Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sweet Potato Soup and Sweet Potato Fries

In The Perfect 10 Diet Book by Dr. Michael Aziz, we learn that regular potatoes have a lot of sugar and starch and should be avoided.  Sweet potatoes, however, are an acceptable substitution IF you have them infrequently – they are on the ‘limited’ list.  According to the book, although sweet potatoes are high in fiber and good for your immune system, they can be starchy and raise your insulin levels.

The numbers for the nutritional sweet potato speak for themselves: almost twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, 42 percent of the recommendation for vitamin C, four times the RDA for beta carotene, and, when eaten with the skin, sweet potatoes have more fiber than oatmeal. All these benefits with only about 130 to 160 calories!

Simple Sweet Potato Soup

makes 4 servings
2 large orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
  (about 2 lbs)
1 onion, medium sized
1 tablespoon butter
4-6 cups broth  (chicken or veggie)
Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into pieces (the smaller the pieces the faster it will cook).  Chop the onion. 

In a large pot, melt the butter on medium heat and sauté the onion until tender but not too browned.  Add the sweet potato and just enough broth to cover.  Bring to a boil and cover, reducing heat to a simmer.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft. 

Using a hand blender directly in the pot, or a regular blender, puree the onion and sweet potatoes into a silky pulp.  (If using a regular blender, be very careful, close the lid tightly and do it in small batches, not all at once.)

If soup is too thick, add broth 1/4 cup at a time until you reach your desired consistency.  Season with salt and pepper to taste or try something new!

Seasoning – experiment with curry powder, cumin, Old Bay seasoning, paprika, or substitute some apple juice in place of the broth.   If you’d like it creamy, use some cream or milk to thin out the soup.

1/2 cup of soup = 1 veggie serving

Sweet Potato Fries (oven baked)
1 really large potato feeds about 3 adults

2 orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, washed
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
(coarse salt is better)
seasonings – optional, curry powder, cumin, Old Bay seasoning, paprika, garlic

Preheat oven to 450.  Place the baking sheet in the oven.

You do not have to peel the potatoes unless you prefer. 
Slice the sweet potatoes into wedges or fries:
Wedges – slice potatoes in half lengthwise, slice each half into 6 wedges
Fries – slice potatoes lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slices, then cut each slice into sticks about 1/4 inch wide and 3 inches long

Place the potatoes in a large bowl with the oil, salt and pepper and seasonings and toss to coat.

Remove the heated baking sheet from the oven and spread the fries evenly on the hot sheet (oohh listen to them sizzle), bake for 10 minutes.  Turn the fries over and bake for another 10 minutes until brown and crispy – wedges might take a bit longer to cook.   Serve hot.

Parmesan-Garlic Fries: in a separate bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, 1 clove garlic, minced and 2 teaspoons of parsley.  Sprinkle over the cooked fries while still warm and mix gently to coat, then serve.

1/2 cup of fries = 1 veggie serving

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