Healthy Sante Fe Style Sweet Potato, Veggie and Chile Frittata

 

 


A frittata can be an incredibly healthy egg dish made mainly on the stove.  For starters I love eggs so much its kind of a joke with my friends and family.  I can come up with almost any excuse to eat eggs at almost any meal.  Cooking a frittata is much easier than an omelet, and can be used as a  vehicle for almost any kind of veggie, cheese, protein, herb or spice you happen to have around. Frittatas  are traditionally served in pie shaped wedges, kind of like a deep dish pizza, and are easily transportable – in Italy it’s common to take a wedge to work for lunch. I love their versatility, the endless number of ingredient combinations and the fact that a frittata  can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack.  Since its just my boyfriend and I here, I usually make one big deep dish style frittata, in an oven proof non stick pan. (usually a 12 inch  pan) I layer my favorite  ingredients of the day (usually with a lot of sauteed greens), aromatics/ herbs, and  spices and then pour the eggs on over them all and let it set. This size dish can provide several  meals and stores well covered in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.

I almost always make my frittatas as flavorful and nutritious as possible, which is really easy to do by cranking up the veggie content, the aromatics, and by using less egg yolks and more whites if you choose.  This particular frittata’s flavor combination reflects my love of southwestern food.

The recipe, ingredients and directions below are exactly how I cooked my breakfast today.  I usually make all my frittatas with more  egg whites than whole egg .  I did include the directions for this recipe for the “regular” version of this dish, which is still extremely healthy on its own.  As a rule of thumb, I almost always add as many different veggies and ingredients as possible, for a more nutritionally dense and balanced meal.  I love potatoes for breakfast but but don’t eat them very often since they are a starchy carbohydrate with not much nutritional value, but sweet potatoes are a much more nutritionally complex version of their not so healthy cousin and play well off of the southwestern flavors in this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled  and cut into 1/2 to 1/4 inch cubes
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white or yellow onion chopped
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper (I prefer yellow) chopped
  • 2  fresh serrano or 1 Anaheim chile, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 fresh jalapenos, cored , seeded, and minced (Optional)
  • one small can (aprox 4 ounces) of diced roasted green chile peppers
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped or sliced white mushrooms (Optional)
  • 1 cups of yellow or green zucchini chopped (Optional)
  • 1 small any color tomato seeded and chopped ( Optional)
  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar,  pepper jack , Monterey jack  (optional: 1  cup of shredded cheese for much more flavor, yet more calories and fat)
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh or dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice or if desperate bottle lime juice
  • 5 whole eggs plus 5 additional  egg whites ( optional higher calorie version use 8 whole eggs)
  •  Optional adds:  8 to 12  ounces chopped organic spicy lean sausage
  • Optional serving suggestions: a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, healthy guacamole, or cilantro stems for garnish

Directions:

  • Adjust top oven rack – with a skillet (ovenproof!) on it, you want the top of the skillet to be 4-6 inches from the broiler. Turn on broiler
  • Cooked the diced sweet potato in salted boiling water for 3 minutes then drain them, or just nuke them in the microwave whole until tender and then dice them. (I’ll admit I totally did the fast “cheater” way in the the microwave.  Its much easier)
  • In a large, aprox 12 inch, non stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, and saute over medium heat the chopped onion, chopped peppers, diced fresh and canned chiles, stirring frequently for about 20 minutes until soft and onions are light brown. Then add the fresh minced garlic and chopped fresh Jalapenos, stir and set aside onto plate.
  • While chiles and onions are cooking take eggs and whites (or just whole eggs), crack them in a big bowl and whisk together until well mixed.  Set aside and return attention to stove.
  • Return non stick skillet to heat and add 1 more tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil until hot.  Add optional  chopped mushrooms and zucchini until barely soft and set aside on plate with chiles and onion
  •  Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil  to skillet over medium heat and add the sweet potatoes, stirring frequently and cook until the edges begin to turn light brown (7 to 10 minutes).

  • Then add plate to the now slightly browned potatoes the set aside plate of  cooked chiles, onions, and veggies back to skillet along with fresh chopped tomato, and optional chopped sausage, cooking until all is warmed through.
  • Stir in cilantro, lime juice,  salt  and pepper to taste. (about 2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper)
  • Add 1/2 of the cheese mixture to the eggs before pouring  egg/cheese mixture over the cooked veggies in the skillet until its evenly distributed throughout.
  • Continuing at medium heat, cook eggs for about 2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom with heat-resistant spatula. When eggs are mostly cooked but still very wet, stop stirring. You want to see cooked egg scattered throughout, but loose egg in between.
  • Continue cooking on stove for another minute so underside sets.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Put skillet under broiler. Watch carefully while top browns. This will take 2-4 minutes
  • Remove skillet from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes to finish cooking in center.
  • Cut in wedges and serve either directly from skillet
  •  Optional:  for a prettier family style service style, place a plate on top of the skillet about 15 minutes after egg has time to cool down, and flip the skillet and the plate over at the same time, so egg  holds it shape when you remove the skillet to serve at the dinner table.  Similar to how you would flip and serve an upside down cake.
  •  For serving suggestions,top each wedge sized serving with sliced avocado, guacamole, salsa, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, and or cilantro sprigs.

Each large wedged size serving contains aprox 350 calories each,  is nutritionally dense and packed with about 12  grams of protein, lots of healthy carbohydrates and healthy fat.

 

 

 


 



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“Pretty Beet Salad”

Several years ago a friend took me to a Wolfgang Puck restaurant in San Francisco called Postrio. They offered a tasting menu with a simply stated “beet salad” as the second course.  I went ahead and ordered it no real expectations.

When it came to my table, I almost gasped.  There were small little yellow and purple beets interspersed with edible flowers, little colorful smears of still unidentified “deliciousness” of all shapes and colors, along with little pieces of cheese.

“The plate honestly looked like some kind of masterpiece.”

Postrio did such an amazing job, it is still the most impressive food plating I’ve seen anytime, anywhere!

Here is my amateur attempt at trying to recreate this Postrio beet plate:

I love beet salad, but for years I was completely intimidated to even think of cooking them.  I only started incorporating beets into my recipes a few years ago but now they’re a part of my favorite “make ahead” salads to keep in the fridge.

The bright purple hue of the beets should alert you to the fact these things are filled with anti-oxidants and lots of good things for the body. By serving the salad with a delicious orange-olive oil dressing you totally “power up” the nutritional value and profile as well. 

My version of the “Pretty Beet Salad” is really easy, super healthy,  stores in the fridge well, and can be thrown together in a very short period of time.  If you haven’t worked with beets before I highly recommend using latex gloves with a good apron, because they are messy and can turn your hand and clothes purple real fast. I used purple beets but you can use golden beets as well.  Mix it up and play around with this dish. Have some fun calibrating it to your own tastes.

This recipe  is small and only for 2 people because I typically just cook for my boyfriend and I.  Plus, due to the mess, I prefer working only with a few beets at a time!


“I LOVED beet salad when I was going through chemo therapy. The beets with the bright orange flavors from the dressing and the zest, really knocked out the yucky chemo taste.”

Ingredients:

  • 4 beets
  • 1/4 of a red onion diced
  • 2 tablespoons filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1 ounce goat cheese, zest of 1 half of an orange, edible flowers
  • Orange vinaigrette recipe, recipe follows

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Wash and dry the beets and trim off the ends
  3. Take a large sheet of aluminum foil, fold in half and use to line a baking dish
  4. Put the beets in the middle, drizzle with the olive oil, water and season with salt and pepper
  5. Bake in the oven until beets are tender and you can easily pierce with a knife, approx. 1 hour or so
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool
  7. When cool enough to handle, gently peel off the skin and slice into julienne pieces (or to your preference)
  8. Chill in fridge until you are ready to make the salad!
  9. When ready to serve, lightly toss the beets with 2 tablespoons of the bright orange vinaigrette or just plain olive oil and diced red onions
  10. Plate one serving of the beets  and sprinkle with optional goat cheese, orange zest or edible flowers
  11. Drizzle with any additional dressing, serve and enjoy!


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Fresh Fruit Cubes for Beverages and “Granitas”

I hate wasting food of any kind.  Lots of times I’ll go to the Farmer’s Market and see gorgeous fruit or produce and grab it, only to find I don’t have any use for it right away.  As far a fruit goes, to make sure you get the full nutrients out of them, you are are supposed to eat it within 2 to 3 day of purchase. If its organic, fruit starts to go bad sooner than the modified non organic produce you get in the chain grocery stores.

I started freezing my fruit, whole, before it went bad a few years ago and found its stays good in the freezer for at least a month. Then I read a  couple of recipes in Chef Rebecca Katz’s “Cancer Fighting Kitchen” cookbook, where she would make “granitas” with pureed melons and watermelon, mint, lime and agave, for patients going through chemotherapy.  They were delicious!

Now I always keep a variety of melon and strawberry cubes in my freezer for beverages, or on hand to make “mock” sorbets and granitas. These cubes also taste great with the alcoholic and non alcoholic version of Chef Marcus Samuelson’s Champagne Sake Mojitos. Or, for a quick sweet and sour frozen treat, take a few of the strawberry cubes, carbonated or filtered water, mint and a fresh squeeze of lime, puree in the blender and serve in a chilled glass with straw. Yum!

Directions:

  1. Take any fruit, and puree in blender.  Optional add ins are lime, mint, basil, certified organic agave  or liquid stevia.  Be creative!
  2. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze
  3. When frozen after about 3 hours, remove from trays, and store in airtight containers.  Can be stored up to 3 weeks.


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“Breakfast Joe Juice”: Pump up Your Immune

It been no secret on my recent Facebook posts, I’ve been fighting a pretty nasty cold, that came with all the yucky side effects and completely drained me of my energy.  My immune system is already not the greatest, due to all the chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell high dose chemo I received about 5 years ago, so when I get hit with a cold, its hard.  The first thing I do is just close down everything stressful going on in my life and REST!  I also start paying especially close attention to what I put in my body nutrition wise.  I start eating lots of raw salads, drinking nutrient infused stocks, and now that I have my juicer back in working form, I’ve begun to juice again!  When you use organic fresh ingredients in a “juicer”,  its a fast delivery system of  vitamins,enzymes, minerals, chlorophyll, phytonutrients into your tummy,  which then goes directly into your bloodstream for your little body to soak up and distribute through out your body.

I just started juicing on the encouragement from the lovely Kris Carr, her site www.crazysexylife.com , her book “Crazy Sexy Diet”, and my good friend Jody, and oncology nurse who has been juicing now for about a year and swears by it.  There is a lot of misconceptions about people who “juice”.  They are “granola heads” or “new age”, or that they don’t eat real food, meat or anything “fun”.  Personally I started juicing because it seems like a heck of a lot better way to get all that great stuff I spoke about above, than taking a bunch of supplements.  Its natural, and the number of different juices you can make is endless.

So here was my first attempt for a morning “Juice”, to boost my immunity while I was sick.

Directions:  Run all ingredients through the juicer or high speed blender, then add in the optional greens powder

  • 1  really big fistful of spinach
  • 1  really big fistful of Kale
  • 2 apples or pears chopped with skins on
  • 1 inch or more piece of peeled ginger (my favorite add in!)
  • 2 celery stalks
  • Add in a bit of Almond Milk, Coconut Milk or filtered water for more liquid to taste
  • (Optional) a scoop of a concentrated greens powder called “Vital Scoop”, but you can omit this or use any concentrated greens formula

Drink up!  I loved it

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