Savory Sweet Potato Casserole

I was never one for the sugar-laden sweet potato casserole and truly, never understood it. That as a side dish and then pie for dessert? Made no sense to me, but traditions, I suppose. Even as a kid, I was never interested in that super sweet casserole, but honestly, it was probably more the sweet potato part that turned me off because I liked marshmallows, and brown sugar was okay in my book then too.

On the flip side, a savory sweet potato casserole is something I can totally get behind, and this one fits the bill. It has a nice mix of flavor and bite, plus some “cheesiness” from the nutritional yeast. If you’re not sure about the nutritional yeast, start with half the amount, taste, and add more if desired. Alternatively, you could use good-quality Parmesan cheese as a replacement, if tolerated and desired.

Meanwhile, I wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! If any of you make this recipe to go with your holiday meal, please let me know how you like it!

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee, plus extra for greasing dish
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chanterelle mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp granulated onion or onion powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp vegetable, chicken, or turkey broth
  • 2 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 casserole dish with a little butter and set aside.
  2. Add sweet potato chunks to a large pot and add enough water to cover. Then, add a couple pinches of sea salt to the water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until sweet potatoes are fork tender, about 6-8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large pan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp of the butter. Once melted, add the onion and sauté 1-2 minutes. Then, add the chanterelles and garlic. Season with a little sea salt and black pepper. Continue to cook until mushrooms are softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp butter to the pot with the cooked sweet potatoes and mash. Then, add the nutritional yeast, onion granules or powder, cayenne, nutmeg, Dijon, vegetable broth, sea salt, and black pepper. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Lastly, add the eggs and stir into mixture.
  5. Pour sweet potato mixture into the greased dish. Sprinkle walnuts on top in an even layer. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
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Grain-Free “Rice” Stuffing

This grain-free “rice” stuffing is perfectly savory and tastes like Thanksgiving. It’s flavor and texture is impeccable, and I can’t even fathom how incredible it would taste with turkey. It’s been amazing with chicken, and I think it would also pair well with mild fish, pork tenderloin, and even eggs. If you ask me, it’s a must-have side dish for the holiday season!

Since this stuffing is not grain-based, it doesn’t leave you with that heavy belly, carb coma feeling. Instead, it’s veggie based, light, and leaves you feeling great. No stomach aches or fatigue!

Meanwhile, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live yesterday and made my crustless butternut squash pie. Catch the replay of my segment HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!

P.S. Can you believe it’s only one week until Thanksgiving? Where has this month gone?!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cups crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 16 oz package cauliflower rice
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup turkey or chicken broth, homemade or high-quality store-bought
  • 5.29 oz package roasted & peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped (I used this brand)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion, celery, and carrot, and sauté 6-7 minutes or until softened.
  2. Next, add the mushrooms, cauliflower rice, poultry seasoning, dried sage, sea salt and black pepper. Stir well and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the broth, chestnuts, and fresh parsley. Stir well, cover, and cook for another 12-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  4. Lastly, stir in the chopped pecans and serve.

It’s the Holiday Season!

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I hope all of you had a nice Thanksgiving and long weekend! Jesse and I did our own little Thanksgiving again, which we always enjoy. We had an invite to a friend’s house, but had already started planning our meal and decided to stay home. I had to help coach the holiday class at the gym and wanted to Skype with my family in Michigan anyway, so staying home made more sense.

Anyway, about the food: I made a pasture-raised turkey the same way I did the last two years — brined for two days (I use New Season’s homemade brine — just chardonnay, bay leaves, sea salt and pepper) then slathered it in homemade herb butter, and stuffed it with fresh lemon, onion and herbs. To go with the turkey, I made cultured cranberries, cauliflower/parsnip mash, paleo green bean casserole and my crustless butternut squash pie for dessert. Everything was so delicious and we’re still enjoying the turkey leftovers.

During the afternoon, while the turkey was roasting, we enjoyed fresh roasted chestnuts (that’s what Jesse is prepping in the picture below) and wine.

Chestnut roasting prep

Turkey, fresh out of the oven

Carving the turkey. The house gets hot!

Thanksgiving side dishes

My Thanksgiving plate

The rest of the long weekend included a little work, brunch with a friend, a little shopping (bought two things), decorating for Christmas and getting our Christmas tree. We did the tree thing legitimately this year and went to a tree farm where you cut the tree down yourself. It was fun and cold!

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Tree hunting

Cutting the tree down!

Hauling the Christmas tree

On Sunday, we decorated the tree a little more and then picked out things to do for 24 Days of Togetherness. We did it last year and enjoyed it so much that we decided to do it again. Like last year, we picked out 12 things together and then each picked six on our own to be a surprise. Our day one pick of, “go out for a meal” put us off to a good start. We had lunch at our paleo restaurant, Cultured Caveman that day. Since then, we’ve picked watch a Christmas movie and wildcard. Today’s is still TBD.

My Cultured Caveman lunch

Jesse at Cultured Caveman

Thanksgiving: A Photo Recap

http://www.squidoo.com/thanksgivingimages

Jesse and I had a wonderful holiday, and hope you did too! Despite having a couple invites, we still decided to do our own thing and stay home, partly because we were already deep in our food planning. We also already had a vision of how we wanted to spend the day.

We both helped coach the holiday workout in town at the gym, but after that, we were home the rest of the day. I had already made some of the dishes and done some prep, so the food stuff was pretty easy. Shortly after getting home, we both called our families to check in, catch up and send our love. Then, midday while the turkey was cooking, we roasted chestnuts and drank wine. When dinner was all ready, we feasted and everything was delicious. Later on after dinner, we enjoyed our butternut squash pie with homemade half & half yogurt on top while watching, Home Alone. Oh, and we did so in our pajamas too — the best!

Our dinner included mashed cauliflower with lots of butter, bacon fat roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon pieces mixed in, spiced cranberry relish and local, pasture-raised turkey. Oh, and pie too, as mentioned above. For the turkey, I brined it for two days (bought the brine from New Seasons — no sugar in it either!), then slathered it in grass-fed butter mixed with fresh herbs and stuffed it with lemon, onion and more fresh herbs. It’s the same way I made my first turkey last year and it tasted just as delicious as the second time around.

Hope you all had a joyous holiday as well.

Cheers!

Jesse, trussing the turkey.
Jesse, trussing the turkey.
Eating freshly roasted chestnuts.
Eating freshly roasted chestnuts with Jesse.
Our turkey, ready for carving.
Our turkey, ready for carving.
Jesse, carving the turkey.
Jesse, carving the turkey.
The side dishes.
The side dishes.
My plate.
My plate.
Eating a messy slice of pie while watching Home Alone. Yes, I changed into my pajamas for this too.
After dinner, eating a messy slice of pie (the first piece never comes out clean) while watching Home Alone.

Cider Spiced Cranberries

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So, I know this isn’t a simple dinner recipe like I normally post on Fridays, but the recipe I tested out flat out failed, so I figured I’d share this holiday-inspired side dish instead. It could easily be part of a simple supper Friday meal — just pair it with veggies of choice and protein (I recommend poultry or pork with the cranberries). How about baked skin-on chicken breasts or thighs, broccoli with grass-fed butter (or maybe roasted Brussel sprouts) and these cranberries? Delicious and easy.

Anyway, I always enjoy having cranberries with my holiday meal and usually make a variation of my mom’s recipe, which you can view here. This year, I decided to try out a new recipe using whole cider spices, apple and dried currants. It made the house smell warm and cozy, and made me want to cuddle up on the sofa with a blanket and Christmas movie. Of course, that’s not what happened, but it’s a nice idea, right? Anyway, the cranberries turned out perfectly and just how I envisioned — tart, a little sweet, warm-spiced and chunky. Eat ’em hot, cold, on turkey, mixed into yogurt or even on their own, these cranberries are delightful and become even more flavorful after chilling. I hope this recipe makes an appearance on your holiday table.

Cheers and happy Friday!

Ingredients:

  • 13.5 oz pure orange juice (I used a small 13.5 oz bottle of Simply Orange)
  • 1/4 cup bulk cider spice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey (use up to 2 Tbsp more if you want it sweeter)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 quart fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried currants
  • 1 medium pippin apple or granny smith, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

Directions:

  1. Combine orange juice and cider spices in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Then, strain mixture and return the juice reduction back to the pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the water, raw honey and ground cinnamon, and stir until dissolved. Then, add the cranberries, dried currants and chopped apple. Stir and bring to a simmer.
  3. Cook fruit mixture for about 7 minutes or until most of the cranberries have popped. Once done, remove from heat to cool and stir in the butter and chopped pecans, if using.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, before serving.

Crustless Butternut Squash Pie

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Thanksgiving is just over one week away and I’m sure many of you are thinking about your dinner menu. Dessert is always a part of Thanksgiving dinner and most often, it’s pumpkin pie. As much as I love pumpkin pie, I think I adore butternut squash pie even more. It yields a bit more flavor and is just as easy to prepare.

In this recipe, however, there is no crust and the pie forms a little bit of its own crust. Now, I have nothing against crust and appreciate a good (grain-free) one, but when it comes to pumpkin pie (or butternut squash), I’m all about the filling! If you’re set on having it though, you can use this recipe with a crust. I think a nut crust with ground pecans and hazelnuts would be especially delicious.

UPDATE: watch the replay of me making this recipe on KATU Afternoon Live on November 15, 2017. Visit HERE to watch!

For the butternut squash puree (same for pumpkin):

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the butternut squash (about a 2-2.5 lb squash) in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place flesh side down on a baking pan and add about 1/4-inch of water or so. Bake for 60 minutes in the oven or until flesh is soft.
  2. Allow to cool and then scoop the flesh out of the skin and place into a food processor. Process until completely smooth — you don’t want any lumps!
  3. Then, place in a fine mesh colander/strainer (line with cheesecloth if it’s not fine enough) and drain overnight in the refrigerator (obviously, you’ll place a bowl underneath the strainer to catch the liquid). Ta-da, beautiful and perfect squash puree!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups canned or fresh butternut squash puree (see steps above for fresh)
  • 2 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 3/4 cup pure coconut cream (I use this brand) OR full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee, melted, plus extra for greasing the pie dish
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie dish with a little butter and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, add all the ingredients. Process until smooth with a hand mixer or the stand mixer. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a spatula and process again.
  3. Once smooth and blended, pour the mixture into the greased pie dish.
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes in the preheated oven. Once done, allow to cool completely before serving.
  5. Cut into desired size slices and serve with homemade coconut milk whipped cream, if desired. Or, if tolerated, serve with homemade dairy-based whipped cream.
  6. Store any leftover pie in the refrigerator.

Bacon Harvest Medley

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The weather has definitely transitioned to fall here in Portland and this has made me really excited about Autumn’s bounty. The squashes, apples and pumpkin everything, along with pretty colors, dancing leaves and smell of warm spices. I definitely love summer, but fall is so magical and cozy. Not only that, but it gets us into the holiday season, which I absolutely adore.

With that said, I tossed together this fall-inspired saute the other day. It’s sweet and smoky with warm cinnamon spice. It makes for a delicious side dish, and I think it would pair especially well with chicken or turkey. Hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:

  • 5 strips good quality peppered pork bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium beet, chopped into cubes
  • 1 large apple, chopped (I used braeburn)
  • 2 dried Turkish figs, chopped
  • 1/4 large green cabbage, chopped
  • 1/4 cup bone broth
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Himalayan sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and stir. Continue to cook for a few minutes, until bacon starts to sizzle and crisp up.
  2. Next, add the chopped beet and stir. Continue to cook for about five minutes over medium-low heat. Then, add the apple, dried figs, bone broth, vinegar, sea salt and cinnamon. Stir well and cook another two to three minutes.
  3. Add the chopped cabbage and stir. Season to taste with more sea salt, if desired.
  4. Once the cabbage has wilted down a bit and the beets are tender, remove from heat and serve.

 

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