Herbed Baked Sweet Potato Fries (with garlic aioli)

When I was younger, I was always told that sweet potatoes were unhealthy. The reason? Because they are sweet. I’m sorry, what? I could have doughnuts, and all sorts of things, but sweet potatoes were made on occasion. It was the craziest notion. Sweet potatoes happen to be on incredible tuber and phenomenal for weight loss and overall health. They are packed with vitamin C, fiber, vitamin A, and magnesium. Sure, they are on the starchy side, but sweet potato, especially sweet potato fries, are certainly a great addition to your eating lifestyle.

This recipe is incredibly simple and doesn’t require much prep. Sweet potato fries became more popular most recently in the last 15 years or so, around the same time that studies came out saying “sweet potatoes are good to eat!” because why would anyone not do research on their own…. *shoulder shrug*

Making homemade sweet potato fries may not taste like a restaurant, especially because most restaurants fry their potatoes or bake them coated in flour. This batch only calls for a toss of avocado oil, a sprinkle of sea salt, and fresh ground rosemary. What are fries without a sauce to dip in? Whipping up a garlic aioli is super simple too, using mayo, garlic, lemon juice, and salt.

The result are beautifully baked, tasty fries paired with a delicious dipping sauce. I can’t wait to try different seasonings and combinations. NOMaste 🙂

Herbed Baked Sweet Potato Fries (with garlic aioli)

Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword aioli, baked, fries, garlic, herbed, sweet potato
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

For the fries

  • 2 medium Sweet potatoes rinsed, sliced, then sliced into fries
  • 3 tbsp Avocado oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • dried rosemary to taste

For the aioli

  • 2 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Minced garlic
  • salt to taste
  • lemon juice to taste

Instructions

For the sweet potato fries

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Begin by rinsing and slicing the sweet potatoes into fry shape.

  2. Toss the fries in avocado oil and season with dried rosemary.  Bake for 20 minutes.  For the last few minutes turn the oven to “Broil”

  3. Let sit for a few minutes, then season with sea salt.

For the aioli

  1. Take two tbsp of mayonnaise, one tbsp of garlic and mix together in a bowl.  Add in salt and lemon juice.  Continue to mix until all ingredients are combined.

Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs

Another night, another chicken dinner. Chicken can get so boring sometimes, and I forget how to get creative, because it’s either stewed chicken in a broth, cutlets, or something that I end up not liking. Standing in my kitchen last night, I glanced up and saw my crockpot staring at me, begging to be used. I’m also grateful to be off from work this week and was able to start the crockpot at noon rather than at 8am, but nevertheless, the crockpot came to the rescue!

I love using a slow cooker for many different purposes, and am sure I have yet to try a bunch of recipes, but the mere fact that I can throw in all the ingredients at once and it come out really delicious is a MAJOR win.

Chicken thighs are a great cut of chicken to use in the crockpot, whether they are on the bone or off the bone, because they are such a tender cut of meat they naturally release fat into the sauce which creates a glorious texture and flavor. This dish was simple in ingredients and it starts with seasoning, crushed tomatoes, and The New Primal classic marinade (found here!). The New Primal makes healthy alternatives to marinades and sauces, and is Whole30 approved – for my Whole30 compliant readers! Also, they make delicious jerky, so give them a try while you’re at it.

For the seasonings, I used sea salt, oregano, chipotle powder, garlic powder, basil leaves, and onion salt. I added one 28oz can of crushed tomatoes and 1/4 cup of the marinade, stirred together and topped with fresh thyme.

The crockpot I have has two settings: low cook or high cook. I chose low cook and set it for 6 hours and 30 minutes, when really, it cooked for about 7 hours. I stirred several times through, but did not open the lid until it was at least halfway done. I did add a touch of half and half to add extra flavor but that is totally optional. About an hour in, the chicken thighs started to fall apart so I stirred and used a wooden spoon to help break apart the pieces even further until they looked like clumps of string. I roasted sweet potato and vegetables to add to this amazing chicken and it was perfect! NOMaste 🙂

Brooklyn Eats: Nostro Ristorante

Location: Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn

Cuisine: Napoli-style Italian food; rustic feel; fresh pasta

My husband and I got married in March of 2015. I am a teacher/special education coach and my husband is an accountant, therefore we don’t have many times to go away, let alone a lot vacation like a honeymoon. During this summer in particular, I embarked on a 5-week intensive for an administrative program called LEAP and met some of the most incredible humans that are still my close friends to this day. This only gave us a smaller window for our vacation, August. Where the hell were we going to go in August? Oh wait, Italy sounds like a good idea. We had the time of our lives: eating so much fresh pasta, pizza, drinking loads of vino rosso and enjoying the sights. Our love for Italian cuisine only grew from our 2 weeks of Italian bliss.

Tuscany, Florence

Two years later, our love of Italian food holds strong; it’s probably my go-to when cooking and creating recipes, as well as our order-in cuisine. We stumbled upon a restaurant maybe seven months after it opened, literally up the block from our apartment. We decided to give it a try after hearing raving reviews from our neighbors. We were immediately blown away. Our hearts were singing, our bellies dancing, and quickly became friends with the owner, Romena. Each table is served fresh focaccia bread as guests impatiently wait for their food to be served, and can take in the scenery of the beautiful pictures of Italy around the restaurant.

Since trying this restaurant in 2017, we have gone back more times than we can count, even more so when I “forget to take out chicken to make for dinner.” I have tried almost everything on the menu, and still have more to go. Of course, there are some staples and my favorite items that I’ll share here.

This calamari is some of the crispiest, most delicious serving I have ever had. Ever. Served with cocktail sauce and hot peppers, this is a must as an appetizer. Heck, order two.

Polipo, or Portuguese charred octopus. I must say, I was hesitant when I first ordered, but DAMN does this rock. Tender, juicy, and healthy!

Crostini Burrata: literally heaven on a serving board. Four slices of crostini smothered with pesto, roasted red peppers, topped with the most insanely tasteful burrata. Your taste buds will thank you.

Chicken parmesan: I know, this is nothing fancy; however, this chick parm is cooked to perfection. Tender, perfectly sauced, and oozing with cheese. Pair with pasta, sautéed kale, or with veggies. So. Many. Options.

Fettuccini Amore: Guys, no joke, I ate 3x slower when I had this dish. Squid ink fettuccini tossed with fresh lobster and shrimp, smothered in a pink cream sauce and garlic. MIND BLOWN!

For those who prefer lighter options, like myself 85% of the time, they have delicious vegetable sides, like this mixed veg. Seasonal and available vegetables sautéed in olive oil and garlic, presented in the most precious cup of awesomeness. This actually goes well with anything, so just order it because I say so.

Eggplant parmesan: You can never go wrong with an eggplant parm. Perfectly tender eggplant slices, layered with mozzarella and tomato sauce. It’s on another level. Fo sho.

Phew, now that I am officially starving again, BRB, about to go get me some amore and mixed veg. If you’re in Brooklyn, or even if you’re just looking for quality eats at affordable pricing (also, this place was originally BYOB, but does have wine available too), this is THE place to visit. Buon appetito!

Creamy Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Rice

Since the beginning of the year, I have tried to be incredibly resourceful when it comes to leftover items in the fridge. I know there are instances where this is hard to do as some condiments or produce go rancid and can’t be salvaged. However, when these items are in their “sweet spot” (just before going bad but still smells okay) I love making things to use the rest of it up! Tonight’s dinner was a perfect example: using last bits of heavy cream and parmesan to make a creamy parmesan dinner with chicken and rice.

Instead of using plain water to boil the rice, I opted for bone broth because if I’m going to have starch, I may as well use bone broth (actually, chicken mushroom bone broth) for the added benefit #amirite? I seasoned the chicken first with some salt and pepper and added it to a hot pan with EVOO. This cooked until both sides were not pink. Afterwards I seasoned with garlic powder, minced garlic, oregano, and fresh thyme sprigs.

Once the chicken cooked through, I poured in the rice and chicken bone broth. This cooked for a total of 18 minutes, but halfway through, I added 3/4 cup water because I noticed that the rice absorbed most of the liquid already. At around 3 minutes before the chicken/rice finished cooking, I added in the heavy cream and parmesan (grated) and stirred together.

Serve with more fresh thyme, a dollop of sour cream or like we did, a side of charred broccoli, which can be found here! This was a dish that I had seen done before, but wanted to make it my own. Here is this version, and damn is it tasty! NOMaste 🙂

Creamy Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Rice

Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword cheesy, Chicken, garlic, Hearty, parmesan, quick meals, rice
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs Chicken breasts Diced
  • 1/5 cups Rice white
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup Heavy cream or half and half
  • 1 pint Chicken stock or bone broth
  • 1 tbsp Minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil extra virgin
  • Garlic powder
  • Dried Oregano
  • Fresh thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and add in diced pieces of chicken on medium heat.  Let sear on each side until each piece is no longer pink.  

  2. Add in seasonings (garlic, minced garlic, oregano, thyme) and stir.

  3. Pour in rice and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and let simmer for 18 minutes on low flame.

  4. Halfway through, check and see if the rice may absorb a lot of the liquid; add in 3/4 cup water and stir.  Continue to simmer with lid on.

  5. Three minutes before timer is up, add in heavy cream/half n half and parmesan cheese.  Stir to combine ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Power Banana Walnut Muffins

*UPDATE: I tried them again and added in 1/4 cup avocado oil, 1 tbsp maple syrup, and swapped cane sugar for coconut sugar and they came out insanely moist and delicious!!

*Am I the only one who has one option when it comes to using old, over ripe bananas? I always think about making banana bread, but for some reason it never comes out right (I have said I am not the best baker…). I decided to bake, with no recipe, and bake from the heart. Let me say, I saw the broadway show, Waitress, and was inspired by the songs to bake today, as well as I had time to kill and figured why not? If they’re awful, I can always try again! Thankfully, these not only came out good, but were VERY tasty and so easy! My husband even loved them! *WIN*

I know the basics of a baking recipe include sugar, flour, and depends on the fat added, if any. I decided to skip the butter or oil and go with sugar, flour, eggs, ripe banana, walnuts, baking soda (which helps the muffins rise), vanilla extract, collagen power, and a pinch of kosher salt. The reason I am calling these POWER muffins is because they’re made with healthy alternatives such as organic cane sugar (Not very alternative but I wanted to get rid of the sugar I had, don’t judge me) and cassava flour. I also included a scoop of collagen power. The benefits of collagen is profound: helps with joints and muscles, hair growth, skin, and nails. It also helps with aging. YUP.

I started by adding sugar, 2 cracked eggs, and vanilla extract to a medium sized bowl and whisked. Then, I peeled and diced the bananas and whisked them into the wet mixture. In a separate bowl, I added the dry ingredients: flour, collagen powder, salt, and baking soda. The trick to getting these muffins very airy but moist is to whisk the egg/banana mixture until the batter becomes foamy/bubbly. The bubbles will help expand the muffins and hold moisture, causing the natural layers of the muffin and “bounce” to them. Add the wet into the dry mixture and whisk to blend. Throw in a handful of chopped walnuts and scoop into a pre-greased muffin tin.

Bake at 425 degrees for 11 minutes. I was aiming for 12 minutes, but at around 11 minutes I started to smell them and saw they were golden brown. I cannot wait to hear how you liked these ones, they’re definitely going to be made (and tweaked with) again! NOMaste 🙂

Power Banana Walnut Muffins

Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American, Healthy, muffins
Keyword banana, collagen, healthy, muffins, paleo, walnut
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 12 muffins
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 3 Bananas very ripe
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Cane sugar organic
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Cassava flour
  • 1 scoop Collagen powder
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Pre-grease a standard muffin tin. Set aside

  2. In a medium bowl, crack two eggs and add the 1/2 cup sugar.  Mix together with a hand mixer or a whisk.  Add in the ripe bananas and vanilla extract.  Whisk until mixture forms small air bubbles and looks a little “foamy.”
  3. In a large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, collagen powder, and salt.  Mix together.

  4. Pour the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk to combine all ingredients.  Add in chopped walnuts and whisk again.

  5. With a tablespoon, scoop and pour batter into each muffin cup, fill with batter halfway to allow room to rise.  Bake for 10 minutes or until you can smell the muffins.  Let cool for two minutes.

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