Greens ‘n’ Yams

Turn Leftovers into Planned-Overs

Cook extra greens and tubers whenever you include them in a dish. With home-meal cookery, your leftovers become intentional. A refrigerator stocked with planned-overs eases you into other dishes later in the week.

  • Cooked greens are at-the-ready to add to soups, stews, and omelets.
  • For spuds of any kind, fill your
    Sweet Potato
    photo by Llez wikimedia

    oven with extra taters and watch new dishes appear! (I love potato hash with spinach and a fried egg).

Here is my speed dating recipe with a flavor bomb found in a single strip of bacon

RECIPE: Serves 2-3    *Note: I am writing this as a dish with uncooked greens and sweet potatoes. If you have cooked greens and yams, merely fry up the bacon and garlic and toss in the greens and yams then simmer with a little water, covered, until warm. 

GREENS: I prefer the texture and taste of kale. Substitute collards, beet greens, chard, turnip, spinach or a combination

  • bacon- 1 strip, chopped
  • garlic- 1 clove, chopped
  • water- 1/2 cup
  • kale- 1 bunch, stems stripped away*, rough chop
  • sweet potato [yam]- 1 cup or more, 1/2-inch dice
  • salt- 1/2 tsp.
  • pepper- 1/4 tsp.


  • vinegar or lemon wedges
  • hot sauce
  • toasted sesame seeds or nuts
  • feta crumbles


  1. Cook the chopped bacon in a large pot using a film of water. The water helps cook it more evenly.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the water, greens, tuber cubes, salt and pepper; bring to a simmer.
  3. Cover and cook for 7-9 minutes, adding extra water if needed, until greens and tubers are tender.
  4. Taste to balance seasoning.

*TECHNIQUE #1: STRIPPING GREENS – The easiest way to remove the greens stem is to firmly pinch the end of the stem and with the other hand form a circle with your thumb and index finger around the stem just above your other hand. Then run your “circle” up the stem and it will peel right away. Any stem remaining on the leaf is thin enough to keep.


Piggyback Cooking
photo by B. Hettig

I like to piggyback steaming greens and sweet potatoes to save time and energy. Place the soaked, stemmed, and chopped greens in the bottom and barely cover with water. Lay on peeled, 1/2-inch diced sweet potatoes and then steam for about 7 minutes before checking. They should both be tender, or continue to steam a few more minutes. You can also use a steamer basket (featured).

© 2017 Bill Hettig,

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