The Problem with Purple Potatoes

Recently, my wife and I were shopping at the local Fresh Market and saw some purple sweet potatoes. We’d never seen them before. My wife loves the color purple and we enjoyed several sweet potato recipes, so we decided to pick one up.

We assumed that it could be cooked the same as a regular sweet potato and that just the color was different. So we decided to make grilled sweet potato fries out of it. We really enjoyed them in the past so it seemed like the perfect way to prepare them.

We’ll we were wrong. We forgot one thing about grilling sweet potatoes. It can be difficult to keep them from burning. That in itself isn’t so bad when you use a regular sweet potato because you can tell what color it is and tell when it is starting to turn black. That doesn’t work with purple sweet potatoes.

Purple Sweet Potato Fries

Purple sweet potatoes are very dark to begin with so it is nearly impossible to tell if the are burning until they are really burnt. Despite cooking a pretty reasonable number of fries, we ended up with only a few that were really edible.

Colonie-20130501-00260

The ones that were edible were just as good as the regular sweet potato fries. However, it was tough to pick them out. Sometimes, you thought you had a good one until you ate it. By then it was too late. If they were burnt, they were not at all appetizing.

In the future, if we cook purple sweet potatoes, I’ll try the baked sweet potato fries instead. I think they are too dark to try making potato chips since they tended to burn a little if you weren’t careful.

So I can recommend purple sweet potatoes if you like regular sweet potatoes, but you need to be a bit cautious in how you cook them so they don’t burn.

 

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs Recipe

My wife has often commented on how we should cook chicken thighs since they are generally much cheaper than chicken breast. I tended to think they probably weren’t very good if they were so cheap – besides, they are kind of small too. Well, she found a recipe that changed my mind about them even though the recipe does include garlic powder.

Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken Thighs

I’m including the recipe as it was listed. However, we did stray from it a little.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat.
  4. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray.
  5. Broil chicken 5 minutes on each side.
  6. Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well.
  7. Remove chicken from oven; brush 1/4 cup honey mixture on chicken. Broil 1 minute. Remove chicken from oven and turn over.
  8. Brush chicken with remaining honey mixture. Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done.

We couldn’t find boneless chicken thighs so we got them with the bone. That was both good and bad. The good thing about the thighs with bone is that they are a bit bigger. I’m not sure if there actually is more meat on them than if we used boneless, but it gives the appearance of more. On the other hand, they seemed to take a lot longer to cook than the recipe calls for. They say 5 minutes  per side, then brush with honey and do one or two more minutes per side. I think we ended up cooking them around 10 minutes per side.

Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken Thighs - Plated

Regardless of how long they may have taken to cook, I must say they were absolutely delicious. I would never have guessed they were made with garlic powder if I hadn’t read the recipe. The honey made them nice and sweet and the red pepper gave them some kick.

With this recipe, my opinion of chicken thighs has been changed forever. It definitely meets with this fussy eater’s approval.

via Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs Recipe | MyRecipes.com.

Cajun Flank Steak Recipe

Book - The New Way to Cook Light

This Christmas, my wife got a great new cookbook “The New Way to Cook Light”. Up till now we hadn’t tried any of the recipes. This afternoon we were looking it over and found one that seemed interesting – Cajun Flank Steak.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb flank steak (we used 1.5)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper (we used 1/4)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (we used 1/4)

Directions:

  1. Combine seasoning in a storage bag and mix.
  2. Season both sides of the flank steak.
  3. Heat grill to high heat (around 600).
  4. Grill each side for about 8-10 minutes depending on how you like your steak.
  5. Let rest 5 minutes.
  6. Cut steak diagonally into thin strips.

Cajun Flank Steak - Seasoned

One of the things I like about flank steak is that it is so lean. I hardly had to cut anything off it before it was ready to grill. Try to season it as evenly as possible. If you have a shaker you can use, that might help. I found it a little tough to season evenly.

Cajun Flank Steak - Off the Grill

 

I cut the steak once after I brought it in to make sure it was done properly. My wife likes it a little more rare than I do. This looked pretty good so we let it stand before cutting the rest.

Cajun Flank Steak - Ready to ServeOnce it was all cut I could tell that some of it was a little less done than I like. Linda took the rare portions and I took the meat that was just pink. As you can see it was quite juicy.Cajun Flank Steak with Campfire Potatoes

We made Campfire Potatoes to go along with the steak. I was a bit unsure of them so I added some additional cheddar on top. The Cajun Flank Steak was delicious. It definitely had some kick to it. Between the two of us we finished it off. I will probably try this seasoning again on other cuts of steak as it was really flavorful. I was even bold enough to actually include the garlic powder when I made it. All in all, this steak gets the fussy eater stamp of approval.

 

Southwestern Cod Recipe

If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that I have done a lot with southwestern spices lately. I’ve done tilapia, salmon, and chicken so far. Now it’s time to add cod to the list.

My wife was having king crab the other day and I hadn’t yet tried it at Joe’s Crab Shack so I made something different for myself. I wanted to stay with the seafood theme, so I decided to try cod. It’s another mild fish so I expected that it would turn out well.

Ingredients:

  • Cod fillet
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 lime (or lime juice)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a food storage bag, mix spices together.
  3. Add olive oil to the bag.
  4. Squeeze lime juice into the bag.
  5. Add the cod to the bag and shake until thoroughly coated.
  6. Bake around 15 minutes or so – until flaky.

 

 

I don’t measure things so when I pulled the cod out of the bag, it didn’t seem coated quite well enough. I shook a little black pepper and chili powder on it for good measure. I cooked it in a glass pan as I did with the salmon and tilapia. I like my fish thoroughly cooked so you may want to give it a little less time if you like them a bit less done.

As expected the cod was delicious. I’m slowly becoming more of a seafood eater. At some point I’ll have to try lobster. I’ll probably steer clear of clams because of the texture though. Now that I’m finding more fish that I’ll eat I need to look for some new recipes so I don’t get tired of the same southwestern flavor on all of it.

Any ideas?

 

Southwestern Tilapia and Brown Rice Recipe

I had some brown rice leftover from when I did the chicken and brown rice and I still have a bunch of tilapia from the BOGO at Price Chopper,  so I decided to try it with tilapia instead of chicken. Since I liked the Southwestern Tilapia, I figured I’d use the same basic seasoning. It’s another quick, healthy meal you can make instead of ordering take-out.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tilapia fillets
  • Corn, peas , broccoli or other vegetables as desired

Instructions

  1. Mix olive oil and dry ingredients in a food storage bag.
  2. Add tilapia to the bag and shake until thoroughly coated.
  3. Dump tilapia and the remainder of the oil mix in a skillet.
  4. Cook until tilapia starts to turn a bit more white – but not completely cooked.
  5. Add approximately 2 cups of cooked brown rice to skillet.
  6. Add vegetable to skillet.
  7. Use wooden spoon to mix the ingredients and break the tilapia up.
  8. Stir until all ingredients are cooked.

I overdid it a bit on the red pepper. I don’t measure so my list of ingredients is approximate. Apparently, I must have added a bit more red pepper and chili powder as my mouth was definitely feeling the heat. However, that did a good job of masking the fish taste, so overall I will call this a success.

Spicy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

My Roasted Brussels Sprouts were OK, but they still needed a little something. With all the southwestern dishes I’ve been doing lately, it seemed like a pretty good idea to try it with Brussels Sprouts too. We had company over for dinner, so I did the original recipe as well as these new spicy sprouts.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and yellow leaves removed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
  2. Place ingredients in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal tightly, and shake to coat. Pour onto a baking sheet, and place on center oven rack.
  3. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning. Brussels sprouts should be darkest brown, almost black, when done. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt, if necessary. Serve immediately.

I should have made more of the spicy sprouts since everyone seemed to really like them. The spices kind of hid the sprout taste a little more than the original sprouts. I’ll probably continue to make them spicy.

Chicken and Brown Rice – A Quick Healthy Meal

In today’s busy world, it can be difficult to find time to make a good, healthy meal. Far too often, we have found it easier to resort to fast food for times sake and ease of cleanup. That’s a pretty unhealthy trade-off. Worse yet, it’s one you don’t need to make. And here’s why.

Par-boiled chicken and brown rice.

Boil up several pieces of chicken and a pot of brown rice. I usually try to do this over the weekend when I have more time since this is the only part that really requires any serious prep time. Then I bag up them both separately and stick them in the fridge. The chicken will keep for several days so you don’t need to worry about having chicken too many nights in a row.

There are so many ways you can now prepare a quick, healthy meal from the chicken and rice. This is the one I do most often.

When you get home from work, simply take out some chicken and cut it up into bite size pieces and toss it in a skillet. Then add brown rice. Usually, I figure a half chicken breast and one cup of rice per person, but you can pretty much use as much or as little as you like. Now add a vegetable. I generally go with corn, peas, or broccoli – or some combination of them. Next pour some soy sauce into the mix and add some black pepper to taste. Don’t overdo it on the soy sauce or it gets very salty. On occasion, I will add a small amount of chili powder to the mix as well. It only takes about 15-20 minutes from the time I pull things out of the fridge until I have a plate of delicious food sitting in front of me.

 

I’ll discuss some of the other ways you can use the par-boiled chicken and brown rice to make a quick healthy meal at another time. For now, you can always change up the vegetable and seasonings to make the dish fresh so you don’t get bored with it.

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