perfect microwaved ‘baked’ sweet potato

You guys!!  I can’t even handle how excited I am about this sweet potato!

Perfect Microwaved 'Baked' Sweet Potato | Sweet Anna's

I know, I know…  it’s just a sweet potato.  What’s the big deal, right?

Well, here’s the big deal.

I am not a huge sweet potato fan!

Ok, so I adore my microwave sweet potato chips and that’s usually the extent of my homemade sweet potatoing.

I will also rarely say no to a plate of crispy sweet potato fries with ranch to dip them in, and I do enjoy them in a sweet & spicy curry (like this Sweet Potato Coconut Chicken Curry!) but beyond that, they just sit in my cupboard in their giant Costco bag until they slowly get chipped up or tossed away eventually.

Today, I decided to try a microwaved ‘baked’ sweet potato.  I wasn’t expecting much, but a quick filling lunch that was ‘tolerable’.  What I got was pure bliss! 

A sweet, creamy, spicy, flavorful, low-fat, gluten-free and protein-packed lunch that was so good, I was sad when it was over.

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healthy, crockpot mexican-style chicken & quinoa

Creamy, flavorful, mexican-style chicken, quinoa & black beans…  made in the slow cooker.

How’s that for a perfect, easy & healthy winter meal?

Crockpot Mexican-Style Chicken & Quinoa with Black Beans | Sweet Anna's

If, like me and almost everyone else in the world, you are trying to eat a bit healthier this year…  you’ll want to give this easy crockpot meal a try.

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pasta with mushroom & rosemary meat sauce

It’s no secret that I love Fall.  Every single thing about it actually.

I love crisp, cool days with scarves, boots and jackets.  I love warm, cozy soups and stews.  I love candles and early darkness and alltheholidays.  I just love it.

In my world, pasta and Fall go hand in hand.  Especially, hearty, meaty, cozy pastas that fill your belly and warm you to the toes.

The kind you top with lots of yummy cheese and sop up with crusty, garlicky bread.  The kind you go to bed dreaming about and can’t wait to reheat for lunch the next day.

The kind that makes you love Fall too…  even if you don’t.

This is one of those pastas.

pasta with mushroom and rosemary meat sauce | Sweet Anna's

Rosemary and mushrooms are a perfect pairing.  The piney, woodsy rosemary and the hearty, flavorful mushrooms fill the senses with all sorts of good things.

And a little kick of heat in the background is never a bad thing!

We like this sauce over short noodles, like penne or rotini, but please use your favorite.

Just make sure you light a candle and pour yourself a little glass of wine to go with this dish.  Everything tastes better by candlelight.

And you know what?  You deserve it.

pasta with mushroom & rosemary meat sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 pound mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 large jar or can (24-28oz) crushed tomatoes
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Directions

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, brown the meat, drain it and set aside.

In the same pan, in the little olive oil, sauté the onions and carrot over medium-high heat until soft and just barely golden, around 5-10 minutes. Toss in the mushrooms and sauté until they are starting to brown.

Stir in the garlic and rosemary and sauté for about 30 seconds, just until the garlic is very fragrant.

Stir in the meat, tomatoes, salt & pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes if using. Bring to a boil, taste for seasoning (adjust as necessary - more salt? more rosemary? more spice??), reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes, or as long as you have.

This is a great sauce to dump into the slow cooker for dinner. Or to freeze and reheat another day for an easy meal!

Serve over your favorite noodles with plenty of freshly grated parmesan cheese on top if you'd like and a bit more chopped fresh rosemary if you have it.

http://sweetannas.com/2013/11/pasta-with-mushroom-rosemary-meat-sauce.html

autumn salad with maple vinaigrette and waffle croutons

*This is a sponsored post for Eggo brand waffles.  The recipe, thoughts and opinions are my own!*

autumn salad with maple vinaigrette and waffle croutons | Sweet Anna's

I was really excited about this challenge to come up with non-breakfast (as in: not just butter and syrup) uses for our favorite freezer waffles.

Actually I kind of love a challenge of any kind, but my family’s obsession with Eggo waffles made this one extra fun.

This week’s theme is Thanksgiving foods.  (Waffles on Thanksgiving?  Really?!)

Yep!   And,of course, my first thought was some kind of waffle stuffing, but that just seemed too…  I don’t know.  Too much work I guess.

Then this salad idea popped into my head and oh my word is it good.

The funny thing is, I don’t really remember serving or eating salad at any Thanksgiving dinners.  Oh, I know they must have been there, but I never got around to them.  I plan on changing that ‘salad-is-second-rate’ mindset with this one.

The combination of a maple vinaigrette with the buttery, toasted waffle croutons, toasted almonds and dried cranberries is just so much fun.

The waffle croutons are the perfect balance of crunchy and chewy and the dried cranberries are such a great complement to the tangy maple dressing.

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low carb stuffed mushroom pasta

Stuffed mushrooms are one of my favorite things.

Ok, actually mushrooms in any form are some of my favorite things.

So, really, I’m kind of surprised at myself for taking so long to come up with this pasta version of my favorite italian restaurant appetizer!

Low-Carb Stuffed Mushroom Pasta | Sweet Anna's

Sometimes I feel like I could be happy eating pasta every day for the rest of my life.  I don’t think I would ever get tired of it.  And I never get bored with coming up with new ways to satisfy my pasta cravings.

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