Posts tagged ‘sweet potatoes’
The only thing better than cooking a great dinner is having leftovers for the next day or week. I frequently suffer from food boredom, though, so have become quite creative in repurposing some of my recipes into new grab-and-go lunch creations. I highlighted some of my leftover makeovers last summer, and figured I’d keep up with this mini-series again this summer! Hopefully there will be more to come!
This repurposing is simple: it is basically the previous night’s dinner all re-bundled grab-and-go style. All I did was take a few spoonfuls of the leftover curried quinoa with greens, a spoonful of caramelized sweet potatoes, some chopped cucumber, and a stripe of Greek yogurt and mango butter. I rolled this all up inside of a wrap and then rolled that in foil. This lunch was surprisingly filling, thanks to the protein from the quinoa and the Greek yogurt, and helped me conquer a busy Saturday afternoon on the wards!
Raindrops and roses and whiskers on kittens – those might be cute and poetic, but don’t quite top my favorites list. I have been finding pleasure in the little things lately, like enjoying hot oatmeal instead of overnight oats on my one day a week off. Or taking walk breaks during my runs because my legs are fatigued from standing all day and I am enjoying the time in the sun as much as I am the exercise. Or counting my bike ride to the hospital as my exercise for the day if I am too tired or too busy to squeeze in a run, thankful that at least there is some movement in my day. I am also loving these suggestions about fitness for the
lazy busy girl!
I am still enjoying cooking, though I am doing less of that these days, too. With lunchtime conferences feeding me at the hospital 4 days a week, I have less need to prepare food that will make good leftovers. I miss my quality kitchen time, but am grateful for the amount of time (and money) the free lunches have saved me! Still, not all meals are provided and I love a good excuse to cook up some healthier, veggie-laden dinners when I can! This recipe combines some of my favorite things: sweet potatoes, quinoa, leafy green veggies, and Indian-inspired flavors. I found the recipe for Caramelized Sweet Potatoes with Quinoa and Greens on the Boston Organics website when I was lacking inspiration for my bunch of Swiss chard. I am glad this didn’t sit on my “to make” list for very long – it is too good to miss out on! I’d recommend trying this now, both because it is so delicious and because it will soon be too hot for oven caramelized sweet potatoes. The only change I made to the recipe is using 1/4 tsp dried ginger instead of fresh, and omitting the lemon juice and pat of butter. I loved the curried quinoa, and the sweet potatoes really add the great sweet note to complement the curry spice. Don’t miss out on the condiments with this one either – I had a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt, a bit of chopped cucumber, and a dollop of Trader Joe’s mango butter that added dimension and depth with each bite.
Running, resting, cooking and vegetables, these are a few of my favorite things!
Question: What are you loving lately?
This past month has taught me a lot. Sure, I put in a lot of hours learning microbiology, physiology, pharmacology, pathology… but beyond the medical science, I also learned a lot about myself.
I learned that it is okay to realize you have worn nothing but leggings and yoga pants for 6 days straight when you sort your laundry.
I tested my attention span and sedentary capacity to their limits, and then broke up study blocks with jumping jacks and sit ups to stay awake and sane.
I realized how important it is to get out of the house each day, even if it is just for a quick one mile jog.
I learned how much I love to run.
I remembered how much I love to walk on days when I just can’t muster the energy to run.
I appreciated just how much I learned in the past two years, and how much there is that I still don’t know.
The human body is an amazing machine.
I learned that it is okay to cry on a friend’s shoulder when you are overwhelmed and feel inadequate for the task at hand.
I was and am constantly reminded that God is faithful. Starting the day with a Psalm helped refocus my priorities on some really tough days.
I am amazed at the supportive and loving community that has surrounded me and carried me through to where I am now.
I learned that colored pens make everything more fun.
I released my post-exam anxiety and jitters by recycling two years of notes and scrap paper.
I learned how important home cooked meals are to me. I only ordered take out twice. And both times were worth it.
I survived by being okay with having breakfast for dinner. And lunch. And breakfast. Because what would life be without home fries and eggs?
I made more variations of home fries and eggs than I knew possible before this past month. Breakfast for dinner meals were great because they still gave me the break I desperately desired in the kitchen without any intensive prep or clean up. I never measured, so these are loose instructions for some of my favorite and unexpected combos rather than strict recipes.
The first is a Turnip Hash that was inspired by the plethora of turnips I received in my Boston Organics box. I cut up a large turnip (peeled) and a large potato (unpeeled) into bite sized pieces and steamed them until they were fork tender. I then sautéed them in a large skillet with a pad of Smart Balance Light butter, a pinch of salt and rosemary. On a whim, I threw in a small handful of raisins and a dash of cinnamon, because it makes everything better. And it did. I was surprised how much I liked this! The classic rosemary with potatoes kept it homey, while the turnips added an interesting flavor and stronger texture. The raisins were a nice sweet addition, though I did make it without and liked it both ways. A whole turnip and potato made at least 3 if not more meals for me served alongside a fried egg and piece of toast. Breakfast for dinner success number 1!
The second is a Curried Egg Omelette. I can’t take credit for this idea – my Grandma is the true brains behind this creation. While in Florida, she made eggs one morning and on a whim (I am seeing where my cooking style comes from now…) threw in a dash of curry powder and cinnamon. I was skeptical, as I am sure you are as well, but, like I said, cinnamon makes everything better. And it did. The cinnamon flavor didn’t shine through, but instead enhanced the light curry flavor that took over the scrambled eggs. It was unexpected and addicting. I knew I had to make it again. So I did. I mixed two eggs with a teaspoon of Greek yogurt (you could use milk or sour cream as well) and a few shakes (about 1/4 tsp) curry powder and a shake (less than 1/8 tsp) cinnamon. You can turn this into scrambled eggs, or pour it into a really hot pan for a nice omelette with a crunchy outside. The curry flavor is mild but unique, and leaves me wanting more! I ate these eggs alongside some sweet potato home fries, skins left on and sautéed in olive oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Lesson learned in writing this post: I should buy stock in cinnamon.
And I am so excited to cook and share with you all again!
Can you still call something a quesadilla if there are no peppers and little cheese, and no need for salsa or sour cream or guac? I think so! Just like those fall calzones, you have to think outside of the box! Like most of my best meals, these quesadillas were concocted after pilfering my fridge for what I had on hand and could easily assemble into a meal. I hosted friends from my book club on Sunday evening, and after a weekend filled with Christmas parties, studying, and too little sleep, I didn’t want to make another grocery store trip. Utilizing sweet potatoes, black beans, spinach, sage and goat cheese, these quesadillas were a hit. Filling and full of fall flavor, they were the perfect treat to accompany our discussion of our most recent read, Note to Self. (If anyone is looking for a challenging Christian devotional book, I would definitely recommend this!) Embrace the root veggie love and try out the calzones or these quesadillas, or share your own root vegetable creation!
Question: What are you reading right now?
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 cup cooked black beans
4 cups raw chopped spinach
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 tbsp chopped sage
6 oz goat cheese
6 whole wheat flour tortillas
Roast the bite-sized sweet potatoes, drizzled lightly with olive oil, in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, stirring once. In a large pan, cook spinach in 1 tbsp olive oil until lightly wilted. Stir in black beans and red onions. Add sweet potatoes and heat for 5 minutes. To assemble quesadillas, spoon the mixture onto one side of each tortilla. Top with a pinch of chopped fresh sage and crumbled goat cheese. Fold in half. To make six quesadillas at once, arrange on a baking tray and bake in 400 degree oven for 5-7 minutes, until cheese is slightly melted. Remove from oven, and lightly crisp the tortilla in a pan over high heat for 30 seconds on each side. Slice into thirds and serve.
Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite ingredients to play with. They work well with almost any spice combo, whether it be maple and cinnamon, curry and ginger, or cumin and chili powder. They are so versatile, really nutritious, cheap and easy to store! What more could you ask for in a potato?
My all time favorite way to enjoy them is as fries. Over the summer, I shared my grilled sweet potato fries, but without a grill at my disposal, I have returned to the oven! I used the same spice combo (olive oil, salt and paprika) coated over sweet potatoes cut into long rectangles. I spread these out over a baking sheet, and then baked them at 350 for 20 minutes. I rotated them and flipped them on the pan, and then roasted them for another 20 minutes. I then moved them to the top rack and broiled them for 3 minutes, giving them the perfect crisp that oven fries often lack! After many attempts, I have finally mastered oven-baked sweet potato fries!
I also made a Curried Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup, inspired by recipes that showed up both on the Boston Organics blog and on Going Steady. I roasted one sweet potato for a half hour to make it easier to peel, and then sauteed that with 1/4 of a sweet onion, and 1 large chopped carrot in a bit of canola oil. Once the onions and carrot were soft, I added 1 cup of vegetable stock, 1 tsp of curry powder, and chopped fresh ginger (about a piece the size of my thumb nail). I let this simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, and then threw it all in my blender with 1 more cup of vegetable stock. I finished heating this through on the stove, adding a pinch of salt, and then enjoyed a perfect fall meal. This made enough for 2 servings, so I could enjoy one with a pumpkin ale for dinner, and have lunch for another day as well!
Sweet potatoes are also perfect replacements for white potatoes for a baked potato. Simply wrap a washed potato in foil and roast it at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until soft. To make it a meal, I top my half with beans, veggies, and cheese or nutritional yeast. Black beans spiced with cumin and sauteed with diced tomatoes and onion are great, but this time I tried some lentils I had lying around! They are a “meal in a bag” type deal that my mom got me for busy nights, and they have a short ingredient list with pretty good nutritional stats! I spiced them up with some sauteed sweet onion, red chili flakes, and a bit of chili powder. Not the most photogenic of meals, but I swear that it was delicious! A trick for making the potato easier to eat is cutting a criss-cross pattern into the potato half after roasting, making it easy to spoon off the skin!
Question: What is your favorite way to enjoy a sweet potato?
To the best Dad I could ask for, Happy Birthday and Happy Father’s Day. Even though we may have our occasional clash and misunderstandings, your huge heart and love for others are inspirational. You are truly a Daddy Bear: a terrifying force when provoked, but nurturing and caring when you are safe enough to let your guard down. Thank you for always being there for me, for loving and supporting me, and for being a great Dad.
To celebrate my Dad, my sister and I surprised him with dinner last night. She decorated the backyard with streamers and black balloons while I manned the grill. We made cinnamon chipotle steak (rub recipe below!), grilled corn, and grilled sweet potato fries (it’s a two-for-one recipe post). The steak was super spicy, and I probably could have gone a little lighter on the rub. I liked it, though, because it hid the meat flavor for my veggie-preferring taste buds. I can imagine this being great on chicken or Portobello mushrooms too! The corn was perfect and sweet, and the sweet potatoes were amazing off the grill. We splurged and bought his favorite soda – Stewart’s root beer, black cherry, and oranges n’ cream… in glass bottles no less! For dessert, we got an angel food cake (his favorite) and topped it with light whipped cream and berries. Who knew that my Dad would actually request such a healthy birthday dessert?! Maybe he does listen to me sometimes ;)
Cinnamon Chipotle Grill Rub
makes enough for 3 lbs of meat or veggies
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp parsley
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Mix together spices and rub onto meat or mushrooms. Allow to stand for 10-20 minutes before grilling to allow the rub to fully adhere to the meat. Grill until meat is done to your desire.
Sweet Potato Grill Fries
3 large sweet potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Cover the potatoes in a large pot with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the sweet potatoes are slightly tender. Drain and run the potatoes under cold water. When potatoes are cool enough to touch, peel the skin from the potatoes. Slice into thick matchsticks. Toss in olive oil and season to taste with salt, pepper, and paprika. Spread on a grill pan over medium heat. Cook for 7 minutes, then flip and cook for another 7 minutes. Fries should be crisp but not burnt when done.