A few days ago I found a delightful surprise in my mailbox-- the most recent edition of my favorite magazine-- Real Simple. I love this magazine because it's not just about food, health, fashion or how to hide craft supplies in a small office space. It's about all of these different things, each of which I am interested in.
This was the first Fall edition, and as always, the cover was beautiful. I felt very ahead of the curve because the East Free Trio has been posting a lot about alternative pizza lately, and Real Simple had a great pizza review. They even had a category for best GF (haven't tried this
pre-made choice yet) and a few that both Miranda and Jaclyn could eat.
As I browsed through the magazine, I saw that they had a nice little feature on sweet potatoes, which I LOVE and I was instantly inspired to make a fun meal using these in-season gems. I decided to use the cover of RS as inspiration for my little meal and chose a "colors of fall" theme. Side note: I also made the choice to make "cheap" my secondary theme.
So, I bought some sweet potatoes for under a dollar a pound and headed home. Sweet potatoes, I learned, are high in lots of healthy nutrients, like Vitamins A and C, Manganese, Copper, Fiber, B6, Iron and Potassium and are fairly low in calories. And, they are also different than yams.
I looked for color in my pantry and found a bag of rice-mix I bought at a local Chamberlin's by the pound that had lots of colored lentils and black-eyed peas in it and settled on a festive frozen veggie mix in the freezer.
The meal went a little bit like this:
First, I washed and peeled the sweet potatoes. Not sure why I had to wash before peeling, but it just seemed right.
Next, I cut them up into little chunks and put them in a bowl. I thought I was using a big enough bowl, but apparently I wasn't. Since my move I haven't been able to locate my favorite giant salad bowl that I use for mixing large amounts of stuff, so I shoved them all into this normal-sized mixing bowl. Then I coated them with olive oil, a tiny bit of salt, pepper and probably too much brown sugar (if you believe there is such a thing), and stirred untl they were well-coated and I had made a big enough mess.
The sight of the oily, peppery brown sugar at the bottom of the bowl was a sign this would be a wonderful evening. All this time the oven had been pre-heating to 400 and now it was time to pop the puppies in for about 50 minutes.
Next, I got down to business with the rice-mix. I bought it without instructions for cooking or seasoning, so I made it in the standard fashion with one cup of rice and 1.5 cups water. I boiled it and then simmered it for about 25 mins until the water was absorbed and the rice was fluffy. I added olive oil for flavor.
Once the SP had about 25 mins remaining, I took them out to stir the now gooey, aromatic sauce around. I replaced the two minutes on the timer that it took me to stir. They smelled so wonderful I was tempted to eat them half-raw. But I kept on cooking.
Finally, when the SP had about 10 minutes remaining and the rice was off the heat with the lid still on, I opened up those always useful frozen veggies. I heated some olive oil on medium heat and stir-fried them with dried red bell pepper and paprika and black pepper.
Once the veggies were done the meal was ready! It smelled, looked and tasted wonderful (although the rice turned brown when I cooked it) and I felt like my Real Simple inspiration was shining through. The SP were sweet and yummy, the veggies full of flavor and the rice was hearty and satisfying! Here is the result:
Take a cue from me and enjoy the colors of food no matter what your inspiration. My next post will be coming soon...plan on a run down of low-sodium and GF key-ingredients.