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.

Vanilla Cinnamon Espresso Hazelnut Butter

This recipe meets all the criteria (and more) of a great nut butter. It’s creamy, salty, nutty, and a little crunchy. It’s also subtly sweet with added elements of cinnamon, coffee, and vanilla. The coarsely ground coffee is what adds the slight grainy texture and crunch, and it’s magnificent. All in all, it’s a match made in heaven. I think it might be the best nut butter I’ve ever tasted — not even exaggerating. It’s out-of-this-world good! Enjoy it straight off the spoon or spread on apples, pears, bananas, or in my sunny cinnamon sammie recipe (instead of the sunflower seed butter). It’s also delicious drizzled into plain yogurt.

Also, note that I used decaf beans in this recipe, but you can use regular as well. I don’t like to consume caffeine after 12-ish p.m. and don’t tend to eat nut butter in the morning, so opted for decaf beans. Use whatever you like.

On another note, I’m off to NYC early this morning with my close friend, Heather. We have been looking forward to this trip for months and it’s finally here! We’ve got some fun things in the works, but are leaving plenty of room for trekking and exploring. We’re kicking off our trip this evening with, Sleep No More and I’m super excited…a little scared too! Be sure to follow me on Instagram if you want to see what I’m up to (and eating) in NYC!

Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • Heaping 2 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 1 Tbsp coarsely ground high-quality coffee beans (I used decaf beans from a local roaster)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (use 1/4 tsp if you want it less salty)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp coconut sugar, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast hazelnuts in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until fragrant and light golden brown. Give pan a shake halfway through roasting time.
  2. Once hazelnuts are cool enough to handle, remove some of the skins (doesn’t have to be perfect!). It’s up to you how much you want to remove, but less skin will result in a creamier consistency (the skins can also be bitter). You can also place the hazelnuts on a damp kitchen towel, fold it over, and rub the skins off inside the towel.
  3. Next, add hazelnuts (minus the skins) to the food processor. Blend for about 5-6 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Once creamy, add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust flavors as you like.
  4. Store in a glass jar at room temperature and use within a week. Will last a week or so longer if you store it in the refrigerator.

Spiced Beef Stew with Cabbage, Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato

The weather has been chillier and damp the past few days, so this hearty, tasty, fall-spiced one-dish meal has been a sufficient belly warmer. Full of butternut squash, white sweet potato, red cabbage, ground beef, and flavorful spices, it’s a winning combination. Perfect for fall, in my opinion.

Also, this probably comes as no surprise, but the flavors are even more abundant the next day and the texture becomes a bit creamy too. The creaminess is a result of the squash breaking down more when reheated and stirred. The sweet potato holds together more since it’s starchier, but probably adds a dose of its own creaminess as well. Regardless, it’s legit.

Meanwhile, catch me next Wednesday, October 18 on KATU Afternoon Live! I’ll be making my pumpkin spice chocolate clusters that I shared last week. Stay tuned!

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1-2 tsp grass-fed ghee, butter, or other fat of choice
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red cabbage, chopped
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • Splash of chicken broth, homemade or high-quality store-bought
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2.5 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste, if needed
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt ghee or other fat of choice in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté a couple minutes. Then, add the ground beef and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes, breaking up the pieces with a spatula as needed.
  2. Next, add the cabbage and 1 tsp sea salt. Stir, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the butternut squash, sweet potato, broth, vinegar, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, remaining 1 tsp sea salt, and black pepper. Stir, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Check sweet potatoes and squash with a fork and if need be, cover and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Taste and adjust sea salt, pepper, and spices as desired.

Yields: 6 servings

 

Bean-Free Zucchini Hummus

The idea of zucchini hummus is nothing new to me, yet this is my first go at it. I’ve had cauliflower hummus before, which I remember liking, but I definitely like the zucchini-based version better. Zucchini has a neutral flavor and doesn’t need to be steamed beforehand, so it works extremely well and simplifies things. And, if you’re wondering about the no beans thing, keep in mind that it isn’t the beans (garbanzo beans, usually) that make hummus, hummus — it’s the tahini. This version has all the flavor of traditional hummus, minus the bloat. It’s less starchy too.

I have to laugh and reflect a little on the mention of the bloat thing because in my days as a vegetarian, there were numerous summers when my sister and I ate loads of homemade hummus. She was the skilled, creative hummus-maker and I always enjoyed the fruits of her labor. But, I consistently was left with a stomach ache afterward, yet I would continue to eat it day-in and day-out. Live and learn, right?

Meanwhile, I enjoyed this hummus with fresh veggies, sautéed greens, plantain chips, and even dolloped on top of eggs. There’s lots of ways to eat it!

Keep in mind, this hummus is a bit thinner than bean-based hummus because of the lack of starch. It will thicken a little after being in the refrigerator, but if you want your hummus to be thicker, feel free to experiment with ingredient ratios. But, know that even then, the texture will still be different.

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On a completely different note, please imagine rain drenching down on the massive Eagle Creek fire engulfing our beloved Columbia River Gorge here in Oregon (started by firecrackers during a no burn season). The fire has now covered 32,000 acres and is zero percent contained. It’s so smoky here in Portland and the city has been blanketed by ash “snow.” Really, there is just so much chaos going on in our country right now. Send the love and positive vibes, please!

Ingredients:

  • 3.5-4 cups zucchini, diced (peel if you like, but I left mine unpeeled)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Black pepper, to taste

*Note: you can peel and add the garlic whole, but watch out for any pieces that miss the blade in the food processor. I had this happen before and ate a huge chunk of garlic!

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender, and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides, if needed, and blend again. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired. If you like, garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkling of smoked paprika before serving.

Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Spanish “Rice” and Chicken Bowl

Spanish rice 2

Spanish rice is something I enjoyed growing up and a recipe I kinda forgot about until recently. My mom used to make my Great Aunt Leona’s recipe and baked it inside of bell pepper halves. I was never a fan of the bell pepper part as a kid, but loved the rice. I’m sure this recipe would work well stuffed and baked inside a bell pepper too, but I didn’t opt for that since bell peppers really do not agree with me (or my husband). You could just add some bell pepper to the pan if you want that flavor, but don’t want to bother with the baking part. Then, everything still stays in one pan!

Meanwhile, mark this recipe as an easy weeknight go-to. It’s a complete meal that comes together quickly and tastes marvelous. And, again, it’s all in one pan. I hope you enjoy this twist on Spanish rice and if you do, give me a shout-out in the comments or on social media!

Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed ghee, butter, or other fat of choice
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp homemade vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 16 oz bag cauliflower rice
  • 1 cup unsweetened, no salt added tomato sauce (I used this one)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Dried oregano, to garnish

Directions:

  1. Melt ghee in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for a couple minutes. Then, add the diced chicken, and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Continue to cook chicken for several minutes, until browned.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the cauliflower rice. Season to taste with a bit more sea salt and pepper.
  3. While cauliflower is cooking, combine the tomato sauce, chili powder, and homemade vegetable bouillon in a small bowl. After the cauliflower has cooked for a couple minutes, add the tomato sauce mixture and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Lastly, add the cherry tomatoes and stir. Remove from heat and garnish with dried oregano.

Yields: 2-3 servings

Smoky Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

sweet potato wedges 2These smoky roasted sweet potato wedges are a wonderful accompaniment to grilled chicken, fish, burgers, sausage, and more. They’re great for the remaining days of summer, yet versatile enough to eat all year long. The flavor is perfectly smoky with a pleasant dash of turmeric spice and garlic (and of course, salt!). I enjoyed these dipped in yellow mustard, but also thought they tasted fantastic on their own.

Meanwhile, I hope you were able to catch the eclipse this past Monday. In my neighborhood here in Portland, I got to witness it at 99.3%. It was phenomenal and bizarre to feel the temperature drop, see the light fade, and hear animals around me create a stir. It was powerful and I couldn’t help but be moved to tears!

Cheers and enjoy!

P.S. Catch me on KATU Afternoon Live tomorrow, August 25! I’ll be making my cashew butter and jelly bars!

wedges close up

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 mid-size sweet potatoes, sliced into wedges with skin on (I used white sweet potatoes, but any variety will work)
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic granules or garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or rectangular dish, combine all the ingredients and toss well with tongs. Then, line in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for about 17.5 minutes. Flip and bake for another 17.5 minutes. (Note: if your oven runs hot, you may want to check the sweet potatoes a bit sooner).

Yields: 2-3 servings