Eating healthy is already hard, but it gets even worse during the fall. You have holiday parties, more carbcentric food and the ever tempting pumpkin spice *insert snack or drink here*.

Just because people around you are falling into food traps doesn't mean you need to too. Try these four hearty and healthy dishes this fall. You'll be glad you did!

Bonus Challenge: Pick one recipe and commit to cooking it this week!


Bacon and Egg Stuffed Sweet Potato

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 1 raw medium sweet potato (~400g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices turkey leg bacon (uncured & nitrate free, I prefer Applegate brand)**
  • Seasonings:
    • fresh rosemary
    • pepper
    • sea salt

** – denotes Optional ingredient

Steps:

  1. Set oven to 400F.
  2. Bake sweet potatoes in the oven for about 45 minutes until they are soft, yet still a little firm.  If they are too soft, we will not be able to use them.
    • TIP: if the sweet potatoes are too thin or not thick enough, I advise baking two sweet potatoes. Then, you can skim the tops off – about 1/3 off the top – of the baked sweet potatoes, making it easier to carve a hole deep enough for the egg.
  3. Slice the sweet potatoes in half and carve out part of the inside in order to make a hole for the egg.
    • Use the leftover sweet potato to make a delicious mash with cinnamon and coconut oil, or you can use it as topping for my Shepherd’s Pie recipe.
  4. If you use bacon, wrap one slice of turkey bacon around the inside hole in the sweet potato. If it is easier, you can slice the bacon into individual pieces and then wrap around the inside of the sweet potato.
  5. Crack an egg into a bowl. First pour the egg white in the hole, then add the egg yolk.
    • If you are worried about overcooking the egg yolk in the oven or undercooking the egg white, then only add in the egg white. Bake the sweet potato with only the egg white and when the egg white is nearly finished, about 90%, remove it from the oven, add the egg yolk, then place it back in the oven to finish baking.
  6.  Bake these in the oven for 25 minutes at 400F, or until all the egg white has been cooked.
  7. Season, garnish and devour. Serve immediately while warm.

 

Approximate macros for 1 serving with 1 slice turkey bacon and ~200g sweet potato:
295 calories,17g protein, 41g carbs, 7g fat, 7g fiber, 17g sugar


Sweet Potato Bisque

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (10-12 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium tomato-vegetable juice blend or tomato juice
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles, preferably hot, drained
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 15-ounce can vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Preparation

  1. Prick sweet potatoes in several places with a fork. Microwave on High until just cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until it just begins to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Stir in juice, green chiles, ginger and allspice. Adjust the heat so the mixture boils gently; cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and chop into bite-size pieces. Add half to the pot. Place the other half in a food processor or blender along with broth and peanut butter. Puree until completely smooth. Add the puree to the pot and stir well to combine. Thin the bisque with water, if desired. Season with pepper. Heat until hot. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Thin with water before reheating, if desired.

Ultimate Slow Cooker Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ lb lean ground beef (if possible grass-fed)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 medium zucchinis (sliced)
  • 3 cups (~24oz) tomato sauce, no salt added
  • 2 large vine tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 ½ cup 2% cottage cheese
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 ½ cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
  • Seasonings:
    • 1 ½ tablespoon rosemary
    • 1 ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
    • 1 tablespoon Spice Cave Land paleo seasoning (garlicky and herb flavored to give it extra flavor)

Steps:

  1. Prepare the zucchini. Using a mandolin make thin slices of zucchini to cut strips. Slightly larger than the thickness of a nickel.
    1. IMPORTANT TIP: after you cut the zucchinis it is very important that you allow them to dry on a paper towel for about 20 minutes. Why? They tend to carry a lot of water and if you don’t, you’ll end up with a lot of water liquid in the slow cooker from both the steam and the zucchini.
  2. Prepare the meat. Spray a skillet with olive oil and set on medium high heat. Toss in garlic and brown for about 2 minutes. Next, toss in the meat and chop and cook for about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the seasonings to the meat and continue to chop and cook until the meat is fully cooked, about another 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add tomatoes and tomato sauce to the meat. Stir thoroughly and ensure there are no large chunks of ground meat. If so, chop them up with a wooden spatula. Season to taste with sea salt & pepper. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes and then remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Mix together egg whites and cottage cheese in a bowl and set aside.
  6. Spray the inside of the slow cooker with olive oil and build the lasagna. Add a little meat sauce and then zucchini strips, cottage cheese mixture and then repeat.
  7. Add meat sauce to the top layer of zucchini strips and then cover with mozzarella. If desired you can toss in basil for extra flavor and aroma.
  8. Cook for about 4 hours on normal/medium heat.
    1. After it has finished, in some cases, there may be a small layer of water covering the top layer of cheese. It is likely from steam and water from the tomatoes and zucchinis. Just scoop it out using a measuring cup or large spoon.
  9. Slice and serve.

Approximate macros for 1 of 5 hearty servings:

345 calories, 50g protein, 17g carbohydrates, 8g fat, 3g fiber, 11g sugar


4 Ingredient Healthy Chili

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 1lb 96% lean ground beef
  • 2 cans (30oz) kidney beans (no salt added)
  • 2 large vine tomatoes
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • spray olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • Seasonings:
    • Chili
      • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
      • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
      • 1 tablespoon garlic & onion powder mix
    • Couscous
      • 1 tablespoon garlic & onion powder mix
      • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

 

Steps:

  1. Set a nonstick skillet on medium high heat and spray with olive oil.  When the skillet is hot, add the ground beef and chop and cook so that it is as fine as possible (with no large chunks). While the beef cooks in the skillet, add the seasonings and continue to chop and stir.  This should between 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add the beef to a slow cooker, then add chopped tomatoes and the kidney beans WITH the liquid (do not drain the cans).
  3. Stir, then cook the chili in the slow cooker for 8 hours on low heat, or 4 hours on high heat.
  4. Chop the top of cauliflower head into pieces to create individual florets, then add the florets to a food processor.  Pulse blend until it becomes grainy, resembling couscous.
  5. Add olive oil to a nonstick skillet and toss in the cauliflower couscous. Add the seasonings to give it some “personality” and flavor.  Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes and then remove from the skillet.
  6. Once the chili has finished cooking, enjoy it with cauliflower couscous.

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