Monday, September 15, 2014

Recipe: (Divine) Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Feel like I hit the jackpot with this recipe.  I needed to use up a few sweet potatoes purchased as an “impulse buy” at the grocery store a couple weeks ago. And this was a much easier recipe to make than the other sweet potato recipe that I found a while back.

This recipe uses ingredients you probably already have in your own CF kitchen.  Minimal prep, simple ingredients, one pot! Plus this particular recipe is higher in fat from the dairy ingredients and lower in sugar from the minimal use of sugary ingredients.

Cleveland Clinic did a great comparison between sweet potatoes and white potatoes and found that sweet potatoes are lower in total carbs even though they pack more sugar. The bonus is that sweet potatoes pack more vitamins and fiber – both important to CF digestion.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces  
2 tablespoons heavy cream  (I used the half n half we give to my CFer to drink)
1/2 teaspoon salt  
1 teaspoon sugar (I used white sugar)
2  lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch-thick (about 2 large or 3 medium-small potatoes)
Nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper to taste

Combine butter, cream, salt, sugar, and sweet potatoes in large saucepan. Cook, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes fall apart when poked with fork. This will take between 30 to 45 minutes. Take off heat and mash sweet potatoes in saucepan with potato masher.You can also put potatoes into kitchen aid mixer and mix. Stir in nutmeg, cinnamon and/or pepper to taste. Serve immediately.


Don’t turn the heat up too high – low or medium low heat will do the trick. Just be patient, it took a full 40-45 minutes for  our potatoes to soften.

This recipe says it serves four and it does serve four decent-sized side portions but for a larger family dinner, you would need to double it for sure.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Recipe: Cheesy Chicken Meatballs

Cheesy Chicken Meatballs
As a mom of a CFer, I’m always looking for great ways to combine meat and cheese for that extra fat. And as a full-time working mom of a CFer, if I can find a recipe that can be made during treatment times, even better!

I found the original recipe on but it was a little too spicy for the kids. But if you like the taste of Italian chicken sausage, you can’t go wrong with the original version.

The recipe was easy to make but is deceiving. The mixture will actually seem too wet when forming the meatballs but don’t overcook them because they can dry out quickly. If your meatballs look lopsided, just spray your hands with a little cooking spray and reshape once they are on the baking sheet. Or use a cookie scoop with a trigger release to form the meatballs without getting your hands too dirty.

I struggled with what to serve these with but ended up drizzling them with marinara sauce and serving with a cheese garlic bread. These would probably do well in a stroganoff sauce or chicken-based gravy served over egg noodles, or as a meatball sub slathered with marinara sauce and topped with provolone or American cheese.  Could also toss with bow-tie pasta and spinach in a light alfredo sauce for a hearty dish.

Original recipe makes 20 meatballs about 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter

1 pound ground chicken
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup Philly cream cheese chives and onion spread
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon minced garlic from the jar
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1.Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray.

2.Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add the wet ingredients, followed by the ground chicken; mix well. Form mixture into 20 meatballs; place on prepared pan.

3.Bake in center of preheated oven until juices run clear, 17 to 18 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Monday, September 1, 2014

Recipe: Minestrone Vegetable Soup

It's Labor Day here and I have the urge to make some soup for fall. The boys start school this week and I'm trying to pack my freezer with easy meals to thaw/reheat.

This veggie soup is pretty hearty but I wouldn't call it a stew. My advice is to make it exactly as planned and then if you feel it needs more salt, heap on the parmesan cheese for the extra calories and sodium.

Minestrone Vegetable Soup

Note this recipe halves nicely but I make the full amount and freeze it for the fall.

8 cups chicken broth (2 quarts)
2 cans of cannellini beans (or kidney beans if you prefer)
3-4 carrots (1 cup chopped)
2 stalks celery (½ cup chopped)
1 white onion (1 cup minced)
2 large potatoes (3 cups cubed)
2 cans of petite diced tomatoes (we prefer the Italian spiced ones)
8 tbsp butter
1 cup frozen spinach
1 can tomato paste
4 cloves garlic (I used the pre-minced kind and measure it by the instructions on the jar)
4 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp beef bouillon paste (for that beefy minestrone taste)
1 ½ cups ditalini pasta (can sub in elbow, shell or other small macaroni)
½ to 1 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese for topping

 In a large pot, saute butter, onion, celery, carrots. Then add all other ingredients except the pasta and cheese. Bring pot to boil and simmer for 1 hour. Then add the pasta and simmer for another 20 minutes. Serve with parmesan cheese on top.

Freezing tip: Coat the inside of the container with olive oil before adding the soup, it will prevent your freezer container from permanent stains.