The Mexi-Loaded Sweet Potato

So many people that I work with seem to have difficulty getting enough veggies into their daily diets. Either they don't like a wide variety or they're not sure what to do with them or they don't necessarily put the time or energy into giving it much thought and skip it.  I guess that's what I'm here for!  I put a lot of energy into thinking about food and what to eat and how to eat it.  I love food!  I want my meals to be tasty, interesting and healthy.  When one of the women in my group weight loss challenge mentioned sweet potato as one of the few veggies she was on board with,  I immediately thought of this Loaded sweet potato dinner that we make once in a while and figured I'd share it with all of you.

This is a loaded sweet potato with a Mexican flair.  So you'll need a little homemade taco seasoning.  You can easily whip together some spices and keep them in a jar for when you need them in the future.  Staying away from the store bought envelopes which contain all kinds of unnecessary yuck (Chili Pepper, Salt, Maltodextrin, Spiceonion Powder, Corn StarchYellow Corn Flour. Contains Less than 2% of: Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Silicon Dioxide (Anti-caking Agent), Sunflower and/or Cottonseed Oil, Natural FlavorEthoxyquin (Preservative)) is always a good idea.

When I made this the other night I used ground beef but you can save some calories by using ground turkey or chicken instead.  We've had it both ways and both work equally well.

I sauteed a chopped onion and the ground beef until browned and then added one can of very well rinsed black beans.  

Next I added the taco seasoning, about 2 Tbs, and a 1/3 cup of water and left the seasonings work their taco magic.  

While the meat cooks you can cook up the sweet potatoes in the microwave (or oven).  It takes about 8-10 minutes or until fork tender.  I can't even get over how clean my microwave is....

At this point I add a little fresh cilantro, taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.  This recipe makes more meat and beans needed for four sweet potatoes but you can save the leftovers and have a nice taco salad for lunch!  (or if you're cooking for one or two, you can easily cut this in half.) 

Every good taco deserves lettuce, but there's a time and a place for slightly warm, wilted lettuce (seriously, grilled romaine salad or atop a clam pizza) and this isn't one of them.  So, I used fresh spinach.  You could also use kale if that's your thing.  I just give it a rough chop to make it manageable.

Every good taco deserves cheese too (do I really need to say that?).  No need to go crazy, a few shreds will do.

This of course isn't a taco, we're just going taco style.  So cut that sweet spud in half and give it a good fluff with a fork.  (I look forward to daylight savings when it gets a little less likely that it's pitch dark outside while I'm cooking and maybe have a slightly greater chance of having some decent light to take these photos in!)

Time to assemble!  Start with a pile of spinach (remember it will wilt a bit from the hot potato and the the hot meat and beans).

Put about a half cup of the meat mixture on top of the spinach, a couple of tablespoons of shredded cheddar and a quarter of a chopped avocado on top and we are in business!  

This meal was not only delicious, I was completely stuffed (but not in a gross way).  If you make this dinner using ground turkey with the toppings mentioned above, it'll run you around 450 calories and a bit more with ground beef. In this one fabulous meal, you're getting sweet potato, spinach, black beans and avocado which are all fantastically good, nutritionally dense foods!  I invite you to give it a try.

Loaded Mexi-Sweet Potato

1 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey

1 medium onion chopped

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 Tbs homemade taco seasoning (or to taste)

4 medium sweet potatoes cooked until fork tender

3 cups rough chopped fresh spinach or kale

1 avocado diced

1/2 cup shredded cheddar

(fresh cilantro, sour cream, hot sauce optional are all goo optional toppers)

Cook sweet potatoes in microwave until fork tender, set aside.  Heat a heavy skillet and 1 tsp of oil over medium heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring until starting to soften.  Add ground meat and cook until browned (or cooked through).  Add beans and seasoning along with 1/3 cup water and reduce heat to medium low and simmer until liquid is cooked off.  Add fresh cilantro and adjust seasoning as needed.  Slice open the potato and fluff with a fork.  Top with a handful of spinach, about a half (or heaping half) cup of the meat and bean mixture and toppings (avocado, cheese as mentioned above).  Dig in!

 

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