The day I failed at food prep

The day I failed at food prep

So I totally dropped the ball on food prep this week. I don't even know why. I had plenty of time on Saturday and Sunday, but instead of getting cooking done for the week, I read, colored in my anatomy coloring book, got lost in facebooklandia, and read books. Yes, BOOKS plural--one audio and one hardcover. 

Perfectionist Hannah would have had a lot of mean things to say about these choices, but Current Hannah was like, "Ok, what now?" 

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Simple Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Rough on the outside, sweet on the inside. 

Rough on the outside, sweet on the inside. 

Lately we have been getting a bounty of sweet potatoes in our Imperfect Produce delivery box, so I decided to whip up a big batch of cubed roasted sweet potatoes. They are amazingly delicious fresh out of the oven, and they play well as leftovers: 

  • Beef up a salad by sprinkling them on top of your favorite mixed greens and adding protein like grilled chicken breast, leftover steak slices, or chick peas. 
  • Whip up a killer breakfast hash by heating some coconut oil or bacon fat in your skillet (cast iron is the bizness), toss in a handful of sweet potatoes chunks, sprinkle seasoning (paprika, fresh thyme if  you have it, garlic powder) and toss every minute or so until they are crusty and crisped on at least 1 edge. Top that with 2-3 fried eggs and some hot sauce and life is good. Also you have just made a hearty breakfast that will keep you full for hours in under 6 minutes. 

Food that works well as leftovers is GOLD in my house, because I generally don't have much time for cooking during the week. My key strategy for making sure my nutrition is on point involves cooking a big batch of protein and a few veggies sides, usually on Sunday, and then reheating and recombining throughout the week to make easy, fast meals.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Lots of sweet potatoes (5 or more) - peel 'em if they aren't organic
  • onion or garlic (optional, but adds to the awesome)
  • Fat (something that is naturally occurring and has a high smoke point like coconut oil or bacon fat--NOT olive oil which will burn and leave your taters tasting funky)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large baking sheets
  • parchment paper (optional, but makes for easy clean up and nicely caramelized sweet potato bites

WHAT TO DO:

PREP: Preheat your oven to 425. Cut your parchment paper to fit your baking sheets. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Cut your onion (I used a red onion, but yellow is just as good) into 1 inch "cubes" which will inevitably fall apart and that's ok--it just means more crispy delicious onion bits for you later! Plop some fat on the parchemnt. If you're using coconut oil or bacon fat, those will be solid at room temperature (unless you live somewhere very warm) so you'll want to dollop some on each pan in the center, and then stick those pans in the oven for a minute to melt the fat. 30 seconds to a minute it plenty. 

Now you're ready to rock. Pull the pans out, dump half of the potatoes and onions on each pan and toss with a spatula to coat in the fat. Don't add salt yet! Spread the sweet potatoes and onions in an even single layer on the baking sheets. Space between the chunks will ensure that they don't get soggy/mushy and they DO get nicely caramelized--you want this, trust me. 

Stick the pans in the oven and set your timer for 20 minutes. 

At the 20 minute mark, check to see if your potatoes are getting  nicely browned on the underside. If yes, stir with your spatula and bake for another 7-10 minutes, until they are soft and compress slightly at the touch. If no, put them back in unstirred for another 5 minutes, then check again. 

When they are done, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and stir. The potatoes will be warm enough still to make the seasonings adhere. Adding salt BEFORE you back will make your potatoes tough, which is why we skipped it earlier. 

ENJOY! Add a comment and let me know how you recombined your leftovers this week. 

Summer Vegetable Ratatouille

ratatouille.jpg

OMG you guys. How are roasted veggies, balsamic vinegar, cannes tomatoes and herbes de provence THIS DELICIOUS? You know I'm a huge fan of simple, whole food, minimal ingredient meals, but MAN is this one of the best. I loosely followed this recipe from Whole Foods, my own substitutions/improvisations are in bold below:

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons herbes de Provence 
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile pepper flakes
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 2 small zucchini or summer squash, cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon of the salt, and set aside in a paper-towel-lined bowl while preparing the other vegetables.

Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, oil, garlic, herbes de Provence, chile flakes and pepper in a small bowl. Put the bell peppers, onions and zucchini into a large bowl and pour the oil mixture over them. Pat eggplant dry with another paper towel and toss with vegetables, coating everything thoroughly. Spread vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, until golden and very soft, 30 to 35 minutes.

Put tomatoes into a large bowl and break them up using your hands or a spoon. Add roasted vegetables and vinegar and stir well. I added fresh basil at this point because our basil plant is going nuts and needed to be trimmed. And also because fresh basil is the ish and makes everything more awesome. 

They say: Cool to room temperature before serving, or cover and refrigerate overnight. We did no such thing, and instead at it hot with some chicken sausages. 

Bonus: It tastes even better the next day, hot or cold. We tried both!

Double Bonus: This dish is rich in flavor, and very filling. It is packed with a variety of nutrients, and you can pair it with your favorite protein for a satisfying, low-carb meal.