Saturday, December 4, 2010

The sweet potato, the secret to a healthier hash.

Growing up raised in an Irish family, you know that there were certain staples that you HAD to love. If you didn't, you heard about it! Maybe not from my mother but, the extended family....aunts, uncles, especially grandma....Oh I can still see the look on her face!

Well of course as a third generation American, our Irish roots still held strong and the love for potatoes runs deep in my veins! I LOOOOVE them. I used to dream about them, I had to have some kind of white potato with every meal, there is a rule somewhere that says that, I'm sure of it! :)

Well, I've always been on the heavier side and now with having had 2 children and being in my um...*cough* 30s. I'm very aware of what I am putting in my body and kicking myself for being so terrible to it when I was younger. Oh the wisdom that comes with age!

Anyway, back a year ago when I was hitting gym heavily, training and taking my diet and health a bit more seriously than I have been lately. I had a trainer who did his best to drill into me what I should and should not be eating. Well, even though I've put some weight back on, not gone to the gym in almost a year now, his constant lecturing did stick with me and I learned. I learned a bit about what foods were good and why they were.

So, as you can imagine, finding out that white potatoes on their own were pretty much not so good, it was a bit of a blow to my ok, tummy mostly! So, in came the sweet potato. When most of us think sweet potato, we think Thanksgiving and candied yams or some such comfort food. All of it laced with brown sugar and cinnamon, even regular sugar on occasion. Have you ever tried a sweet potato plain though?

Before you turn your nose up to it, let me tell you, it is delicious! You can even pop one in the microwave and bake them as you would a regular potato. The ends get a bit dry and you need to cut them off, while you're skinning the potato but, overall, it is a delicious treat! It's a warm, moist feeling in your mouth, just like a regular potato and a bit of a sweet taste for that added something extra. No butter or salt needed!

Why are sweet potatoes a secret weapon? They are incredibly good for you, rich in complex carbs (the good kind), Vitamin A, Vitamin B6 and C. Even has a great dose of fiber, something we all need. :) It's one of the best vegetables you can eat and no additives are needed to lessen it's nutritional value. That means no sugar of any kind nor butter is needed! ; )

So, now that I've sung the praises of the sweet potato, it's time to break you into a radical thought. I know how bizarre it will sound but, TRUST me when I say that it is delicious. A healthier hash is the best with another round of big holiday dinners and/or parties you may have on your agenda.

It is also cheaper as a whole to make than anything you can get from a can because you make a huge amount of it and feed a larger family or save the leftovers for another meal. I'll tell you how I've used some of the leftovers at the end of this!

Healthy Hash
*Keep in mind there are no measurements, as I make what I feel like and we all have different sized families.

Brown rice
Sweet potatoes - baked and skin peeled
1 lb of ground turkey (the leaner the better)
green pepper - cubed or diced
garlic cloves (you can use the pre-diced ones in a jar if you wish)
salt and pepper to taste
*again I prefer my own mix of garlic salt, so I get less salt and more flavor

This recipe is so so easy to do. Especially if you do like I do, when I get a few sweet potatoes, I always throw at least half into the microwave and then let them cool and put them in the fridge. So, when I need them for times like tonight's dinner, they are ready and waiting.

Anyway, throw into a pan your your ground turkey, garlic and peppers. While that is browning, you can do as I do to make my life easier, put on some instant brown rice on another burner. When in a hurry, I use the instant in the bag kind. So, much faster and easier, at least for me.

While all that is going on, simply cut up your already baked sweet potatoes. Make them any size you want, medium, chunky bits or nicely cut up, small bites. When ground turkey is nicely browned and cooked all the way through, throw in your cut up sweet potatoes.

 and cooked brown rice.

You'll notice I didn't say drain the turkey. You can but, if you've cooked with ground turkey before, you know that there is very little grease in a pan. The less fat, the less mess! :)

When you're all done and mixed properly, look at the beautiful meal you've created! Look at those colors! A little brown, a little green, a little orange....getting hungry again!

So, what you see in this pan will not only feed a massive amount of people but, will fill their bellies! Rice and veggies are very filling. You will not hear an hour later, that someone is hungry. Hmmm, maybe that's just the boys in my house though! 

Ok, ready for the price tag? Keep in mind I made a HUGE amount but, here it is: 

4 sweet potatoes (bought when they were on sale) $4
2 packages of brown rice comes to about $1 - $1.50
green peppers, FREE had frozen ones from this summer in my freezer
garlic, a few cloves is really only change
ground turkey, I buy in bulk so it averaged out to about $1.50
Total cost: $6.50 - $7

Now, if you've gotten the idea of how I prefer to cook for cheap, you will see that this is a bit more expensive than I normally cook and I am about to tell you why!

What happens with a brown rice and veggie mix is that you will find yourself and your family filled up, with quite a bit less than you'd normally eat. Which invites leftovers!!! 

Leftovers as they are, never go over big in my house. In fact, I used to just throw them out! Terrible isn't it?!
With the leftovers of this I can do two things. One, I can add eggs or egg whites if I continue on my healthy theme and some steamed veggies to the mix and I again end up with a massive amount of breakfast the next day or so, that again will fill bellies quite fast and leave you with more leftovers for another breakfast, another day. 
Second thing I do with my dinner leftover, which incidentally you can also do with any breakfast leftovers you have, is make a wrap or burrito with it! Simply put your mix in the middle of a burrito, and roll them up. Then place into the freezer to be used another day, or the refrigerator if you're going to use them straightaway. 

Yes, my family is big on the burrito/wrap thing. Only because we are always on the go and having something handy to grab as you go or while at work, pays off big time! You won't find yourself in a drive through with cranky hungry boys, or eating something cheap from Taco Bell that has over 1000 calories, more than half of a 2000 calorie diet, in one sitting! 

So, if you think I'm crazy for adding a sweet potato to hash, just take my word for it, try just once, you'll never go back! 

Hope you all are having a great weekend and enjoying your meals! 

P.S. Another sweet potato favorite of mine is the sweet potato french fry!! You definitely need to try this just once! Fewer calories and a healthier alternative to get the whole family hooked on.

No comments:

Post a Comment