The kitchen is my happy place, which is a good thing, because I spend a lot of time in it. It seems I'm always either developing recipes or cooking them for a camera. And then there's the not-so-small matter of cooking for my husband and four daughters every day. Truly, I love it.
But today I'm sharing with you what I make when I'm alone. When I'm by myself, I like something easy to make and comforting, without being junky. I turn to one of my favorite ingredients, one that falls lower on my husband's list: sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins, especially A and C, and minerals. They have filling fiber and even a couple of grams of protein per medium 95-calorie spud. Before you panic about all the sugars, relax a little, because that full potato has about 7 grams of sugar. And, I'm going to make a dinner and a dessert out of it.
Here's the plan, which involves little actual cooking: Poke a few holes into a sweet potato and bake it until tender. Once it's cooked, slice it in half, cut a slit down the center of each half and top with just the tiniest bit of coconut oil or butter. (You can skip this part if you are watching fat intake, but even a smidge of coconut oil adds a ton of flavor.)
Sprinkle one side with cinnamon and top with fresh fruit and chopped nuts or seeds. Add a drizzle of maple syrup if you are feeling fancy. Sprinkle the other side with a little spice, like chipotle powder, cumin and hot paprika. Then top with drained canned beans, lentils, chopped leftover chicken or shrimp and something crunchy like pepitas or cashews. Place the two halves on the same plate and there you have a two-course meal.