Sweet Potato Tacos with Yogurt Sauce

Growing up, mom always served us a balanced meal with a protein, a starch, and a vegetable.  When I first was on my own in college, my meals may have become slightly less balanced.  Grilled cheese and cereal for at least four days a week made me miss mom’s home cooking.  The food at our school cafeteria wasn’t awful, but the meat was often overcooked or undercooked (I once got a plate of bloody rotisserie chicken).  So slowly but surely my meat intake dwindled.  Then when I moved into my apartment and began to cook for myself, I began trying new vegetables and began to crave vegetables and other types of protein rather than meat.  I still love a good steak or piece of pork, but many days I got meatless.
Meatless meals are a great way to save some money and try new flavor combinations.  These tacos mimic fajitas without any meat.  I used to not be a fan of sweet potatoes (until I ate this Struesel Sweet Potato Souffle), but now I love them.  And I especially love eating them around this time of year- gets me excited for Thanksgiving (only 2 months away!!).  These tacos are filling, delicious, and vegetarian.
SWEET POTATO TACOS WITH YOGURT SAUCE
Adapted from The Picky Eater
INGREDIENTS
For the Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup Greek yogurt
3 cloves roasted garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Tacos:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 cups frozen corn
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
8-10 corn tortillas, warmed
DIRECTIONS
For the Yogurt Sauce:
In a bowl, combine Greek yogurt, roasted garlic, and ground cumin.  Stir together and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Chill until ready to use.
For the Tacos:
Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add sweet potatoes and season with salt.  Toss and cover.  Cook for 5-8 minutes, until sweet potatoes are cooked through (time will vary depending on how large or small they are chopped).  Add onion and remaining olive oil.  Cook for 5-6 minutes.  Add carrots and corn.  Cook for 3-4 minutes.  Season with garlic powder, chili powder, and smoked paprika.  Adjust seasoning and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Divide filling between tortillas and top with yogurt sauce.
Serves 3-4.

Breakfast Pineapple Tortilla

First things first:  Thank the sweet lord it is finally the weekend.  The full schedule of the semester has officially begun, and as a result, cooking is becoming more a chore to try and fit into my schedule.  I was just scraping by making “just okay” meals and was loosing my culinary motivation- until out of sheer random choice, I made this recipe.  I am reinvigorated- loved cooking this and got a lot of work done after eating it.
I am always looking for new recipes to try, and as a result, I don’t remake recipes a lot, even if I really love them.  I ate this pineapple tortilla three nights in a row- I think it’s safe to say I really liked it.
It’s a very simple recipe with only a few ingredients, but the combination is so good.  Salty, sweet, and crunchy.  It’s a good way to start your day at breakfast, take a break at lunch, or satisfy your grumbling stomach as a midday snack.  Putting cheese on fruit may just become my new thing.
I still have some Fontina cheese left, and I’m contemplating buying another pineapple just so I can make this again.
BREAKFAST PINEAPPLE TORTILLA
INGREDIENTS

8 corn tortillas
4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
1 pineapple, chopped
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 ounces Fontina, grated
1/2 cup panko

DIRECTIONS

Preheat broiler.

Brush corn tortillas with 3 tablespoons butter and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Broil until crisped, 8-10 minutes.*  Let cool slightly.

Lower the temperature in the oven to 400°F.

Stir light brown sugar and pineapple together.  Top tortillas with pineapple.  Top with Fontina.  Stir together panko and remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter.  Top tortillas with panko.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.  Serve warm.

Makes 8 tortillas.

*You can also just warm the tortillas in the microwave if you want to eat like a soft taco- just skip the broiler step.

Picadillo with Peaches

I have a mid-year’s resolution.  My resolution is to reduce my grocery expenses and to waste less food.  This means more meal planning, cooking ahead of time, and shopping the ads.  My biggest change has been to stop eating frozen meals for lunch.  Those little meals are super easy and convienient but really add up quickly.  So if anyone has ideas for filling and transportable lunches, send them my way!  So far I have discovered my love of steel cut oats for lunch (best topped with currants or butterscotch chips).
So far I’ve been doing this for about a week, and I’m a little bit of a nerd because it’s actually kind of fun.  I like having to think up new ways to use up ingredients, and I love the thrill of seeing a sale.  There is nothing better than seeing a yellow price tag, especially on something you love.
One tactic I’ve used is buying more seasonal produce, which is a good idea both because the produce is at its peak taste and often much cheaper.  Now, I have bought lots of plums and corn this summer, but I completely neglected peaches and nectarines.  For shame.  I am now grabbing some nectarines or peaches every grocery store trip to make up for lost time.  One night I decided to make my own take on the Cuban dish picadillo and use some sweet summer peaches.  This dish is savory, salty, vinegary, and sweet- all great flavors.
So how did this meal do with my savings?  Very well-  I used some frozen ground turkey I had bought previously on sale, used fresh summer peaches, and used dried beans instead of canned.  Successful and delicious.
PICADILLO WITH PEACHES
Inspired by Branny Boils Over
INGREDIENTS
1 cup dried pinto beans
Water
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
16 ounces ground meat (pork, turkey, beef)
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup dried currants
1/3 cup sliced green olives with pimentos
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
For serving:
Peaches, sliced
Corn Tortillas
DIRECTIONS
In a bowl, cover dried pinto beans completely with water with about 1-2 inches of water above.  Let soak for at least 8 hours, preferably 24 hours.  Drain and rinse the beans.  Transfer to a saucepan and cover with water, with about 1 inch of water above the beans.  Bring to a boil and cover with a lid, tilted to allow steam to come out.  Reduce to simmer and cook for 1 1/2-2 hours, until beans are soft.  Add more water if needed.  Drain and set aside.
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add butter and onion.  Cook for 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.  Add ground meat and cook until cooked through, 4-5 minutes.  Add currants, olives, and pinto beans.  Season with salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and paprika.  Mix together and add tomato sauce and red wine vinegar.  Cook until liquid has evaporated, about 4-5 minutes.  Serve on corn tortillas with slices of peaches.
Serves 4.

Greek Burrito

I have been in a serious food rut lately.  Nothing I have been making turns out good.  Actually, it is not just not good- it turns out awful.  It has gotten so bad that I can’t even finish my plate (and I have eaten some seriously gross stuff before).  If you don’t believe me, I ate green and blue onions last night (bad experiment with baking soda).  So the reason for low activity here is because food is not bringing me any inspiration and my time in the kitchen lately has been sparse.
These Greek styled burritos were the last good thing I whipped up- ah, the memories of good food.  The Tex-Mex burrito is filled with Greek flavors.  A delicious dinner is something to be truly appreciated.  Go home today and thank whoever made you a great dinner.
On a side note, today I will be interviewing at my first clinical psychology PhD program.  Wish me good luck!
GREEK BURRITOS
Inspired by KokoCooks
INGREDIENTS
1 cup dried wild rice
Olive oil
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
20 ounces ground lamb (or turkey)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried cloves
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 ounces goat cheese
1 tomato, chopped
6-8 flour tortillas
DIRECTIONS
Prepare rice according to instructions.  Keep warm and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat,  add enough olive oil to coat the pan.  Add red onion and a pinch of salt.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and tomato paste.  Cook for 1 minutes.  Add ground lamb and cook until browned, about 6-9 minutes.  Drain off grease, if needed.  Add rosemary, marjoram, and dried cloves.  Cook for an additional minute.  Remove from heat and set aside.
Wrap tortillas in wax paper.  Microwave for 30 seconds, until warm.  Fill each tortilla with rice, lamb mixture, tzatziki, goat cheese, and tomatoes.  Fold the bottom of the tortilla over the filling then fold over the sides.
Serves 4-5.