Spicy Roasted Potatoes with Collard Greens and Thyme

Although I cook nearly every day, I only use my oven about once a week. Most of our meals are either made on the stovetop, griddle, or aren’t cooked at all. See, the hubs and I are thrifty, and if I’m going to use enough electricity (a.k.a money) to heat my oven for an hour it’s gotta be totally worth it.

Some things that are totally worth it:

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup.

Chocolate Chip Blondies.

Homemade Focaccia Bread.

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Toast.

And now this.

Potatoes all by their lonesome are one of the tastiest veggies out there, but the addition of sweet potatoes, red onions, greens, fresh herbs, and a kick of spicy serrano take this dish to a whole new level. It really irks me is when people give potatoes a bad rep; a potato is not equal to a french fry in nutritional value! Potatoes are actually a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper, potassium, manganese, fiber, and also contain phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity. That should shut the potato-haters up!

And don’t even get me started on collard greens…good grief. After king kale, they’re the most nutrient-dense leafy green out there. Just a cup of these bad boys provide you with – wait for it – a whopping 1,045% of your daily value of Vitamin K and 308% of your daily value of Vitamin A. Collard greens actually contain over 80 nutrients! 80!!! I enjoy them in salads and green juice often, but this is the most flavorful way I’ve ever eaten them.

In fact, I’ve been roasting up this recipe at least once a week since I found it. It’s so simple to put together, delicious, nutritious, and filling…yep, all the makings of a great meal! Oh, PLUS – you get to use fresh thyme, which is an added flavor bonus to any meal. Just a winner of a recipe any way you look at it.

Roasted Potatoes with Collards and Thyme
Recipe adapted from My New Roots (one of my top five favorite blogs!)

4 medium red potatoes, diced into 1/2” pieces (leave the skin on) 
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2” pieces 
2 medium red onions, sliced
1/2 bunch of collard greens, stems removed and chopped into small pieces
2 – 3 T olive oil
1-2 tsp minced serrano pepper (optional if you’re not a fan of spicy food)
2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat oven to 400 F.

2. Place diced potato, sweet potato and shallot in a mixing bowl, breaking up the shallot rings just a bit. Toss with oil, sea salt and a couple pinches of ground black pepper. The potatoes should be glistening and evenly coated.

3. Spread evenly on a baking sheet (I like to use parchment paper for easy clean up) and roast for 30 – 40 minutes, tossing once after about 15 minutes.

4. When the potatoes have about 5 minutes left, heat a little butter or olive oil in a large saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and serrano, if using, and let it cook until fragrant, but not browned, 1-2 minutes.

5. By this time your potatoes should be done. Remove from the oven and add to pan with oil, garlic, and serrano, giving it a quick stir. Throw the collard greens on top, raise heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally until greens begins to wilt but are still bright green. Add thyme and let cook 1 minute more. Feel free to add other fresh herbs if you’ve got them. Serve and enjoy!

Vitamin K never tasted soooo good.

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

I’m really hoping you’re not tired of soup yet. And even if you are, I’m confident that one spoonful of this stuff would change your mind. Roasting the vegetables is what makes the flavor really special, so don’t you dare throw raw tomatoes in a pot of boiling water and expect delicious results. Forty minutes of roasting is totally worth your time…promise!

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

7 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 head garlic
Olive oil
Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
4 – 5 medium red potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup unsweetened Silk creamer (or regular cream)
1 – 2 T freshly chopped basil

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop tomatoes and onions into 1-inch slices and arrange evenly on a lined baking sheet (the first time, I made the mistake of not lining my pan and spent 20 minutes scrubbing crusted tomato juice. Parchment paper is your friend and makes for easy clean up!). Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle sea salt and black pepper on top.

2. Cut the bottom off an entire head of garlic. This is sometimes tricky, and unfortunately I have no tips on how to make this easier! Thankfully, you just wrap the whole head in foil and stick in any cloves that may have fallen off. Drizzle olive oil on the raw, exposed ends of the garlic.

Wrap foil over the top of the garlic (it should be completely wrapped up, meaning there should be only foil and no visible garlic).

3. Roast tomatoes, onions, and garlic for about 30 – 40 minutes, until cooked thoroughly the edges become slightly crispy. Keep an eye on everything because they will sometimes cook at different rates. The garlic will generally take the longest – it should be completely soft and the color very dull and ugly.

4. Bring stock to a boil in large pot and then turn down to simmer. In a separate pot, gently boil the potatoes until soft.

5. After it’s cooled, squeeze the now soft garlic cloves into the blender with the tomatoes, onions, and potatoes. The blender should be a bit less than three-quarters full of veggies. Ladle out some of your simmering stock into the blender to cover the veggies and blend until smooth. Pour the smooth mixture back in with the rest of the stock. Repeat the blending process again until all the tomatoes, onion, and potatoes are smooth.

6. Bring soup back to a simmer and add cream, basil, and salt, if necessary. Bring to low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Enjoy!

I served this with Olive Oil Focaccia cut into breadsticks. Absolutely scrumptious!

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Potato Corn Chowder

Last weekend I traveled to Michigan to visit some dear friends. My life has been a whirlwind ever since, so I’m glad to finally be able to relax and have time to post (and cook!). I put together a little collage to share some of the highlights of my trip.

We were the elements for Halloween – earth, fire, wind, and water – and went out to eat looking all glamorous and sparkly. I’m still finding glitter on my face a week later. My flight was out of Chicago the next day, and before I left we ate in the city at our favorite place in the world, Friends Sushi. They have the best vegetarian sushi on the planet. It was a marvelous weekend, but it’s nice to be back; there’s nothing quite so comfortable as coming home and sleeping in one’s own bed, except for maybe a bowl of hot soup.

I grew up in New England, chowder capital of the world – namely, clam. My family didn’t eat clams, but my mom made a mean corn or fish chowder. Chowder nights were an exciting event, and I remember many exclamations of “Mom’s making corn chowder for dinner!”

I’ve shared my enthusiasm about soup season before. Once the air has even the slightest hint of a chill to it, I’m ready for soup of every kind, every day of the week! However, at least in my biased, Massachusetts opinion, no soup will ever be as comforting and delicious as corn chowder. Chowder wears the crown.

So here’s my own personal recipe for thick, creamy potato corn chowder, no heavy cream or butter required.

Potato Corn Chowder
Makes approximately 8 servings

8 cups vegetable stock
3 lbs red potatoes, washed and chopped
1 large white or yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 t olive oil (to saute onions)
2 cups corn (or 2 small cans)
1 cup Silk creamer, unsweetened
1 – 2 T Smart Balance Lite (optional, for buttery flavor)
Dried herbs (optional: parsley, oregano, basil, bay leaves)
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 T fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Thinly sliced green onions and/or chopped basil, for garnish

Step 1: Bring vegetable stock to a simmer in a large pot. At the same time, saute the diced onion and crushed garlic in olive oil in a pan over medium low heat.


Step 2: While your broth simmers and your onions saute, chop your potatoes into bite-size pieces. I realize it sounds like I’m asking you to be a crazy multi-tasker here, but I promise it’s not as stressful as it sounds.

Step 3: When the onions are clear and tender, add them to the broth. Stir in optional dried herbs and butter substitute. You don’t have to be precise – I added a few generous shakes of the herbs listed above, but you can add more or less or omit entirely depending what you like. Add the potatoes, and let simmer until soft.

Step 4: Strain out 2 – 3 cups of softened potatoes into the blender (or fill the blender until it’s about 2/3 full). Pour the silk creamer on top of the potatoes in the blender and blend thoroughly until smooth. If it’s too thick, add a little broth so it will blend more easily. It should be very thick and creamy (and hot, so be careful!). Pour the blender contents back into the soup.

Step 5: Add the corn and fresh herbs. Fresh parsley and basil play a huge role in the flavor of this chowder. While you can use dried substitutes, the results will not be nearly as satisfying. Use the fresh stuff – corn chowder deserves the best! 🙂

Step 6: Finally, bring to a very light simmer while stirring and at the first sign of a tiny bubble, turn off the burner. Add salt and pepper to taste until your tastebuds dance with delight. Garnish with more fresh herbs and green onions and serve!

Aah, there’s nothing like a belly full of hot chowder on a cold November evening!

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

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