Dairy-free | Soy-free | Gluten-free | Nut-free | Clean eating | Paleo | Vegetarian | Vegan
This is one of my favorite, easiest ways to make sweet potatoes. (I’ll post the other one soon; we eat LOTS of sweet potatoes around here.) I got the original recipe from a paleo blog while we were living in London and had very few kitchen tools to cook with, but then I guess the blog disappeared because I can’t access it anymore! So since I still make this all the time, I’m posting my version here so that hopefully it never gets lost again.
The beauty of it is there’s no wrong way. You can make them salty, spicy, sweet–or a combination of all 3. I even throw one Russett potato in there for the 2/5 of my family who don’t like sweet potatoes (gasp!). The trick to getting them crispier without burning them is using a very small amount of oil. They’re still not going to be as crisp as the ones you buy in the freezer section that are coated with stuff to enhance the texture, but they’re so delicious.
Sweet Potato Oven Wedges
- 2-3 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed well and well dried off
- up to 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- spices of choice: I use about 1/2 tsp. salt, a sprinkle of pepper, and a touch of paprika. Try cinnamon and a little maple syrup; or salt, thyme, and cayenne; or any of your favorites! Please comment below with what you enjoy; I love trying new variations!
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Slice your sweet potatoes lengthwise into 1/2-inch wedges and place in a large bowl.
- Drizzle a very small amount of olive oil and toss with your hands until wedges are just coated. Sprinkle on about 1/2 tsp. salt (or your maple syrup–remember, small amounts), tossing as you go.
- Spread them in a single layer onto an ungreased nonstick baking sheet. Don’t use parchment paper or foil; it makes them harder to flip. Sprinkle remaining seasonings over the top.
- Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, then remove and flip all the wedges. Return to oven and bake another 11-15 minutes.
Meatless | Clean | Vegetarian option | Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free
Have you read the children’s book Strega Nona, by Tomie de Paola? The main character is a grandmother witch who has a magic pasta pot. She sings a song to it, and it magically fills with fresh, hot pasta:
Bubble, bubble, pasta pot–
Boil me some pasta, nice and hot.
I’m hungry and it’s time to sup;
Boil enough pasta to fill me up.
Her bungling assistant, Big Anthony, thinks he knows her secret, but he forgets one crucial step and soon the whole town is swimming in pasta!
We love that book. And we love pasta! When I first introduced my girls to this recipe, I called it “Strega Nona pasta,” because it’s magic, just like hers! This pasta won’t magically appear in your pot, but it takes so few steps that it might as well. And at least you don’t have to worry about it overflowing and filling your house!
I love that I can dump all these fresh, delicious ingredients into a pot, turn on the burner, and when the timer goes off, I have a magical pot full of fragrant, hot pasta, ready to eat–I don’t even need to drain it!
“Strega Nona” Pasta
Original recipe here
- 12 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti (I throw in a couple handfuls of short pasta, like whole-wheat rotini, for my little ones as well)
- 1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
- 2 cups (1 pint) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 sprigs fresh basil, chiffonade (cut into ribbons)
- up to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I use 1/4 tsp)
- up to 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp good-quality balsamic vinegar
- 4 to 4 1/2 cups chicken (or “no-chicken” or vegetable) broth
- optional: fresh grated parmesan
- Dump all ingredients into a large pot with tall sides. If your pot isn’t wide enough for your spaghetti to lie flat, break the spaghetti in half.
- Bring to a boil over high heat; boil 10-12 minutes or until pasta is cooked and much of the liquid is absorbed.
- Serve immediately, topped with parmesan if desired.
Vegetarian | Clean eating | Dairy-free option | Soy-free | Gluten-free option
Meet my husband’s favorite meal:
Ok, so it’s really hard to make enchiladas look sexy, but trust me, they’re awesome. The key is the homemade enchilada sauce. I love restaurant enchiladas, but never loved how they tasted when I made them at home using the canned sauce. The homemade stuff a total game-changer. I make a double batch so that I can freeze half of it for another time. For our family, I can get away with stretching the filling to two 9×9 pans–one for now, and one to either give away or freeze for later (the Hefty foil pans are ideal for either use). So when I double the sauce, I get enough for four dinners’ worth of deliciousness!
Keep this one clean with whole-grain tortillas and less-processed chicken broth in the sauce. Make it truly vegetarian with “no-chicken” broth. Make it dairy-free with vegan cheese: we use Daiya cheddar shreds and it tastes similar enough that my husband and kids don’t pitch a fit. Make it gluten-free with the right tortillas.
Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas
Enchiladas: adapted slightly from here.
- tortillas of choice
- 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
- 6 oz (1 1/2 cups) shredded Mexican blend cheese or Daiya shreds, divided
- heaping 1/2 tsp cumin
- heaping 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 cups enchilada sauce (below)
- 1/4 cup onions strained from sauce (see below)
- Preheat oven to 375 and spray a baking dish (one 9×13 or two 8x8s).
- In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, 4 oz (1 cup) of the cheese, spices, and strained onions. Use a fork to mash some of the beans so that mixture is chunky and incorporated, keeping some of the beans whole.
- Lay a tortilla flat and spoon about 2 heaping Tbsp (or more, if you like a larger filling-to-tortilla ratio) into the center. Roll it up and place seam-side down in the prepared baking dish, then repeat until dish is filled.
- Pour sauce over enchiladas (if preparing 2 pans, pour 1 cup over each pan), then top with remaining shredded cheese. (If freezing, wrap well with foil and plastic wrap and freeze at this stage. Then thaw 24 hours before baking.) Bake, uncovered, 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
Enchilada sauce: adapted from here. Tip: Double it!
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-3 Tbsp chili powder, to taste
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 15-oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 cup chicken (or no-chicken) broth
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for a few minutes, until just beginning to brown around the edges. Add the garlic, spices, and salt; toast until fragrant, about a minute.
- Stir in the tomato sauce and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes.
- Remove sauce from heat and pour through a strainer set over a bowl. Use a rubber spatula to press the onions into the mesh and force out more of the sauce. Save about 1/2 cup of the onions to mix into the filling.
- This makes about 2 cups sauce. It keeps in the fridge for up to a week, or the freezer for up to 3 months!
It looks like I need to adjust my schedule slightly… I usually write my Monday-morning post on Saturday evening, but I just got called to teach the 3-year-olds at church — there are 8 of them & only 1 of me — so guess what I was doing Saturday night? How did it go? Well, let’s just say that I need to prepare more than I did last week. MUCH more.
So here I am, writing my Monday-morning post on Monday night. But it’s worth the wait, I promise!
Have you visited skinnytaste.com? If you haven’t, you definitely need to head over there & browse Gina’s recipes. She’s great at replicating the tastes of favorite meals & decadent desserts, but making them lowfat & better for you! She even includes Weight Watchers points values, for those of you who have the willpower to do that (I applaude you). This is her vegetarian baked ziti recipe. It’s low in fat, delicious (a huge hit with my whole family!), & makes a TON. So as always, I make a small pan (8×8) for now — we still had leftovers! — & freeze the rest for later.
But I’ve been running into a problem lately with my beloved foil pans: as you probably know, tomato sauce reacts with the aluminum, causing the entire dish to taste like you’re eating a can. No good! For tomato-based dishes like my stuffed shells, I had been lining the foil pan in parchment paper & then adding another layer of parchment on top before covering it with foil, but I just discovered something new & SO much easier!
Paper baking pans! I honestly can’t remember who makes them — Hefty, maybe — but I just know when I saw them at the grocery store I NEEDED THEM. They seal up so nicely with their own little lids too, don’t they? The only negative is that they don’t fit into my gallon freezer bags like the smaller foil ones did, so we’ll see how leftovers fare for extended periods in the freezer, but at least there’s no more metallic taste or parchment paper lining! Hooray!
Okay, now for what you really came here for: the recipe.
- 1 package (usually they’re 14.5 oz.) high-fiber short pasta (we used Piccolini penne because they’re cheap at Costco)
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed & drained
- 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil (I used 1 Tbsp. dried)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 8 oz. fat-free ricotta (I could only find part-skim, so I used that)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan
- 2 cups (8-oz. pkg.) shredded part-skim mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 375. Spray baking dishes with cooking spray.
- Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain & return to pot.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil on medium heat in a medium saucepan. Saute garlic until fragrant.
- Add spinach & tomatoes.
- Stir in oregano, basil, & salt & pepper.
- Pour sauce into the pot with the pasta & mix well. Add ricotta, Parmesan, & half of the mozzarella (1 cup). Mix well.
- Spread in bottom of prepared baking dishes. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Put extra dish in the freezer.
- Bake 27 minutes (for an 8×8 pan — 30 min. for a 9×13 if you’re not freezing leftovers) or until bubbly, cheese is melted, & edges are beginning to brown.
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