You may imagine that I never struggle with the question of "what to make for dinner." I like to imagine that, too. But the reality is I still get stumped. So I've a few tricks up my sleeve for getting myself excited about the evening repast when I'm starved of inspiration.
I was gazing at cellophaned packages of poultry, pork, and ground beef at my local Kroger yesterday when I was feeling the loss of my culinary muse. Hadn't we just eaten all of that 100 times over? Could a liquid diet be all that bad?
Nick must have sensed my encroaching anti-dinner mania, because he promptly yelled "Mommy!!!!" and proceeded to ask, in loud sing-song, whether I knew the Muffin Man. I came to my senses, and performed a 180 with the race car shopping cart (no small feat; it is, perhaps one of the least aerodynamic locomotives of all time) and headed to the produce department to employ trick Number 1: when stumped over supper, focus on the sides--the main will follow.
The sweet potatoes were calling my name (even louder than Nick), so I bagged a bunch and headed to the checkout counter. I had some chicken breasts in the freezer; I could conjure something, somehow, so long as I had a delectable side dish to hold my attention.
A good old roasting sounded just right, so I cranked up the oven and set the scrubbed potatoes within. About halfway through baking, I rembered a past episode of Bobby Flay's Boy Meets Grill: he made a twice-baked sweet potato, scooping out the roasted flesh, seasoning it with yummy bits of some sort, then re-stuffing and baking again.
That was exactly what I needed to do.
So I made an impromptu version of my own, using a flavor combination I've used in past sweet potato recipes: chipotle, lime and cumin. It was a snap to pull together, and, judging from the scraped-clean potato skins on our plates (even the 1/4-size one on Nick's), it was an overwhelming success.
And no one, myself included, cared one iota that the accompanying chicken breast was as plain as could be.
Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle, Maple & Lime
The leftovers tasted every bit as good--perhaps eeven better--reheated for lunch today.
4 medium sweet potatoes, unpeeled
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
2 tablespoons maple syrup (honey would also work well)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
juice and grated zest of 2 small limes
1/2 cup fresh wholegrain breadcrumbs (I used a slice of multi-grain bread, whirred in processor)
Preheat oven to 375F.
Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until soft, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and let rest 5 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out the flesh, being careful not to tear the skin.
Place the sweet potato flesh in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher. Mix in the sour cream, cumin, chipotle power, lime zest and lime juice. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray (or line with parchment). Fill each of the skins with the sweet potato mixture, place back on the baking sheet and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Makes 4 servings (2 halves per serving).
Nutrition per serving (about 2 stuffed potato halves):
Calories 168; Fat 2.3g (poly 0.2g, mono 0.6g, sat 1.3g); Protein 1.7g; Cholesterol 5.1mg; Carbohydrate 30.8g; Sodium 46mg; Fiber 2.9g)
(Note: I did the nutrition analysis using Diet Analysis Plus 7.0.1)
Sweet Potato Nutrition Notes
Oh sweet potato, you can do no wrong. So delicious, so versatile, and so very nutritious. What's not to love?
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) ranked the sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegetables. With a score of 184, the sweet potato outscored the next highest vegetable by more than 100 points.
The reasons the sweet potato took first place? Dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. The sweet potato received a score of 184; the vegetable ranked in second place was more than 100 points behind with a score of 83. The nutrition numbers speak for themselves: almost twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, 42 percent of the recommendation for vitamin C, four times the RDA for beta carotene, and, when eaten with the skin, sweet potatoes have more fiber than oatmeal.