Sweet Potato Noodles with Sage Brown Butter and Walnuts 

Anyone else feel like this year has just gotten off to a running start? I feel like there was a bit of a rush with the holidays, then a little slow-down and now it’s off to the races again! I’m doing what I can to stay ahead of things, but every so often, I require myself to sit down and make a list prioritizing my tasks.

Unfortunately, blogging is never number one on the list. As much as I’d like it to be, it’s just not possible. I end up taking lots of pictures of my food and the process and then write up the posts later. I guess that’s better than not doing it all, right? Then I end up with a small stockpile of blog posts and I feel like I’m ahead of the game for a bit. I guess this is a good plan after all.

I also keep up regularly with Instagram, so you can visit me over there and see all the yummy stuff I’ve got going on.

Anyway, back to the food!

The other night I wanted to do a meatless Monday meal. I had some nice sized sweet potatoes on hand and had recently picked up some fresh sage (love this stuff!). I thought it would be perfect for noodles so I got out my spiralizer and got to work.

This meal came together very quickly and it was delicious! You could even serve it in smaller amounts as a side dish. I was going for a “Meatless Monday” but I’ll bet it would be fantastic with some crisped up pancetta added too.

These measurements made enough for two as a main course with a little leftover. 

Sweet Potato Noodles with Sage Brown Butter Sauce and Walnuts

1 large sweet potato 

Olive oil

Pinch of salt

1 stick unsalted butter

3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped

Handful of walnuts

Peel the sweet potato and make your noodles with a spiralizer (swoodles). If you don’t have one, go on Amazon and get one. They are inexpensive and such fun! While you wait for it to be delivered, you can use a vegetable peeler to make your noodles.

In a skillet with a little olive oil (about a tablespoon), add your swoodles and season with a bit of salt. Cook over medium heat until soft, stirring often.

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, add your butter over medium-high heat and let it melt. Cook until it starts to brown. This will happen fast so don’t walk away. Add your sage and let it cook for about a minute. Pour the sauce over the noodles and add your walnuts. I used some lightly sweetened walnuts I had from Trader Joe’s but you can use plain or raw or roasted. Whatever you like. I liked using the candied walnuts because it added just another balance of flavor. The butter takes on a nutty taste and the sage is nice and earthy. The sweetness from the nuts and potato just round it all out. Theoretically you can leave the walnuts out, but I wouldn’t recommend it. For a meatless meal, they add some protein and the crunch gives the dish some texture.

 

This was a big hit. My 3 year old kept taking bites off my plate and my kids are super picky eaters! There’s actually some leftovers in the fridge that I’m thinking about right now….

Lasagna-Stuffed Bell Peppers 

This past 9 months on my weight loss journey, I’ve really gotten into studying food. One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most is learning how to make some of our favorite foods healthier and how to incorporate some of the flavors we love into dishes that are good for us. So far, I like to think, so good. 

It’s funny because I think over the years healthy food has gotten a bad reputation as being bland and boring. Sure, there are some healthy foods that can be described that way, but I really think that for the most part, you can eat healthy food and make it exciting! Just because it’s good for your body doesn’t mean it can’t be good for your taste buds too!

That’s where recipes like this one come into play. Lasagna is such a comfort food with all the cheese and carby pasta. But it’s not necessarily the best for you. So I took all those comfort-food ingredients and scaled it down into a healthy stuffed pepper, and can I just say this dish was such a winner! My husband immediately asked for it to go straight into the dinnertime rotation.

I used turkey sausage which is a healthy swap. I also swapped the ricotta cheese for cottage cheese, which is way lower in calories and pumped up with protein. Make sure to use the small curd cottage cheese and you won’t be able to tell the difference. Each pepper only had about a half a lasagna noodle in it, so I don’t even count those.

I made four peppers (one of each color), but there was a little leftover filling, so you could probably actually get about 5 or 6 out of the batch.

Lasagna-stuffed Bell Peppers

4 bell peppers (I used one of each color, but feel free to use what you want)

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 links Italian Turkey sausage, removed from casing (I used mild, but you can use sweet or hot depending on how spicy you want it)

1 15oz can reduced sodium diced tomatoes

1 8oz can reduced sodium tomato sauce

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon dried basil (or two fresh)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 cups small curd, low fat cottage cheese

2 tablespoons fresh basil (I used that basil paste I found. I’m really starting to like this stuff!)

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

3-4 lasagna noodles, cooked

Low fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350.

Remove the tops of the bell peppers and clean out the insides. Stand them up in a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes to start softening. When you buy your peppers, make sure you try to get nice rounded ones with sturdy bottoms, not long skinny ones.

 

While the bell peppers are baking, boil the noodles. I put about a ¾ a noodle total in each pepper, but I ended up boiling more than I needed, just in case. I’m sure it will depend on the size of your peppers and how many layers you can fit in there.

Meanwhile, in a skillet add a tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium high heat. Add your chopped onions and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant. Add a little salt while cooking, about 1 teaspoon or so.

Add the sausage to the onion/garlic mixture and break up with a spatula. Cook until browned and most of the pink is gone. You can also use regular ground beef or turkey or chicken. You can use any sort of sausage you like. You can even leave the meat out altogether and make this vegetarian.

 

Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, and oregano and a pinch of salt. Stir together and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

 


In a bowl, add your cottage cheese, basil, and parmesan. Mix together and set aside for when you are ready to assemble.

 

When you remove the bell peppers from the oven, check to see if any water accumulated in the bottom of the peppers. If so, just dump it out.

Now, just layer all your parts into each pepper. I started with some of the sauce/meat mixture, then a spoonful of the cottage cheese mixture, then a noodle. Repeat, ending on meat mixture. Finally, top with some shredded mozzarella. Put as little or as much as you want. Live a little.

Put the peppers back in the oven for another 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and gooey and golden brown on top.

Let them sit for about 5 minutes after removing them from the oven so they can set up a bit. This is sort of a messy dish anyway, but letting the juices redistribute helps a little.

 


Enjoy!