Every fall, we are lucky to have the delicious sweet potato crop produce in abundance. Sweet potatoes, like all potatoes, have their share of nutrients and vitamins such as high fiber, iron, calcium, B vitamins (energy) and Vitamin C (immune boost). Of course by name alone, this starchy vegetable lends itself more to desserts; however sweet potatoes are a great addition to many savory creations. After purchasing a couple of sweet potatoes from the Chenier Farm at my local farmers market, I used the potatoes to make two sides: rosemary and garlic chive roasted vegetable medley and savory mashed sweet potato. These are great side dishes for any protein of choice. If you want to keep things simple, bake chicken, which you can season 2 to 3 ways on one baking sheet, and steam the leafy green veggie of your choice. Check out the recipes below.
Mashed Sweet Potato
1 large sweet Potato (2 -2 ½ cups)
1 tbsp. butter
½ cup of milk
3 tbsp. green onion
½ tbsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.
- Rinse and peel sweet potato. Cut in half then slice.
- Boil for 12-15 minutes or until tender.
- Strain water. Add butter and mash potatoes with a fork.
- Add milk, green onion and seasoning. Mix well.
Roasted Vegetable Medley
1 large sweet potato (2 cups)
6 medium turnips (2-2 ½ cups)
1 tbsp. avocado or olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh chopped rosemary
2 tbsp. garlic or regular chives
½ tbsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp. smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Rinse and peel potatoes and turnips.
- Cut off both ends of turnips but leave stems to stabilize the root while cutting. Cut it in half, then slices. Dice the sliced turnips. Repeat with second half, remaining turnips and potatoes.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rinse and chop herbs.
- Add vegetables, oil, herbs and seasoning and mix until evenly coated with your hands or a spoon.
- Spread vegetables into an even layer on parchment paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. (Test with a fork. Fork should slide easily into and out of the diced veggies.)
Water is essential to the health of your body. Just like gas in a car, we cannot function without it. But who says water has to be boring? While I love the stuff as is, sometimes water with a boost of flavor makes it easier to drink. I love to play around with different infusion combinations. It’s an easy way to boost your consumption of nutritious herbs, fruits and veggies and support the health of your body through something you have to have. The best part is you can create any combination that works for you.
This mix that I made is really to support good digestion. Now while juniper berries are not your average stocked item, spice companies like Red Stick Spice carries it for about two bucks a bag. With stores like Red Stick, I love that you can buy just how much you need to try out something new, rather than investing in large quantities of something you will use sparingly. Since I made my own blend, I purchased reusable muslin tea bags to make removing the ingredients from the water easy. You can also always strain it with a mesh strainer. If you do, I would steep one kettle of water and let it steep for 30 mins to and hour, strain it into a bowl then add the water back into the pitcher and fill the rest of the pitcher with room temp water. This will last all week in the fridge. Check out the recipe below and enjoy!
1/8 cup dried juniper berries
2 1 inch pieces of ginger
1 tbsp. Tarragon (dried or fresh)
1 lemon sliced
1 orange sliced
2/8 cup of orange mint or basil
- Bring a kettle or pot of water to boil.
- Rinse and slice citrus. Add to a large pitcher.
- Rinse and peel ginger. Add ginger and other ingredients to a muslin tea bag. Add to pitcher.
- Add water, top and steep for 30 mins to an 1 hour.
- Remove citrus and satchel. Refrigerate and enjoy.
Pesto brings lots of flavor to any dish and quinoa is no exception. Making pesto at home is easy and allows control over how much of what goes into it. I used fresh basil, orange mint, green onion, garlic and walnuts that I had on hand with a small amount of oil. Paired with sautéed shrimp, baked chicken and roasted vegetables done two ways, it was easy to have different meals daily. Having the right cooking strategy for your week is important to being successful in eating more home cooked meals. For this week, I did the baked chicken, roasted vegetables and quinoa on the same day. The next day, I defrosted a couple of single serving bags of shrimp while I ate breakfast and cooked them afterward (5 mins). I also keep things on-hand like individual packs of tuna (ranch, herb and garlic flavored) and salad greens or canned chicken for and easy chicken salad if I need a little more variety in the week. The important thing is to stock up on healthful, easy options regularly (monthly, weekly) to supplement what you will be cooking.
Check out the recipe below. Serves 5-6.
1/2 cup basil
1/4 cup mint
1/4 cup green onion tops
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp. chopped walnuts
1 tsp. avocado or olive oil
Roasted Veggie Ingredients:
2 cups chopped zucchini with skin
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped broccoli
2 cups chopped bell pepper
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 tbsp. lemon olive oil (or regular and 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice)
1 tbsp. garlic olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup quinoa dry
2 cups of water
6-8 chicken legs
1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tbsp. onion powder
1/2 tbsp. oil
Salt and pepper to taste
- Line a baking sheet with foil and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Line a second baking sheet with foil and add chicken with an even coating of the seasoning and oil and mix with a gloved hand. Place in oven for 45 minutes.
- Rinse all vegetables. Cut ends off zucchini then cut in half. Cut each half in half longwise. Cut into strips and then cube. Repeat with carrots. Cut bell pepper in half and remove seeds and stem. Cut into strips and then dice. Add all to the baking sheet and roughly break broccoli florets by hand and add them.
- Split vegetables in half and season half with the balsamic vinegar and garlic olive oil and the other with the sherry vinegar and lemon olive oil or juice and regular olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste and mix each well with a gloved hand. Bake in oven next to chicken for 30 minutes. Set timer.
- Add quinoa and water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.
- In a small blender or bullet device, add pesto ingredients. Blend for 30 seconds until smooth.
- Once quinoa is done, add to a bowl and and pesto. Mix well and salt and pepper to taste.
- Once roasted veggies and chicken is done, remove from the oven. Turn it off.
*For optional shrimp, cook in 1 tsp of oil with a pinch of salt and pepper and garlic powder for 2 minutes. Juice a half a lemon over shrimp and flip them. Add a little more juice and cook for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 1 minute as it will continue cooking.
Pork tenderloin is a good cut of meat that can be cooked in a variety of ways. You can smoke it, barbecue it and roast it with different flavors. Since my rosemary is growing wild in its pot outside, I decided to stuff the pork loin with some fresh garlic and rosemary and base it with a balsamic honey glaze near the end of the cooking process. I paired the pork with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli and broccoli and cheese rice with extra streamed broccoli during the week. It also makes a wonderful sandwich with lettuce and sliced tomato. Depending on the size of the loin, it can be plenty, so I highly recommend cutting and freezing a few servings in clearly-labeled freezer bags to make the most of your work. Once cooked, it’s easy to defrost and pair it with a new side and vegetable in a couple weeks when a quick meal is needed. Check out the recipe below and enjoy!
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
1 pork loin (1.5 -2 lbs.)
6 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1/2 tbsp. sea salt
1 1/2 tbsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne
1 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. local honey
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut about four, finger-length slits in the top of your loin and add to a roasting pan or oven safe dish.
3. Smash and peel garlic cloves and rinse rosemary. Shove garlic and rosemary pieces into the slits until filled.
4. Peel and dice onion and add with the water to he roasting pan. Season loin along the top for a nice crust.
5. Cover with foil and cook for an hour.
6. Combine balsamic vinegar and honey on a small dish until honey is dissolved, add pepper and mix with a fork. Pour over loin then let cook for another 10 minutes.
7. Remove from oven. Internal temperature should read between 140-145 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, let rest for 10 minutes before cutting and making sure the loin is not running pink.
8. Serve with sides of choice and enjoy!