Summer-time Sweet Potatoes

Well I guess in the mix of graduating from The Ohio State University (I’ll never miss a chance to add the the!) and transitioning into day-long sessions of studying for the RD exam, I fell a little short on blogging. Sorry!! With little time to spare the past few days in between studying, I have been making quick, fast meals that are satisfying but haven’t taken me away from the books too long. I know I have written a million times about my love of sweet potatoes. Some people think that once we transition into summer (which by the way the new 80 degree weather is a nice break from the ice-cold) that potatoes are no longer do-able; that they are heavy, too hot, or weigh you down in the warmer months. Well, I’d agree with you if you were eating a potato at every meal or still hung up on potato soups mid-July, but there are other ways that you can make potatoes, and in my case sweet potatoes, more summer-time friendly. Here are 2 recipes that I have tried over the past few days. The first is a spin-off from one of my favorite meals from Northstar, which consists of sweet potatoes, black beans, salsa, sautéed peppers and onions, eggs, and cheese wrapped in a sweet potato wrap; mine is a little different, but still provided the same general effect and was a mighty delicious, filling, yet not too heavy lunch. I lightened this dish up by using fluffy egg whites, just a sprinkle of cheese, 1/3 of a sweet potato, and a smaller whole-wheat low-fat tortilla.

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My second dish was a flavorful salad using fresh spinach and topped with 1/2 of a cooked sweet potato, golden raisins, shaved radishes, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese and topped with a light balsamic vinaigrette. If you are a sweet potato lover, I promise that both of these dishes will give you that sweet potato flavor you are craving without weighing down your belly. The recipe for my Sweet Potato Black Bean Wrap is listed below; the salad is pretty self explanatory!

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Sweet Potato Black Bean Wrap

Ingredients:

  • 1- 8in whole-wheat tortilla
  • 1/2 large sweet potato, cook in the microwave until almost fully cooked
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 1/3 cup sliced orange bell pepper
  • chili powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, pepper, garlic powder
  • 2 egg whites (I microwaved min for about 1 min. in a coffee mug, stirring ever 15 seconds)
  • 2 Tbsp low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 Tbsp of your favorite salsa

In a large skillet, sauté your black beans and peppers in a little oil of your choice over medium heat (I used canola). Once your peppers have softened a bit, dice your sweet potato into about 1/2-1/2 inch cubes and add to the pan. Season with garlic powder, chili powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, and black pepper. Be careful on the red pepper flakes; a little goes a long way, you really only need a pinch! While your sweet potato finishes cooking, cook your eggs however you choose and warm up your tortilla for about 15 seconds in the microwave. Once your sweet potato has finished cooking, spoon your mixture onto your tortilla (you may not use all of it, that’s ok… left-overs!) and top with your egg, cheese, and a little bit of salsa. Roll your wrap and add a little extra salsa if needed. Enjoy!


Easy Crockpot Sweet Potato Chili

This is a super easy recipe that doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. Most of the items I always have on hand. It is one of those one pot meals that packs a lot of flavor and is a great thing to add to your list of chili recipes (especially if you have a vegetarian in your house). I like spicy, so if you aren’t a spicy person, I would just omit the siracha. In my opinion, it packs a really good punch though! This recipe also highlights, once again, how versatile sweet potatoes can be! Sorry I have been mainly posting recipes lately…I have just been on a cooking kick! Hope you enjoy this one!

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Spicy Sweet Potato Crockpot Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced into 1/2-1 inc cubes
  • 1/2 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • chili powder
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • 1/2 tsp siracha
  • feta cheese (to top with)
  • salsa verde (to top with)

Add the sweet potato, corn, black beans, spices, water, and vegetable broth into your pot and cook on low for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. After about your 2 1/2 hour mark, pour out about 1/2 of your liquid, leaving a little still in the bottom. Give your chili a stir and add your siracha in. Add as much as you like, just remember it is very strong. A little squirt will pack a lot of heat! Let your chili cook for about another hour and a half. Total cooking time should be about 4 – 4 1/2 hours. Once it is finished, spoon yourself a bowl and top with a spoonful (about 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp) of your salsa verde; I used the Whole Foods 365 brand and would highly recommend it! Also add a small sprinkle of feta cheese. Give your chili one last stir to incorporate these final toppings and enjoy! This recipe makes 2 servings if you have it as a side, 1 if you want it for your meal


Sweet & Spicy Warm Kale Salad w/ Sweet Potato & Gnocchi

Really, I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but this dish turned out amazing. To end National Nutrition Month, I decided to to make up a dish with kale because as I have said in the past, kale is not one of my favorites. I went to Whole Foods after leaving my internship to get a little inspiration and get my recipe juices flowing. This is what I cam up with, and I definitely think it is a winner! I hope you try it out and let me know what you think. Happy cooking 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • cooking spray
  • sweet potato seasonings: chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper
  • fresh kale, about 2 cups
  • 1 Tbsp reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 2/3 cup whole-wheat gnocchi
  • extra seasonings: red pepper flakes, pinch of salt
  • dressing: 1 Tbsp canola oil, 1 tsp dijon mustard, drizzle (very small drizzle) honey, black pepper, red pepper flakes

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut your sweet potatoes into small pieces, about the width of a quarter. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lay down your chopped potatoes. Spray the tops of the potatoes with another layer of cooking spray, and add a generous amount of the sweet potato seasonings listed above. The only thing I would be cautious with is the chili powder if you don’t want your sweet potatoes too spicy (I like spicy so I added quite a bit!).

Let your potatoes cook for about 25 minutes, flipping them over about halfway through. Rinse and dry your kale and cook your gnocchi (should take about 3 minutes). In a large sauté pan, add a little olive oil and toss your kale and cooked gnocchi. Leave your heat on low. Season with a little black pepper, red pepper flakes (once again, a tiny bit packs a huge punch), garlic powder, and a pinch (literally a pinch) of salt.

While your kale and gnocchi is warming through, go ahead and prepare your dressing (ingredients listed above), whisking with a fork. It won’t completely combine, but that is ok! Once your sweet potatoes are through, add them to your pan, along with your dressing. The dressing should very lightly coat all of your contents. Add your sprinkle of feta cheese and you are done! Enjoy!


Sweet Potato Chickpea Burgers

I tried a new recipe of mine tonight and have to say it was pretty successful! I believe I have wrote about my love for sweet potatoes before, so when I planned on having one for dinner tonight, I thought, why not add it to a burger and see how it taste? I cook them often with beans, so I figured it would be a great pairing for a bean burger! 

They burgers were very moist, and I could definitely taste a hint of sweet potato. I topped my burger with sautéed mushrooms, onions, and a little dijon mustard. I hope you try them out for National Nutrition Month!

Sweet Potato Chickpea Burgers

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/2 of a large sweet potato cooked in the microwave until soft
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • black pepper
  • paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned, plain bread crumbs

Mash your chickpeas until fairly fine; they won’t get as mushy as black beans, and may seem a little gritty, but they will be fine! Add your sweet potato and mash as well, incorporating the beans too. Add your egg, bread crumbs, herbs, and seasonings and mix until well blended. Divide your mixture into 4, and create 4 evenly-sized patties (I froze the other 3 for later). Cook your patty until each side is a little golden brown (about 3 minutes per side). Top with your favorite toppings or condiments and enjoy!


Sweet Potato Mac n’ Cheese

Yes, if you are a mac n’ cheese lover or crazy for sweet potatoes like I am, this really tastes as good as it sounds. For those of you who think it sounds weird, give it a try and then let me know what you think. I am very confident you will be pleasantly surprised. I really could not get enough of this; I went back for seconds and had to stop myself from getting thirds (it doesn’t help that I’m a mac n’ cheese nut). The best part about this dish? If you are mac n’ cheese crazy like I am, you can afford to have seconds of this scrumptious, savory delight. I really hope you try it!

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Sweet Potato Mac n’ Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1 Tbsp light margarine; I used SmartBalance butter
  • 1/2 tsp whole-wheat flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat pasta (I used rotini, but use what you like best!)
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
  • black pepper
  • paprika
  • granulated garlic
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large sauce pan, add 1Tbsp light margarine with 1/2 tsp whole-wheat flour on medium heat. Blend the flour and margarine so that there are not really any lumps; this only takes a few minutes. Add 1 cup of water, and increase the heat a little. In the mean time, boil your pasta and place your sweet potato in the microwave for about 7-8 minutes until it is fully cooked. Once your sweet potato is full cooked, your water, flour, and butter should be between a simmer and a boil. Cut open your sweet potato and mash up the insides (you will probably need to hold it with a hand towel or napkin). Scrape the insides out of the skin and into the water, stirring and breaking up the sweet potato as you add the pieces. Cook for about 2-3 minutes and add paprika and black pepper (I didn’t measure the seasonings; about 1/8 tsp of each). Your mixture should start to get really thick. Add your second cup of water to thin it out.

The pasta should be cooked by now, so remove it from the heat, drain, and set aside. Add 2 Tbsp of dijon mustard to your sweet potato mixture. Stir in the mustard and lower the heat. Once your mustard is incorporated, remove the mixture from your heat and blend in a blender until smooth. After the sauce is smooth in texture, add it back to your heat. Rinse any remaining sauce from your blender with hot water and add it to your sauce to thin it out. Lower heat to medium-low and add 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Incorporate your cheese until it is melted, and add a little more black pepper. Add your pasta to the sauce and stir.

Spray a small baking dish (I believe mine was 11×7) with cooking spray and add your pasta and sauce mixture. Combine your parmesan cheese, plain breadcrumbs, a little black pepper, and granulated garlic in a separate bowl. Sprinkle your breadcrumb mixture on top of the pasta; I did not use all of the mixture. It is ok to have some left over it; just use enough to cover the top.

Place in the oven for 15 minutes, then under the broiler for another 2-3 minutes or until the top is a little golden brown. Let cool and serve yourself a big scoop! This recipe makes 4 servings. Enjoy!