Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins

Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins

These sweet potato skins, stuffed with creamy sweet potato mash and cheese and bacon, were originally created as a hooray-it's-Friday, game-day, movie-watching snack, but I'll let you in on a secret: the leftovers make a damn delicious breakfast when reheated. But maybe that's just me. Either way, they DO make a fantastic over-the-top snack/appetizer/appetizer that you're calling dinner. 

It starts with sweet potatoes (bake 'em up!). The soft, sweet flesh gets mashed with sour cream, which makes them ULTRA creamy and flavorful.

Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins
Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins

Toppings is where these sweet potato skins get their name -- and where it gets really delicious. First -- shredded Monterey Jack. Then, bacon pieces. I used Tender Belly Habanero Bacon which was SO good because it's just the right balance of sweet and spicy, but your favorite bacon will be perfect, no matter what it is. The potatoes go in the oven like that, just until the cheesy is extra gooey, and then get topped with fresh green onions (need a little bit of green in all of that orange! 😉), a dollop of fresh sour cream, a few slices of jalapeño (for extra zip!), and a dash of smoked paprika (which also adds nice color and flavor).

All that's left to do is eat! 

Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins

Cheesy Bacon Sweet Potato Skins

Published January 22, 2019 by
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Serves: 12   |    Active Time: 1 hour



Ingredients:

  • 6 sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • Several dashes of paprika, for garnish
  • Optional: 1 jalapeño, sliced for garnish

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prick each sweet potato with a fork, and bake for 45-50 minutes, until sweet potatoes are soft all the way through. Allow sweet potatoes to cook 10-15 minutes, or until they are cool enough for you to handle.
    2. Slice each sweet potato in half. Use a spoon to scoop the flesh out of each potato half and into a bowl without breaking the skin of the potato (tip: leave about 1/4 inch of flesh attached to the skin, it helps keep everything together!).
    3. Mash sweet potato flesh with 1/3 cup sour cream, salt, and pepper until everything is incorporated (a few lumps are OK).
    4. Scoop mashed sweet potato into potato skins. Top with cheese and bacon bits. Place back in oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and just starting to bubble. Remove from oven, and top with green onions, a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of paprika, and if using, a slice or two of fresh jalapeño.
    5. Serve hot.
    Reheating leftovers: Leftovers can be reheated in a microwave (1-2 minutes, depending on microwave), toaster oven or oven (350° for 10-15 minutes, until warmed through)

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    Wild Rice Salad with Pomegranate & Satsuma Mandarins

    Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins

    Two delicious fruits are currently in season: Pomegranates and Satsuma Oranges.

    When I was a kid my dad would buy pomegranate as soon as it appeared in stores. Back then the fruit wasn’t “cool” and no one was talking about how it was a good source of antioxidants. In fact, I would take it to school for lunch and other kids would ask, “What is that?” (I got that a lot — I always had the most “interesting” brown bag lunches.) I’ve adopted my dad’s habit, and hop on pomegranate season as soon as the fruits look bright and red and juicy. I put them in salads (like this one with kale and delicata squash or this one with brussels sprouts) and add the juice to smoothies. My favorite is my dad’s Pomegranate Sorbet (!), but this wild rice salad is a a healthier way to enjoy the flavor.

    Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins
    Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins

    When it comes to citrus fruits, I’ve never been the biggest fan — it’s not that I don’t like oranges, there are just other fruits I like more. BUT during citrus season, when everything is at it’s peak and you can find blood oranges and ruby red grapefruits and mandarins… that’s when I get on board. Satsuma Mandarins are the best, aren’t they?!

    These two fruits together sing winter to me — they are a pop of fresh in an otherwise dull season, little gems in this wild rice salad.

    Wild rice, by the way, is another key here. It’s nuttier than white rice and gives this salad great texture and flavor. Either use leftover rice or cook the rice ahead of time. You can do this in an Instant Pot (affiliate link!) by placing 1 cup water and 1 cup wild rice in the pot and setting it to High Pressure for 28 minutes, and then allowing the pressure to release naturally.

    The whole thing is tossed with arugula (which is why it can be called a salad 😏). The bitterness of the greens are a good balance to the sweetness of the fruit and nuts. Add toasted pecans on top of that, and every bite is a combo of nutty and fresh and savory and sweet.

    Wild Rice Salad with Satsuma Mandarins

    Wild Rice Salad with Pomegranate & Satsuma Mandarins

    Published January 10, 2018 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 20 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups baby arugula
  • 2 cups cooked and cooled wild rice (leftover rice does great!)
  • 3-4 Satsuma Mandarins, peeled
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate perils 
  • 3/4 cups toasted pecans
  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Directions:

    1. Make the vinaigrette: Add all ingredients for the vinaigrette to a jar. Close jar and shake to combine.
    2. Assemble salad: In a large salad bowl, combine arugula, wild rice, mandarins, pomegranate perils, and toasted pecans.
    3. Drizzle vinaigrette over rice salad to taste, adding additional salt & pepper to your preferences. Toss and serve.

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    Gluten-Free Chocolate Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

    Gluten-Free Chocolate Pecan Thumbprint Cookies
    Gluten-Free Chocolate Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

    Happy holidays! Hoping everyone is having a beautiful day, where ever you are and whatever you are up to. We’re taking it easy, with no fancy plans, aside from maybe making a fresh batch of eggnog. I am so thankful to have a break from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the year — time to slow down, get outside (fingers crossed for some warmer weather later this week! 🤞), and even some creative recipe development without the time constraints of the normal work week (been working on lots of videos! Check out this one for homemade loose leaf chai! Also still trying to use up all of the spaghetti squash harvest from the garden). And, eating these gluten-free chocolate pecan thumbprint cookies!

    These cookies.

    Just almond flour, honey, butter, salt and baking soda combine to make a surprisingly soft but sturdy and satisfying cookie, something I discovered when I made these Paleo chocolate vanilla pinwheel cookies two years ago (2016 seems like so long ago! We had just moved into our house, I remember rolling out the cookie dough next to the wall between our kitchen and dining table. Just a few weeks later, we removed the wall and the house looks about 1,000x better! But I digress...)

    Thumbprint cookies — a Swedish treat traditionally made with a raspberry filling - have always looked festive to me. When filled with raspberry jam, they gleam in the light like little gems. But raspberry is a very summery flavor, and my inner chocoholic screamed “ganache!!” and I gave in easily, filling each with a melted 85% Dark Chocolate Lindt Bar.

    Gluten-Free Chocolate Pecan Thumbprint Cookies
    Gluten-Free Chocolate Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

    The result is similar to those chocolate kiss-topped peanut butter cookies we’ve all had at many a Christmas party, but with more delicate flavors. Toasted pecans with chocolate is an unparalleled combo in desserts in my book, one that fills your kitchen with the smells of caramelly nuts and fruity cacao scent.

    The cookie dough in this recipe is fairly flexible when it comes to flour. I tested using 1/2 cup gluten-free measure for measure flour (King Arthur flour) in place of 1/2 cup of almond flour and the result was almost the same as using all almond flour. That’s not to say I’ve tested everything! But I’m confident you’ll love these. The dough will crack a bit when you go to make the thumbprints, but that doesn’t impact the cookie much. We’re not going for perfect here — once you add the chocolate and the pecans, they’ll look (and be) absolutely delicious!

    Gluten-Free Chocolate Pecan Thumbprint Cookies
    Gluten-Free Chocolate Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

    Gluten-Free Chocolate Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

    Published December 25, 2018 by
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    Yield: 15   |    Active Time: 40 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • For the filling:
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (or a chopped up dark chocolate bar)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
    2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine almond flour, salt, and baking soda and whisk briefly to combine.
    3. Add melted oil/butter, honey, and vanilla and stir dough with a spatula until a stiff dough forms.
    4. Shape cookies: scoop cookie dough by the tablespoonful into the palm of your hand. Shape into a sphere, and then place on a prepared cookie sheet. Using a smaller spoon or you thumb, make an indent in the center of the cookie. The dough may crack a bit around the edges, which is fine; if you like, you can carefully press it together with your fingers.
    5. Repeat step 4 until all of the dough is used. Leave at least 1/2 inch between each cookie on the baking sheet.
    6. Place cookies in oven on middle rack and bake for 10-13 minutes. Cookies should be golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
    7. While cookies cool, make the filling. Melt chocolate and 1 tablespoon butter/oil in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave by heating at 30-second intervals, stirring between each round, or in a double boiler.
    8. When cookies have cooled enough to be easily handled, carefully spoon chocolate into the center of each, and place a single pecan half in the center of each. Allow chocolate to set for 10-15 minutes, and then serve or store in an air-tight contain for a week.

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