Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl, and stir well. Spoon sweet potato mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and flour in a bowl, and cut in 2 tablespoons chilled margarine with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the chopped pecans, and sprinkle over sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.
I've been making a recipe very close to this recipe since the 80's, but I add half the skim milk called for and the second half I add amaretto. It's requested every year for the holidays (a must for my husband), and everyone loves the almond taste and even the ones who say they don't like sweet potato's love it. Add a little of the amaretto to the topping too---the topping is a must. It will become your favorite yam dish, or even good enough for dessert!
Sweet potato perfection! I like sweet potatoes, but I don't like them candied. This recipe was perfect - not too much sugar and the vanilla really added something special. A big hit with a crowd who is very picky about their sweet potatoes. I skipped the topping in deference to people with nut allergies, but will try it next time if possible.
I too have been making this wonderful side dish since it first came out in 1995. But I had misplaced the recipe and kept getting it mixed up with "Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole" from November 2002. The 1995 recipe is far superior and is a favorite with my whole family for Thanksgiving. My 3 and 6 year old grandsons call it "Sweet Potato Smash" and they love it! This is a keeper.
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