Sweet Potato Hashbrowns

sweet potato, breakfast, hash browns, breakfast potatoes

Oh so sweet

Breakfast is easily one of my favorite meals of the day, but only when it’s done right. Like most people, I can live with a bowl of cereal and a piece of fruit and then go about my day if I have to, but I’d always rather have something homemade. The only thing that frustrates me about breakfast is the monotony that we’ve settled for! Eggs, bacon, pancakes, cereal, rinse, repeat. Sure, there’s a little more differentiation than that, but it sure feels like there isn’t sometimes.

In order to break up that monotony, I try using ingredients that aren’t normally found on a breakfast menu. I’ve already posted some delicious recipes using wonton wrappers, salad fixings and polenta, but I definitely need to bulk up that section of my recipe index! Here are some examples of different, delicious breakfast foods that I’ve been enjoying lately:

Giardiniera and veggie-cheese omelets
Vanilla chai pancakes (cooked in coconut oil.  YUM.)
– Sweet potato hashbrowns

All these things are extremely yummy and satisfy that need for change. The recipe I’m sharing with you today is for my sweet potato hashbrowns. I’ve been making them for a couple years now, ever since we had run out of regular potatoes and I was craving some hashbrowns. We mash them, soufflé them, bake them, French fry them and turn them into hummus, so why not turn them into hashbrowns as well? I made them for my parents on Christmas Eve morning and they went bonkers. I think they forgot how well the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes lends itself to savory dishes.

I’m actually going to share two variations. One is low-sodium and includes onions and the other is just well spiced and doesn’t have onions. At least one of them is sure to please anyone in your household who likes sweet potatoes!

sweet potato, breakfast, hash browns, breakfast potatoes

Jess took these photos. She calls this one “sweet hash”…. :)

Simple Sweet Potato Hashbrowns
Servings: 4
PointsPlus per Serving: 3

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, 8 PP
  • 2 tbsp light butter/margarine, 4 PP
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • paprika

OR A LOW-SODIUM VERSION WITH ONIONS

  • 1 large sweet potato, 8 PP
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • crushed red pepper or chili powder
  • 2 tbsp light butter/margarine, 4 PP

Directions
1. Get a bowl of warm water.  As you dice up your sweet potato, throw it into the bowl with water.  Letting them soak in the water for a little bit as you are preparing everything will soften them up just enough.  Chop up your onions and set them aside (not in the water).

2. Warm up a non-stick skillet or cast iron pan (my preference).  Once it gets to a medium heat, put in the butter and let it melt.  If you’re doing the version with the onions, put the onions in and let them soften up just a little.  Then put in the drained potatoes.  Sprinkle your spices over top (I just do a sprinkling of each and use a little more of the flavors I really want in there), mix around the potatoes so they are well coated with butter and spice and then let them sit for about 4 minutes.  Once they start to brown up on the bottom, scrape them all over to one end and give them a flip.  Let them sit for another 4 minutes or so.  Do this until they meet your level of satisfactory softness/crispness and then transfer them to a plate.

**PLEASE NOTE** – If you are doing the version with the onions, you’ll have to stir them up more often so the onions don’t burn!

What are some other things that you eat for breakfast that you’d consider “different”?

Basil Grilled Summer Vegetables

The best grilled veggies I’ve had in years.

Jess and I spent the last few days with my parents in Ohio making great food and having fun. On Thursday, I made some Saucy Italian Chicken and we had salad on the side. Friday we had Agave-Lime Salmon and some amazing grilled summer vegetables. Saturday we lit the fire pit and cooked our hotdogs over the flames before bringing them inside to cover them in all sorts of our favorite toppings.

We also had Graeter’s Ice Cream, which is the most fantabulous ice cream on the planet, and some s’mores on another night… but that’s not the point of this post! I’m here to talk about those grilled veggies.

The veggies that we had with the salmon were AMAZING. Dad and I got some asparagus, summer squash and mushrooms washed and sliced and then grilled them in a veggie grill pan on the grill. I told him to drizzle a bit of olive oil over top (once it was on the grill and not just sitting on the table since there are holes on the bottom, duh.) and sprinkle in some sea salt, cracked pepper and red pepper flakes. Dad decided to use some homemade basil-infused olive oil and threw in some fresh basil and a couple of hungarian wax peppers from the garden as well!

Jess took this BEAUTIFUL photo of the Agave-Lime Salmon we had with the vegetables!

When we sat down to eat everything, it was like sitting down to a feast. The salmon was cooked perfectly and the veggies were still tender-crisp. He did a perfect job grilling them! And since it was a super easy veggie dish that most people wouldn’t just throw together, I decided to share with you. It is super low in points. I even threw all my veggies over a bed of salad greens and chopped up mini sweet peppers and onions, tossed in some reduced-fat feta cheese, sprinkled it with a little more sea salt to really bring out the flavors and drizzled it with another tsp of olive oil and 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar. WOW. Amazing.

Basil Grilled Summer Vegetables
Servings: 4
PointsPlus Per Serving: 1 (WWOnline says 2 PP, but they stay tendercrisp and they’re veggies so I ignored it and just counted the olive oil!)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb washed and trimmed asparagus, sliced in half
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced
  • 1-2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 hungarian wax peppers (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil of your choice, 5 PP
  • 6-10 leaves of fresh basil
  • cracked pepper and sea salt
  • 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions
1. Make sure all your veggies are washed and sliced. Put them in a saute/grill pan specifically for cooking veggies over a grill (except basil and hungarian peppers).

2. Drizzle olive oil over veggies once the pan is on the grill. You can either roast your peppers on the grill right next to the pan or you can put them directly in the veggie mix; your choice. Sprinkle in pepper, salt and red pepper flakes and cook for about 3 minutes. Then put in basil leaves.

3. Cook for another 5-7 minutes or until tender-crisp. Serve immediately and enjoy!

And I would HIGHLY recommend doing what I did with the salad. It only adds an extra 2 PP and it really brings out the delicious flavors of the grilled veggies! (In case you forgot what it was: put veggies over a bed of salad greens and chopped up mini sweet peppers and onions, toss in some reduced-fat feta cheese, sprinkle it with a little more sea salt to really bring out the flavors and drizzle it with another tsp of olive oil and 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar.)

Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus

Click here for this Red Lentil Hummus recipe by “Sweet Potato Soul”!

There is hummus among us. This simple dip/spread has worked it’s way into my life over many years. My parents used to make hummus and tabbouleh for dinner occasionally! I’ve had spicy ones, savory ones, plain ones. I’ve eaten it on sandwiches, crackers, veggies, chips, spoons. It’s pretty much awesome.

It’s also super filling and good for you! There aren’t many health and fitness blogs that haven’t mentioned the awesomeness of hummus at some point. Today is that day for me! I’m sharing with you a recipe that I found on The Novice Chef Blog. That Jessica, she’s so crafty! Not only is she a hilarious writer, but her recipes and pictures are just amazing. I want to be like her when I grow up. Especially if it involves eating this hummus.

Click here for this Jalapeno Cheddar Hummus recipe by “Eat Live Run”!

Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus (based off a recipe from The Novice Chef Blog)
Servings: 12 (1/4 cup per serving)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, 4 PP (she used two, but I only had one)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, 17 PP
  • 1/4 cup tahini, 10 PP
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, 7 PP
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 PP
  • 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 PP
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

Click here for this Roasted Garlic and Sriracha Hummus recipe by “Olives for Dinner”!

Directions
1. If you haven’t already baked the sweet potato, go ahead and turn your over to 400 degrees. Wrap the sweet potato in foil and set in there for about 45 minutes to 1 hr. You’ll know it’s done when it’s soft and mushy to the touch and your whole house will smell like sweet potato pie.

2. Once your sweet potato has been baked, peeled and mashed, get out a food processor and puree the chickpeas and garlic. Add tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, brown sugar, and spices. Puree until smooth. Then add sweet potatoes and puree until completely combined.

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve. To freeze, place in a freezer safe ziplock bag and ensure there is no air in the baggie and freeze for up to 3 months.

Now, I only have a two-cup food processor, so I tried this in my blender at first. Blenders are practically USELESS when attempting to puree something that isn’t mostly liquid already. Sheesh. That was a big mess. So I just mixed all my ingredients in a bowl and then did two batches, one at a time, in the food processor and it worked just fine!

Layered Taco Dip… brought to you by Blue Berri!

‘Tis the season for layering!  Layering of clothes, layering of blankets, layering of food.  We spend our weekends catching up on sleep, cleaning up our homes (since we have no time during the week… or is that just me projecting?) and watching football!  Personally, I don’t care about football, but my fiancee sure does!  And in order to appease her tailgating desires one night, I created quite a tasty taco dip that lasted all of about 30 minutes!  It was seriously SO GOOD.

Layered taco dip is incredibly easy to make, so you all should have a go at it if you haven’t already.  And since it’s Halloween weekend, I’m going to let my pal Blue Berri give you her instructions on how to be a Glam Rocker and also how to layer yo sh*t to make a super tasty dip!

STEP ONE: Be awesome. And always look a little crazy.

STEP ONE: Get out all your bitchin’ ingredients.  You’ll need, like:

  • Fat free refried beans
  • Low-fat sour cream
  • Your favorite reduced sodium taco/fajita seasoning
  • Guacamole (I like Wholly Guacamole and Benita’s Spicy Guac)
  • Shredded Mexican Blend cheese, reduced fat
  • Diced tomatoes (use two different colored ones if you can)
  • Chopped jalapenos (or jarred slices)
  • Optional – black olives, more chopped hot peppers

STEP TWO: Express extreme awesomeness by showing your teeth and holding up fingers!

STEP TWO:  Take the sour cream and the taco dip and mix together (make sure you’re keeping track of portion sizes!) and set aside to let the tubular flavors blend.  Depending on the dish, I’d use 1-1 1/2 cups each of the refried beans, sour cream and guacamole.  PP values will vary, so make sure to add all that up before you start inhaling the finished product.

STEP THREE: Whenever possible, use extreme hand gestures so that even your FINGERS are rockin’!

STEP THREE: Get out a small or medium glass baking dish.  These are the most rockin’ ones to use because you can see all the tasty layers!  First, spread out the beans, then the guacamole and then put down the chopped jalapenos and, if you’re using them, put down the chopped hot peppers.  Then you’ll spread out the sour cream.  Sandwiching the hot peppers between the guac and sour cream is like keeping a hot little secret!  All of a sudden people will be like “WHOA!”.  Righteous.

STEP FOUR: Never make direct eye contact with someone unless you can look at them INTENSELY for the entire time.

STEP FOUR: Now that you have the sour cream down, put the diced tomatoes and black olives (if you’re using them) all over the top.  Sprinkle with about 1/2 cup mexican blend cheese.  If you can hold your horses for about 10 minutes, that’s spectacular.  It’ll let the flavors merge and form super powers that you’ll get when you eat it.  Those super powers are – EXPLOSION (it takes about 40 minutes for that to settle in!), SPEED (you get faster at eating it with every bite), FIRE BREATHER (if you used super hot peppers!) and GLOW (because you beaming with happiness from making the tastiest dip ever.)

STEP FIVE: Be confident. You won’t be able to pull off brightly colored hair unless you feel FANTASTICAL about yourself!

STEP FIVE: Pull out those chips and EAT!  Enjoy the tasty layered taco dip that you made yourself rather than buying in the store.  It’s much healthier for you and much tastier.  You can share if you want, but it’ll be so good that you might just want to carefully package it up in tupperware containers so you can have a portion of it every day!  BOO YAH!

Asian-Flavored Quinoa Salad

Photo Courtesy of: Mimsy

This recipe is brought to you by…. Mimsy!  Otherwise known as my mom :)

She took a beautiful photo of this dish after she made it and I thought it looked beautiful and tasty, so I had to share it with the rest of you.  The recipe actually comes from a Weight Watchers Weekly magazine, but Mimsy did make a few substitutions.  And I figured out the point breakdown for her way and their way.

I haven’t actually made this yet, but I’m excited to try it!  The colors look wonderful and the flavors of the ingredients are already great individually, so I can only imagine how yummy they are combined together.

Asian-Flavored Quinoa Salad (from Weight Watchers)
Servings: 4
PointsPlus Per Serving: 6 (with sugar snap peas), 7 (with edamame)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3/4 uncooked quinoa (or 1.5 cups cooked quinoa), 12 PP
  • 2 tsp dark sesame oil, 2 PP
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger root
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas (or 1-1.5 cups shelled edamame, 6-8PP)
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, 1 PP
  • 2 tbsp orange marmalade, 3 PP (if using low-sugar marmalade, it’s 1 PP)

Directions
1. In a small saucepan, combine broth and quinoa; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, to make dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, marmalade, oil, ginger, and salt; set aside.

3. After quinoa has cooked for 10 minutes, toss in snap peas (or edamame) to partially steam them; cover and simmer until most of liquid has been absorbed, about 5 to 6 minutes.

4. Remove pan from heat and stir in carrots cabbage, peppers, and dressing; mix to thoroughly combine. Garnish with cilantro, scallions, and sesame seeds. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled. Yields about 1 heaping cup per serving.

NOTES: Check the box of quinoa you bought to see if it has been “pre-rinsed”. Of not, rinse the quinoa in a colander before cooking to remove its bitter outer coating. Use prepackaged coleslaw mix or shredded vegetables to speed the preparation of this dish.

Also note – If you used low-sugar marmalade and the sugar snap peas, the PP goes down to 5 PP per serving. If you use low-sugar marmalade and only 1 cup of edamame rather than 1.5, the PP goes down to 6 PP per serving. Mimsy prefers edamame to sugar snap peas because she believes that they don’t overpower the other flavors of the dish, whereas sugar snap peas have a very distinct flavor and tend to be the highlight of any bite where it’s included. I’m sure either way you make this, it’s going to be fantastic!

Spinach CAN Be Tasty

Click here for this Whole Wheat Spinach Monster Pasta recipe from Food Doodles!

Spinach isn’t just for Popeye anymore, people.  Actually, leave the canned greens to him and let us have all the fresh stuff!  It hasn’t ever really been a “popular” vegetable.  So many children’s shows have villianized it throughout TV history that the actual spinach industry has had to work REALLY hard just to stay alive.  Did you know that when Popeye was introduced into the public media that spinach sales went up 33%??  That’s crazy!  But I’d still take the fresh stuff over the canned stuff any day.  It’s just another one of those ridiculously healthy leafy greens that provides a good amount of iron, some calcium and a TON of vitamin A!  And the fact that it has a very mild flavor means that it lends itself perfectly to a wide array of dishes.

Click here for this Dhaniya Aloo Palak recipe from Honey, What’s Cooking?!

People mostly put it in salads, like they would with almost any leafy greens, but did you know you can also put it in shakes?  You can’t even taste the spinach (but it will turn the drink a bit more green than originally planned).  You can saute it, steam it, puree it and turn it into tasty things like dips and indian saag.  You can use it for flour-based foods like breads (sweet OR savory), pastas, ravioli (the filling or in the dough), etc.  Basically, the possiblities are endless!

I decided to cook up the spinach my girlfriend and I got from our local CSA, Brackett Farm, before it went bad.  It had been a day filled with carbs and I only had 11 points left to spend before I zeroed out on my daily WW allowance, so veggies were a must!  In fact, we’ve gotten so many veggies from the CSA so far that I had to take time out of my day yesterday just to dice up onions to freeze and garlic to pull apart so that they wouldn’t go bad.  The lettuce was already browning, but the spinach still looked perfect.

Dinner was Everyday Adobo Chicken, sauteed zucchini (from the CSA too) and garlic sauteed spinach.  It was delicious!  I’ve been slicing my zucchini into 1 inch thick rounds and they stay nice and juicy, so that was awesome.  I only had 1/4 a lb of the spinach and since it cooks down so much, I only ended up with about 1/3 – 1/2 cup of it!  Remember that when you cook spinach… a whole pound will cook down to only about 1 cup.  But it was a beautiful deep green and tasted wonderful.  My recipe was simple and took all of about five minutes to cook, start to finish.

Click here for this Blueberry Mango Pineapple Spinach Smoothie recipe from Mama Grubb’s Grub!

Garlic Sauteed Spinach
Servings: 2
PointsPlus Per Serving: 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb fresh spinach of any kind
  • 2 tsp olive oil, 2 PP
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice (optional)

Directions
1. Rinse spinach and drain.

2. Heat up olive oil in a non-stick skillet on medium heat. Once heated, add garlic and cook for a couple seconds to make it fragrant.

3. Add spinach. Use two wooden spoons to mix up spinach and oil until nicely coated. Put a lid over top and let it steam for about 1 minute. Then, take off the lid and continue mixing with the spoons and letting it cook for another 2 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper and just a few drops of lemon juice if you are using it. Mix it up and serve immediately!

Click here for this Spinach and Buckwheat Egg Bake recipe from The Healthy Foodie!

Make sure to click on the pictures around this entry for other tasty recipes with spinach as the main ingredient!  And check out all the linked words to get some Wikipedia info about other lovely things :)  You WILL learn something today, DAMMIT!  Er… heh :)

Adobo Roasted Potatoes

Perfectly cooked with just enough spice. Add a little ADOBO to your life!

If there’s one culinary thing I’ve learned in the past couple of months, it’s that the best way to make proper “roasted” potatoes is by using a ROASTING PAN.  Imagine that?!?!?  All these years I’ve been making them with cookie sheets thinking they were just as good, but it wasn’t until I made a pork roast with roasted veggies that I actually used my roasting pan… and the vegetables were pure perfection.

I got the roasting pan for either Christmas or my birthday last year and I’ve used it a few times, but there are some kitchen things that I find a hard time understanding their purpose…. like a lemon zester.  Umm, that’s why you get a cheese grater with four different sizes on the sides.  One of them is pretty much a zester.  I’m sure true bakers would strongly disagree with me, though.  To each her own!

Either way, I NOW see the beauty of a quality roasting pan.  And when I decided to do steak and told the girlfriend she was in charge of the side, she chose potatoes (and cut them up) and I spiced them to play off the steak marinade and roasted them in that pan like a pro.  I probably could have put a teeny tiny bit more adobo on them, but it’s all personal preference.  They tasted just like seasoned french fries… without all grease and loads of salt!  I really enjoyed them!  And they would be perfect to cook up in a skillet the next morning (if you have ANY leftovers) as breakfast potatoes and pair em with an egg or two.  Oh, and make sure to bring the ketchup.  Nothing like potatoes and ketchup!

A little ketchup, a lotta love!

Adobo Roasted Potatoes
Servings: 4 (1 cup per serving)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 5

Ingredients

  • 4 cups quartered small white potatoes, 10 PP
  • 2 tbsp Land O Lakes light butter w/ canola oil, softened, 3 PP
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, 7 PP (although you could probably use just 1 tbsp and cut the PP to 4 per serving)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp adobo spice
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp peach mango hot sauce (optional)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Put potatoes in a mixing bowl.  Pour in softened butter and olive oil.  Stir.  Then put in all the spices and hot sauce if you’re using it.  Mix well.

3. Pour into roasting pan.  Roast for 30 minutes, take out and mix up, then put it back in for another 15-20 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

This is one of those great dishes that you can prepare easily, put in the oven and get other stuff done while it cooks.  Gotta love that!  Now, got get yourself a roasting pan if you don’t have one already!

Couscous with Lime and Scallions

Click here for this Cous Cous and Berries Salad from the Green Girl blog!

Couscous is a wonderful grain.  It’s commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine.  It’s light, fluffy, easy to prepare and soaks up great flavor.  If you haven’t tried making it before, you should definitely start!  Now, start right now.

Click here for this Parmesan Couscous recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen!

There are a lot of different ways to prepare it, but I’m going to start you off with one easy recipe.  The pictures all over the page are linked to other Couscous recipes, so be sure to click on them!  This recipe is based off one that I found in my WW Cookbook. They had 4 times as much scallion in there… and a carrot. It just seemed too busy to me. And scallions can be quite overwhelming. My modifications were great! The girlfriend loved it (although she doesn’t like scallions. She ate around them) and I loved it as well!

Couscous with Lime and Scallions
Serving: 4
PointsPlus Per Serving: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous, 15 PP
  • 1 tsp olive/canola oil, 1 PP
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup diced red/orange pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (or 1 tsp dried)

Click here for this Pomegranate and Pistachio Couscous recipe from the Closet Cooking blog!

Directions
1. Bring water to boil in medium saucepan; add couscous, oil and salt. Remove saucepan from heat; let stand until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with fork.

2. Combine all remaining ingredients in serving bowl. Add couscous and toss to mix well. Serve immediately or store in fridge for up to a week!

Click here for this Spiced Israeli Cous Cous and Vegetables recipe from the Three Many Cooks blog!

There are soooo many ways to turn couscous into a knockout dish.  Fruit, fruit juices, different vegetables, spices, flavored oils, various cheeses, etc.  Try mixing in some chopped green apple, goat cheese and walnuts.  Or maybe cut strawberries, feta cheese and sliced almonds.  Or even pieces of grilled chicken and zucchini, corn, roasted red pepper and some adobo spice.  If you’re in an asian mood, try mandarin oranges, sliced almonds, shredded chicken and some sesame ginger salad dressing!  It’s so quick to make, unlike rice which always takes around 40 minutes from start to finish.  I promise you’ll like it more than you thought you would.

If you like it, I’d recommend buying it in bulk from your local natural-foods store.  It’s much cheaper when you bring it home to your own container!  There’s a few different kinds of couscous too, so try them out; Moroccan is the most common and quickest to cook, Israeli is a big larger and Lebanese is the largest, about the size of a pea and often used in risottos.

Weekly Weigh-In and Southwestern Black Bean Salad

minus 2 lbs!  Dude.  I just reached my third goal of losing 20 lbs!  You know what that means?  I get to buy myself two new cookbooks!  Soooo excited.

This is me after a good workout. See why I’d rather do it at home?

I haven’t been tracking as much lately, but I’ve been very careful about what I put in my mouth. My snacking has gone WAY down. Keeping busy on the weekends really helps with that. Yesterday I only had two big meals and a snack and I was perfectly content (mostly because I didn’t wake up until 10!)  So far the lack of tracking hasn’t stopped me from losing weight, so I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing! I’m taking a page from the Prior Fat Girl book and just being very aware of my eating, making good choices and getting in that exercise!

One of the tasty dishes that we had last week was definitely a good choice! Wednesday’s meal of Steak Fajitas and Southwestern Black Bean Salad was DELICIOUS. I found the recipe in my WW Cookbook, altered it a little according to our preferences and dug in. We actually added it right on top of our fillings before wrapping up the tortillas. It added great flavor and texture! So, I’m definitely sharing this recipe with you all!

Photo Courtesy of: the Skinny Taste blog

Southwestern Black Bean Salad
Servings: 4 (1 1/2 cups each)
PointsPlus Per Serving: 4
Calories Per Serving: 163

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained, 8 PP
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped roasted red pepper (I used a little less than 1/2 a cup of jarred ones), 2 PP
  • 1/2 cup thawed frozen corn kernels, 2 PP
  • 1/2 cup shopped fresh cilantro (I used only 1 tbsp of a cilantro paste)
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced (I used only the white part)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 4 tsp lime juice
  • 4 tsp olive oil, 5 PP
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch black pepper

Directions
1. Toss together all ingredients in serving bowl until well mixed. Serve at once or cover and refrigerate up to two days.

Oh, and we had our first softball game of the season yesterday!  We lost to a really great team, but we still had fun playing!  I played first base and did pretty well!  Got a couple outs.  Yay for being able to catch a ball!  I only got to bat once, but I didn’t get to base soon enough.  Time to work on sprinting!  Ah well, it was a lot of fun!  And the girlfriend came out to cheer us on, along with Maxwell (although he had to go wait in the car after the game started because he was going crazy with all the excitement).  Then we all went out to Buffalo Wild Wings for beer!  One Woodchuck and half a serving of popcorn shrimp later we finally got home and nuzzled into bed.  It was the perfect end to a great weekend :)

Browned Brussels Sprouts

Paired with Herbed Peas and Everyday Adobo Chicken!

I’ve really become quite close with brussels sprouts. Ummm, we’re like best friends. They are so fun and tasty! No soggy, lying-in-butter brussels sprouts in my house. I make sure they’re flavorful and firm. I find it strangely satisfying to prepare brussels sprouts. Maybe it’s the fact that they look like Barbie cabbages. Maybe it’s the beautiful green layered look that they have, or maybe it’s the crunch they give when I slice them in half. Either way, they are awesome and I will cook them for the rest of my life!

As much as I love the balsamic glazed brussels sprouts with turkey bacon, I try to stay away from the monotony of repeated dishes. We all need a little less monotony in our lives, especially when you’re trying to be healthy!  I looked through my Cooking Light cookbook and saw this recipe for a quick veggie side dish.  It looked great (albeit quite similar), so I gave it a go!  They turned out great, so I thought I would share it with you.

Perfectly browned!

Browned Brussels Sprouts
Servings: 2
PointsPlus Per Serving: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, 4 PP when cooked
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, 4 PP
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Just added to the pan!

Directions
1. Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat (cast iron or non-stick).

2. Clean up brussels sprouts; trim ends and slice in half. Add to pan along with salt and garlic. Stir and cook for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

3. Add balsamic vinegar. Cook for another few minutes. Serve hot!

It really doesn’t get much easier than this.  And you can really do the same type of thing to other vegetables.  Try this recipe with green beans or broccoli.  Add another spice if you want to change it up just a little.  Or try a different vinegar.  Vegetables are really quite easy to cook, especially when they’re fresh.  Make sure to plan on going to your local farmers market this summer!  The vegetables there are the best ones to cook with!