Cuban Style Sweet Potatoes, Yams and Black Beans with Pineapple Salsa
Some of the best things happen by accident. Or, if you rather, "Necessity is the Mother of Invention."
Last minute dinners as a result of poor planning can be the invention of a new family favorite if you stock your pantry with healthy ingredients. I always have a variety of brown and wild rice (bulk/bag, not boxed w flavor packets) and cans of low-sodium beans for when I'm super lazy. I also always keep on hand, a variety of flavored vinegars and oils, sun dried tomatoes, peppers in oil, Tamari, spices, ginger, garlic, onions, broth and crushed tomatoes.
These are my Kitchen Staples ie. things I always have in my pantry and fridge. My feeling is, if you keep healthy foods and ingredients stocked in your kitchen and NOT junk, you will be forced to make healthy foods instead of grabbing for unhealthy ones.
I always think of my husband's favorite movie " Field of Dreams" when I reach for one of my trusty ingredients. In the movie the mysterious voice/dream Kevin Costner keeps hearing says "If you build it, they will come". So the voice in my head says " If you buy healthy foods, healthy recipes will come to you." Or, "If you keep it on hand, they will eat it". What? No, no I'm not crazy. Alright maybe a little. The point is, some of our favorite dishes have been not from fancy recipe books or sites, but from common kitchen ingredients I keep on hand and my master mommy mind!
What are some of your Kitchen Staples
and what do you commonly do with them?
Last minute pineapple salsa. I was going to toss the pineapple in with the potatoes the last few minutes of baking but found these sweet peppers hanging out in my pantry that wanted to join the party.
If you've never tried these little peppers, you should. They are sweet and delicious. We commonly use them as dippers for hummus, but they were perfect for fruit salsa. I added a jalapeno too for a kick!
If you have young children, set aside some pineapple minus the jalapeno, onion and cilantro for them.
I used crushed pineapple, sweet mini peppers, jalapeno, minced white onion and cilantro.
I sprinkled about a tablespoon of Jamaican Allspice, a bit of salt and cracked pepper onto the yams and potatoes and tossed with oil. The contrast of the savory, sweet allspice with the cumin in the beans was excellent!
Peel and cube sweet potatoes into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Put in large bowl and drizzle with just a little extra virgin olive oil, add spices, toss to combine. Too much oil and they will be mushy. Pour into a large casserole dish and bake at 400F for 30-45 minutes, depending on how many you use and how small you cut them. As soon as they are easily pierced with a fork, remove from oven. you don't want mashed potatoes, you want them slightly firm.
Meanwhile, in a sauce pot, add Ranch Style black beans, drained. 1/2 cup chicken broth or water, chopped cilantro, cumin and salt. Cook covered over medium heat to combine flavors.
Serve over brown rice to make a "complete protein" dinner.