easy oven baked sweet potato fries

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DSC_0024These fries are SO GOOD, SUPER ADDICTIVE and honestly as easy to make up as the frozen variety (and cheaper too).  I’m serious!  They’re browned, caramelized and slightly crispy on the outside, and soft, sweet and tender on the inside. Yum, Yum!  I will admit that these fries are not going to be crispy, like fries that have been fried, they tend to be softer like steak fries.

In the past few weeks these fries have become our new favorite dinner/lunch side, and one of the kid’s favorite after school snacks.  I hate even calling these fries, because fries have such a bad rap, and these are healthy.  I call them fries because it gets kids excited to try them, but between you and me, these are really just roasted sweet potatoes in fry form!

See, these fries make my kiddos silly and happy!  I’m even getting the thumbs up from Eli’s friend Robby. Make these fries up for your kiddos and they will be happy to! ;)

DSC_0027These fries are SUPER easy to make.  Just take a sweet potato, slice it up into fries, toss the fries with a bit of olive oil and coarse sea salt, and then bake them in the oven for 20 minutes.  The whole process from start to finish takes roughly 25 minutes.  Let’s be honest, most frozen sweet potato fries take 25-30 minutes to bake up, and they’re frozen peeps, while these take less time and are fresh!  Hmm… fresh or frozen, not much of a decision here.

Sweet potatoes are complex carbohydrate that contain protein, so they’re the perfect lunch/dinner side or snack because they fill you up, so you can eat one sweet potato and not be hungry or tired later.  Bonus! Sweet potato fires are also a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A and potassium.

I baked up some fries for  lunch the other day and paired with my favorite kale salad, and I have to say that I was one happy Marin mama! This lunch kept me full and satisfied until dinner!

sweet potato fries and kale salad

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5-minute roasted cauliflower

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5-minute roasted cauliflowerOk, so I know I’m going a bit crazy with this whole 5-minute skillet veggie concept, but I’ve come to realize that I tend to get a bit obsessed when I find something I like/love, and I love this new 5-minute technique.  In my last post I showed you all how to cook 5-minute roasted Brussels sprouts, and now I’m showing you how to cook cauliflower in 5-minutes, yippee, aren’t you super excited? This 5-minute roasting technique has really saved me time and hassle in the kitchen on those busy weeknights where I want to serve up a vegetable, but don’t have tons of time to heat up the oven and roast veggies for 15 to 20 minutes.  I’m a full-time working mama now, as you all know, and it’s all about efficiency in Marin mama’s kitchen these days.

This method works perfectly if you’re feeding a crew of 5 or less, as you can’t fit too much cauliflower in one 12-inch cast iron skillet.  If you’re feeding a larger crowd, then try my roasted cauliflower method, as it uses a sheet pan. This 5-minute method is perfect for those of you that have one oven. For instance, if you’re cooking up chicken or steak in the oven at a different temperature, you can take out your meat when it’s finished, turn on the broiler and pop these veggies under the broiler for 3-5 minutes while your meat rests.  As I like to say, easy peasy!

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5-minute roasted Brussels sprouts

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5-minute roasted Brussels sproutsI’m starting a new section on my blog labeled 5-minute recipes.  These are recipes that roughly take 5-minutes or less to cook, and who doesn’t love that!  This recipe along with my 5-minute hot quinoa cereal and easy overnight steel-cut oats are the first in the series of great 5-minute recipes that don’t actually taste like a 5-minute recipe. Let’s admit it, we’re all busy and looking for shortcuts in the kitchen, but shortcuts that don’t require the use of a microwave and don’t compromise quality and taste. Well, I found a winner here. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways I’ve found to roast Brussels sprouts, and honestly the tastiest. Eli even begs for these and a year ago her hated Brussels! These Brussels are charred, crispy and caramelized on the outside, and soft with a bit of resistance (not mushy) on the inside. Pure Brussels perfection for my taste buds.  All you do is set the Brussels cut-side down in a searing hot skillet and place them under the broiler to roast the tops, easy peasy.

This is a perfect and healthy side dish for the fall and winter months.  Between these sprouts and my 8-minute roasted broccoli, I’m all set for easy weeknight healthy sidedishes. I also used virgin coconut oil in this recipe, as it’s a better oil to use at higher heat temps, and gives these sprouts a touch of sweetness, perfect for the kiddos. You can use olive oil here as well, and add a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice after roasting, along with some parmesan to add a kick of flavor, like my friend Stacy does.  You could even be bad and toss in some crispy bacon or pancetta, the list goes on and on…

quick and easy roasted Brussels sprouts

5-minute roasted Brussels sprouts:

serves 4 as a side-dish

  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil, melted (this is the coconut oil that smells like coconut) or olive oil
  • fine sea salt

ingredients for quick and easy roasted Brussels sprouts_… 

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roasted broccoli

roasted broccoli

roasted broccoliI thought instead of showing you all some fancy staged photo of a bowl of roasted broccoli, that I would show you my kids actually eating and liking it!  I know that if I hear about someone’s kids digging a veggie then I’m more inclined to make it up for my kids.  So, hopefully by seeing my kids enjoying this super healthy veggie, some of you may be more inclined to make this up for your troops!  I’m also letting you all know that this is not going to be a fancy post with jaw dropping photos, but instead it’s going to be a quick and simple post showing you all a quick and simple family approved recipe.  That’s how Marin mama rolls these days.  I’m a full-time working mama, working on some easy family approved recipes for you all!

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lemon thyme popovers

lemon thyme popovers

lemon thyme popoversHappy Sunday everyone!  My gosh, I can’t believe that it’s been a little over 2 weeks since I’ve posted a recipe for you all.  I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of opening up my blog and looking at that picture of rosemary chicken.  Don’t get me wrong, I love that chicken recipe and have been making it tons, but I’m tired of looking at it everyday, so I decided to get up early (I’m writing this at 5:00 on Sunday) and get a fresh post out to you all.  I’m hoping that with the new time change I’ll be able to get out more recipes, as there will finally be some light to photograph with come dinner time.  Fingers crossed.  

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roasted sweet potato and farro salad

roasted sweet potato and farro salad

roasted sweet potato and farro saladOk, so I start my new job this week as the Director of Catering for Paradise Foods.  I’m going to be in charge of growing and running the catering division for all 3 stores.  It’s a huge job to undertake and I’m a bit nervous as it’s a bit like starting a new business, but I’m good at sales and I love working with people and food, so to me it’s a match made in heaven.  BTW, I’ll be working most of the time out of the Tiburon store, so if any of you see me, please say hi!  So, since I’m going to be working outside of the home, I’ve been looking for some new healthy lunch alternatives to bring into work.  The funny thing is, I’m working at an amazing grocery store with one of the best deli’s, sandwich and salad bars in Marin, so I don’t really need to bring my lunch in, but I’m on a bit of a budget now, so a brown bagged lunch is the way to go.

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acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and roasted almonds

acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and roasted almonds

acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and roasted almondsSome of you who have followed my blog from the beginning may recognize this recipe, as it’s one of the first ones I posted on the blog.  I decided to re-post it as I made a few changes to the recipe and updated all the photos, plus I feel like it’s a wonderful recipe to share with you all this time of year as acorn squash is in season and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  This is a great meatless alternative for Thanksgiving or you can serve these up as a healthy side dish.  You can even make these vegan by adding nutritional yeast in lieu of the feta.

I love this recipe and make it up quite often for lunch in the fall.  I say lunch because my kids are not fans of quinoa and squash, so I really can’t make this up for dinner as my kids would not be happy campers.  This is more of a “mommy and daddy” meal in my house.

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popovers with rosemary and sea salt

popovers with rosemary and sea salt

popovers with rosemary and sea saltWe’re a total popover loving family. We love the traditional popovers, sugar-crusted popovers and now these rosemary and sea salt popovers. Popovers are my carb of choice because they’re SO easy to make up and require a few simple pantry ingredients.  They may look all fancy and formal with their big puffy tops and seem difficult to make, but let me tell you, they’re one of the easiest recipes to make. They even have an exact cooking time which makes them even easier to make up.

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quinoa, tuna and corn salad

quinoa, corn and tuna salad

quinoa, corn and tuna saladQuinoa, quinoa, quinoa.  I’m sure you’re seeing that word everywhere these days and that some of you are tired of seeing recipes with quinoa, but here’s another recipe just incase you’re not tired of it yet.  I admit I did go on a hiatus from cold quinoa dishes for about a year, as I was tired of eating it day after day.  I discovered new and unique ways to enjoy quinoa like sautéed in a patty or cheesy cake, perfect for lunch or as a side dish to your favorite soup or salad.  I also discovered I liked quinoa in the morning mixed in with some steel-cut oats or quinoa flakes mixed with goji berries.  In fact I’m having a bowl of my 5 minute hot quinoa cereal as I type this post, so good!… 

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Israeli couscous salad

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Israeli couscous salad I love it when I find new salads or summer side dishes that can be made ahead to marinate all day or made on the fly to eat up right then and there. This salad is one of those salads that tastes great either way. This is the perfect salad to bring to a potluck, picnic or to serve up in your own backyard. It’s full of summer flavor from the fresh mint, parsley and cherry tomatoes. We love pairing this salad with chicken drumsticks and one of my kale salads for a family backyard dinner. You can really make this a year round salad by adding seasonal ingredients to the mixture, like asparagus in the spring, cauliflower or broccoli in the winter.

I made this salad up last night to bring to my friend Yvonne’s house for a girls dinner. I paired it with my grilled bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes and my kid friendly caesar salad. It was the perfect throw together summer dinner because I made everything ahead of time. I made up the couscous salad earlier in the day, made the croutons and salad dressing for the caesar salad the night before and then threw everything together at Yvonne’s house come dinner.  If you get a bunch of great side dishes, you can make a meal out of them. Here’s a photo of our backyard picnic dinner.

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