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Spiralized Hash Brown, Egg, and Bacon Bake

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Crispy potatoes and bacon topped with baked eggs and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. A hearty breakfast, brunch, or breakfast for dinner casserole!

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I really wanted to get this post up a week ago, but time was just not working in my favor. Seeing 600+ children a week with coughs and runny noses had me fighting off a cold. I had activities scheduled for every evening, and even had work events on the weekend. I tried to sit down and blog on Wednesday evening and nearly fell asleep at the computer! I really don’t want to give up writing this blog, so I’m going to try to stick with a short and sweet post this week. I’m sorry I missed out on getting this up last week!

Strangely enough, the last recipe I posted was also for a breakfast. You’d think that with getting up at 6am most days, then being at work by 7am, I would not be making many complex breakfasts. Somehow, that seems to be where most of my food creativity has been lately! Once it’s the weekend I just want a breakfast that isn’t as boring as the same old weekday stuff.

This “hash brown”, egg, and bacon skillet is definitely more of a weekend breakfast/brunch item. Maybe even breakfast for dinner type of food. It’s hearty and filling!

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This recipe started with me really enjoying using my spiralizer. I use it all the time for dinners, but less often for other meals. Sure, I could just use (and have used) a grater to make hash browns, but spiralized potatoes seem more exciting! I like this breakfast with a combination of white and sweet potatoes to keep the flavor interesting and include more nutrients than usual white potato hash browns.

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Add some diced bacon, eggs, and a handful of cheese to the cooked potatoes and you have an all-in-one meal. Just pop in the oven on broil for a few minutes to cook the eggs! Believe it or not this breakfast/brunch doesn’t take forever to make. It’s not quite quick enough for a rushed morning, but can easily be cooked from start to finish in under 30 minutes! Totally worth it for special weekend morning!

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Spiralized Hash Brown, Egg, and Bacon Bake

This serves 2 – 4, but is easily variable. Choose larger potatoes or crack a few extra eggs on top to increase the number of servings.
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small white potato
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 4 slices of bacon (regular or turkey bacon both work)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 c mozzarella cheese
  • cooking spray
Directions
  1. Spiralize both potatoes using the medium sized blade. Alternatively, you can use a julienne peeler or mandoline to cut the potatoes into thin strips.
  2. Generously spray an oven-safe skillet with cooking spray. Add the spiralized potatoes to the skillet, mix a bit to even out the two varieties if need, and then turn the burner on to medium heat. Let the potatoes cook for about 10 minutes on the first side. Use a spatula to peek at the bottom of the potatoes every once and a while to see if they are browned.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, dice the bacon and sprinkle it over the cooking potatoes.
  4. After about 10 minutes, or once the bottom of the potatoes are browned flip them. The potatoes will have cooked together pretty well, but may still separate. Just do your best, and flip in a few smaller sections in you need to.
  5. Let the potatoes cook on the second side for another 10 minutes or so, until the bottom is just starting to brown. When you notice the bottom is getting crisp and light brown crack the eggs on top. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top of the eggs.
  6. Put the whole skillet in the oven, on broil, for about 5 minutes, for soft yolks, or a few minutes longer if you want fully cooked yolks. I test egg-doneness by shaking the skillet a bit. You’ll be able to see how firm the eggs are by how much they move.
  7. Remove from the oven and cut into wedges to serve.

 

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Sweet Potato Pancakes (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo)

Grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, and paleo sweet potato pancakes. Just in time for fall breakfasts and brunches!

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I’ve been on the hunt for a good sweet potato pancake recipe for a looonnnggg time. This is that recipe I’ve been looking for!

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I found it over on Smile Sandwich (now, just saying, I seriously love that blog name. So cute!) after scrolling through at least one whole page of Pinterest in the “Food & Drink” catergory. Now, I’ve seen lots and lots of sweet potato pancakes on pinterest. Most sweet potato pancakes seem to fall into 2 categories. The first being “sweet potato” pancakes where there seems to be more flour or sugar in the recipe than sweet potato. This was not the type of recipe I was looking for.

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The second type of sweet potato pancakes are the paleo, organic, sugar free pancakes that are very … free form? … in shape. Do you know what I’m talking about? I really don’t have any problems with pancakes like this, really. You should see Grain Free Banana Pancakes when I make them NOT for a photograph. They are every shape but round. I’m a fan of perfection though, so I wanted at least the option of a perfect looking pancake.

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Well, right when I saw the perfect looking sweet potato pancake on Pinterest I knew I needed to try the recipe. I ended up making a few modifications and loved the results! Sweet Potato is the main ingredient! Rather than using sugar, I sweetened these a bit with pure maple syrup. Talk about a yummy fall breakfast: sweet potato + maple syrup!

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Scan the ingredient list below and you’ll also notice this recipe is dairy free, grain free, and can easily be egg free with modifications. And I’m sure you didn’t miss the pictures – these super healthy sweet potato pancakes still look perfect (and I promise, I didn’t totally rig it, like with those banana pancakes).

Do yourself a favor and try these pancakes some morning soon!

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Sweet Potato Pancakes

This recipe calls for mashed sweet potato. To quickly make mashed sweet potato: Peel the sweet potato and cut it into 1-2″ cubes. Add to a saucepan of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Pierce potato pieces every few minutes with a fork. Once softened (around 10/15 minutes), drain the water and mash the sweet potato cubes in a bowl.
 
Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 1 c mashed sweet potato
  • 2 T coconut flour
  • 4 eggs (replace with 2 flax eggs for egg free version)
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup (more for topping, if desired)
Directions
  1. Add the eggs to a mixing bowl and beat with a fork.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and thoroughly mix until a batter forms.
  3. Heat a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat.
  4. Add batter, about 2 T at a time (If you batter is thick, spread it out with a spoon. It will spread into a circle easily). Cook until the bottom of the pancake is set and the top is more opaque looking, not shiny. Flip, and cook another minute or two on the second side.
  5. Eat as is, or with additional maple syrup.

This recipe post is linked to the Gluten Free Wednesdays Carnival! Check it out at Gluten Free Homemaker, Easily Gluten Free, or Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures.

Sweet Potato Noodles, Grilled Corn, and Green Onions in Brown Butter Sage Sauce

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This side dish is a bit more indulgent than your usual vegetable side dish. Sweet potato noodles, grilled corn, and grilled green onions provide tons of nutrients in each mouthful. The brown butter sage sauce amps up the flavor!

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I found this recipe (Pan Toasted Brown Butter Gnocchi with Grilled Corn + Scallions) on Pinterest a while ago. It’s not a gluten free recipe. In fact, it calls for premade gnocchi which I have NEVER seen a gluten free version of (if you live in a bigger city than me, you may have that available). But I wanted to try the recipe, and figured any gluten free pasta would be an easy substitute for the gnocchi.

Of course, the pasta was delicious (as is everything I have ever tried from How Sweet It Is), but the preparation was hectic. In typical me-style, I made a serving of GF pasta for myself and a serving of regular pasta for Steve, so that was two separate pots of pasta to look after. Then there was the corn and scallions to grill, the butter to brown, and finally putting everything together in a skillet to toast.  It was one of those “every burner on the stove is being used right now” kind of meals. I’m not fond of that.

After making butternut squash noodles with a brown butter sauce a few weeks ago, I remembered this recipe. I realized that using vegetable noodles in place of the gnocchi would take out a lot of the work. Sweet Potato seemed like the natural choice to make the noodles out of.  I whipped up a batch for dinner one night and it was just wonderful.

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I switched up a few other things, too. I added sage leaves to the brown butter. Cooking the sage in the butter makes it nice and crispy, and adds just another delicious flavor to this side dish. I also left out the parmesan cheese. In making this a few times I noticed that I kept forgetting to add the cheese. I figured it wasn’t that important.

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For what it’s worth, I consider this a moderation food. It’s mostly made out of vegetables, but the butter makes it high in calories. I love the brown butter/sage combination, so whenever I eat something that involves that sauce I am just careful to only eat a serving at a time. That inevitably means there will be leftovers. That means you get to enjoy this more than once! That is, as long as you are the lucky person to get to the leftovers first!

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P.S. I made these beautiful sweet potato noodles with a spiralizer, which I looovvvee.  Don’t feel like you need a spiralizer to make this recipe though. A plain, old vegetable peeler will do the trick. You’ll just end up with thin, wide noodles.

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Sweet Potato Noodles, Grilled Corn and Green Onions in Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Ingredients
  • 2 ears of corn, husked
  • 6 green onions
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled
  • 4 Tbs salted butter
  • 2 Tbs fresh sage leaves
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
Directions
  1. Turn on the grill and let it preheat. When it is hot, lay the corn and green onions onto the grill. Cook the green onions for about a minute, flip, and cook for another minute. Let the corn cook for about 10 minutes, turning it every few minutes until each side has some brown on it.
  2. Slice the grilled green onions, and cut the kernals off of the corn cob.
  3. Add the butter to a small skillet over medium heat.
  4. While the butter is melting, spiralize your sweet potato into noodles (you’ll at least have a few minutes to work on this. If the butter has melted, move onto the next and come back to the sweet potato noodles later).
  5. Immediately, once the butter has melted, start whisking it with a small whisk or fork. When white foam appears in the butter, add the sage leaves. Keep whisking, continuously, until you start to see brown bits forming in the butter (usually on the bottom on the skillet). Remove the skillet from the heat.
  6. If you need to, finish making the sweet potato noodles do that now!
  7. Once the sweet potato noodles are ready, add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat on medium high.
  8. When the oil is warm, add the sweet potato noodles. Stir to coat them in the oil. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the noodles are soft and tender.
  9. Stir in the brown butter/sage sauce, corn, green onions. If desired, cook for another minute or two until everything is heated through.

Serve this with:

Sweet Potato & Egg Breakfast Skillet

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Three ingredient, make ahead breakfast with eggs and sweet potatoes. It’s simple, but not lacking in flavor. A great healthy start to the day!

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A few months ago I spotted this Sweet Potato Hash recipe on the Kitchn (one of my absolute favorite cooking blogs). Honestly, it didn’t look super appetizing to me, but it sounded like something I’d be happy to get up and eat in the morning. Breakfasts here were a little rough around the edges at that time. It was always a “what do you want to eat today” type of deal. Which seems pointless, looking back, because there were really only two things we were eating for breakfast; oatmeal and cereal. So, I got the ingredients for this new recipe, followed the directions to a tee, and it was just as delicious as I’d imagined it to be.

Comparing my version below, and the original recipe you can see a lot of changes have been made. Mostly, things have been simplified and “southern-ified” (avoiding turning on the oven as much as possible when the temperature is so high). Would I still make the full recipe for a brunch of special occasion? Absolutely! Do I like my version better for weekday breakfast? Yup!

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I always prepare the sweet potatoes ahead of time. I dice them, cook them, and then store in the refrigerator until I’m ready to use them for a breakfast (just use them sometime within a week!). The morning I want to make this breakfast skillet I pull out the already-cooked sweet potatoes and eggs and layer them in my Calphalon skillet. Bake for about 15 minutes and breakfast is ready!

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Have I mentioned before how much I love this calphalon pan? It’s oven safe, which makes it my go-to pan for this recipe. It’s also safe for use with metal utensils, which is a biggie for me. I hate having to use only certain things with certain pans. I’ve found that even though it’s not coated with teflon it’s still surprisingly nonstick-like. Just a spray of cooking oil and none of these eggs or sweet potatoes stick to the pan ONE BIT! And eggs are sticky – this is saying a lot! These pans are elegant looking, and clean up so quickly and easily (check out the pictures, that skillet looks brand new), so you can keep them in great condition. I’m all about buying quality products that last, not getting something cheap and then needing to replace it just months later. Plus, I’m a lot more likely to make a fancy breakfast like this if I know the clean up will only take 30 seconds!

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Anyway, back to the food.

The directions below will get you two separate breakfasts (If you’re making food ahead of time, why not make extra? More food, same effort!), but you can very easily make more or less, or even vary the egg to sweet potato ratio. I always cook this with over-medium eggs. If you prefer solid yolks, cook them a bit longer. Softer yolks, a bit less. Personally, I find a runny egg yolk over my sweet potatoes + a dash of salt to be one of the most perfect, savory breakfasts out there!

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Sweet Potato & Egg Breakfast Skillet

This recipe is written to make enough sweet potatoes for two breakfasts. I bake 4 eggs with each batch of sweet potatoes, which feeds two people. To serve more people, try adding extra eggs, or just baking all the sweet potatoes and eggs at once.
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 8 eggs (4 eggs each, for 2 total breakfast skillets)
Directions
  1. Add the diced sweet potatoes and olive oil to a large non-stick skillet.  Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender (I test using a fork – if the fork easily goes in, the potatoes are ready). Let the cooked potatoes cool before putting them in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week before using.
  2. The morning you want to serve, preheat the oven to 425° F.
  3. Spray an oven-safe skillet with cooking spray (I use misto). Add a layer of potatoes (about half of the total made in step 1). Crack 4 eggs on top, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes. Check frequently near the end to see if the eggs are cooked. Serve hot.
  5. Save the remaining sweet potatoes and eggs to make another morning.

Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese

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A classic comfort food, macaroni & cheese, turned healthier! No fancy ingredients or long procedures; ready to eat in under 20 minutes!

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Guys, I had so much fun working on this recipe! Mac & Cheese is one of my favorite foods. I may or may not have a stash of Annie’s and Trader’s Joes GF boxed mac and cheese hidden in my cabinets. It’s just there in case I’m too sick to cook, need a last minute meal, or just have a craving for comfort food. Sometimes I’m just in a mac & cheese mood and want something creamy and cheesy. I do love a good bowl of macaroni and cheese.

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I rarely, rarely, eat mac & cheese though, despite how delicious it is. It’s unhealthy! And I’m all about giving my body fuel, not empty calories. I’m just not one of those people who can justify eating a big bowl of mac & cheese by saying “oh, it’s full of calcium”. It’s gotta be decently healthy for me to call it healthy!

With no butter, no cream, no wheat or gluten, less than a tablespoon of oil, and a whopping 1/4 c of cheese (a totally appropriate serving size for cheese) this is not full of bad stuff! Since the noodles are made from sweet potato you’re not only avoiding the normal bad stuff in mac & cheese, but adding good things! Sweet potatoes are good carbs, high in fiber and antioxidants, and a good source of a number of other vitamins and minerals. I’ll be eating mac & cheese a lot more, now that I have a way to get in some nutrients while I eat it!

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FYI you don’t need a fancy spiralizer to make this sweet potato noodles. If you have one, it will make quick work of turning a sweet potato into pasta, but there are other options. Prior to getting fancy vegetable noodle making equipment I made sweet potato noodles with a regular vegetable peeler, similar to these carrot noodles. The noodles weren’t pretty, but they worked! Other options are a julienne peeler or a mandolin with a julienne setting. You could even cut the sweet potato noodles by hand!

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The key to making the healthier cheese sauce is to dry out the GF flour. It seems strange, stirring a saucepan with only flour in it, but just go with it. When you see the flour turn a tan color it’s time to add the milk. From there it cooks up like a normal sauce. Just whisk out any lumps and then stir in the cheese. Add the sweet potato to the sauce and your mac & cheese it done!

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Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese

This recipe makes 1 serving, ideal for a quick healthy lunch or dinner for one, but can easily be multiplied to feed more than one person.
 
Ingredients 
  • 1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled (I pick one in the 8-12 oz range, depending on what sauce to sweet potato ratio I want)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbs gluten free  all purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3/4 c milk (I use almond milk)
  • 1/4 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tbs nutritional yeast (optional)
Directions
  1. Make the sweet potato noodles using a mandolin, spiralizer, julienne peeler. You could also cut the sweet potato into thin, noodle-like strips by hand.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is warm, add the sweet potato. Cook the sweet potato, stirring frequently, until the “noodles” have softened. I takes about 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the noodles. Set the cooked noodles aside.
  3. Add the flour to a small saucepan and turn the burner onto medium. Stir the flour continuously. Watch closely for the color of the flour to change. The flour will darken in color and resemble sand. It goes from white to sandy quickly, so don’t look away for long! When you see this color change, add the milk and whisk to get out any lumps.
  4. Add the cheese and the nutritional yeast, and stir until melted.
  5. When the sauce is smooth, stir the cooked sweet potato into the cheese sauce. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  6. Serve warm. This mac & cheese is best fresh.

Turkey & Sweet Potato Meatballs (aka Turtle Balls)

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These yummy little appetizer meatballs actually started off as a meatloaf recipe. I found the original meatloaf recipe on the whole foods website. And really, you should try it. You make these little meatloaves and bake them in the oven. Halfway through the baking time you add some green beans to the pan and 20 minutes later you have your whole meal right there on the baking sheet. Not only is there very little hands-on cooking time, but cleanup is a breeze, too!

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Meatloaf often has a bad reputation for being dry and tasteless, and keeping lean turkey moist can also be a challenge, but these meatloaves were none of that. They were soft and moist and full of flavor. The meatloaves quickly became a favorite dinner here and earned the nickname of “Turtles”, since each individual meatloaf resembled  the shape and size of a small turtle shell.

Turning the “turtles” into meatballs was as simple as just rolling the turkey mixture into a bite sized ball instead of forming it into a small meatloaf. I’ve served these at a number of parties and potlucks and they are always disappear quickly. After baking the meatballs on the baking sheet I transfer them to a large casserole dish with a lid to keep some of the heat in and place toothpicks and tongs nearby for serving and eating. Don’t be surprised when your guests ask you how you made them and what the flavors are!

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The original recipes contains only a handful of ingredients and I’ve made very few modifications, simply because it doesn’t need it. The flavor will come from the sweet potato and BBQ sauce, mainly. Be sure to read the label on any BBQ sauce before you use it to make sure it is GF. I’ve dabbled in making my own BBQ sauce (lots of fun!), but when I buy it at the store I usually get Weber’s brand, which is all natural. If you’re aiming to make this a healthy meal be sure to scrutinize the ingredients of the BBQ sauce further than just looking for gluten. Its remarkable how many BBQ sauces out there list high fructose corn syrup as the first ingredient. Avoid those sauces, if possible!

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P.S. My photos of these meatballs just don’t do them justice. Don’t let my beginning photographer skills keep you from trying these!

Turkey & Sweet Potato Meatballs

Adapted from this Whole Foods recipe
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs lean ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 c grated sweet potato (peel before grating, and use a coarse grater)
  • 2/3 c BBQ sauce (read label to make sure if it GF)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. I’ve found that the easiest way to mix this is with my hands.
  3. Scoop out about 2 tablespoons of the turkey mixture and roll into into a ball. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture, placing balls close together on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meatballs has reached 165° F.
  5. Let the meatballs rest for about 5 minutes once removed from the oven. Transfer to a large casserole dish with a lid to keep warm.

 

Spiced Sweet Potato Muffins (GF)

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There muffins are good AND they are healthy!

No refined sugar.

No oil.

Grain free.

It sounds like these would also be taste – free, but they are not! The sweet potato + the spice combination is surprisingly delicious. Case in point: My husband, who usually dislikes the taste of healthy baking, actually asked if he could eat another one! He said “I can tell it has healthy stuff in it, but it tastes good!” I actually had to cut us both off from eating any more until I snapped a few photos.

Three notes about the recipe: First, this calls for mashed sweet potato. The easiest way I’ve found to prepare that is to boil the sweet potato in chunks. First, peel a sweet potato, then cut into one or two inch chunks. Boil until you can feel they are soft when poked with a fork. Drain and mash, using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender. I’ve found that one medium sized sweet potato usually gives me about a cup, mashed.

Second note: These muffins bake up to be very moist and soft, as written. If you prefer firmer muffins, increase the almond flour.

Finally, this recipe calls for garam masala, which is a spice blend, mostly composed of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom. I get it at a Mediterranean food market, but I know it is also available in some upscale grocery stores. I’ve found so many uses for this spice blend. I add it to hummus, curries, and a variety of baked goods. I use this spice all the time, so I’d suggest to just go buy a bottle if you don’t have one, but in a pinch you could also sub in some of the spices listed above.

Spiced Sweet Potato Muffins

 
Ingredients (makes 12 muffins)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c sweet potato puree (directions for pureeing are in post)
  • 1/4 c creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tbs plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbs pure maple syrup
  • 1 c almond meal/flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c chocolate chips or cacao chips
Baking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the two eggs with a fork until they are a bit frothy.
  3. Stir in sweet potato puree, peanut butter, yogurt and maple syrup.
  4. Add in all remaining ingredients except the chocolate/cacao chips. Once all the dry ingredients are combined stir in the chips.
  5. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners (I used silicone muffin liners, which I love), and fill each muffin tin. These muffins expand some, but not a lot, so you can fill them almost to the top.
  6. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. I rotate the pan once, halfway through the cooking.
  7. Let cool in the pan before eating.
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