Struessel Topped Sweet Potato Casserole

Struessel Topped Sweet Potato Casserole - A Pinch of Joy
Struessel Topped Sweet Potato Casserole - A Pinch of Joy

Sweet potato casserole is good anytime of year. Dressed up, it’s the perfect accompaniment to holiday ham for any season. This sweet potato recipe has no marshmallows. Just a crunchy topping to contrast with the deep sweet potato flavor! No sweet, sticky marshmallows fans in our house :-)

Cook and mash the sweet potatoes before measuring. If you are in a hurry (or can’t get fresh sweet potatoes, as they are not always available), use a 40 ounce can and drain before mashing. If you use yams, remember they are a bit sweeter than sweet potatoes so you might want to reduce the sugar a bit. You can add coconut to the topping of this traditional dish.  I usually don’t, but when I made this I had a bit of coconut hanging out and lonely in the pantry.  So I added it.   Baking time will vary a bit depending on the size and depth of your casserole pan. I use a 9×13 glass baking dish because it makes serving easier for pot lucks, but a casserole pan is nicer looking for family style! A light sprinkle of nutmeg across the top before sliding into the oven adds a bit of color and notches up the flavor a bit – optional.  This can be made ahead and refrigerated for a day before baking. It also reheats well – or you may even like it cold!

Looking for something a little less sweet? Check this recipe for Holiday Sweet Potatoes.

Struessel Topped Sweet Potato Casserole
Cook time
Total time
Crunchy topped creamy sweet potato casserole -- no marshmallows!
Serves: 12 servings
  • 3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • ½ cup coconut -- optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the ingredients for the casserole.
  3. Spray a 9x13 glass pan (or large casserole dish) with cooking spray and pour the sweet potato mixture into the pan.
  4. Mix the brown sugar and flour in a small bowl, then cut the butter into the mixture until small crumbs are formed. Stir in pecans and sprinkle the topping evenly across the sweet potato mixture.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until table knife inserted into middle comes out clean.

Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies with white chocolate chips

Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies - A Pinch of Joy

Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies - A Pinch of Joy

Pink strawberry cookies studded with white chocolate chips seem to announce “spring is coming!” They are pretty and cheery additions to a cookie tray, perfect for spring occasions. Or a reminder of fresh strawberries and sunshine when there is a foot of snow on the ground. With four ingredients, Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies are quick and easy to make. The hardest thing I’ve found is keeping the white chocolate chips evenly distributed in the dough. They seem to want to pop out of the dough as you handle it. Which makes them look even more irresistible – but a little difficult to manage.  Resist the urge to double the amount of white chocolate chips. Or you’ll be scooping the excess chips off the cookie sheet and the counter.  You can’t put them back in the bag, of course. So you’ll have to eat them. Just sayin’…..

Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies with white chocolate chips
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Just four ingredients! Quick, easy, pretty and tasty!
Serves: 30 cookies
  • 1 box strawberry cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper (or lightly grease the cookie sheet)
  2. In mixing bowl, combine cake mix, eggs and oil and mix well to make a thick dough.
  3. Stir in white chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop out tablespoonsful of dough and roll into balls. Place cookie dough balls on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake for 6 – 8 minutes until lightly golden on the bottom.
  6. Cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet, then remove to cooling rack.

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Hot Tuna Sandwich

Hot Tuna Sandwich -- A Pinch of Joy
Hot Tuna Sandwich -- A Pinch of Joy

“What do you want for Valentine’s Day? “ Wheels asked one year.

“Mmmm, I don’t know,” I replied, buried deep in the grocery ad in preparation for a supply run. “Oh my goodness, not roses”. I said, looking at the dozen red roses pictured with an obscene figure following the dollar sign. “Growing conditions for roses were bad this year. I heard prices would be high but – wow! I’d rather have this.”   I offhandedly pointed to the picture of a case of tuna.  And laughed. And promptly left for the grocery store.

The following Thursday, Wheels left for the day about 5 am, as usual.   I came downstairs a couple of hours later.   A largish brown box sat in the middle of the kitchen counter. I’m used to finding strange things I did not put on that counter. But this sat there squarely and with purpose, not something placed hapharzardly as a “temporary” resting place. Upon closer inspection, I discovered a large envelope attached to the top. Wheels is famous (with me!) for his greeting cards and I lost myself in the Valentine sentiment it contained.

Curiosity began to tug. With all those sweet thoughts so tenderly expressed in the card, what awaited within that box??

The lid was thoughtfully pre-opened. I lifted it. Twelve silver circles gleamed back at me. With another twelve below. And two more layers below that. I lifted one for a closer look. And blinked. The others I lifted from the box said the same thing on the label. I stood there, puzzled.

48 cans of tuna.

My Valentine’s Day gift.

You saw that coming, didn’t you??

I didn’t.

Then it registered.   Wheels heard me. How could anyone not love a guy that really – really – listens. Ahhhh – Wheels. He’s a keeper. What can I say?

Here’s one of the recipes that caused the tuna to disappear quickly. Hot tuna sandwich is a staple for youth group meetings in some parts of the country. If you can, make the filling a day ahead to let the flavors meld. Buns can be hot dog or hamburger or the thin buns. Some like the buns buttered – I skip that step.  Sandwiches can be assembled and wrapped – even frozen for up to a month — before transporting and warming at the destination in the oven, on the grill or over the campfire. Good reheated too. The variations come from different moms and all are tasty.

Hot Tuna Sandwich
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Sandwich
Serves: 8
  • 2 5 ounce cans OR 2 4 ounce packets of tuna, drained and flaked
  • 3 hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar, large shreds or cubed
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons pickle relish
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olives, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons green pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, to moisten mixture. Add 1 – 2 more tablespoons if needed.
  • 8 hamburger buns OR 12 hotdog buns
  1. Mix all ingredients together, using 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise to start. If mixture seems dry, add mayo 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture clings together and seems moist. Cover and chill mixture until needed.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Split buns and fill with tuna mixture.
  4. Wrap each filled bun in aluminum foil and place on baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes. Cheese will be melted and buns slightly crisp on top.
  6. Serve hot.

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