October 17, 2011

Menu Plan for October 17-21 and Maple Sweet Potato Puree

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.

Monday

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

Tuesday

Breakfast: hard-boiled eggs, apple

Lunch: salmon and steamed kale

Dinner: out or leftovers – I have two soccer games

Wednesday

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

Thursday

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

Friday

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.

16 Responses to “Menu Plan for October 17-21 and Maple Sweet Potato Puree”

  1. I had a leftover sweet potato from camping this weekend. It had been baked in the coals, so it was pretty much naturally pureed. ;-) It was delish, and your recipe looks even more delish, Alta. :-)

    Shirley

    • Shirley – I bet sweet potatoes cooked in coals would be amazing. Okay, well, just about anything cooked in coals is amazing. I guess it’s that campfire food phenomenon.

  2. Hi Alta – Great plan. I am curious about your okra, how do you saute it? Any spices? I am not good with cooking okra yet even though I grew some again this year. I have a couple of Indian recipes for it and I know how to deep fry it in cornmeal from my Southern MIL. Other than that… I never know what to do with it. I have a few more pods in the frig to cook up this week.
    And I am right there with you, those are about the only things that get microwaved in my house too.
    Renee

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  4. I just found your blog and really like it! I too plan every single meal once a week, and I find it to be so much easier to not only manage, but to then give my family healthy eats. Can’t wait to keep reading!

  5. I see you have chili in the freezer..is it your wonderful veggie bean pumpkin chili? I’m craving it and yippy it’s cold in Texas. I’m on another cleanse be done in 13 days and your chili is first on the list!

  6. I tried the whole meal planning thing, but found that I NEVER stuck to it so I dropped it. I’m a very moody eater so it’s hard to know on Sunday what I want to eat on Wed. However, I would eat this sweet potato puree any day of the week! I love the addition of just a touch of maple syrup!

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