Sweet Potato Meatballs

Meatballs

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 yams or red sweet potatoes
  • 1 zucchini (optional)
  • 1 lb of ground beef (grass-fed) or ground turkey
  • 2 TBSP Tomato Paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Add 1 – 2 tsp of your favorite fresh herbs – Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Pinch Ground Pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet or rectangular pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes, cut into large chunks and cook in a steamer or boiling water. Check that they are soft and well cooked using a fork (should take about 15 minutes). Drain water and mash potatoes.
  3. Grate the zucchini on the medium fine teeth of a cheese grater.
  4. Mix together all the ingredients until well blended, and make into balls (about 16).
  5. Cook the meatballs on your lined cookie sheet for 18-20 minutes. Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash with fresh marinara sauce.

*Note: These meatballs freeze very well. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and space out the meatballs without touching. Put them in the freezer for about 2 hours until they harden. Then put all the meatballs in a freezer-safe container and take them out one at a time when you need them.

Makes 16 meat balls, calories vary depending on type and leanness of meat

Curry Butternut Squash Bisque

As the holidays wind down and the cold months of winter are spread before me, I love the excuse for delicious comfort food at the end of a busy, cold day. This soup is particulary delicious after a day on the slopes, with a cold nose and tired achy muscles.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large (3 lb) butternut squash
  • 1 large apple, skinned and chopped (Honeycrisp is particularly delcious)
  • 1 large orange sweet potato (or yam)
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 TBSP Coconut Oil (or Olive Oil)
  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Tobasco sauce
  • 4 cups of Chicken broth (or vegetable stock for vegetarian)
  • 14 oz can of Light Coconut Milk (or low fat 2% evaporated milk)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put butternut squash in the microwave for 2 minutes. Take it out, cut off the stem, and then cut it half at the waist of the squash. Put the flat edge of the squash down on the cutting board, and slowly cut down to skin the squash. Cube the squash into squares and set aside.IMG_5472
  2. Peel sweet potato and chop into cubes. Steam squash and sweet potato in a basket until it’s soft (20-30 minutes). Set aside.IMG_5473
  3. Heat oil in a large saucepan.  Add chopped onions, apples, curry, pepper and salt, sautéing over medium heat for 15 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes.
    IMG_5474
  4. Add squash, sweet potato, Tobasco, and chicken broth to the onion base. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until it is smooth. IMG_5481
  6. Add the coconut milk to the soup, return to simmer, and the soup is ready to serve. This recipe freezes very well for spur of the moment soup on a cold winter day.IMG_5482

Makes 8 cups, 140 calories per cup.

Egg White and Sweet Potato Casserole

Casserole (3)

Finding the time and motivation to prepare a healthy breakfast every day is rather challenging, so I have become a huge fan of making frittatas and casseroles that will last for several days in a row. That way, I can reheat my delicious, veggie-rich and protein breakfast in just a couple minutes. This recipe almost functions as a quiche, as the sweet potato lined dish almost functions like a crust. As always, subbing other veggies for the zucchini definitely works.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium 5″ sweet potatoes (orange and/or white flesh)Casserole (1)
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • seasoning to taste (sea salt, fresh ground pepper, fresh rosemary)
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes and then slice them into very thin discs. Set aside 12 discs for the top, then layer the bottom of a glass casserole dish with the sweet potatoes.
  3. Pile the grated zucchini, cheese, chopped onions and seasonings.
  4. Add the leftover 12 discs of orange sweet potatoes on the top of the casserole.
  5. Whisk together the egg whites and almond milk and pour over the vegetables.
  6. Bake for 60 – 75 minutes. The casserole is done when it doesn’t jiggle.

Casserole (2)

Makes 4 servings, 130 calories per serving.

Cheesy Vegetable Polenta

My Texas-bred Uncle Ron has this incredible recipe for  Jalapeno Cheese Grits, an ultimate comfort food. My version captures the same delicious cheesy texture with lots of vegetables and without all the extra cream and butter.  This recipe is one of my favorite plan ahead meals, particularly as a filling, easy breakfast for early mornings before work.  It also works well as a side dish for dinner, doing double duty as the starch and vegetable. I have experimented with all sorts of vegetables (including spinach, mushrooms and asparagus). All of the variations have been delicious, though I am particularly fond of the zucchini bell pepper combo that I have laid out here because it provides some great color contrast to the yellow polenta.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium zucchini, grated (a large tooth cheese grater works well)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 sweet (or yellow) onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cups of boiling hot water
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup polenta (dry corn grits)
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Chop the vegetables and lay them out in a 13 x 9 oven safe casserole or glass dish.

photo 1 photo 2

3.  Add boiling water to polenta and sea salt.  Mix together well, then pour over vegetables.

photo 3

4.  Bake in oven for 40 minutes.

5.  Take casserole out of the oven and add the sharp cheddar cheese. Mix well and return to the oven for 20 more minutes.

6.  Remove casserole from oven and let it cool at least 10 minutes before serving. If you are making this for later, I scoop out the warm polenta and put into individual microwave safe dishes so that it is easier to grab and go during the week

photo 4

Recipe makes four hearty servings, 240 calories per serving.

Bell Pepper Nachos

Whenever I am craving a cheesy indulgence that I can eat with my fingers and top with creamy guacamole and chunky salsa, nachos would be the obvious choice! Enter in Mini Bell Pepper Nachos: they are super quick and easy to prepare and you are indulging in all your cravings while essentially just eating veggies and a little cheese. Yes!

Bell Pepper Nachos

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 – 10 Mini Bell Peppers
  • 1/2 cup of Cowboy Caviar (black beans, corn, and mini red peppers)
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese

Optional Toppings:

  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Sour Cream
  • Fresh Cilantro

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut off the stem of the mini peppers, then cut them in half longwise
  2. Stuff each of the open peppers with Cowboy Caviar (shredded chicken or pork also works well)
  3. Microwave the stuffed peppers for 2 minutes
  4. Sprinkle the peppers with sharp cheddar cheese and return to the microwave for 1 – 2 more minutes (until cheese is melted)
  5. Let the nachos cool for a couple minutes, and then add your favorite toppings

Recipe makes one serving, 260 Calories (without optional toppings)

Egg White Summer Vegetable Frittata

The skills needed to create a perfect omelet has eluded me for quite some time. Over the past several years, my travel work schedule has given me the opportunity to observe many skilled omelet makers at work in hotel restaurants. I can now report back the secret ingredient to making a great omelet: lots of oil. While a bit of olive oil is great, I try to avoid it in large doses, especially just for the purpose of a perfect looking omelet. And that is why I love this method for making a frittata: it is quick, easy, and looks beautiful when you’re done!   I also strongly recommend experimenting with different veggie fillings, such as asparagus, spinach and mushrooms.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Medium Sweet (Walla Walla) Onion, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, grated (large tooth cheese grater works well)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp ground sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 – 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (1 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup of sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Preheat the oven to broil

2.  Saute the onion in olive oil for about 8 minutes. Add the bell peppers and zucchini.Add the fresh spinach, and put a lid on the sauce pan (the spinach only takes a minute or so to steam and cook down). Put veggies in a separate bowl to cool.

Frittata (1)

3.  Mix together the egg whites, cheese and seasonings in a separate bowl or Pyrex pitcher. Add the vegetables. Poor the mixture back in the frying pan over low-medium heat, making sure the veggies are evenly dispersed. Cook for a couple minutes, or until the edges start to turn brown. Put the frying pan directly in the oven and broil until the top is slightly brown.

4.  Slice the frittata into 4 wedges.

Frittata (2)

This recipe yields 4 servings, 150 calories each.