A s the temperature fluctuates even more rapidly than the class attendance rate, it’s hard to say when it will actually feel like fall. Yet glimpses of the season continue to push through: yellowing tree leaves, pumpkin spice lattes and snow-capped peaks.

When the snow does stay for a while and November arrives, the Boulder County Farmers’ Markets will go on an extended winter break. Yet for the next few Saturdays, it’s important to make the most of the remaining local seasonal produce.

Squash, pears, grapes, beets, broccoli, peppers and tomatoes are a few of the fruits and vegetables currently in season. Sweet potatoes are also a fall favorite — and a more nutritious alternative to the average potato.

Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamins A and C — which play a role in improving vision, bone growth and the immune system, according to experts.

Whether boiled, baked, sautéed, or even microwaved, the sweet potato can be presented in a variety of ways.

Mashed sweet potatoes can be an impressive side dish to many meals. It’s one of the easiest recipes for any student, even those in the dorms, because the only appliance required is a microwave. (Keep this in mind when you go home for Thanksgiving, where everything — except watching football — seems like a chore. This will fool the family into thinking you put forth a huge effort to help cook.)

Mashed sweet potatoes

2 sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoons skim milk

1/4 cup brown sugar

Salt, to taste

Directions: Wash the potatoes and poke a few holes on the outside, then microwave (about 4 minutes for each potato). After letting them cool for a minute, scoop out the insides into a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Before serving, sprinkle crushed pecans or cinnamon on top.

Dinner to pair with the potatoes: Dip raw chicken breasts into a bowl with one raw egg, then immediately into a bowl with breadcrumbs mixed with spices or parmesan. Place in a lightly oiled pan and cook for 5-10 minutes on each side. Serve with steamed vegetables and mashed sweet potatoes.

Courtney Gibb is a senior at CU. Send her your college cooking ideas at Courtney.Gibb@colorado.edu.

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