Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

By: Brady Evans

Do you ever feel like you’re on “Candid Camera” or the modern equivalent, “What Would You Do?” One day my husband and I were standing in the parking lot of a bog-box store, staring at each other in silence. You see, I was unloading the cart while he was analyzing the receipt and it didn’t take long for us to realize that there was a gap of nearly $70 between what we’d purchased and what we’d been charged for. The error, as the Monopoly saying goes, was in our favor.

I’ll just be honest here, there was a slight sense of thrill at the ‘great deal’ we had just fallen into. Then, we went through the same scenario we did when Lowe’s neglected to charge us for a $100 area rug a few years ago:

What if we had a child with us?  What message would we send our kid? But we don’t have a child with us. Lucky us! Bad thoughts, bad thoughts!  It shouldn’t take the pressure off an audience to do what’s right.

We marched back in the store with our ‘free’ stuff and our much too short receipt. My husband cut in line by going straight to the cashier instead of standing in the aisle, crammed between magazines and candies.

“You didn’t charge us for everything!” he whispered into her ear.  He probably wanted to let her correct the mistake without the manager hearing the ruckus.  She sort of looked down her line of people who were unloading their unnecessary plastic objects onto the conveyer belt. She sized up their annoyance at this sudden wrench in the quick-check-out system.

“Don’t worry about it – just go,” she said.

WHAT?

Yep.  At this point we were waiting on John Quinones to come waltzing out.  He didn’t.  My husband and I exchanged fleeting looks of “It must be our lucky day!” before we made our way to another cashier, stood in line again, and paid for the items that had been given to us – twice.

Then at work I had the same “this can’t be happening” thing happen.  No, no one gave me $70 worth of vitamins and lounge chair cushions, but I did feel like I was being set up on a reality TV show.  You see, I had the most delicious lunch waiting for me in the refrigerator. Just as I had done all week, I placed my tupperware into the refrigerator at 7:45am and returned for it at 11:30am.

I opened the fridge, shuffled around the containers and water bottles within it, thinking that the reason I couldn’t find my sweet potato was because it had been shoved to the side.  I asked my colleagues if they had been nice enough to heat my lunch for me, and they quite frankly said, “No.  We aren’t that nice.”  A search party ensued.  The tupperware was found with 90% of its contents absent. Just a few smidges of sweet potato and some wandering black beans revealed its former contents in the sink with some soap and water.

Sweet potato skins
At least the jerk who stole my lunch and ate it attempted to begin the cleaning process, right?

I thought stuff like that was a legend. I didn’t think people would actually eat my home-cooked meal out of my tupperware – a meal that no one would mistaken for his own – and then brazenly leave the evidence in front of me.

My feelings were really, really hurt. Honestly, I almost cried. Then I got angry. And, naturally, next I was sad. I suppose these are the stages of grief.

The person who left me hungry yesterday enjoyed a tender sweet potato stuffed with beans, corn, bright and sweet tomatoes, just a hint of cheese, and some flecks of cilantro. The person who chose my lunch over my coworker’s Jimmy Johns sandwich probably regrets it, though, because now she’s dreaming of a repeat performance of this meal just as I was dreaming of it all day yesterday, only to be let down when it came time for lunch.

Sweet Potato Skins

Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (adapted from Pinch of Yum)

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1.5 cups frozen corn
  • 1.5 cups rinsed black beans
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the sweet potatoes for 45-60 minutes. Alternatively, you could prick them a few times with a fork and cook them in the microwave for 12 minutes, rotating them halfway through, until tender.
  2. While sweet potatoes are baking, place corn in a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with no butter or oil. Let corn roast for several minutes before stirring. Let it roast for a few more minutes before stirring again. Continue this for about 10 minutes, until corn is browned and roasted on the outside.
  3. Set aside in a small bowl with the black beans.
  4. Saute the onion in nonstick cooking spray over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and chopped tomato and cook 1 additional minute. Add to beans and corn mixture.
  5. Remove sweet potatoes from the oven when tender. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Cut the sweet potatoes in half. Scoop the flesh of the sweet potatoes out, leaving the skins intact. Leave 1/4 ” of sweet potato flesh in skin for sturdiness.
  7. Mash sweet potatoes pulp with the shredded cheese and seasonings. When well-mixed, gently stir in the black beans, roasted corn, sauteed onions, and cilantro.
  8. Stuff the skins and top with additional shredded cheese. If desired, broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

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