sweet potatoes bake, make a quick barbecue pork filling. Instead of a slow cooked pork shoulder (what can take several hours), we sear and bake pork tenderloin in less than 25 minutes and toss with a speedy homemade bbq sauce before stuffing each piping hot potato. You could substitute chicken for the pork, or go vegetarian with baked beans and a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese.   

Second Meal: Sweet Potato Cakes with Chicken and Poblano Relish

Leftover baked potatoes make the crispiest cakes because they’ve had time to dry out, both in the oven and overnight in the fridge. This sweet potato version is a blank canvas for any topper. Try this smoky chicken, tomato, and poblano relish, go Caribbean with shredded pork and pineapple salsa, or to Asia with stir-fried shrimp and vegetables. Quick oats make the patties sturdy without weighing them down. Swap the all-purpose flour for rice or oat flour for a gluten-free main.

Third Meal: Sweet Potato and Mushroom Risotto

As if a creamy, starchy mushroom risotto wasn’t delicious enough, a swirl of sweet potato puree balances the savory, earthy shiitakes and gives the mixture a lovely color. Fresh sage adds another savory note; stick to the two tablespoons in the recipe as any more can turn medicinal. A dollop of mascarpone, a mild, spreadable Italian cheese, brings everything together.