Browsing Category: real food recipes

7 roasted sweet potato recipes

roasted sweet potato dish
I’ve never been a fan of the traditional sweet potato topped with marshmallow dish — even as a child. But sans all that sugar, they are quite healthy, and delicious to boot! I love to make simple, stove-top mashed sweet potatoes, with a little butter, maple syrup, and cinnamon added at the end. Try it along with a salty and/or spicy pork chop – yum!
So I’m looking for some oven-roasted sweet potato recipes that recreate that same flavor profile for Thanksgiving this year, and I thought I’d share my research. Here are a few.
(Note: Not all of these are Paleo, but most can be made so with minor tweaks. Check out the “***Easy 15-minute roasted sweet potatoes” below for an easy Whole30 breakfast idea.)
roasted sweet potato recipes

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon

By Tyler Florence, on Food Network. 5 stars, over 140 reviews.
roasted sweet potato recipes

Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes

By Ellie Krieger on Food Network; 5 stars, over 160 reviews. — I like that this one goes light on the honey.
roasted sweet potato recipes

Cider Roasted Root Vegetables

By Elise at Simply Recipes. I always consult this site when looking for a new recipe; I have never had a bad dish here! This version sounds delicious.
Branching out from straight-up roasting…
roasted sweet potato recipes

By Creekside Cook. The author says, “this post on my old blog was responsible for over 1 million hits.” And I can see why! It sounds amazing. “Spicy, sweet, crunchy outside.” But also a little time consuming. I probably won’t try to pull these off for Thanksgiving, but they may get a chance on a less hectic day.

Here’s an easier option…

roasted sweet potato recipes

***Easy 15 Minute Roasted Sweet Potatoes

By Layers of Happiness. This recipe uses the microwave — which I would totally do for an everyday meal! But I might try this same method in the oven for a special day.
Update: Now that we’re full-on Whole30, I use this microwave method for sweet potatoes – All. The. Time. Sans the dairy items, of course. To keep extras on hand, I just cook them most of the way in the microwave, dice them up, then keep them in the fridge for an easy paleo breakfast. Top them with scrambled eggs, bacon, and/or sausage. Yum!
roasted sweet potato recipes

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Cream

by Chez Us — The description on this one won me over: “After I baked the potatoes, I scooped out their flesh and mixed it with some fried pancetta, sauteed green onions, a little butter and sour cream and a handful of freshly grated Gouda. After re-baking the stuffed potato skins until warm, I topped each one with a slight dollop of chipotle sour cream.”

—-

And here it is: this year’s winner of the annual “Most Beautiful Sweet Potato Dish Award”! (Okay, that’s not a thing, but when you see this, shouldn’t it be?)

roasted sweet potato recipes

Crispy Sweet Potato Roast by Smitten Kitchen

Here’s the author’s summary:

You thinly slice a whole lot of sweet potatoes [you can use a mandolin or food processor] and arrange them in a butter and olive oil-brushed dish, and brush them with even more. …slide slivers of shallots between… shower the whole thing with salt and black pepper… bake it covered long enough that the insides get tender, and uncovered long enough to get the tops brown and crispy.

This was posted six days ago, and as of today, it has 150 comments. Readers have been quick to share their own improvisations on the basic recipe. Here are some of the best (IMHO)…

Reader tips and variations:

Add fresh rosemary and a splash of pure maple syrup towards the end.

I sprinkled feta and toasted pine nuts on top, instead of the salsa verde. It was amazing!

I crumbled feta cheese in the gaps and added some chili and lemon juice to the salsa verde and the result was great.

Very delicious. Sprinkled za’atar on top and made a sauce of yogurt, tahini, lemon, and a bit of salt.

I’ll be making this – with the addition of crisp pancetta and fresh thyme!

I am going to [replace] the scallions with poblanos and make a little chimichurri sauce to drizzle on top.

I usually do my holiday sweet potatoes with maple, chipotle, ancho, smoked paprika — and fresh italian parsley on top after roasting.

The way I’ve been making them for years is in a gratin with a ton of garlic and salty butter and parmesan and breadcrumbs, the thinner the layer the better, b/c the top gets all crispy, crunchy with the parmesan and buttery breadcrumbs.

Have you ever tried chipotle chili powder with sweet potatoes? Life changing!

I made this tonight and topped with some leftover creme fraiche, it was great! The texture turned out perfectly. I used only 2 lbs of sweet potatoes and scaled everything down accordingly, but used all the same cooking times, 45 mins covered, 10 uncovered.

This was EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD! And reheated the next day in the toaster oven? Nom nom nom!

I made this tonight and it was GREAT. I added a bit of fresh thyme both underneath and on top! I halved the recipe and put it in a 1-quart oval dish. I also found that with really large potatoes I halved the slices and put the curved side up and they fit really well in the dish. At the end my oven didn’t brown it very well so I tossed it under the broiler and watched it like a hawk!

I made this with a mélange of sweet potatoes and russet, and added a teaspoon or so of dried sage, salt and pepper to the remaining butter/olive oil mixture… divine!

I topped it with thinned Mexican crema mixed with minced chipotle in adobo. It was a hit!

I have used a food processor to slice potatoes, and it works very well. You just have to buy potatoes whose diameter will fit in the tube, and then guide them / stabilise them with the pusher.

Also culled from the comments, a few extra tips from the author:

Cast iron does seem to give food a nice crisp… but I used a Pyrex baking dish last time I made this and it crisped up just fine.

In reply to reader’s questions: “Do you do everything and bake it completely and then just reheat day of? Or do you arrange everything and bake the day-of?” — Either way will work.

Re, thin slices — Yes, I use a mandoline…. Re, protecting your fingers, I have one rule: the last inch isn’t worth it! I just don’t use the slicer for the last inch of whatever I’m cutting. I’ll hand-chop it. All of my fingers are intact, so I’d say this system is working out for me. 🙂

——————-

All images by the respective blog owners.

Chai Tea for Two (latte, if you like)

homemade-chai-tea-latte-71-light-682x1024
I  remember the first time I tasted chai, in a friend’s kitchen. The creamy texture and slightly spiced flavor took me by surprise. “Oh wow!” I said. “This is like drinking pumpkin pie!”
image: livesimply.me
Since that first taste, I’ve loved chai, but I don’t drink it often because if you make it with a purchased mix or buy it in a coffee shop, it’s usually loaded with sugar. However, inspired by this recipe for Chai Tea Latte from Live Simply (and modified to reduce the syrup), I’ve been making this the past couple days, and it’s the perfect cold-weather pick-me-up when you want something richer than plain tea. (The original recipe makes enough for four servings, so you can enjoy one right away and then keep the extra on hand in the fridge. Smart! I love make-aheads!)
It uses maple syrup for the sweetener, but you can substitute the sugar or sweetener of your choice. I also replaced the half-and-half with culinary coconut milk; the canned kind; not the thinner stuff that comes in quart cartons. But you can use half-and-half, or another dairy substitute that you like. I’ve also streamlined the process a bit because, well, I’m impatient! I use a ready-made spice mix. And I use the microwave, and just let it steep for two or three minutes. But if you’re patient and have the time, you can let it steep the full five minutes at each step.
Chai mixture:
1 cup water
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice*
1 tea bag or about 1.5 teasp. loose tea — any unflavored black tea will do
1 TB pure maple syrup
1 or 2 grinds of freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Latte additions:
1/2 cup milk of your choice     
    (recommended: something rich and somewhat fatty, like coconut milk or half-and-half.)
maple syrup to taste
Put the water and spice mix in a glass measuring cup or other microwave-safe container and heat until it steams. Take it out, and let sit for at least two and up to five minutes. Cut open the tea bag and pour the contents into the hot water. Add a couple grinds of black pepper if you like. Return it to the microwave and heat again till steaming. Let it steep for three to five minutes.
While it’s steeping, prepare the milk. Heat it slightly in the microwave. Do NOT let it boil. 
Frothing the milk is optional — but it’s the thing that takes this drink from chai to chai latte. There are various ways to froth the milk. You can do this with a stick blender, or by hand, using this method, or just by holding a wire whisk and rolling it quickly between your palms like this: 
(The baby orangutan is optional.)
At this time, you can also preheat your two serving cups, to help the chai stay hotter. Fill them with the hottest water that will come out of your tap, and let that sit till you’re ready to serve.
Once the tea is done steeping, dump the hot water out of your serving cups. Pour the tea mixture through a fine sieve into another container. Rinse the sieve, then pour through it again as you’re decanting the tea into each serving cup. Top with even portions of the milk, and taste to see if you want more sweetness; sweeten to taste.
Then snuggle into a cozy chair and drink that pumpkin pie!

*If you don’t have pumpkin pie or apple pie spice mix, you may use:
1 whole clove (optional)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
pinch ground nutmeg (optional)
pinch ground allspice (optional)

20 Cranberry Sauce Recipes

roasted-cranberries-2

A variety of cranberry sauce recipes, for Thanksgiving or Christmas…

Cranberry Sauce Recipes
image: OurFamilyEats

Roasted or Baked Cranberry Sauce

Simple Roasted Cranberries (Gluten Free, Grain Free, and Paleo) from OurFamilyEats. I love that this one really is simple, and that it uses maple syrup for the sweetener.

Bobby Flay’s Baked Cranberry Sauce, which calls for finishing it off with a quarter cup of bourbon. Some reviewers substituted other liquor or liquers (orange being a popular flavor). 41 reviews, and every one of them 4-star!

Roasted Cranberry Sauce with Herbed Candied Walnuts, from Bon Appetit. Lots of sugar in this one!

Boozy and Baked Cranberry Sauce. Even though it has “boozy” in the name, its alcohol content is much less than Mr. Flay’s. Also looks easy: just four ingredients.

Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce Recipes
image: The Vintage Mixer
And another “sugar-free” cranberry sauce recipe, but it uses honey. You could sub maple syrup or your preferred sweetener. It also includes crushed pineapple; interesting!
And another. This one calls for Equal, but a couple commenters said they used Splenda and it worked well.
Paleo-friendly cranberry sauce; uses apple juice and maple syrup for sweetener. (Listed as

Paleo/GF/DF/EF/SF/NF)

Another Paleo cranberry sauce, from nomnompaleo, using sweet cherries and apple juice.

Traditional Stove-Top Cranberry Sauce Recipes

Cranberry Sauce Recipes
image: Simply Recipes
Every recipe I’ve ever tried from Elise at SimplyRecipes has been great. Here’s her traditional recipe. But she also suggest various add-ins. I might try blueberry!
(And her recipe is the same as the most popular cranberry sauce at AllRecipes; more than 1200 reviews, and still five stars!)
Another classic cranberry sauce recipe; this one from Pioneer Woman. Similar to the others, but uses maple syrup in place of sugar, and orange juice in place of white sugar.

Unique Cranberry Sauce Recipes

This page at Fun & Food Cafe features five different cranberry sauce recipes, with unusual ingredients. I like the sound of the second one, which has raspberries and walnuts!
Ginger Cranberry Sauce, via RecipeLion.
Another from the same source: Cranberry Sauce with Apples (and Mandarin oranges, and pineapple).
How about Cranberry Sauce with Jalapenos? I think that would be a big hit with smoked turkey.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Brat and cabbage soup

brat and cabbage soup

I’ve been waiting for a day cool enough for soup; today was the day! I’d been wanting to try out this recipe I spied on Taste of Home recently, when I was trying to figure out how to use up some leftover sausages — including some grilled bratwurst.

This soup exceeded my expectations! I love that it takes one of my husband’s favorite foods (brats/sausage), and makes it into a fairly healthy meal. Kick it up to the next level by serving with a hearty bread made into garlic toast. (Or Paleo English muffins made into garlic toast.)

Bonus: it’s really easy! We’ll definitely be having this again.

I halved the original recipe, since I was cooking for two. (The recipe below is the half portion.) Double these quantities to serve a larger group, or to have some to put in the freezer. Several reviewers said that it tasted just as good if not better, reheated the second day, so this would make a great make-ahead meal, too.

Leave out the beans to make it Paleo and Whole30 compliant. You could add chopped avocado in their place: similar texture, plus healthy fats!

Brat and Cabbage Soup Recipe

Serves 4

2 cups chicken broth or stock (or more, for a long simmer)
2 – 3 medium carrots
1 stalk celery
1 medium onion
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
2 – 3 brats, cooked according to package directions
1.5 cups shredded cabbage
1 can (14 oz.) great northern beans, rinsed and drained (optional*)

Put the broth on to boil in a large saucepan. Chop the carrots, celery and onion into bite-size chunks, and add them to the saucepan, along with the seasonings. Once the mixture boils, turn it down to medium low and simmer till the carrots are tender.

Slice the brats in half lengthwise, then into half- to one-inch slices; add them to the pot and heat through. At this point, you can turn the heat to low and let it all simmer till 20 minutes before serving time. If the broth gets too low, add a little more chicken stock. Or put some or all in the freezer for a future meal.

About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, add the shredded cabbage and beans. Stir gently and continue to simmer. Serve with fresh-from-the-oven garlic toast.

*To make this a lower carb dish — with balanced carbs and proteins — just leave out the beans. Here’s the nutrition info with beans:

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
Calories 276
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13 g 20 %
Saturated Fat 5 g 25 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 38 mg 13 %
Total Carbohydrate 26 g 9 %
Dietary Fiber 8 g 31 %
Sugars 5 g
Protein 16 g 32 %
And here it is without:
Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
Calories 206
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13 g 20 %
Saturated Fat 5 g 25 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 38 mg 13 %
Total Carbohydrate 11 g 4 %
Dietary Fiber 3 g 10 %
Sugars 5 g
Protein 11 g 21 %

Oven-roasted tomatoes

102070454

On BLT’s, oven-dried, oven-roasted, in a sauce…

I had some less-than-stellar farmstand beefsteak tomatoes last week taking up space in my fridge. Actually, just several slices from one large tomato. The flavor was only so-so in the BLT’s we’d sliced them for, but I was reluctant to throw them out, so there they sat.

Then something (probably something on Pinterest) made me think of oven-dried tomatoes. Which are basically sun-dried tomatoes, with more control and fewer bugs.


Tried it: uh, YUM!

Below are links to several recipes, but since most of them call for Roma or cherry tomatoes, I was kind of improvising. The first one on the list is the process that I more-or-less followed. Here’s mine:

  • oven preheated to 200 F
  • large tomato, sliced into 1/4″ slices
  • seeds and the jelly around them poked out and set aside
  • tomato slices on a cooling rack; rack nestled in my favorite baking sheet
  • checked after a couple hours.

Because mine were thin and mostly jelly-less, they dried out pretty quickly. In two or three hours, some of them were already crispy. So crispy, in fact, that the pieces with a fair amount of peel were like super-tomatoey potato chips. And the tart, intense flavor? Hugely improved over the disappointing fresh version. I chowed down! (Hubs thought they tasted kinda burnt, but I thought they tasted great! Maybe he just got a bad one.) I’ll probably try some more next week, to see if I can recreate that great accident.
Oven-dried tomatoes from About.com
> Oven-dried tomatoes from Food Network
> Oven-dried tomatoes from Tomato Dirt

I mentioned that I had poked out the juices/goop from the slices before baking. One of the recipes I read mentioned “tomato water;” never heard of that, so I googled it. One “recipe” required a food processor, cheesecloth, and eight hours. But I wasn’t up for that, so I just took the goop, seeds and liquid and poured the whole mess through a sieve. It yielded about a couple tablespoons of tomato-pink liquid. There wasn’t enough of it to use in a recipe, but I tasted it — then added a wee bit of salt — and tasted it again, and it was delish! I can see it being a great liquid to poach fish in, or to put up in the freezer to add a little genuine summer taste to a winter marinara or soup.
About tomato water, from Bon Appetit
About tomato water, from New York Times

Also, if you want something a little less dehydrated, here’s a recipe for roasted tomatoes, which just takes them to a concentrated but still fairly moist stage. I haven’t tried this method, but if I did, I would make them without the herbs, to make them more versatile. 
Oven-roasted tomatoes from Kalyn’s Kitchen

5-minute frozen yogurt

cherry frozen yogurt

Made this tonight for a li’l somethin’ sweet after dinner. It’s SO easy, and pretty guilt-free! I used sweet cherries because they were half off at Fresh Market today. (The original used strawberries.) And so I changed some of the other ingredients, too.

Here is the original recipe.

Here is my variation (half recipe, compared to the original, because my food processor is 7 cups, not 12.):

Quick cherry-almond frozen yogurt recipe

2 cups frozen sweet cherries (make sure they’re all pitted)
1.5 Tablespoons real maple syrup
1/4 cup plain Greek non-fat yogurt (If you use full-fat, you may leave out the cream.)
…(to make it Paleo, use dairy-free yogurt and skip the cream)
1 Tablespoon cream (optional)
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

UPDATED: I just made it a second time and I also like this version; the alcohol makes it non-Paleo…

2 cups frozen sweet cherries (pitted)
2 Tablespoons Disaronna or Amaretto
1/2 cup plain Greek non-fat yogurt (If you use full-fat, leave out the cream.)
2 Tablespoons cream
optional: additional sugar or sweetener, to taste

I put just the cherries in the processor first, and let them just get a little chopped up, till most pieces are halves or smaller. Then I added everything else and let it run. It clumped up on one side for a while, but eventually it all smoothed out. Taste and see if you want additional sweetness. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup.

You might have to scrape the sides down once. But it only needed a minute or two to get smooth — nowhere near the five minutes listed in the original recipe.

And this half recipe makes 4-5 servings, in my house. Your mileage may vary. Even if you double up, a serving of Version 1 is still under 100 calories, and less than 20 g of carbs! (The alcohol in Version 2 adds quite a few calories and carbs.)

Hey, if you want more sugar-free, guilt-free dessert recipes, check out my e-cookbook…

 sugar-free dessert cookbook now available

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (version 1)
Calories 49
Total Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Total Carbohydrate 9 g
Sugars 7 g

Protein 1 g
(Nutrition facts via myfitnesspal.com)

Spinach salad with strawberries

strawberry-spinach-salad-540x310

Spinach salad with strawberries is my second-favorite salad of all time, a close second to quinoa and spinach salad — and no surprise there, since they contain many of the same ingredients.

I think a big part of what keeps this one at the top of my list over other green salads is that I only buy strawberries when they’re in season. (My test for whether they’re good and ripe? If there’s a box of them at table height and I can smell them when standing over them, they’re good!) And since here in Kansas, good strawberries are only available April through June, this salad is a rare treat.

(SO jealous of my niece who lives in California, and can get amazing ripened-in-the-field strawberries year-round!)

It’s good with or without chicken, and all ingredients can be adjusted to your taste.

Spinach salad with strawberries

Recipe: Spinach salad with strawberries

For each individual salad:
2.5 oz. baby spinach (or thereabouts)
sliced fresh strawberries, to your taste (maybe 1/2 a cup?)
1 – 3 T. feta cheese, seasoned or plain (leave out for Whole30)
red onion, sliced thin; amount to taste
1.4 c. pecan halves (or to taste)
half of a seasoned, cooked chicken breast (about 3 oz.) – optional
balsamic vinaigrette or onion poppyseed dressing, to taste

(or the Whole30 compliant dressing of your choice)

Combine all ingredients; toss; enjoy!
—————-
Nutrition info, according to myfitnesspal.com:
Calories: 444
Carbs: 17
Fat: 32
Protein: 24
Sodium:  780
Sugar: 9

Super-simple creamy Italian dressing

creamy Italian dressing - sugar-free option

Creamy Italian dressing is one of my husband’s favorite salad dressings. It’s getting harder to find in the grocery store, and the ones that we had tried tasted so fake and sugary — the side effect of making pretty much all your salad dressings from scratch.

Then I found this one! The original recipe is on AllRecipes, but I’ve tweaked it to make it my own; I reduced the sugar and made a few other minor tweaks. Make it without the sugar, and use homemade mayo, and you’ve got a Paleo, Whole30-compliant Italian dressing!

Tried it; loved it; it’s a keeper!

I made it as a spread/dip for homemade submarine sandwiches a couple nights ago. My husband still misses a sub that Pizza Hut used to have on the menu, which had a similar spread on it, and this recipe is a good fit. Then the next day for lunch, I had a sub-sandwich-inspired salad (shown in the photo above). Romaine lettuce with diced ham, pepperoni, and salami; mozzarella cheese, and diced tomatoes. And pickled onions — which are also a great sandwich topper.

It’s really quick and easy to make. Tastes best if you make it a few hours or a day ahead, but I’ve made some notes in the recipe about how to adapt it if you need to serve it right away.

Yay! No more store-bought creamy Italian dressing!

Creamy Italian Dressing (low or no sugar)

1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. water
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. granulated onion
1/4 t. white sugar*
1/4 t. Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Place the minced garlic and olive oil in a small dish and microwave for 30 seconds.

Combine this and all the other ingredients in a 12 – 16 oz. jar and shake well.

Refrigerate for a few hours; better overnight.

*If you will be storing it 24 hours before use, you might skip the sugar. If you are living sugar-free, you can leave it out or replace it with your favorite sweetener. If you will be serving it right away, you might want to reduce the vinegar slightly and increase the sugar to taste.