Oven Baked Potato Wedges

When white potatoes became a Whole30 approved food, there were celebrations heard worldwide. In my house, however, things hummed along as usual. Aside from fast food french fries and the occasional baked potato, we really don’t eat white potatoes that often, even before we got into the Whole30 and found out they weren’t approved on the meal plan. There isn’t anything wrong with white potatoes; but for my husband and I – sweet potatoes worked just as well, if not better.

Then a few weeks ago I bought a bag of russet potatoes with a plan to make stuffed baked potatoes as something different for dinner or packed lunches. And then I took it one step farther and decided instead of baked potatoes with our steaks, I’d slice the potatoes into thick wedges and bake them in the oven.

Total. Game changer.

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Although I adore sweet potato fries, I’ve found that my body doesn’t tolerate sugar well – even the natural sugar found in fruits and vegetables. As a result, I’ve tried to cut down the amount of sugar I’m eating and so sweet potato fries (and sweet potatoes in general) haven’t made much of an appearance in our diet lately. These oven baked potato wedges have been an excellent substitute..

The key to perfectly crisped wedges is to watch them carefully and turn them regularly. The first time I made them I didn’t add enough olive oil and they started sticking to my baking sheet. Added to that, I didn’t flip them soon enough and one side of each wedge ended up pretty crisp (as in almost black and stuck to the pan), while the other side was almost underdone. Fortunately for me, I thought they tasted great, but they were so much better when cooked to a nice golden brown – crunchy on the outside with a nice soft potato middle. Delicious.

The other nice thing with regular white potato wedges (as opposed to sweet potato fries, at least in my book) is that you can experiment with your seasonings. Usually I keep these plain, with just a shake of pink sea salt, but I’ve also tried garlic salt and fresh parsley, a dusting of chipotle chili powder, and one time I even used a mixture of turmeric and smoked paprika. Obviously you can be just as creative with sweet potatoes, but I personally prefer mine plain.

Anyway – enough talk about potatoes. Go make these!

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Baby Eggplant Stuffed With Goat Cheese and Pesto

I’m writing this post on Thursday morning in an attempt to catch up on blog posts, get back into writing, and find my groove after a hectic two weeks of moving. As I write this, it’s pouring outside – it’s been raining for about 18 hours straight and doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. We still haven’t turned our heat on, but the good news is I’m curled up in front of a roaring fire that my husband was nice enough to get going for us once we woke up and came downstairs. Armed with a cup of coffee and my ancient laptop, I’m ready to go!

How about we start off with these baby eggplant stuffed with goat cheese and pesto? Tres adorable, no?

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Ok, so they maybe don’t look as pretty as they did before I baked them in the oven, but trust me – these babies? Might be my new favorite party appetizer! If you get really small eggplant you can even serve them as finger food! Although most of ours were a little too big for that, so I just chopped off the little top and then cut mine with a knife and fork. Still, it’s a different twist on the usual hors d’oeurves, am I right?

baby eggplant

This is what they looked like when I started out – aren’t they just too much? I was talking to a woman at the farmer’s market about them and she told me she loves to roast them and serve them on a sandwich with some basil, tomato and goat cheese. Because Kevin and I don’t eat bread a sandwich was out, but I loved the idea of goat cheese and after making stuffed chicken thighs a few nights prior, I figured why not stuff the baby eggplant as well?

I wanted to do something more than just goat cheese so I rummaged through my refrigerator to see what I had on hand. And to what to my wandering eyes did appear, but some sundried tomato basil pesto! Perfect! I mixed about two tablespoons of my pesto into a 4 oz block of goat cheese and stuffed it into the baby eggplant before slathering them up with olive oil and sticking them in the oven to roast for about 30 minutes.

baby eggplant stuffed with goat cheese and pesto

Once they came out of them oven they were creamy, dreamy, roasted cheesy balls of goodness. Kevin couldn’t resist eating one directly off of the baking pan and promptly burned both his fingers and his mouth, but announced it completely worth it. After following suit (and yes, I burned my fingers and my mouth as well), I had to agree!

And not only are they delicious but have I mentioned that they are absolutely adorable?

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BABY EGGPLANT STUFFED WITH GOAT CHEESE AND PESTO

prep time: 5 minutes (if you have pesto on hand)

cook time: 30-40 minutes

INGREDIENTS

baby eggplant (I used approximately one quart box worth)

4 oz plain goat cheese

2 tbsp sun dried tomato basil pesto

olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut a slit in each eggplant, deep enough to fill with goat cheese pesto filling but careful not to slice through the entire eggplant. Toss the eggplant with olive oil. In a bowl, combine goat cheese and pesto. Fill the eggplant with the filling and lay on a baking sheet. Roast in oven 30-40 minutes, until eggplant can be pierced easily with a knife. Serve immediately.

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Roasted Beets and Sauteed Beet Greens with Goat Cheese

I have a new favorite fall vegetable.

roasted beets and beet greens

Kevin and I spent Saturday morning at the farmers market, one of my favorite places ever. I was excited to find out that beets are back in season! It’s early yet, and unfortunately by the time we got there they were all sold out of the lovely golden beets I prefer, but they did have some beautiful red beets available. I haven’t actually done too much with beets, but because we’ve been trying to experiment with different vegetables (greens in particular), I bought a (small) bunch of beets.

roasted beets and sauteed beet greens

Who would have thought that roasted beets and and sauteed beet greens would turn out to be ANYONE’s favorite vegetable? Not me, that’s for sure. In fact, I was convinced that this dish wasn’t going to work and I’d have to toss the greens and just eat beets and goat cheese. I expected the greens to be bitter and inedible, to be honest. As a matter of fact, I kept repeating that the entire time I was cooking, to the point where I’m pretty sure Kevin was just ready to throw everything out for me so that I’d shut up. I can’t really say I blame him. I can be annoyingly persistent. Particularly when I’m being persistently annoying.

Anyway – as it turns out, beet greens? Are pretty awesome.

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Now for all the beet haters out there (I see you on the other side of the computer screen, wrinkling your nose and gagging – I’m talking to YOU!) you really should give these a try. While it may seem hard to get past the dirt smell (Let’s face it, beets really do smell like dirt but come on! They come out of the ground!), but the end result is completely different. the roasted beets have a heady, earthy flavor and the creamy goat cheese gives this dish a pleasant tang.

And the greens? Like I mentioned – I was expecting them to be bitter, but they were surprisingly tender and mild! In all honestly they reminded me of sauteed spinach, although Kevin disagrees with me. He actually liked the beet greens better than spinach!

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Bottom line: you should make these ASAP. They are the perfect fall accompaniment for a variety of dishes – we had ours with grilled steaks and onions and it was phenomenal!

Oh. But just remember what I said about beets the last time I made them. Remember their beautiful dark pink/red color when you go to the bathroom. Trust me. You are not dying.

ROASTED BEETS WITH SAUTEED BEET GREENS AND GOAT CHEESE

Serves 4 as an appetizer salad

prep time: 10 minutes

cook time: 1 hour 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

one bunch beets with greens (plan on approximately one medium beet per person)

1/2 cup onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced (more or less depending on your preference)

olive oil

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Chop the tops off the beets and coat with olive oil. Place on baking sheet and roast in oven for approximately one hour or until a knife slides through the beet easily. Once roasted, the beet skins will easily peel off – I held the beet with a paper towel in one hand and used a peeler to sort of scrape off the skin – worked like a charm – but be careful not to burn your hands! Once the beets are peeled, dice the beets into medium sized chunks and set aside.

Meanwhile, wash your beet greens well and roughly chop them. I didn’t use the stems, but I’ve seen other resumes that incorporated them so use them if you’d like. In a saucepan, heat your olive oil and saute the onions and garlic until translucent. Add your beet greens and saute for a few minutes – the greens will wilt down much like spinach.

Once the greens are cooked, serve them with the roasted beet chunks and some goat cheese crumbles.

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