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As you may know by now, I am: 1. A big fan of sweet potatoes (both delicious and nutritious!), and 2. A Thanksgiving side-dish fiend.

This year, I’ve been trying to think up some creative new spins on the typical old side dishes, and while I do love a traditional table, sometimes a little fresh variety is the perfect complement to Grandma’s stuffing.

So, inspired by an unlikely marriage of loaded potato skins uniting with sweet potato casserole (sans burnt marshmallows), I bring to you Twice Baked Stuffed Sweet Potatoes.

Just a few chef’s tips here: If you really like the crispy aspect of potato skins, take a minute before you stuff the sweet potato shells to flip them over and brush them with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper.

You can use any type of shredded cheese for the filling but I recommend something sharp and salty to offer a nice contrast to the sweet richness of the mascarpone cheese and the sweet potatoes themselves.

Finally, make sure to line your baking sheet with foil or parchment paper to catch some of the juices that will ooze out of the sweet potatoes as the sugars will easily burn and stick to the pan.

Twice Baked Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

4 small-medium sized sweet potatoes

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 green onions, thinly sliced (separate whites from green slices)

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

3/4 cup shredded parmesaon cheese

1/8 tsp. ground rosemary

1/8 tsp. dried sage

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Wash and dry sweet potatoes. Arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake at 375 degrees F for 40-50 minutes, until cooked through. Test tenderness with a toothpick. Remove from oven, and allow to cool to the touch.

2. Slice the cooked potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the insides with a spoon, leaving a small amount of sweet potato and the skin as a shell. Reserve the insides in a bowl.

3. Add garlic, green onion whites, mascarpone & parmesan cheeses, spices, and salt and pepper into the bowl of sweet potato insides. Mix well until everything is incorporated.

4. Scoop filling back into each sweet potato shell. Top with additional shredded cheese if desired. Arrange the stuffed potatoes back onto the foil lined backing sheet, and bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes until cooked through and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with the remaining green onion slices (the greens), and serve.

* See more at: http://blogs.lowellsun.com/yourpersonalchef/2013/11/19/twice-baked-stuffed-sweet-potatoes/#sthash.VcydtMSa.dpuf.

Jessica Roy is a private chef, specialty caterer and author of foodie blog, Shiso Fresh.