Tag Archives: Sweet Potato

Pumpkin Up Your Soup & Snacks


With the arrival of October and the cooler weather,  so comes pumpkins.  Pumpkins aren’t just for Pumpkin Pie (although a great use for it!), and for (Canadian) Thanksgiving, they are loads of fun for carving – and of course roasting the seeds!  I’ve also included a soup recipe that you may not typically think of, but really highlights some of the fall veggies.  This soup is thick and creamy without containing dairy (coconut milk is used in place of cream) and although I made this with home-made turkey stock (from the Thanksgiving bird), you could certainly substitute veggie stock and make it a vegan dish as well!   I’ve also highlighted my families favorite ways to roast pumpkin seeds with a few variations as well!  So visit your local farm or farmers market before they close for the season & enJoy!

Sweet Potato-Squash & Pumpkin Soup

  • 1 large (or 2 small) sweet potato
  • 1 med acorn squash
  • 3/4 can pumpkin puree or a small pumpkin
  • 1 litre (approx 4 c) coconut milk
  • 1 litre (approx 4 c) chicken stock (or veggie stock)
  • 1 lemon’s juice (or about 1.5 tsp lemon juice concentrate)
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut squash and pumpkin (if using) in half and scoop out the seeds (keep them pumpkin seeds for roasting!). Wash the sweet potato. Place the pumpkin and squash face down on a cookie sheet with a lip (you may want to spray it with EVOO first to keep them from sticking) and add a bit of water to the bottom of the tray. Cover with tinfoil.  Place the tray in the oven along with the sweet potato(es). Bake for about 45 min – 1 hr or until a knife goes in without resistance.
  2. Remove the skin(the meat of the veggies will be very soft) by scooping the insides out and into a large 4 quart pot.   Mash together.
  3. Heat, add lemon juice.  Add the coconut milk a little at a time until mixed in. Add the stock.  Add black pepper to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes – serve & enJOY

Best Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Scoop out pumpkin seeds from large pumpkin.  Rinse in a colander to get some of the “pumpkin guts” off. Lay out on a cookie sheet for 24 hrs to dry out (or else you will need to increase cooking time – we let them dry out over night – about 14 hrs and then roasted them for about 1.5 hr).  Once they have dried out, you can pick any of the left over “guts” off more easily.

Drizzle some sesame oil (about 1-2TB dependent on how many seeds you have), and mix it with the seeds. Sprinkle sea salt and mix.  Place in 300 degree oven for about an hour, stirring 1 or 2 times.  Let cool (if you can wait!) and enJOY!

some of our fave variations:

  • use melted garlic butter instead of sesame oil.
  • After removing from oven, sprinkle with a little sugar as well as salt for a sweet & salty snack.
  • Forgo the salt and use black pepper instead.
  • Use onion, garlic or seasoning salt instead of sea salt.
  • Add 1 tsp cumin when roasting.

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Thankful to be Alive: Fish with Sweet & New Potato Fry(s)


 

Over the last week or so I have had 2 friends, and fellow business owners  experience two separate accidents that have left them either in the hospital or immobilized for a given period of time.  It really goes to show you how precious life is and how unpredictable it can be, how a misstep on the stairs or a bad decision can have undetermined consequences and can affect you and your loved ones for the rest of your life.  Its been a week or so of reflection for me – and I’m choosing to post today about the Little Things to be Thankful for,  because regardless of the “bigger is better” analogy so prevalent in our society today, sometimes all you need to look at is a whole lot of small things to truly appreciate what you have in life.

Big – Little Things to be Thankful for.

  1. I am thankful for the use of my legs and the ability to run after my kids and dogs (even if they are driving me crazy or I’m picking up doggie doo doo!)
  2. I am thankful for the love of my family, both kin and friends that are like family,  that I know would rally around to help out if something were to happen.
  3. I am thankful for this day, weather good or bad, thankful to be alive to experience it.
  4. I’m thankful for the ability to reach for and pick up that toy/paper/item that my kids have left on the floor for the millionth time.
  5. I’m thankful for the support I have in my life, friends, family, readership, customers, suppliers.
  6. Finally I am thankful to live here, a country that despite our high taxes, one that provides hospital care to all, with or without insurance.  

Thankful to be Alive:
Fish with Sweet & New Potato Fry(s)

We love sweet potato and new potato fries – well all accept the “fried” part.  These are my version pictured in medallions but we make “regular” shaped fries too  – oven baked but so, so good.  We are also huge fish fans here – yes, even the 4 and 6 year old.  In fact when I make fish – even after saying grace, no one starts eating until Mommy sits for dinner.  Otherwise the kids will have eaten all their fish and want mine before I even get a bite!   Interestingly enough, we ordered in traditional deep fried “Fish & Chips” one night – and the kids didn’t like the fish! I think its the only time we ever had left over fish!  We love sole, salmon, basa, catfish, pickerel, bass, shrimp, lobster, crab, scallops, etc. etc here.  Here’s our simple (but favorite) way of making sole, you can substitute any mild fish you like.

Fish:

1 LB sole (or as many fillets as you need), thawed if frozen.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or oil of choice)
S & P (salt and pepper)

“Fries”

2 large (5-7″) sweet potatoes – peeled
4-6 white potatoes washed and peeled (if desired) (if using new potatoes washed only)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
cajun seasoning, cinnamon or seasoning of choice

Method:

Preheat oven to 425.  Cut up white potatoes into fries.  Soak in water mixed with sugar and salt.  (The sugar helps them to brown but does not affect taste), for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, cut up sweet potatoes into fries.  When white potatoes are finished soaking, drain and pat dry.  In a large freezer bag or bowl, add both types of potatoes, a bit more EVOO and the seasoning of choice (if using – we simply use a little black pepper and a dash of cinnamon some times).  Shake or massage in until well coated.  Pour potatoes  onto a (ungreased) cookie sheet (stoneware works really well for this).  Bake at 425 for about 45 minutes, flipping once during cooking time.   While fries are baking, pat the fish dry, and on a separate pan (we use one with sides to stop any liquid from spilling) add the fish, brush with EVOO and dash with S&P.  Add to oven on top rack in the   10 minutes of cooking  (time will vary depending on thickness of fish).  Remove fries from oven, and flip fish over – place back in oven on 450 or broil for 3 mins until crispy.  Plate fries, pull fish from oven, plate fish,  serve with steamed veggies, a salad or coleslaw!  enJOY!

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enJoy the journey to Gluten Free


As some of you know I have recently been advised to try to eliminate Gluten from my diet due to a suspected Gluten Intolerance.   Wondering why I am capitalizing the Gluten?  Because its so damn yummy and hard to replicate of course!   This week – in a distinct effort to eat the same meal as the entire family, I tried to – ungluten-ize (ya that’s sooooooo a Joy word 🙂  ) some of our family-faves-clean-up-your plate recipes.  If you follow my blog – you will see that I found a Brown Rice Pasta that works perfectly for Penne and GF Meatballs.   Here are my next 2 attempts – one successful – scored a 10 from me, a 10 from hubby and a 7 from my 6 year old – Sweet Potato Enchiladas Verde Casserole and a “So-So Recipe With Potential” – Gluten Free Turkey Meatball Dumplings – scored a 4 from me, a 7 from Hubby and a 5 each from the kids.

**(skip to bottom for review of Chunky Green Salad with Basil Vinaigrette Dressing).

Sweet Potato Enchiladas Verde Casserole


*This casserole made of corn tortillas (make sure you read the ingredients – to ensure that yours do not contain gluten), sweet potatoes and spices combined with black beans & spinach makes a hearty & tasty meal These Sweet Potato Enchiladas  can’t be beat!

Filling:

2 1/4LB Sweet Potato – peeled and cut into chunks  (about 2 Large Potatoes)
1/8 LB (a bunch) or 10 g fresh spinach – washed & trimmed & blanched & drained
2 TB Cilantro Salsa (or 1/2 c fresh cilantro mashed with lime juice)
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 large Red Onion
1 – 15oz can black beans drained and rinsed
1/4 LB (100g) shredded part skim mozzarella cheese (omit to make it vegan -maybe substitute in avocado for cheese? might be worth a try)
1tsp cumin
8 small (6 or 8 ” corn tortillas)
1 lime cut into slices or wedges.

Verde Sauce

Mix together – 1 jar ( 10-12oz) green salsa, 5 dashes cayenne sauce (optional), 1 1/2 c sour cream & 1/2 tsp minced garlic.

Directions:

  1. Bring a saucepan to a boil and add sweet potatoes until very tender.  Drain, return to hot sauce pan to eliminate any moisture.  Mash potatoes, add rest of ingredients except the cheese, sauce, lime  & tortillas.
  2. In the bottom of a greased lasagna pan/casserole dish spread a bit of sauce.  Add a layer (slightly overlapping) of tortillas (they may go up the sides of the pan a bit), top with a thin layer of cheese, then 3/4 of the filling, top with 1/2 of remaining sauce.
  3. Add another layer with the remaining tortillas, then the remaining filling and top with the remaining sauce. Top with lime slices.
  4. Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until heated through.  enJOY!

BONUS!

Extra Bonus – Grab a bag of Gluten Free Corn Tortilla Chips and reheat any leftovers and top with a bit more shredded mozzarella cheese and feast on no guilt nachos with the family!

Gluten Free Turkey Meatball Dumplings

This one we were expecting to come out like a turkey meatball stuffed yorkshire – however the “all purpose” gluten free flour I  was using made the batter almost like  a chicken ball batter, and they were difficult to brown.  That being said  – next time I would substitute a big chunk of chicken breast and a sweet and sour sauce and serve it as Chicken Balls…. or do this again and make a hollandaise  type of sauce, maybe a cranberry sauce for  a holiday meal, we dipped it in dijon mustard and that worked too.

Ingredients
1LB extra lean ground chicken (or large chunks of chicken breast)
1 Egg (beaten)
1 Tsp Oregano (or herbs to taste)
1/4 c gluten free bread crumbs
Dumpling:
1  Cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Milk
3 Eggs

Heat oven to 400 degrees and place muffin trays inside to heat while the oven heats up.  meanwhile,  mix meat (if making meatballs), with beaten egg, herbs and bread crumbs – roll into large or small meatballs (we tried both).  Remove trays from oven, spray with cooking spray or mist some EVOO onto the tin).  Place Meatball into the centre of each muffin tin (we made some with a mini muffin tray and some with a full sized muffin stone.   Bake for 10 mins or until meatball is browned.  Remove tray from oven, pour batter over top to between 3/4 and totally full.  Put back into oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Enchiladas Casserole -shown served with Chunky Green Salad with Basil Vinaigrette Dressing (Tomatoes – Avocado – Chick peas – Green Leaf Lettuce – as expected was AWESOME  – that salad will be added to the rotation for sure!)   Thank you to fellow blogger:  Mrs Buena Vida for sharing the recipe!

Make a pig of yourself – Rollover Pork meals


Cook once – eat twice – what’s not to like about that?  Roll over meals are some of my favorite kinds – you know cook most of it one night and make it into two meals? I’m not talking eating leftovers here –  I borrowed the “Roll Over” expression from Rachael Ray as her cookbooks usually have a section for roll over meals.   This will make 2 completely different meals.  (these are my own recipes and not from Rachel’s books!).   Recently, boneless pork loin was on sale so I bought a large quantity, cut it down into a few smaller sizes and frozen them.  We made the following 2 meals out of 1 KG (about 2.25 LB) of boneless pork loin.

Meal 1

Pork Roast (Asian Style) with oven “fries” and Salad or Veggies

1 KG boneless pork loin (trimmed)
sesame oil
Asian Seasoning Mix (or Chinese 5 spice)
EVOO
6 large white potatoes – washed
optional:  Broccoli, Asparagus & Cauliflower

Brush sesame oil onto pork, and sprinkle heavily with spices.  Place on rack (this will allow the air under the roast and make it roasted more evenly and stay tender) in pan (with sides).  Roast at  425 degrees F until a min internal temperature of 145 is achieved (about an hour or so).

Slice potatoes (we don’t even bother taking the skins off) like you would for french fries.  Soak the cut potatoes in water with a little salt and a little sugar (a dash of each is fine).  The sugar will help the potatoes to brown in the oven.  Drain potatoes and pat dry.  In a large freezer bag or bowl, add 2 TB or so of EVOO, and potatoes plus (optional) a little salt & pepper.  Place on cookie sheet (stoneware works awesome for this).  During last 40 min of the roast cooking, place the oven fries in the oven.  Turn once part way thru.

Wash the vegetables – add to potato bag (oils) – if needed add a little more oil, coat veggies and spread on another cookie sheet (with sides) sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Place in oven with oven fries and roast during last 20 min of cooking.

Remove roast from oven (keep oven fries and veggies in) and cover with a (clean) tea towel and let the juices retract back into the roast for 5-10 minutes.

Carve roast, pull oven fries and (optional) veggies or serve with a salad.

Meal 2

Paprika Pork on Egg Noodles with Salad

left over pork (we used about a pound)
1 large sweet potato
2 tsp paprika
salt & pepper to taste
1-2 apples, peeled cored chopped
large or 2 small onions sliced thinly
1 cup chicken stock
egg noodles
Heat a saucepan over med high heat.  Once the pan is hot, add some EVOO.  Add the onions and cook until slightly browned (not burnt). Add pork, sweet potato, apples and paprika.  Reduce heat and cook for 2 minutes.  Add chicken stock, cover  and simmer until potatoes and tender (about 10 -15 minutes), stirring occasionally. While the pork is simmering, cook egg noodles according to package directions.  Drain. Add salt and pepper to paprika pork and serve over egg noodles.  EnJOY.

Update – our family has 2 adults and 2 young kids, this gave us 2 suppers and 2 lunches for hubby to take to work as well!

Total Cost for both meals approx $12-$15.  Not bad huh?