Is it Monday again already? The weekend flew by, as they usually do. I actually am together enough this Monday morning to share a menu plan with you!
A little caveat – while I do create a menu every weekend and plan my grocery shopping around it, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m married to that plan. Things come up (both good and bad) that prevent me from preparing dinner on a certain night. Sometimes, I’m just plain too tired to attack a complicated meal. (This is why I often incorporate easy meals into the menu, so I can rely on those meals when I know I’m not going to have the energy to tackle a new recipe or a dish that takes a lot of steps.) I’m fine with not sticking to my plan 100%. What my menu plan does accomplish for me, however, is peace of mind. Peace of mind knowing that I don’t have to wonder what to make for dinner, peace of mind knowing I’ve (usually) purchased the required grocery items to make said dinner, and peace of mind knowing we are getting a healthy, balanced meal most of the time. I suppose it’s my way of establishing some sense of control over what can otherwise become an overwhelming, chaotic event that for a lot of people, results in grabbing take-out or processed foods.
Breakfast: salmon and baby carrots
Lunch: leftover cabbage from dinner last night, a Tanka bar, almond butter (As I was writing this, I realized that the leftover chicken I’d packed for today is really too old to be safe to eat – it’s from last Tuesday. Whoops. Major fail on my part. Good thing I have some snacks in my desk for emergencies, or I’d be only eating cabbage for lunch!)
Dinner: lamb chops, acorn squash, garden salad
Breakfast: hard-boiled eggs, apple
Lunch: salmon and steamed kale
Dinner: out or leftovers – I have two soccer games
Breakfast: green smoothie with kabocha, spinach, protein powder, and pumpkin pie spices
Lunch: chili (there is some stashed in the freezer!)
Dinner: crustless chicken “pot pie”, sauteed okra
Breakfast: hard-boiled eggs, possibly cauliflower rice pudding, if I get time to make it
Lunch: leftover chicken “pot pie” and okra
Dinner: steak, sweet potato puree (see below!), broccoli
Breakfast: hard-boiled eggs, apple with almond butter
Lunch: sardines with celery, leftover broccoli
Dinner: meatballs with spaghetti squash (GF pasta for the kids and hubby)
And now, on to the maple sweet potato puree.
Sweet potato puree is one of my favorite “go-to” side dishes. It’s easy, and my husband and I love it. We’re both huge sweet potato fans, and this is a great way to enjoy them. With a little drizzle of maple syrup, they are sure to make a meal seem special. The best part? I cook them in the microwave!
I’m honestly not much of a microwave “cooker”. I use the microwave to reheat foods and to heat water for herbal tea. During the fall, I also use it to easily “roast” pumpkins and spaghetti squash (that’s a topic for another post!), but honestly, that’s about it. Except when it comes to sweet potato puree. Microwaving the sweet potatoes speeds up the whole process, and since I am pureeing the flesh anyway, it doesn’t deter from the flavor one bit. (In fact, it results in a creamier puree than if I was to boil cubes of sweet potato, since there isn’t additional water in it.) Now that I’ve started making this using the microwave, I don’t think I’ll go back to the slower, more dirty-dish-making method.
Maple Sweet Potato Puree
5 medium-sized sweet potatoes
2 T maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
Using a fork, poke holes in each of the sweet potatoes 4-5 times. Place the sweet potatoes in the microwave on top of a plate or paper towels. Microwave for about 12 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are soft when squeezed. (Squeeze carefully – don’t burn yourself!) Remove and set aside for a few minutes, until they are cool enough to handle.
Get your food processor ready with the metal “S” blade. As soon as you can handle the sweet potatoes, cut open the skin and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Place the flesh in the food processor. Drizzle syrup over, and turn on the food processor. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. The sweet potato puree should still be hot enough to serve, but if it’s not, you can place it in a small saucepan and heat it over low heat on the stovetop.
If desired, drizzle additional maple syrup over each serving. We don’t usually do this, but it sure makes the photo look more drool-worthy! Serves 4.
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.