Wonderful Repeats

 

C987E3FE-DC64-46D5-B0B3-A03271EA1B5F.jpegLet me just say, I don’t typically make the same dish back to back but I truly enjoyed the green onion sweet potato hash and decided to make a version with the beef bacon from the farmer’s market. Beef bacon was not something I was familiar with and is more like a thick cut salami than bacon in my book. But the flavor with the potato, rosemary and the sweet and tangy balsamic pepper jelly sauce is a wonderfully flavorful combination. Weird yes, but incredible! You have to give it a try with your favorite protein. I also blanched some green beans as a side and have mixed kale greens for an easy salad side dish for an easy lunch. Check out the recipe below.

Sweet and sour beef bacon with Sweet Potato Hash
Serves 4-6

Main Ingredients:
1/2 lb. diced beef bacon
1 1/2 medium sweet potato cubed (2 cups)
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 cup water
1/2 cup chopped green onion bottoms
1 pinch of salt

Sweet and sour sauce ingredients:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. pineapple ghost pepper jelly

 

Directions:
1. Peel and rinse sweet potato. Cut sweet potato in half by slicing the knife in longwise and lightly banging the potato down. Slice each half into thirds before dicing into small cubes.
2. Clean green onion stems and bulb bottoms well under running water and then cut off rooted ends (cash aAlso use frozen green onion). Thinly cut ends up to where the stem turns green.
3. Add a splash of water and onion to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes then add sweet potato. Add 1/2 cup of water . Add paprika, pepper and rosemary and mix well. Let cook for 8 minutes, shaking the skillet or stirring occasionally.
4. Slice bacon into strips then dice it.
5. Add potatoes and onion to a small bowl and place bacon in same skillet with 1/4 cup of water and let it cook for 3-5 minutes until water evaporates. Add potatoes back in and if potatoes are undercooked (still hard) add a splash of water.
6. In the bowl from the potatoes, add balsamic vinegar and jelly and mix well with a fork until blended. Add to bacon and potato mix and stir well. Cook for 3 minutes until liquid evaporates and remove from heat. Add a pinch of salt it desired.
7. Enjoy.

Food For Frost

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With these unexpected cold fronts, it’s a great time to bring out the crock pot for something warm to bump out the cold. I was in the mood for a new round of curry and blended the remaining red curry I had and some yellow and used chicken as the protein this go round. As I often say, it’s helpful to prep ahead of time by separating large packs of meat into 6, 8 and 10 count bags for your freezer, since we don’t always have time for a store run. Since I already had the chicken, purple green beans and curry powder, I grabbed basil, low fat coconut milk and carrots from the store to finish the dish. This can be eaten as a soup or served with rice depending on your preference. Check out the recipe below.

Chicken Curry
Serves 8

8 chicken legs
2 cups purple or green beans
1 14-16 oz bag of baby carrots
6 small red potatoes
1 tbsp. yellow curry powder
2 tbsp. red curry powder paste (optional)
1 13.5 oz can low fat coconut milk
1 package of basil
1 cup diced onion
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. garlic powder
3 cups of water

Directions:
1. Remove skin and any excess fat from chicken and rinse before putting in crock pot.
2. Season chicken with seasoning (not curry).
3. Dice onion and halve potatoes add to crock pot. Add frozen green beans and carrots. Add water and curry and mix well.
4. Set crockpot on low heat for 8 hours.
5. Add coconut and basil in last 30 minutes of cook time.
6. Enjoy!

Inspired Brunch

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I thoroughly enjoyed cooking this Saturday at the Red Stick Farmer’s Market this weekend. I decided to expand a pickled onion and strawberry salad I created last strawberry season and and a sweet potato and sausage hash done in an “Inspired” way. 🙂 I decided to make a sweet and sour pork sausage with a savory sweet potato hash to go with the salad for a seasonal and flavorful weekend brunch.

Check out the recipes below. You can also catch me in action with the short video by Lena Farms on Facebook with some quick tips on uses for apple cider vinegar. As always, share your thoughts!

 

Pickled Onion and Strawberry Salad
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 cup of chopped strawberries
1 cup of sliced onion (1 small)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. strawberry ghost pepper jam
1 cup shredded arugula
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper

 

Sweet and sour pork sausage with Sweet Potato Hash
Serves 4-6

Main Ingredients:
1/2 lb. cubed smoked sausage
1 1/2 medium sweet potato cubed (2 cups)
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 cup water
1 tbsp. olive or canola oil
1/2 cup chopped green onion bottoms
1 pinch of salt

Sweet and sour sauce ingredients:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. pineapple ghost pepper jelly

Directions:
1. Add apple cider vinegar and jam to a medium-sized bowl and mix well with a fork until well blended.
2. Cut an onion in half then peel each half. Slice each half thinly and add to the vinegar mixture. Let sit for 15 minutes.
3. Peel and rinse sweet potato. Using aggression and a sharp knife (haha), cut sweet potato in half, then into thirds before dicing into small cubes.
4. Clean green onion stems and bulb bottoms well under running water and then cut off rooted ends (can be replanted). Thinly cut ends up to where the stem turns green.
5. Add oil and onion to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes then add sweet potato. Add 1/2 cup of water . Add paprika, pepper and rosemary and mix well. Let cook for 6 minutes, shaking the skillet or stirring occasionally.
6. Cut sausage in half longwise, then in half again to make cubing the sausage easier.
7. Add potatoes and onion to a small bowl and place sausage in same skillet with 1/4 cup of water and let sausage cook for 3-5 minutes until water evaporates. Add potatoes back in and if potatoes are undercooked (still hard) add a splash of water.
8. In the bowl from the potatoes, add balsamic vinegar and jelly and mix well with a fork until blended. Add to sausage and potato mix and stir well. Cook for 3 minutes until liquid evaporates and remove from heat. Add a pinch of salt it desired.
9. Rinse and slice strawberries and add to the bowl of pickled onion.
10. Rinse and chop parsley and arugula and add it and seasoning to the bowl. Mix well.
11. Plate both and enjoy.

Start Snacking

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We all snack during the day; some randomly and others intentionally. The body needs fuel throughout the day to help keep the metabolism fueled and burning fat. Snacking smart and intentionally is important for fueling a healthy metabolism.

While I stock up on varied fruits and vegetables for snacking, sometimes I want and need more. I’ve mentioned before my love of avocados; the best thing is to get them as small as possible for single servings and the teeny tiny avocados (actual name) from Trader Joe’s certainly makes the cut. One quick and easy snack is a mashed garlic avocado with the snap pea or lentil bean crisp. They are a wonderful option if you want a chip or crisp that has some nutrients. I am a huge fan of the wasabi ranch snap pea crisp and the onion and thyme lentil bean crisp. I’ll also like the mashed avocado with baby carrots. This is one to make right before eating to avoid browned avocado.

Another option is one of the many hummus options. While it can be brought, I decided to try my hand at making some at home. The hardest part to this was roasting a few cloves of garlic. The rest is just pulsing in the food processor or blender.

Check out the recipes below for two of my favorite snacks.

Roasted garlic and red pepper hummus
Serves 10

Ingredients:
1 14oz can of organic chickpeas
1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper
5 cloves roasted garlic
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (~2 lemons juiced)
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a small pan with foil.
2. Pop off 5 cloves of garlic from the bulb and leaving skin on, add to the baking on. Bake for 10 minutes.
3. Open can and rinse chickpeas. Add to food processor.
4. Open a jar of roasted red bell pepper and add about a half cup. Juice lemon seeded side up.
5. Add garlic and oil top before pulsing until smooth. (2-3 minutes)
6. Season to taste. Enjoy!

Garlic mashed avocado
1 small avocado
1 clove grated garlic (1 tsp)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Cut avocado in half longwise. Remove pit.
2. Use a spoon to scoop out each half into a bowl or on a small plate. Mash gently.
3. Grate garlic directly in the mix mince it fine.
4. Mix well and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Enjoy.