Perpetual Plan B

Friday, December 4, 2009

Yam Tacos?

You may have had one if you've eaten here lately.

Really. But you may not have known it.

My kids are terrible when it comes to eating vegetables so when the cookbook came out a while ago about how to sneak vegetables into other food I was all over it.

Well, this year for Thanksgiving I was assigned to bring the yams, which is a whole other discussion.

Shall we get sidetracked for a moment and discuss it?

My husband's family assigned me to do the yams a long time ago when I was first married. It was a good assignment for a newly married couple with no kids.

Two years later, when we ate with Hal's family again, my sister-in-law, Monica, was assigned the yams. I made some stupid comment like, "Just make sure you don't put any gross stuff like marshmallows in them." (I like my yams relatively healthier so I mash them like potatoes with just salt and pepper, a little butter, milk and some garlic salt.)

Well, I could tell by Monica's and my mother-in-law's reactions that that was not the right thing to say. There were marshmallows galore that year and everyone seemed very happy.

Now, whenever I am assigned the yams, as I was again this year, I have the dilemma of what to do. And I always solve it by doing both kinds.

This year I must have been feeling a little passive aggressive so all I did for the candied yams was dump some canned yams into a baking pan and cover semi-liberally with marshmallows. I heated those until the marshmallows browned. I also made my mashed yams and got quite a few compliments on both kinds. (Do you think people feel obligated to compliment you on YAMS? It doesn't really seem like it to me, so maybe the candied ones really were ok.)

Anyway, I had made a huge container of the mashed yams so I brought quite a few of them home. And this is when I realized that even I don't love to just sit and eat a dish of yams. (There are never any other leftovers for us to take home on Hal's side. It is a HUGE family. Lots of grandkids.)

So, of course being the good little homemaker that I am, I couldn't just waste the yams. I started thinking about what I could put them in.

The first meal I made was chicken and dumplings. I made it as usual (meaning like the last time I made it, which was roughly five years ago). Then I added a few huge spoonfuls of yams. They swirled around and blended right in. It even tasted good. I couldn't find my regular dumpling recipe that I got from my friend Patty, so I pulled out the Betty Crocker cookbook. I used their recipe and doubled it because it said it only made six dumplings and my family loves dumplings - at least I was sure they would - and then added some thyme and pepper to the recipe.

Well I'll tell you, by the time the massive dumplings were done, the dish should have been called "Dumplings with a trace amount of chicken and veggies and very little liquid". Don't get me wrong, the kids and Hal liked the dumplings but I honestly cannot figure out where in the world the chicken and veggies went. They certainly weren't embedded in the gigantic dumplings. I know because I checked.

Next I made tacos, which is Hal's favorite meal. He would eat them every week, no problem, if I would remember to make them.

Well, I still had the problem of all these vitamin-rich yams and what to do with them, so I threw some into the meat and bean mixture and it tasted pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. A little sweet, but I masked the taste with a little more taco seasoning. I really did think they were pretty tasty. Even better than usual in my opinion. Nobody said anything so I don't think they had any idea. I might have to try this again someday.

For the last of the yams I tried my luck with chili, since the tacos were so successful. This was not as good. You could see there was a strange texture and color to the chili. I had to confess on that one, which made everyone pretty reluctant to eat much of it, even though it tasted fine.

So, you win some and you lose some. But all in all I think I was pretty successful at using up the yams.

Tacos anyone?

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