Cheesy Sweet Potato Bites

photo 3-3Super Bowl Sunday is almost here! Sadly, my beloved Patriots will not be playing in the big game (Tom is to busy paddleboarding with Gisele in the Bahamas, can you blame him?) Regardless of who is playing this weekend, Super Bowl Sunday is one of my favorite sports events of year! Football, friends and FOOD (obviously!) what could be better?!

So if you’re ready to show up to a Super Bowl party this weekend with a kick ass appy that’s sure to be the crowd favorite, check out these sweet potato bites. Cheese, sour cream, hot sauce and avocado… there is no better combination! And who doesn’t love sweet potatoes?

They are packed with vitamins, antioxidants and lots of other good stuff! So put down the greasy chicken wings and pizza bites and enjoy the game with these delicious morsels. Looking for some other game day favorites? Check out my Buffalo Chicken Dip, Baked Brie with Candied Pecans, Baba ghanoush, Ricotta dip with pesto & Sun-dried tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (washed and sliced into 1/4-inch slices)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Hot sauce (Cholula or Tabasco or whatever you have on hand)
  • Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 1 large avocado, diced into small cubes
  • green onions
  • sour cream
  • 2 pieces of bacon, cooked and cut into small bits (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  2. Using a mandolin, slice sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch slices (leave the skin on). Place potato slices in a bowl, toss with olive oil. Mix garlic powder, chili powder and salt in a small bowl, sprinkle over potatoes and toss to combine. Place seasoned potatoes on a greased baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes on one side, remove from the oven and flip them. Bake another 10 minutes. While the potatoes are baking, slice the avocados, green onions and bacon if you are using it.
  4. When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and place a dash of hot sauce on each round (if you like more spice, add more hot sauce). Top each potato with shredded cheese and place back in the oven for 3 minutes.
  5. Remove potatoes from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Place the potato rounds on a platter, top each one with a small cube of avocado, sour cream and green onion (sprinkle with chopped bacon if desired).
  6. Enjoy!
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Giada De Laurentiis, Sundance & Linguine with Shrimp & Lemon Oil

photo-497It has been an fun and crazy 10 days here in Park City for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The town is bursting at the seams with movie goers, film makers and celebrities. I was lucky enough to meet one of my favorite cooks of all time, Giada De Laurentiis! photo-495She has been my cooking idol for longer than I can remember and her cookbook, ‘Giada’s Kitchen’ was the first cookbook I owned! My obsession with Italian food, especially pasta, might have something to do with my grandmother living in Italy but it can also be attributed to Giada’s amazingly delicious dishes!

This recipe for linguine with shrimp and lemon oil is a light and delicious twist on your traditional shrimp scampi. Tossed with fresh arugula and lemon zest this dish is sure to please everyone at the table! photo 5This recipe can be found in ‘Giada’s Kitchen’ cookbook, enjoy!

Ingredients: 
For the lemon oil:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested

For the pasta:

  • 1 pound linguine pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 ounces frozen shrimp
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces arugula (about 3 packed cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Directions:
For the lemon oil:
Combine the olive oil and the lemon zest in a small bowl and set aside.
For the pasta:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until Al dente (tender but still firm to the bite) stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked linguine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Turn off the heat and add the arugula.
  4. Using a mesh sieve, strain the lemon zest out of the reserved lemon olive oil and add the oil to the pasta. The zest can be discarded.
  5. Add the chopped parsley to the pasta and toss to combine. Garnish each plate with freshly grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Pork Tenderloin with Tarragon Mustard Sauce

photo 4I am always looking for easy week night dinners to make, its hard finding the motivation to cook a labor intensive dish after a long day of work! Pork Tenderloin is a lean, healthy and flavorful alternative to chicken or steak.

I find that pork tenderloin is always tender and moist (sorry I hate the word moist but there’s really no other way to describe it!) Anyways… this is a super easy dish and the sauce is good over just about any meat (chicken or steak!) Serve the pork along side some root vegetables and brown rice and dinner is done! Enjoy!

Pork Tenderloin with Tarragon Mustard Sauce (Serves 8)

  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon crumbled
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon flour
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 (1- to 1-1/2-pound) pork tenderloins
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Season the pork tenderloin with olive oil, salt and pepper (this can be done right before or a few hours in advance- cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate).
  2. In a skillet with a little olive oil, sear Pork on all sides until brown. Remove from the pan and place on a foiled and greased baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 150 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, melt butter in medium sauce pan. Add broth and tarragon and cook over high heat for about 10 minutes until it reduces a bit.
  4. Whisk in cream and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes (be sure to watch it and continue stirring at this point- it bubbles over easily!) Whisk in mustard. Gradually whisk in flour (add 1 tablespoon of flour for thick sauce or leave out all together if you prefer a thinner sauce).
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with brown rice or quinoa. Enjoy!

 

 

Roasted Vegetable and Chicken Soup

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It was dumping snow all day yesterday! Just what we’ve been waiting for the last few weeks up here in Park City. I was pretty jealous of the picture Alta ski area posted on their Instagram of the 22″ of fresh powder they got over the last 24hours. photo-2Untouched fresh powder… that guy is pretty stoked. I’m not going to lie I wish I was him! To ski all day this weekend (or whatever you’re going to be doing!) you’re going to need your strength and energy- what better way to get it than with a bowl of hot soup. Especially if you are back East enduring the “Polar Vortex”, you’ll warm right up with a bowl of this stuff! Plus this roasted vegetable and chicken soup is so easy to make and its super delicious- it’s ready in only 35-40 minutes!

By pureeing some of the roasted sweet potato, butternut squash and carrot, the soup has a thick and creamy base without the use of cream or milk! The shredded chicken and spinach make it substantial enough to be a whole meal and fill you up, with out slowing you down!

Gluten free, dairy free, and Paleo friendly this is the perfect dish for anyone with food allergies but its even more perfect for dinner this weekend because it’s packed with flavor, vegetables and SO GOOD! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • ½ yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2-3 cups leftover shredded chicken (meat from 1 rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (or 3/4 teaspoon dried parsley)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried tarragon
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups baby spinach

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Toss the chopped vegetables, onion and whole garlic in the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender, tossing occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large stockpot. Add the chicken, herbs, and salt and pepper. Cover and cook while the vegetables are roasting, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add half the vegetables to the soup, and place the other half in a blender. Make sure to put all of the onions quarters and garlic into the blender. Puree the vegetables with the 1 cup of water.
  5. Add the vegetable puree and baby spinach to the soup. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the spinach is wilted and the soup is hot. Adjust seasonings to your taste.

Recipe adapted from Against All Grain

Thai Style Peanut, Mushroom and Tofu Stir-Fry

photo-485Happy hump day! Hard to believe the week is already half over! Continuing with some healthy, clean eating of 2014 I started the week off with this super easy, delicious and vegan meal! This dish single handedly turned me into a tofu lover. Back in the day you couldn’t pay me to eat the stuff but pairing it with spicy peanut dressing, crispy snap peas and water chestnuts… changes everything!

This stir-fry is also so easy and quick to prepare, dinner is ready in 20 minutes! It was the perfect dish to serve for guests that came over to watch the season premier of the bachelor (don’t judge, its my guilty pleasure) because I barely spent anytime in the kitchen!

Serve this dish over brown rice, quinoa or glass noodles and you’ve got a perfect weeknight or Meatless Monday dish!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic paste or Sriracha (you can add more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 12 oz oyster mushrooms or 8oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 lb (1 bag) snow peas or snap peas, trimmed
  • 8 oz (1 small can) canned sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lb extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • cilantro for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce and lime juice until smooth. Add the water, sesame oil, cornstarch and chili paste and whisk until blended. Set aside.
  2. Coat a nonstick wok or large nonstick frying pan with cooking spray or sesame oil and heat over high heat. Add mushrooms and stir-fry until lightly browned (about 4 minutes). Add peas and saute another 3-4 minutes until bright green and tender-crispy.
  3. Add peanut butter sauce, water chestnuts and tofu and stir until the sauce thickens and coats everything. Cover and let simmer on low for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Serve over brown rice or other grain and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Minestrone

photo-484Happy New Year! I hope all of you had a happy and healthy holiday season. If you did as much celebrating, eating and drink as I did over the last few weeks you’re ready to start the new year on the healthy side! It’s easy to reach for comfort food when the weather is cold but there is no reason that comfort food can’t also be healthy!
Like this butternut squash minestrone! This soup can easily be made vegetarian by leaving out the pancetta and substituting vegetable broth for chicken broth. The butternut squash gives this soup a hearty and filling base while adding a touch of sweetness. Fresh spinach adds some color and leaves you feeling like you’ve eaten your greens for the day! Perfect for dinner, lunch or apres skiing snack, everyone will love this soup! Cheers!
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Ingredients:
  • Good olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta, 1/2-inch-diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) carrots (3 carrots)
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
  • 2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) peeled butternut squash
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 (26-ounce) can or box diced tomatoes, such as Pomi
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked small pasta, such as tubetti
  • 8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup good dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons store-bought pesto
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Directions:
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
  2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
  3. Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it’s too thick, I add more chicken stock.
  5. Just before serving, add the spinach, and toss with 2 big spoons (like tossing a salad). Cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine and pesto. Depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock, add another teaspoon or two of salt to taste.
  6. Sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil and serve hot with fresh bread.
Original recipe from Barefoot Contessa