Time for some accountability: I haven’t been running much (or working out) lately, and I’ve been drinking waaaay too much diet coke. Although I actually did relatively well with eating over Thanksgiving (weight gain of less than half a lb.), the weeks that followed weren’t as successful. Sadly, a few more pounds inched their way back onto my frame while I was busy writing grad school essays and being depressed about the arrival of winter(ish) weather. Luckily my first (and most in-depth) grad school application is submitted and I’m now crossing my fingers for an acceptance letter to Ohio State around February. Now, I have a few more applications to submit, and I am buckling down and getting back to my work-out routine (hopefully). Despite some bad habits creeping back, I did try a few new HEALTHY recipes over the past weeks that I’d like to share with you now!
SWEET POTATO AND BLACK BEAN ENCHILADAS (this recipe is vegetarian and can be made gluten free!)
I’ll admit I was a little scared to attempt this unique recipe. I’ve never enjoyed candied sweet potatoes and I was reluctant to use them in a savory dish. I saw a recipe for sweet potato enchiladas in a random flier that came in the mail. After scouring the internet for variations on the recipe and being mostly inspire by this recipe from Karina’s Kitchen, I decided to give these babies a try. This was a surprisingly tasty and filling recipe that even my fiance Justin (who was VERY reluctant) said he enjoyed. His exact words were, “I don’t want to like this, but I do.”
- About 3 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 can black beans
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. chipotle seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/3 of a red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 1 small can diced chiles
- 2 limes, or lime juice
- One jar of salsa verde (or two small cans)
- 8 tortillas (I used Buena Vida Low-Carb tortillas, but use whatever you like best)
- 1-1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (mexican blend or whatever!)
Start by cubing your sweet potatoes. I used three potatoes which was a little more than two cups chopped. Steam (or boil) your sweet potatoes until they are slightly soft, but not mushy. While sweet potatoes are cooking, drain and rinse the black beans. In a small bowl, squeeze limes or lime juice over the black beans. Mix the minced garlic, chipotle seasoning, chili powder, and cumin into the black beans and set aside. In a skillet, saute onions, bell pepper, and chile peppers in a little bit of olive oil. As vegetables soften, add the sweet potatoes into the skillet and mix together to blend flavors. Remove from heat.
At this point, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees while the dish is constructed. Pour about 1/3 cup of salsa verde in the bottom of a large glass baking dish. Microwave tortillas to make them soft and pliable (or heat in a little bit of oil if you feel inspired). Place tortilla into the salsa, top with 1/8 of the sweet potato mixture, and 1/8 of the black beans and then roll into an enchilada. Repeat with the other seven tortillas. Once all enchiladas are rolled, pour salsa verde generously over the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. You can also put any excess filling in the pan, as I did (below) with the black beans.
Place dish in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and tortillas are starting to get crisp around the edges. I would recommend serving 2 enchiladas per person, which is around 490 calories. Serve and ENJOY!
LOW-CARB STUFFED PEPPERS
Again, this recipe is a healthier take on a popular dish. Stuffed peppers are tasty, but usually have greasy ground beef and are high in carbs due to the rice. This recipe substitutes heart-health ground turkey and quinoa (a delicious protein-packed seed) instead of rice. I also added in zucchini to lighten up the filling and add more nutrition to the dish!
- 2 cups dry quinoa
- 1 c. mild salsa
- 1 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, chopped
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 2-3 cups tomato sauce (or tomato juice)
- Onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper to taste
- 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
Start by measuring out two cups of dried quinoa and add into a medium sauce pan with salsa and water. Add salt and pepper as desired, and bring mixture to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, lower heat and add in chopped zucchini. While the quinoa mixture continues to cook, brown ground turkey with diced onions, and add seasoning to taste. When the turkey is done, set aside until the quinoa mixture is done. At this point, go ahead and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Quinoa usually takes about 15 minutes to cook, but you can usually tell that quinoa is done when the grains become somewhat translucent and looks like it has popped open. Like rice, you want there to be little water left in the pot when you turn the heat off, so ensure that most of the water has been soaked up by the grain.
Once quinoa is done, stir in the ground turkey and onions and add any additional garlic, chili powder or other seasoning as desired. Don’t be afraid to taste the mixture as it should be quite tasty both in and out of the pepper. Set mixture aside, cut your peppers in half, and remove the stem and seeds from each. Stuff each pepper-half with the filling and place them stuffing-up in a large glass baking dish.If you have extra stuffing, save it! It’s tasty on its own. Once all the peppers are in the pan, pour tomato sauce or tomato juice over the peppers and sprinkle lightly with cheese and pop those suckers in the oven. Cook for 30 minutes and enjoy your healthy new take on stuffed peppers! Each half a pepper should be about 275 calories, but they’re packed with protein and hardly any carbs! Mine turned out delicious, and Justin loved this recipe, too!