easter dinner for two

easter dinner for two
easter dinner for two

This dinner for two featured a ham with five-spice cherry sauce and included three vegetable dishes: broccoli-grape salad, citrus- roasted asparagus, and green beans with mushrooms. All the recipes were adapted from Better Homes and Gardens. I could not find a small enough ham so I bought a boneless smoked pork butt and adapted the recipe. I added the ground ginger and ramped up the five spice powder. Five spice powder is a Chinese spice available from Asian grocery stores

ham with five spice cherry sauce
ham with five spice cherry sauce

Ham with Five-Spice Cherry Sauce

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 tablespoon whole cloves
3 pound smoked pork butt
1 cup peach preserves
1/2 cup chopped tart dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons five-spice powder

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325˚F . For easier clean up, line a 9 inch pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Put the pork butt in the pan.

Stick cloves in the pork butt. In a small bowl, combine preserves, cherries, juice, mustard, ginger, and five-spice powder. Pour over the pork butt. Gently scrape off the cherries from the ham and let it fall into the pan. This will allow the cherries to plump up while they are cooking in the fat and liquid at the bottom of the pan.

Bake for 35 minutes per pound or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 160˚F on an instant read thermometer. It reached temperature after 1 hour 15 minutes. That’s it! Easy.

Cool slightly. Slice and serve with the sauce.The sauce was sweet and the cherries chewy which complemented the saltiness of the meat perfectly.

Now for the three vegetable dishes! I chose a broccoli-grape salad because I thought it had a delicious blend of sweet, crunchy, salty, and tangy. I halved and adjusted the recipe to make enough for two.

After the ham is baked, remove it from the oven and turn up the heat to 425˚F.

broccoli-grape salad
broccoli-grape salad

Broccoli-Grape Salad

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
3 cups broccoli florets
1 cup red seedless grapes
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoons lemon juice
sugar to taste
4 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup chopped almonds, toasted (optional)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425˚F. Spread the broccoli and grapes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss to coat. Roast, 10 to 15 minutes or until broccoli is starting to brown and grapes are soft, stirring once halfway through roasting time. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with red onion. Cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk the mayonnaise with the lemon juice, and sugar. Place broccoli mixture in a serving bowl. Top with bacon and toasted almonds, if using. Serve the salad with the dressing on the side.

This next recipe called Citrus-Roasted Asparagus has a wonderful citrus flavor. For this dish, be sure to buy the spears with thick stems as they can handle roasting. I halved and adjusted this recipe for two.

citrus-roasted asparagus
citrus-roasted asparagus

Citrus-Roasted Asparagus

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
2 seedless oranges
2 lemons
5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound asparagus spears
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons tarragon leaves
Sea salt and coarsely ground pepper

Preparation

If you are roasting the broccoli, you can ignore this step to preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roasting the asparagus the same time as the broccoli won’t hurt it a bit.

In a small bowl, zest one orange and one lemon. From the same orange and lemon squeeze a total of 2 tablespoons juice. Combine with garlic and add tarragon. Set aside. Cover a baking tray with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.

Thinly slice half the remaining orange and lemon. Then, drizzle slices with about 2 teaspoons olive oil. Place on half of the baking sheet; set aside.

Wash asparagus.  Break off woody stems. Place spears on the other side of the baking tray. Sprinkle with garlic, tarragon, and citrus zest. Drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil; toss to coat spears. Spread spears in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook’s Tip: To trim asparagus, hold up one spear and gently bend the stem end. About 1 to 1 1/2 inches will snap off. Trim the rest of the bunch to this length.

Roast asparagus and citrus slices 10 to 15 minutes, turning once or twice with tongs, until asparagus is tender and citrus begins to brown. A sure sign the asparagus is tender is it will turn a bright green. Transfer the asparagus to a serving platter.

While the asparagus and citrus slices are roasting, make the vinaigrette. In a small dish whisk together reserved juices and remaining 1 teaspoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over roasted asparagus, citrus, and garlic-citrus zest mixture. Sprinkle with roasted citrus slices. Serve warm.

This last recipe is savory, a delightful contrast to the sweetness of the five-spice cherry sauce and the broccoli-grape salad. I left out the olive oil because I had a pan with 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in it. I used a paper towel to soak up about one tablespoon, leaving the rest in the pan. I halved and adjusted this recipe for two.

green beans with mushrooms
green beans with mushrooms

Green Beans with Mushrooms

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5-7 minutes

Ingredients
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter, optional
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots (2 medium)
4 ounces fresh baby bella mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest (half a lemon)
1 tablespoons lemon juice (half a lemon)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds (optional)

Preparation

Bring a small pot of salted water to boiling. Add green beans. Cook uncovered until the green beans are bright green and crisp- tender. Don’t go by time, but by sight. Drain the green beans in a colander. Rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking process and to set the color.

In an large skillet heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until they are wilted. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are browned.

Add the cooked green beans. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until heated through, tossing occasionally. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and thyme; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with toasted slivered almonds, if using.

Of course, we had dessert. Flourless chocolate cake with Haagen Dazs Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream. But I forgot to take a picture!

low fat broccoli tomato fritters

broccoli-tomato-parmesan fritters

I had an indecent craving for shrimp fritters, a Jamaican-Chinese specialty, but I recoiled at the thought of using all that oil to fry them–up to a cup or more. However, I found this recipe for broccoli-parmesan fritters on the Smitten Kitchen blog and it satisfied my craving! After following the original  recipe straight through, I realized I could get away with making some changes.  First of all, I doubled the recipe because 9 fritters just wouldn’t be enough. Gotta have left overs too! Then I added a large chopped and seeded tomato to the batter, and a third cup of Romano cheese. The batter was a tad dry so I added up to a quarter cup of cream. But nonfat milk would do fine. You just need to add enough milk or cream so the batter clumps together. Lastly, I fried the fritters in cooking spray rather than in cooking oil to cut down the calories. The fritters came out luscious, moist and savory.

Low-Fat Broccoli Tomato Fritters

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 28 three-inch fritters (approximate)

16 ounces fresh broccoli (6 cups chopped)
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 large tomato, chopped and seeded
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely grated Romano cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or several grinds of black pepper (add more to make it spicier)
1/4 cup cream or nonfat milk, or less as needed to add cohesion to the batter
Cooking spray

To prepare the broccoli, cut the florets from the stems. With a vegetable peeler, peel off the tough outer coating of the stems. Chop stems roughly into 1/2 inch pieces. Separate the florets into 1 inch pieces.

Fill a large pot with about 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Add about a teaspoon of salt to the water. Add the broccoli. Cook 5-6 minutes or until tender. The broccoli will be a bright green color. Drain the broccoli in a colander and rinse under cold water to set the color and stop the cooking process. Mash the cooked broccoli coarsely with a potato masher. Broccoli should still be chunky and not too small.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the flour, tomato, cheeses, garlic, salt, and red pepper or black pepper. Add the mashed broccoli. Use a large wooden spoon to mix all the ingredients together. Add the cream or milk if the batter doesn’t cohere. It should clump together when dropped from a spoon.

Cook’s Note: The tomato not only adds a pop of color but it also adds moisture to the fritter—a neat little trick I learned from my cousin Cathy whose shrimp fritters are to die for!

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Heat the skillet on medium heat until the pan sizzles when a drop of water is sprinkled in it. Using a 1/4 cup measure or a cookie scoop, scoop up the broccoli batter and plop it in the hot skillet. Flatten slightly with a fork. Continue scooping, flattening, and frying fritters with cooking spray. Leave about 2 inches between each fritter. Each batch will include 6 fritters. Fry on one side 3-5 minutes or until golden brown, then flip, and fry 1-2 minutes on the second side.

Cook’s Note: Dip the 1/4 cup measure or scoop in water to ensure the batter releases as you scoop the batter into the skillet.

Transfer fritters to a serving plate. If the fritters won’t be eaten right away, they can be kept warm in a low oven. Serve these fritters with tzatziki sauce or lemon-garlic yogurt. To make lemon-garlic yogurt, to one cup of Greek style yogurt, add fresh lemon juice and lemon zest to taste. For a garlic flavor, add minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

crustless spinach pie with feta cheese, broiled romaine, and roasted root vegetables

roasted veggies, broiled romaine, crustless spinach pie with feta cheese

This is a complete vegetarian meal. The spinach pie is made with fresh spinach and herbs. The root vegetables are broiled during the last 5 minutes of cooking while the romaine is in the broiler! The broiled romaine’s got crunch and the sultry flavors of Parmesan and Romano cheeses. I adapted it from Alton Brown’s grilled romaine with a red wine vinegar granita.

Roasted Root Vegetables
You can use any kind of root vegetables in any combination you like. Increase the amount of turnips or leave out the parsnips. Add a celeriac or celery root.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Serves: 2-4

3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
1 medium turnip
2 medium parsnips
salt and pepper
olive oil
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Heat a large pot of water. When it is boiling, add the vegetables and cook 10 minutes or until just tender, about 10 minutes. When pierced with a fork, there is a little resistance. Remove vegetables from boiling water and spread on a tray lined with paper towels. Pat dry. Put the vegetables in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat thoroughly. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on the tray. Bake 35 minutes at 400˚F. For the last 5 minutes, broil the vegetables until lightly browned.

Crustless Spinach Pie with Feta Cheese (adapted from Skinnytaste)
Skinnytaste used a 10 oz package of frozen spinach for convenience’s sake. I like the fresh spinach, lightly sautéed until it turns bright green.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 28 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
1 large bunch fresh spinach, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano (or dill)
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary (or parsley, thyme)
1/2 cup (2.5 oz) reduced fat crumbled feta
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (or Romano, Asiago)
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup fat free milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper to taste
cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly spray a 9 inch pie dish with cooking spray.
Heat olive oil in a large dutch pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the spinach and cook it down until it is bright green and slightly wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and drain any excess water. Chop fine.

Mix spinach, scallions, herbs, and feta cheese in a large bowl and set aside. Sift flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients to flour mixture in the bowl. Combine flour mixture with spinach mixture, and mix well. Scrape into pie dish.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted near the center. Let the pie stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

Broiled Romaine (after a recipe by Alton Brown)
Alton Brown grilled the romaine but I found that most of the cheese ended up on the grill instead of on the lettuce. So I decided to broil it instead. Brown also froze red wine vinegar and then, like a granita, he scraped up a couple tablespoons of frozen vinegar with a fork and sprinkled it on top of the grilled lettuce. However, I found the red wine vinegar unpleasantly sour, so I left that out.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 2-3 minutes
Serves: 2

1 head romaine hearts split vertically in two
olive oil
2 tablespoons romano and Parmesan cheeses

Brush cut side of the romaine with olive oil. Sprinkle cheeses on a plate. Press oiled side into the cheeses. Put the lettuce, cheese side up, on a broiler tray and broil 2-3 minutes or until browned and cheese has melted. Remove from heat and serve at once.

pan-fried fish fillets with mediterranean tomato sauce

pan fried fish fillets with mediterranean tomato sauce

I adapted this recipe from myrecipes.com. The delicious thing about it is the fresh herb flavor with the tomatoes. Use whatever you have on hand–the freshest is best.

Pan-Fried Fish with Mediterranean Tomato Sauce

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 9 minutes
Serves 2

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
2 cups chopped seeded plum tomato (about 2 large tomatoes)
1 1/2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (flat-leaf parsley in original recipe)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh scallions (or chives)
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano (or tarragon)
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary (or thyme)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 pounds tilapia fillets (approximately 2 large white fish fillets will do)
Cooking spray

1. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil. When it bubbles, add the tomatoes and cook, 7 minutes, until softened. Add the capers, mustard and garlic; cook for an additional 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add cilantro, scallions, oregano and rosemary. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.  Cover to keep warm.

2. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add canola oil and heat over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish lightly with salt and black pepper on both sides. Add fish to the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until browned. Turn the fish over; cook 3 minutes or until the fish turns white and flakes easily with a fork. Serve fish with the reserved warm sauce.

khao soi or chiang mai chicken curry noodles, low fat and low carb version

khao soi

This dish is the signature specialty of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. I made a few low fat/low carb adjustments to it like swapping chicken breasts for thighs and using whole wheat linguine instead of Chinese egg noodles. However, the key to this dish is the curry-flavored soup. For more authentic flavor, I used dried red Thai chilies although guajillo is recommended in the original recipe. I also used full-fat coconut milk because it is better tasting, but using “lite” coconut milk will surely lower the fat, carbs, and calories in this dish even more. The flavors in this soup should be predominantly coconut-spicy, but smooth; slightly salty, sour, and barely sweet, is my preference. Fish sauce will give it a hint of anchovy. Aroy.

Chicken Khao Soi (adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2013)

Prep time: 35 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

Khao Soi Paste
4 -6 dried chilies, stemmed, halved, and seeded, if less heat is desired (or Mexican guajillo chilies)
2 medium shallots, halved
8 garlic cloves
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro stems (save the leaves for toppings)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder

Soup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
1 pound Chinese egg noodles (or whole wheat linguine)
3 tablespoons (or more) fish sauce (such as Tiparos)
1 tablespoon (packed) palm sugar or light brown sugar, optional

Suggested Toppings
Sliced red onion, bean sprouts, cilantro sprigs, crispy fried onions or shallots, chili oil, crispy fried Chinese wonton noodles, and lime wedges

Preparation:

Make khao soi paste. Place chilies in a small bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let stand 30 minutes until softened. Remove the chilies and reserve the soaking liquid. If desired, remove the seeds to make the dish less spicy.

Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water to cook the noodles.

In a blender, purée the chilies, shallots, garlic, ginger, cilantro stems, coriander, turmeric, curry powder, and 2 tablespoons soaking liquid in a food processor. Add more by tablespoonfuls, if needed, blending until smooth. You can add up to 6 tablespoons total.

Make the soup. Heat oil in a large heavy dutch pot over medium heat. Add the khao soi paste, and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened, 4-6 minutes. Add coconut milk and broth. Bring to a boil; add chicken. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is fork-tender, 20-25 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. Let cool slightly; slice meat into 1/4 inch thick chunks.

Cook the noodles according to package directions.

Return chicken to the pot, adding 3 tablespoons fish sauce, and sugar (if using) to soup. Taste and season with more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Spoon soup and noodles into bowls and serve with toppings.

TJ’s cocoa almond bars

TJ's cocoa almond bars

It’s spring, and my thoughts wind around the dissertation. So, at 1 a.m. I decided to open the jar of Trader Joe’s Cocoa Almond Spread I’d bought expressly to make these no-bake cookies. They came out fantastic–smooth and chocolate-y with just a hint of cookie crumbs from the graham crackers. They remind me of Nanaimo Bars, but without the coconut.

TJ’s Cocoa Almond Bars

Prep Time: 35 Minutes
Ready In: 1 Hour 35 Minutes
Servings: 12 bars or 16 squares

INGREDIENTS:

filling
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs, about 1 1/2 packets of crackers
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, so that there are no lumps
1 cup Trader Joe’s Cocoa Almond Spread

glaze
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (preferably Ghirardelli)
4 tablespoons Trader Joe’s Cocoa Almond Spread
1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter

PREPARATION:

1. Make the filling. Grind the graham crackers in a food processor. About 1 1/2 packets of crackers will make 2 cups of crumbs. In a large bowl, combine the butter, graham cracker crumbs, confectioners’ sugar, and 1 cup cocoa almond spread until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 inch pan.
2. Make the glaze. Set a saucepan of water on the stove, and bring the water to a simmer. Put a heat-proof bowl over the simmering water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.

To the bowl, add the chocolate chips with 4 tablespoons cocoa almond spread, stirring occasionally until smooth. Add up to 2 tablespoons butter to make the glaze thin and spreadable. Spread glaze evenly over the prepared filling, making sure to fill the corners. Refrigerate for at least one hour to set. Remove from refrigerator and cut into squares.

Cook’s Note: When cold, these cookies are hard and brittle. So, you may have to let the pan stand at room temperature, about 30-40 minutes after removing it from the refrigerator, before cutting it into bars or squares.

cream cake with strawberries

cream cake with strawberries

This cake is truly light and airy; eating one slice just won’t be enough, I guarantee it! Highly uncomplicated, this recipe has only seven ingredients and qualifies as Quick and Easy to make. The only fat in the cake comes from the cupful of heavy cream. Heavy cream shouldn’t be confused with whipping cream. According to Harold McGee writing in On Food and Cooking (1984), heavy cream contains at least 36%-40% butterfat whereas whipping cream is 30%-36% butterfat.

Cream Cake (adapted from allrecipes.com)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
2 eggs
3/4 cup white superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven 350˚F. Grease one 9×9 inch square pan or one 9×2 inch round cake pan. Set aside.

Cake Baker’s Note: Spray the pan with cooking spray or melt a tablespoon of butter and brush it on the bottom and sides of the pan.

2. Beat eggs on high speed until very thick, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and the vanilla, beating well.
3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. On low speed, combine the wet and dry ingredients, scraping the bowl after each addition. First, add half the flour mixture to the egg mixture, then add half the cream. Next add half the remaining flour and the remaining cream. End with the last of the flour. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Tap pan lightly on the counter top to release any air bubbles.
4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool the cake on a wire cooling rack. Don’t unmold the cake if it is baked in a square pan. Simply cool it in the pan and slice it into 16 squares. Instead of frosting this cake, serve it with sliced strawberries tossed in a little powdered sugar.

gluten-free brown rice flour pancakes with strawberries

gluten free brown rice flour pancakes with strawberries

Because I made some key substitutions, such as the nonfat milk, almond oil, and the honey, the result was not exactly like the original recipe. This is a delicate rice-flavored pancake, with a top-note of almond.

Gluten-Free Brown Rice Flour Pancakes (adapted from the roasted root)

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
Yield: 8 four-inch pancakes

Ingredients
1-1/2 cup brown rice flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon cardamom (or nutmeg)
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
3⁄4 cup nonfat milk (or nut milk of your choice)
1 tablespoon almond oil (coconut oil or oil of choice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey (or agave nectar)

Preparation
1. In a small bowl, add the eggs, milk, oil, vanilla, and honey/agave. Mix until combined.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and cardamom. Stir to combine.
3. Incorporate the flour mixture into the egg mixture and stir just until combined.
4. Heat a skillet to medium heat and add a dollop of butter, oil, or cooking spray.
5. Spoon batter into the heated skillet (about 2-3 tablespoons each) and cook 1-2 minutes, until the sides begin to set, then flip to the other side.
6. Cook another minute until pancakes are cooked all the way through. Serve with maple syrup, jam, fruit preserves, fresh fruit, or powdered sugar.

Variation
• Mash 2 ripe bananas and add them to the egg mixture.
• Slice 2 cups fresh strawberries. Add 1 cup to the flour mixture and toss to coat. Stir in the egg mixture. To the remaining cup strawberries, add a little powdered sugar, toss to coat, and serve as a topping for the pancakes.

smoky southwest sweet potato shepherd’s pie

smoky southwest sweet potato shepherd's pie

This shepherd’s pie has a delicious balance between salty, savory, and sweet. It really doesn’t need meat and it’s not even missed. This is the second recipe this week that uses chipotle peppers in adobo, and I am becoming a fan of this ingredient for adding a spicy pungent flavor to vegetarian dishes.

Smoky Southwest Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie (adapted from Vegan on the Cheap)

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 chipotle peppers in adobo
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 x 15.5 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups thawed frozen corn kernels
1 1/2 cups tomato salsa
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly oil a 9 inch square baking pan and set aside.

Cook’s Note: To make this for 6, use a 9×13 inch pan.

Boil a large pot of water. Add the sweet potatoes until just tender, about 1o-12 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, in a blender or food processor, puree the chilies with the water and set aside.

Mash the steamed potatoes with half the chipotle puree, the butter, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots, cover and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the beans, corn, salsa, cumin, and the remaining chipotle puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Transfer the onion-bean mixture to the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Drop the mashed sweet potatoes in dollops all over the top of the bean mixture. Spread evenly on top of the bean mixture. Bake until the filling is hot, about 40 minutes. Serve hot.