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Thanksgiving Sweet Potato/Apple/Pecan/Pineapple Casserole

For many years I have made this dish for our family's Thanksgiving Dinner. I got the recipe from a fellow teacher in Loveland, Colorado with whom we spent our first Thanksgiving with Rob. (That would make this recipe 48 years old as of this writing). There are many variations of this recipe on the Internet, however most of them mash-up the sweet potatoes and cover the dish with marshmallows. I am not a fan. I think cubing the sweet potatoes, adding apples and pineapple for taste and sweetness is a much better alternative. I hope this dish becomes a part of your family's Thanksgiving.

Serves 12people
(4) Large sweet potatoes (approximately 2½ pounds) or two (2) large cans of canned sweet potatoes (preferably in water not syrup).
(3) Large Granny Smith apples (4 apples if small)
cup packed dark brown sugar (dark if you have it)
tsp ground cinnamon
tsp ground nutmeg
cup (4-6 ounces) canned crushed pineapple and juice (I use up to one cup but use per your taste)
tbsp melted butter
cup chopped pecans (More to taste but not more than ½ cup)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Peel and cut sweet potatoes into ping pong ball sized chunks. Boil potatoes until just starting to soften but not breaking up (a fork barely slides into chunks). Drain carefully so as to not break up chunks and carefully pour chunks into a buttered 9 x 13 glass baking dish. If using canned sweet potatoes (I did for many years--much quicker) drain and rinse and cut into large chunks. Pour into buttered glass baking dish.
NOTE: (You do not have to use all the potato chunks if the baking dish is getting too crowded with them. The chunks can touch each other, but should not be stacked on each other. You need space for the apples which can be on top of some potatoes).
Combine and whisk well, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar.
Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 sections. Use your judgement as to when there are enough apples in the dish. This is not an “apple dish” so there should be slightly more potatoes than apples.
Toss apples in brown sugar mixture and randomly place tossed apples evenly on sweet potatoes. Pour any remaining brown sugar mixture evenly over sweet potatoes
Pour melted butter evenly over potatoes and apples
Sprinkle crushed pineapple and juice over entire dish.
Bake in 350-degree oven for twenty-five (25) minutes
Remove from oven and top with pecans.
Return to oven for five (5) minutes to toast pecans.
NOTE #1: If you are really busy you can top with pecans from beginning and bake entire dish for thirty (30) minutes. The pecans can get a bit too roasted with this method.
NOTE #2: Check apples with a fork. Apples can be firm, but should not be hard. Bake ten (10) more minutes if apples are not done.

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