Desperation Dinners: Simple Stuffed Sweet Potato

Simple Stuffed Sweet Potato with Lentils

Confession: I have not been to the grocery store since before Thanksgiving. Before Thanksgiving!!! As a result, my fridge is looking pretty bare, and all I have left are a few pantry staples. Think you can’t make a delicious meal with a sweet potato, dried lentils, and Greek yogurt? Think again! This vegetarian meal is packed full of protein and fiber to keep you full for hours.

Simple Stuffed Sweet Potato

Simple Stuffed Sweet Potato with Lentils

Ingredients

  • 1
    medium to large sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup
    green lentils, cooked (I cooked up a few servings of lentils ahead of time)
  • 1/4 cup
    nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
  • Chili Powder
  • Paprika

Cooking Directions

  1. Rinse your dried lentils off before cooking. Cook the lentils by simmering them on the stovetop for about 30 minutes. Use a 2:1 ratio of water to lentils. There is no need to soak them overnight.
  2. Wash your sweet potato well, and then poke holes all over it with a fork. Microwave the potato for 5 minutes on high.
  3. Flip your potato over, assess its level of doneness, and microwave for an additional 2-4 minutes. If your lentils are coming from the fridge, this would be a good time to warm them up on the plate with the potato.
  4. Once your potato and lentils are warm and cooked, slice along the topside of your potato and pop it open. Be careful, it’s HOT!
  5. Give the potato a few good shakes of chili powder and paprika and mash it in with your fork.
  6. Next add ½ cup of cooked lentils into the potato, and sprinkle on more chili powder and paprika. This is where the flavor comes from!
  7. Finally, dollop on ¼ cup of nonfat, plain Greek yogurt, and sprinkle on a tiny bit more paprika and chili powder, for garnish. Serves 1. Enjoy!

Nutrition: 325 calories, 0g fat, 4mg cholesterol, 94mg sodium, 1050mg potassium, 63g carbohydrates (15g fiber, 17g sugar), 18g protein, 769% Vitamin A, 68% Vitamin C, 16% Calcium, 26% Iron

Nutrition Facts estimated using MyFitnessPal.

-Kelly

Daily Oatmeal [UPDATED 11-8-2014]

[NOTE: The recipe, text, photos, and nutrition facts were updated on 11-8-2014 to reflect the new way that I make my daily oatmeal. The old version did not have flaxseed, and had brown sugar instead of date paste.]

Daily Oatmeal

This recipe is the reason that I wake up excited in the morning. Some people need their morning coffee, I need my morning oats. And not just any bowl of oatmeal. This bowl of oatmeal.

This porridge is a simplified take on an Ellie Krieger recipe. I updated this recipe to include flaxseed, and use date paste as a sweetener instead of brown sugar. After all, the maximum added sugar recommendation from the American Heart Association is 6 tsp a day for adult women, and 9 tsp for adult men.

Most people don’t even make it out of the house before exceeding these sugar limits, so re-purposing fruit as a sweetener (imagine that!) is a great healthy habit to start. If you don’t have dates on hand, add them to your grocery list. In the meantime, mashed bananas are another great way to naturally sweeten your morning porridge.

Daily Oatmeal

Oatmeal with Raisins & Almonds (aka Kelly’s Daily Oatmeal)

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon date paste
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (it needs to be ground, rather than whole, to release the nutrients)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk (I use organic)

Method:

  1. Pour oats into a microwave safe bowl and then evenly pour 2/3 cup water on top.
  2. Microwave for 2 minutes (you may have to stop halfway through to stir if your oatmeal is prone to spilling over the edges of the bowl).
  3. After oats are done cooking, stir in the date paste and flaxseed.
  4. Top with raisins and almonds, and finish with a splash of milk (about 1/4 cup).

Nutrition: 330 calories, 8.5g fat (1g saturated), 59g carbohydrates (8g fiber, 22g sugar*), 11g protein, 4% Vitamin A, 1% Vitamin C, 15% Calcium, 16% Iron

*all sugars are naturally occurring- none are the dangerous added sugars

Daily Oatmeal

A note on microwave cooking: I find that my Fiestaware Cereal Bowl is the PERFECT size for cooking 1 serving of old fashioned rolled oats in the microwave, without the risk of spilling over the sides. (Unfortunately, the only Fiestaware bowls I have are forest green and mauve, my mom’s rejects from the early 90’s).

Why am I so crazy about oatmeal? Oats have a healthy dose of soluble fiber which binds with the cholesterol inside of your body and helps it to exit your body. Any other oatmeal lovers out there?

  • Check out one of my favorite blogs: The Oatmeal Artist. This website is filled with creative (and oftentimes vegan) oatmeal recipes. Chai and Pear Oatmeal, anyone?
  • Check out my oatmeal board on Pinterest. This board is my collection of yummy oatmeal (and other hot breakfast cereal) recipes that I can’t wait to try.
  • And for a real indulgence, JP Licks makes an oatmeal cookie flavored low fat frozen yogurt. I tried it in September and haven’t quit talking about it since!

-Kelly

Broccoli Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes, made with Greek Yogurt

UPDATED ON 03-09-2014 WITH NEW PHOTOS!

Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes made with Greek yogurt

Broccoli Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes might sound indulgent, but I used nonfat Greek yogurt and a generous dose of veggies to give this comfort food dish a healthy makeover. These twice-baked potatoes are protein packed (13 grams per serving) and have your day’s worth of Vitamin C due to the full serving of broccoli! These potatoes would pair great with a hearty lentil soup, a salad topped with fresh fruit, or a serving of roasted chicken. They are also a snap to make, because the first bake is done in the microwave. So what are you waiting for?

Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes made with Greek yogurt

Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes made with Greek yogurt

Broccoli Cheddar Twice Baked Potatoes with Greek Yogurt (inspired by this recipe)

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 medium to large Russet Potatoes
  • 1/2 cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt (I used Oikos Organic)
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 2 cups broccoli, steamed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, separated

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. While the oven is preheating, puncture the potato multiple times with a fork, and bake in the microwave. I heated both potatoes up together on a plate for 5 minutes on high, then flipped them and cooked for another 5 minutes. Cooking times will vary, so just cook until soft.
  3. Once potatoes are cooked, slice them in half lengthwise.
  4. Scoop the potato flesh out of each of the four potato halves and put them in a bowl, leaving four skins. I removed the potato flesh by scoring the potato like an avocado. The skins don’t need to be sturdy.
  5. Place the four empty skins alongside each other on a greased baking sheet.
  6. In the bowl, use a fork to mash the potato. Add the Greek yogurt, milk, broccoli and about half of the cheese, and stir well to combine.
  7. Once the potato and broccoli mixture is well combined with a mashed potato consistency, scoop out the mixture and evenly divide it onto the four potato skins.
  8. Evenly sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, and bake for about 20 minutes.

Nutrition per serving: 224 calories, 2.6g fat (1.5g saturated), 11.6mg cholesterol, 99.3mg sodium, 1132g potassium, 38g carbohydrates (4.6g fiber, 5.4g sugar), 13g protein, 8.1%Vitamin A, 99.9% Vitamin C, 18% Calcium, 10.7% Iron

-Kelly

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal

[UPDATED ON 1-18-2015 WITH NEW PHOTOS & UPDATED RECIPE]

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal, with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans

After having so much success making this delicious Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal in the slow cooker, I decided to tweak the recipe and create an overnight pumpkin steel cut oatmeal. Fresh cranberries and chopped pecans round out the fall flavors.

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal, with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup 100% pure pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 1 cup milk (I used organic nonfat milk)
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ cup ground flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup uncooked steel cut oats
  • 2/3 cup fresh (or frozen) cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Method

  1. Coat inside of slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Pour water, spices, maple syrup, vanilla, flax and pumpkin into a separate bowl and whisk until combined.
  3. Pour pumpkin mixture and oats into the slow cooker and stir to combine. Then, evenly sprinkle cranberries and pecan pieces on top.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 4.5 to 5 hours. I use a programmable slow cooker so that I can get more than five hours of sleep and still wake up to warm oatmeal. Once the oatmeal is done cooking, the slow cooker holds the food warm.
  5. Divide into 4 bowls and serve immediately, or put leftover servings into the fridge for later. Sometimes I like to stir in a few tablespoons of milk upon serving to produce a more creamy oatmeal. To reheat individual servings, add about ¼ cup of water and microwave on high for about 1 ½ minutes. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal, with Fresh Cranberries and Pecans

Nutrition per serving: 350 calories, 11g fat (1g saturated fat), 52g carbohydrates (10g fiber, 16g sugar*), 12g protein, 30mg sodium, 193% Vitamin A, 8% Vitamin C, 16% Calcium, 18% Iron

*9g added sugars (2 1/4 teaspoons) from the Maple syrup

-Kelly

Slow Cooker Brunswick Stew

UPDATED WITH NEW PHOTOS ON 3-23-2014!

Healthy Slow Cooker Brunswick Stew

I was first introduced to delicious Brunswick stew at The Brickstore Pub in Decatur, Georgia. This sweet and savory stew is hearty and filling, and the perfect recipe to come home to after a long fall day. I took this recipe and made it extra healthy by increasing the vegetable content and omitting excess sugar and butter. A side salad or kale chips make this a meal! (Mine is pictured with the seeded 7-grain bread from Clear Flour)

Healthy Slow Cooker Brunswick Stew

Slow Cooker Brunswick Stew, a healthy take on this recipe

Serves 9 (Makes about nine 1 1/2 cup servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 small new potatoes, chopped (I used 2 red and 2 golden)
  • 1 pound package frozen lima beans
  • 1 pound package frozen corn
  • 1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (I used Stubbs Original)
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to a 6 quart slow cooker, stir, and cook on low for 10 hours (or high for 5-6 hours). After cooking, shred any remaining large pieces of pork and stir before serving.

Healthy Slow Cooker Brunswick Stew

Nutrition per serving (1 1/2 cups): 233 calories, 2.6g fat (0.6g saturated), 32.8mg cholesterol, 287mg sodium, 37.8g carbohydrates (5g fiber, 10.6g sugar), 18.4g protein, 6.2% Vitamin A, 37.8% Vitamin C, 6.9% Calcium, 12.1% Iron

Nutrition Facts were estimated using the following ingredients:

-Kelly