Sweet Potato Mash

sweetpotatomash

about 3 pounds sweet potatoes
1/4 cup whole milk or cream
2 TBSPs butter
2 TBSPs pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp pure salt
sprinkle of cinnamon (to taste)

  • Bake the potatoes as you would if you were making baked potatoes (wash, prick with fork, and bake for 45 – 60 minutes at 400 degrees).
  • When done, remove from oven and let cool off enough to handle.
  • Meanwhile, add the remaining ingredients to a bowl large enough to eventually hold the potatoes.
  • Peel off and discard the potato skin (simply pull it off with your fingers – it will be a little “baggy” after the potatoes have cooled so this will be easy).
  • Add sweet potato flesh to the bowl holding the remaining ingredients and mash with a potato masher until well combined.

Serves 4 to 6.

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SIDE NOTES:

~  Sweet potatoes are amazing, simply baked with a pat of butter & sprinkle of salt, but if you have a few extra minutes and are in the mood, this mash is delicious and very easy to prepare.
~  Some suggest peeling and either boiling or steaming the potatoes before mashing, but I prefer to bake them (which in my opinion, yields the best flavor).  Of course, use whichever method you prefer.
~  If you’d like, you can add the cream (or milk) after you’ve already mashed.  This way, you can adjust the amount of liquid to yield the consistency you prefer.
Enjoy!  =)

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Hawaiian Fried Rice

hawaiianfriedrice

1 lb chorizo, casing removed (optional)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
1 large clove garlic, minced or crushed
1 TBSP coconut oil (not necessary to add oil if you’re using a meat product)
2 TBSP tamari
2 cups uncooked rice (cooked and then cooled if possible)
2 cans (14 ounces each) pineapple chunks
1/4 cup (about 2 oz) raisins
4 eggs, scrambled in a separate pan (can omit if including meat)

  • Cook rice ahead of time (if possible) and let cool to room temp (or can refrigerate).
  • In large saute pan (5 qt works well) on medium heat, saute the chorizo until cooked through (simply crumble the chorizo with the edge of a wooden spoon to break apart as sauteing).
  • Remove meat from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • In the same pan, saute the onions and peppers until lightly browned (use coconut oil if you have not used a meat product).
  • Add the crushed garlic and cook a few minutes longer.
  • Add the tamari, cooked rice, pineapple (with all its juice), raisins, and cooked meat if using.
  • Mix thoroughly and cook for 6-8 mins or until all ingredients are heated throughout.
  • If including egg…In a separate pan, scramble the egg, roughly chop, and add to rice mixture.

Serves 6.

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SIDE NOTES:

~  Chorizo is a delicious, spicy sausage.  It’s most typically made of pork, but one of my local farms offers goat chorizo which is what I use.

~  We absolutely love this dish.  It’s been in regular rotation for quite a while now.  The chorizo adds a really nice kick which is a good contrast from the sweet pineapple & raisins.

~  You can easily substitute a high quality (nitrate-free) bacon for the chorizo.  The dish will lose it’s spiciness, but for many, the flavor of bacon makes up for it enough  =)

~  You can use freshly cooked (hot) rice if you need to.  Sometimes that’s the way it works out for me if I forget to start it ahead of time.  The reason cold or room temp rice works better is because it’s not as starchy/sticky after it’s cooled.  But you won’t ruin the meal if using hot rice.

~  I use either egg or meat (depending on what I have on hand), but you can include both if you’d like.  The dish will be more kid friendly using bacon and/or egg (unless your kids like spicy in which case the chorizo will hit the spot quite nicely!).

~  I’ve been on a chorizo kick the past year so will post more recipes on ways to use it moving forward…

~  If eating vegan (which as a nutritionist, I don’t recommend), omit both the meat and egg and substitute a suitable protein.

Enjoy!  =)


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Chicken Cacciatori

chickencacc2

1 chicken cut into parts (legs, thighs, breasts, wings)
chicken-herb-rub to coat chicken (or simply use salt & pepper)
3 tablespoons butter, ghee, or coconut oil
1 large bell pepper (any color), chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 (28-ounce) package diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup chicken broth (increase to 1 & 1/4 cups if omitting wine)
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives (or 3 tablespoons drained capers)
1 & 1/2 tsps dried oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves, divided

  • Sprinkle the chicken with chicken herb rub (or salt & pepper) to coat.
  • In a large saute pan, heat the butter or oil at medium high.
  • Cook the chicken parts until just browned — about 5 minutes per side (if all the chicken does not fit in your pan, cook in 2 batches).
  • Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the vegetables are tender — about 5 minutes.
  • Add the wine (if using) and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, olives (or capers), oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, and about half of the basil leaves.
  • Return chicken parts to the pan and mix with sauce to coat.
  • Bring sauce to a simmer and continue simmering (covered) over medium-low heat until the chicken is cooked through — 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Transfer the chicken to individual plates or a large platter.
  • If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly — about 3 minutes.
  • Spoon sauce over the chicken, garnish with the remaining basil leaves and serve.

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SIDE NOTES:

~  Technically, you can use any 8 pieces of chicken you have.  In other words, it can be legs and thighs only or any combination of parts — depending on what you have on hand.

~  Always a crowd pleaser.

Enjoy!  =)

chickencacc1


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Chocolate Mousse

chocmousse

6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or broken in pieces
4 TBSP butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 TBSP strong coffee (brewed) —OR— 4 tsps light rum or brandy
4 large eggs, separated
2 TBSP natural sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

  • Melt chocolate in a double boiler (or simulated double boiler – see below).
  • Whisk butter into melted chocolate, 1 TBSP at a time.
  • Stir in salt, vanilla and coffee (or rum/brandy) until completely incorporated.
  • Whisk in yolks one at a time, making sure that each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  • Set chocolate mixture aside.
  • Stir egg whites in a clean mixing bowl set over saucepan of hot water until slightly warm — 1 to 2 mins.
  • Remove bowl from saucepan and beat with electric mixer set at medium speed until soft peaks form.
  • Raise mixer speed to high and slowly add sugar, again, beating to soft peaks.
  • Whisk a quarter of the beaten whites into chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in remaining whites.
  • Whip cream to soft peaks and gently fold into mousse.
  • Spoon portions of mousse into six to eight individual serving dishes or goblets; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to 24 hours).
  • Serve with additional whipped cream if desired.

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SIDE NOTES:

~  You don’t necessarily need an “official” double boiler to make this (personally, I don’t have one).  You just need a small pot of boiling water on the bottom, and a larger pot that will sit securely on top (in which you would place the chocolate).  Of course, since the pots are not “locked” together the way a real double boiler would be, please be careful that the pot on top doesn’t tip.

~  After 24 hours of refrigeration, the flavor and texture will begin to deteriorate, so it’s best to consume within that time period.

~  Personally, I’m not a big chocolate fan, so can really take or leave desserts like this, but I had never tried to make mousse before and wanted to give it a go.  The kids (of course) really liked it  =)

~  Use a gluten free vanilla extract if necessary to keep this recipe gluten free.

~  Adapted from “The Best Recipe” cookbook.

Beaten egg whites:

chocmousseeggwhites


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Taco Meat Seasoning

tacoseasoning2

4 TBSP chili powder
2 TBSP ground cumin
4 tsps black pepper
3 tsps pure salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika

  • Combine all ingredients and store in a sealed container.

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SIDE NOTES:

~  This is a great mix to keep on hand.  Simply saute ground beef with a few teaspoons of this seasoning mix, and lay out a spread of shredded cheese, lettuce, diced tomato, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, rice if you’d like, and you’re ready for a mexican feast with very little fuss!

~  Why not just keep those pre-made spice mixes on hand instead?  Compare the ingredients for your answer…..

[box] OLD EL PASO pre-made Taco Seasoning Mix ingredients: Chili pepper, salt, maltodextrin, spice, onion powder, corn starch, yellow corn flour, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, silicon dioxide (anticaking agent), sunflower and/or cottonseed oil, natural flavor, ethoxyquin (preservative).[/box]

I prefer to take a few minutes to mix together my own high quality spices and keep that on hand for convenience — minus all the crud.

 

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