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My Favorite Healthy Frozen Foods

Hi friends! Happy Friday! I am traveling for work today, but I wanted to post this for you guys before your weekend grocery shopping.

Over the past few years, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the variety of healthy foods I’ve found in the freezer aisle. For years, all you could find were Lean Cuisines and Healthy Choice frozen dinners that disguise themselves as “healthy,” but in reality are swimming in sodium and added junk.

I’ve tried A LOT of frozen foods at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and below are some of my favorites. As always, make sure to check the ingredient lists on the items you pick up. General rule of thumb: if you can’t pronounce an ingredient or you’ve never heard of it, put the item back on the shelf.

 

My Favorite Healthy Frozen Foods // littlechefbigappetite.com

 

  1. Udi’s Gluten-Free Margherita Pizza // This is one of our favorite options on a night we don’t have time to cook. This gluten-free crust tastes REALLY good and it’s SO much healthier than traditional frozen pizzas! For an added nutritional boost, we sometimes add chicken or extra veggies.
  2. Whole Foods 365 Vegetable Medley // Whoever said frozen fruit and vegetables aren’t healthy is totally wrong. In fact, frozen fruit and veggies can actually be more nutritious than their fresh counterparts because they’re flash frozen to lock in nutrients. I love having a bag of these veggies in my freezer to heat up alongside any protein. So quick and easy.
  3. Van’s Whole Grain Waffles // A healthy and fast breakfast option. I even like these as a mid-day snack with a smear of almond butter.
  4. Dr. Praegar’s California Veggie Burgers // These burgers are packed with veggies! I like to stick mine under the broiler to get it extra crispy. Then I top it with sliced avocado and a little bit of all-natural ketchup.
  5. Trader Joe’s Brown Rice // On busy nights, who has 40 minutes to wait for rice to cook? This pre-cooked brown rice is the easiest thing! Just plop it in the microwave and healthy whole grains in minutes.
  6. Australis Barramundi // I find this at Whole Foods and it’s A+++++! This is what I use to make my Barramundi with Balsamic Tomatoes
  7. Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles // A meat alternative that doesn’t contain soy!? I’m in! I love using this “Beefy Crumble” in place of regular ground beef to make pasta sauces or tacos!
  8. Alexia Sweet Potato Fries // While maybe still not as good (or clean) as my homemade sweet potato fries, these fries are GOOD. Get them extra crispy by baking them on a single layer and then sticking them under the broiler for the last few minutes. Delicious with chicken, a veggie burger, the list goes on.
  9. Whole Foods 365 Blueberries // Same thing as a veggie medley – there is NOTHING wrong with frozen fruits and vegs! I defrost these in the microwave for 30 seconds and then add them to yogurt. Fresh berries in the middle of winter, yes please!

 

While I absolutely love fresh, homemade meals, sometimes it’s just not an option, so I love having a few of these items in the freezer for when I am in a pinch.

I’d love to know if you guys have any favorites that aren’t on this list!

 

 

Gluten-Free Side Dish Vegan

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes

I am leaving for Boston tonight and I am SO stinking excited! Thanksgiving is my family’s favorite holiday. We all look forward to this week every year. All of the out of town guests stay at my parents’ house, so it’s like a big ol’ family reunion every time. The best!

Bessie is flying with us, too. It will be her third time on a plane in a year – our little girl is becoming quite the traveler!

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes Recipe

I know there are a few of you out there who don’t have your Thursday menus finalized yet, and this recipe is just for you!

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Throwing together these Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes couldn’t be easier. And this recipe just might turn the biggest brussels sprouts hater into a fan.

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes Recipe

I love traditional Thanksgiving recipes, from the big bird to stuffing and pie, but one thing I’ve learned over the years is that not every recipe has to be coated in butter to taste delicious.

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes Recipe

This recipe doesn’t use a lick of butter, but it still tastes rich. Just a dash of pure maple syrup gives these veggies the perfect hint of sweetness.

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes Recipe

For a large crowd, this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. I just recommend that you use multiple baking sheets, rather than piling the brussels and sweet potatoes on top of each other. The veggies only crisp up when they are spread out on even layers on the baking sheets.

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating!

 

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 2 cups brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, outer leaves removed, and sliced in half*
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup, divided
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl combine the sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts. Toss with the olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup. Add the chili powder and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
  2. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove from oven, flip and roast for 15-25 minutes more until browned.
  3. Remove from oven and toss with the remaining 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup. Serve warm.
Notes
*Brussels Sprouts come in all sizes, so make sure the pieces are cut to the same size to ensure even roasting.
 

 

 

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com l Healthy, Gluten-Free, Vegan

Beef and Lamb Gluten-Free Grilling Main Meal Salad

Steak Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Green Beans

When I got back from Boston on Monday, Travis told me he bought all of the ingredients to make our favorite steak salad. I was so excited because we had not had it in months.

Steak Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Green Beans Recipe

We started making this steak salad a little over a year ago after trying something similar at one of our favorite restaurants in Santa Monica, The Library Ale House. As I am sure you could have guessed from the name, we love the Ale House for their great selection of beer and wine. They also make a mean burger, but we usually opt for their steak salad instead. It has everything you could want in a salad – bold flavors, fresh ingredients, contrasting textures, and a serious dose of protein.

Steak Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Green Beans Recipe

When I set out to recreate this at home, I made some changes to better suit my taste buds. I subbed green beans for asparagus, used sweet potatoes instead of yukon gold potatoes, and seasoned the steak with my favorite spice rub from Serious Eats. The result? Absolutely AMAZING.

Steak Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Green Beans Recipe

Don’t be turned off by the number of ingredients below. If you’re a steak-lover, then I guarantee it is all worth it! This recipe serves 4, but feel free to make extras because leftovers are great for lunch the next day (I even eat the steak cold and love it!).

Steak Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Green Beans Recipe

 

Steak Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Green Beans
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
For the Steak
For the Salad
  • 1lb sweet potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 6 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup green beans, ends trimmed and steamed
  • ¼ cup shaved parmesan
For the Mustard Dressing
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¾ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and Pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Combine the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, flipping half way through. Remove from the oven and allow to set aside.
  2. Season the steak with a seasoning of choice. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium high heat. Grill the steak for 3-4 minutes on each side, until medium. Remove the steak from the grill and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. After it has rested, slice the steak into 1 inch think slices against the grain.
  3. Prepare the dressing by whisking together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  4. Prepare the salad. Divide the mixed greens among four salad bowls. Top each with the cherry tomatoes, green beans, roasted sweet potatoes, and shaved parmesan. Then add 3-4 slices of the steak and drizzle with dressing.
 

 

 

Side Dish Vegan

Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic, Thyme, and Rosemary

I have a problem.

No, it’s not about my kitchen failures or my addiction to peanut butter. It’s about real life things.

My problem is stress — that stupid, awful, nagging, sensation that gets in your way and makes your head feel like it is going to explode.

You see, I overwhelm myself. Totally unnecessarily, too. If I know a have a few REALLY busy days ahead, my mind freaks out into this “AH-WHAT-ARE-YOU-GOING-TO-DO!?” kinda way. My body freezes up and makes it impossible for me to focus on any one thing because I am too busy worrying about the next thing I have to do.

I know, I know, one step at a time. But, it’s hard, you know?

You get it. You stress too. You may just not be as crazy as me. Maybe you’re worse…

How do we stop? How do we make time to do all that we need to do in a day AND all of the other necessary little things. You know, like go to the gym, call our moms, cook a delicious dinner, ask our friends how they are doing…

Well, I am starting to figure it out a little bit. Last week, in the middle of all my craziness, when I wanted to focus on X and could only think about XYZQW!!!!, I roasted some vegetables. The reason was twofold. One: I needed to get away from my computer and forget about life and two: these veggies were pretty much the only thing I had left in my fridge (and god forbid I take any extra time to go to Trader Joes).

Since I can’t just shut my brain off (Google, can you invent something for that?), I cook.

What do you do?

Can we help each other out a little bit?

It’ll be good — I’ll tell you how to cook these delicious “stress-free” veggies and you…oh you know, you’ll buy me a massage, pour me a glass of wine, and listen to my crazy head…

Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic, Thyme, and Rosemary Recipe

This works for you, right?

You’re a good friend. I’m glad I have you.

Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic, Thyme, and Rosemary Recipe

 

 

Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic, Thyme, and Rosemary
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 2-3 handfuls baby carrots
  • 1 medium bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into large pieces (about 2-3”)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (or ½ teaspoon dried)
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl combine all of the vegetables, olive oil, balsamic, thyme and rosemary. Stir well.
  3. Spread the vegetables onto a rimmed baking sheet in one even layer. (If there is extra oil at the bottom of your bowl, do not pour this onto the baking sheet. It will make the vegetables soggy and they will take longer to cook). Season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring the vegetables with a spatula every 15 minutes.