My purpose in writing this blog is to give people who may be interested in personal chefs, either for themselves or for someone else, more information about who I am and what I do. So it may seem counterintuitive for me to post recipes. After all, my goal is to be hired to cook for you or someone you know. Why would I post recipes that encourage people to cook for themselves? Aside from the fact that cooking is one of the best things you can do for yourself, the recipes I post will be ones I love and want to share. If I were preparing meals for you, I would hope to be able to make these for you. But if you make them for yourself and love them, I will still be happy.
Hiring a personal chef is often a decision people come to over time, as circumstances change. I want to give you a reason to come back to my blog, to look at my website, to get to know me and some of the things I am passionate about. When you need in-home meal preparation, I want to help you choose me.
I first encountered sweet potatoes as the main ingredient in the gooey, sweet, marshmallow-topped casserole that accompanied the Thanksgiving turkeys of my childhood. I’m not sure I ever even tried the casserole. It held no appeal for me and I pretty much wrote off sweet potatoes. Fast forward 20 years. We were being encouraged to eat a more colorful diet; less meat, more fruits and vegetables. I discovered the recipe for Sweet Potato Quesadillas in the cookbook Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home. It forever changed the way I feel about sweet potatoes.
I have made this recipe for almost everyone I know. It is simple, comforting and healthy. To me these quesadillas taste like the toasted cheese sandwiches I ate as a kid, only 100 times more flavorful. I hope you like them.
Sweet Potato Quesadillas – 4 servings. Preparation time about 30 minutes.
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion; 2 garlic cloves, minced; 3 tablespoons vegetable oil; 4 cups grated peeled sweet potatoes (about 3 potatoes); 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano; 1 teaspoon chili powder; 2 teaspoons ground cumin; generous pinch of cayenne; salt and freshly ground pepper to taste; 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese; 8 tortillas; tomato salsa and sour cream optional.
Saute the onions and garlic in the vegetable oil until the onions are transluscent. Add the grated sweet potatoes, oregano, chili powder, cumin and cayenne and cook, covered for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. When the sweet potato is tender, add salt and pepper to tast and remove the filling from the heat. Spread 1/8 of the filling and 2 tablespoons of the cheese on half of each tortilla. Fold the plain half of the tortilla over the filling. Place as many quesadillas as will fit in a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray or lightly coated with oil and heated over medium heat. Cook each side 2 to 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the filling is hot. Serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired.
I adapted the following recipe from one I found much more recently on the allrecipes.com website. It has a similar flavor profile to the quesadillas above, but it packs even more fiber and can be assembled and frozen individually.
Sweet Potato Burritos – 6 servings. Preparation time 50 minutes.
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil; 1/2 onion, chopped; 2 cloves garlic, minced; 1 can kidney or pinto beans, drained and rinsed; 1 cup water; 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder; 1 teaspoon ground cumin; 1 teaspoon prepared mustard; pinch cayenne pepper; 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce; 2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes; 6 flour tortillas; 1/4 pound shredded Cheddar cheese.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a medium skillet and saute onion and garlic until soft. Stir in the beans and mash. Gradually stir in water, mashed sweet potatoes, chili powder, cumin, mustard, cayenne pepper and soy sauce. Heat until warm. Divide potato mixture among tortillas and top with cheese. Fold up tortillas burrito style and place on a baking tray. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Note: Cooled burritos and can be individually wrapped and held in the refrigerator for 4 days or the freezer for a month. Defrost frozen burritos in the refrigerator and heat in the microwave 1 to 2 minutes.
Note: Consider using whole-grain tortillas and half the suggested amount of sharp or extra-sharp Cheddar cheese.