I had a follow up doctor’s appointment today (and another one next week – don’t ask) and I just have to report that I am SUPER pleased. My blood pressure was a perfect 120/80, even though I felt like I was probably too stressed for it to be anywhere near normal. Now, I admit that I usually drink coffee and didn’t today, and that I got to the doctor’s office as early as possible to avoid getting road rage… But, considering my first score, this was a relief.
I also took the rest of the day off – I needed to just relax a little bit and try to let my body recouperate. I was really afraid that if I had to rush to work I would not be able to keep my blood pressure low (especially since my doctor’s office seems to specialize in long wait times). So I got to do a little thrift store and Avenue clearance shopping (yay!) and see my darling Shera at her first wedding dress fitting. And best of all, I got to cook dinner. I love cooking – I just really haven’t had time/felt up to it lately. So this was one of the hilights of my day!
I realized that this is a really easy, quick, versatile, and tasty recipe that is also awfully healthy (lots of colorful veggies, which I love to sort of disguise in dishes… practice for when we have kids, I guess…) – so I thought I’d share! By the way, any recipe I have on here is my own creation unless I credit it to someone else.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion (about 1 cup chopped)
- 1 medium sweet bell pepper (red, yellow, orange, or whatever color combination you prefer; about 3/4 cup chopped)
- 1 regular Anaheim chile, diced (they’re the long green ones and they’re about as not-hot as they come; but please be careful when you’re dicing the chile up – even though they’re not hot, they still contain capcaisin and I can attest to the fact that it sticks to the skin on your fingers for hours… and doesn’t feel very good in your eye)
- 6-8 large cloves garlic (diced, crushed, or minced)
- 1 large tomatillo
- 1 medium tomato
- 1 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (defrost frozen shrimp using cold water and drain; you can use frozen shrimp but it only ends up taking longer and being watery)
- juice of 1/2 large lime (1-2 tbsp)
- generous splash of tequila (I used about 2 tbsp)
- dash black pepper (to taste)
In a large sautee pan, heat oil on medium until it begins to shimmer. Add onion and both peppers and cook until just softened (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and tomatillo and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add tomato and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add shrimp all at once and cook until the shrimp begin to change color (do not cook through yet), about 3 minutes. Add lime, black pepper, and tequila (they always say to turn off the stove when you do this, so you don’t get a flare up) and finish cooking the shrimp (they will be completely opaque and pink and curl up), another 3-5 minutes.
Serve in a burrito or a taco, or over rice. Serves 4 (we like the leftovers for lunch the next day!). You can add more nutrition and flavor by serving with beans and avocado! I also like using the same treatment for chicken.
I’ve been trying to cook at home most nights lately (I got out of the habit when I got so busy last fall) and I’ve been trying to incorporate more veggies and whole grains into things… Last week I made a homemade pizza covered in vegetables (so good). Monday night I made a giant salad full of good things (corn, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, avocado, etc.) and topped with steamed salmon and a basil vinaigrette.
Last night I decided to make veggie/chicken panini and I started thinking about sides while taking my walk. Suddenly, the idea of sweet potato fries was so incredibly powerful – it was like a craving. But I didn’t want to actually FRY (that would defeat the “healthy living” purpose of eating more veggies). So I came up with this super-tasty, easy, and deceptively healthy recipe!
Sweet Potato “Un”Fries
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees (I didn’t do multiple batches or anything, so it might work just as well on 400 or 450).
- Start several quarts of water in a large pan on the stove; you want it GENTLY boiling. Add a little salt to help it get boiling faster. Supposedly it seasons whatever’s being cooked in it, but I don’t really notice a difference except in boiling times.
- Cut one yam/sweet potato into fry-shaped sticks (enough to cover your baking sheet and feed your family). I was only doing enough for one meal, so it took literally about a quarter of one large sweet potato. But be aware that it doesn’t slice very evenly or very well – so I had a lot of small, uneven bits. I saved those and will make mashed sweet potatoes tonight or tomorrow with dinner. There’s probably a better way to do this than with a large chef’s knife, but that’s what I had laying around. My fries were about 2 1/2 inches long by 1/2 an inch wide.
- When the water comes to a boil, dump all the “fries” in at once. It will stop boiling but that’s okay.
- Let the fries cook in the water for about 3-5 minutes. They’re ready when they’re fork tender but not falling apart!
- Drain and let the fries cool. In the mean time, prepare your other ingredients.
- You’ll need 3 separate plates/bowls. My hubby found it very helpful to use 2 bowls and a quart baggie! In the first one (the quart baggie, in his case), you’ll put flour and seasonings. Go light on the seasonings, but definitely add a little salt to balance out the sweetness of the potatoes. In the second bowl, mix up 2 or 3 raw eggs. You can add water or milk if you need more liquid. In the third, you’ll want panko bread crumbs.
- Working in small batches, first cover the cooled fries with seasoned flour (hubby dumped in a handful and shook the bag up). Then dip in the egg (Try to get egg all over the fries – raw flour tastes nasty and panko doesn’t stick unless there’s egg everywhere). Last, roll the fries in panko (I liked putting four or five in a bowl and sort of using a rolling motion to get them all covered).
- Lay the fries out on your largest cookie sheet. They shouldn’t touch but they don’t have to be too far apart. There’s no need to use any oil or cooking spray as long as the fries are covered in panko.
- Place in the oven and bake approx. 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy!
These were even good today (warmed up in our work toaster oven). The panko is really satisfyingly crispy and you really feel like you’re eating something “bad”!
Beautiful sweet potato fries! Photo by me, fries by me! 😉