5 ingredient Tri-colored roasted potatoes

Sometimes when I’m shopping at farmer’s markets or even the regular grocery store, my menu will change based upon what looks good to me at the time. I was at my local store and saw that they carried a special variety of purple sweet potato, they were local, farmed in WA, seasonal and a steal at $1.99 a lb. The California garnets also caught my eye, they were a bit pricier but not much and since I only needed one it is still way cheaper than buying premade frozen ones….not to mention tastier in general. To round out my palate I also picked up a WA russet, just to add a bit more starch and a less sweet variation and color. I instantly thought of roasting them, I have to admit….I didn’t really like sweet potatoes till my late 20’s (growing up with the canned ones topped with marshmallows, no Bueno)but since then it has been quite a passionate admiration. So here it is a fab, easy, only a few ingredients needed side dish that can sometimes upstage the main!
1 of each potato, garnet, russet, waxy, purple, whatever looks good to you
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Indian curry powder
Thinly sliced shallots or onions
Pre heat oven to 425 degrees. Try to buy potatoes that are about the same size, peel and cut into pieces about the same size (so cooking time will be the same). On a lightly oiled sheet pan (I used olive oil, just a light coating, if you are feeling extra lazy you can use Olive oil pam), add potatoes in one layer, add a lil more oil, add, salt, pepper, curry, and shallots or onions (1 shallot, or half a medium onion).

Trying to take my "artsy" shot was made impossible by my tater thief in the prime of his terrible two's!!
Trying to take my “artsy” shot was made impossible by my tater thief in the prime of his terrible two’s!!

Roast for 25 minutes, done….I topped ours with some cilantro I had, but you can use any fresh herb you have on hand or leave it out completely.

sneakin snacks while Mom was trying to photography his "nandy"
sneakin snacks while Mom was trying to photograph his “nandy”

Wanna take this recipe to a whole new galaxy? Add my recipe for tzatiki, from yesterday’s gyro recipe to still warm potatoes…tuber heaven!

Roasted Portabello Gyros

Growing up in a Greek restaurant I’ve met my fair share of gyros. Today’s version is one I have never done nor have I seen available anywhere. I love roasting or grilling portabello mushrooms, I use them all time to replace meat in dishes. I was totally craving gyros today and since it was meatless Monday I figured I would try my hand at a new version of this all time favorite. They ended up delicious and even my two year old couldn’t get enough.
For the mushrooms, I just make sure and use a pastry brush to remove any dirt or debris, I DO NOT rinse them. The one’s I found at my store today were local and huge! So I only needed two for four gyros.
I preheated my oven to 375, then on a sheet pan I placed my clean mushrooms, with removed stems. I dosed them heavily with balsamic vinegar, about a half cup, then sprinkle with sea salt, dried oregano, pepper, I used some springs of fresh time I had, and a few cloves of minced garlic. Drizzle lightly with good olive oil and roast 20 minutes or grill five to seven minutes per side. Done…I let them cool a bit then sliced them thinly.
For the pita, I purchased some that are made locally, of spelt flour and they are super delicious. I have made my own and they are great, but I didn’t have the extra hour and half today….so as long as you buying good quality, preservative free pita’s you will be fine. Trader Joe’s also makes a real tasty wheat “flat bread” that are cheap and would work great in a pinch. Ours are from Aladdin’s in Beaverton, OR.
I sliced some red pepper (you can use tomatoes), and a shallot thin to top with. Then I made my tzatziki, this is the crown jewel of any good gyro, I used 1 cup lebni (Greek Sour cream) but you can use Greek Yogurt, I wouldn’t recommend going the “fat free” route since they are basically filled with unnatural thickening agents and don’t give you the right taste…sorry….don’t like fat free dairy…totally gross. I crushed two cloves of garlic into a paste, shredded a local pickling cuc from Washington, and the zest of a lemon, added that to the lebni, chopped some baby dill, and used about half a tsp of dried mint that come from my friend Heidi’s garden. Stir together, and finish with a lil drizzle of good olive oil, can be made a day ahead. Easy, 30 minute, meatless Monday meal, Take that Rachel Ray! Yassou!

Sexy Tex-Mexi Tacos

While I was visiting my fam in the Utah, my nephew’s girlfriend Felisha treated us to some lovely tacos. She made them with ground beef, made her own pico, served them with some onions and cilantro, and gave the corn tortillas a quick dip in some hot oil so they were almost like puffy tacos, a famous style of Texas taco that is neither soft nor crisp…just delicious. I felt inspired, and my family loves tacos, so I decided to make my own version…and ya know what? They were fiesta inspiring! I also did some sneaky “Mom” stuff like added some veggies to meat mixture and topped them with a healthy dose of romaine and radish. This worked great for a fast, Friday dinner that pleases everyone.
Beef filling
1 lb 85/15 ground beef
2 carrots grated
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp chili powder
In a skillet over medium high heat, brown the beef with the onion and carrot, till golden, drain fat. Add tomato paste and seasonings and 3 Tbsp water….let simmer while you prep your toppins and fix your tortillas.
In a shallow skillet, add about an inch of canola (or other high smoke point oil of choice) heat to medium high. Add tortillas one by one until they bubble and puff, this will take about thirty seconds if your oil is the right temp. I used some locally made corn tortillas, they only have three ingredients, corn, lime, water. The shelf stable variety tend to have too many hard to pronounce chemicals for my taste. Drain tortillas on paper towels.
I shredded half a head of organic romaine (lettuce is a good one to buy organic as it is highly susceptible to chemicals.
1 cup grated cheese, I used cheddar
A few thinly sliced radishes
1 bunch cilantro (I added the stems to my meat mixture)
Salsa verde
Salsa roja
I didn’t make my own salsa today due to time issues, my son just turned two and is especially mischievous right now, and I have great access to local salsas. But if you have the time I say make your own, especially if you are growing tomatoes!!! These were fast and easy and fit into my budget. I make a lot of tacos but these ones were in honor of Felisha’s version. Gracias Felisha!

Rigatoni with Roasted garlic tomato sauce topped with summer veg


Growing up we ate spaghetti with ground beef, tomato paste, and dried spices at least once a week. I loved my mom’s simple version of a Bolognese with green can, grated parmesan, honestly, I still do! I make my own variation for my fam often, because it’s cheap and a total crowd pleaser. Pasta and some form of red sauce is a favorite of mine, even Mario Batali claims that if he could only eat one thing again it would be pasta and red sauce. It’s summer here and a meat laden pasta isn’t exactly the most appetizing thing when it hot and humid, so I decided to do a vegetarian variation, that’s a bit lighter, and lighter still on the old budget!
• Sauce
1 28 oz can good Italian plum tomatoes
1 head garlic, roasted (cut off the top of the bulb, drizzle with olive oil, bake at 350 till mushy and golden, about 45 minutes) cool, squish outta the bulbs and mash with a fork.
½ cup wine, if you won’t drink it, don’t cook with it
1 shallot, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
In a medium sauce pan heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot and red pepper, cook till shallots are transparent. Add wine, tomatoes (crushed), roasted garlic, salt and pepper. Turn heat to low.
• Veggies
1 small zuchinni sliced thin (I used a mandolin)
1 carrot, sliced think (again I used a mandolin)
2 cups broccoli florets
1 lb rigatoni
2 tsp butter
In a large pan boil salted water for pasta and broccoli, when boiling add pasta, bring back to a boil, add pasta, cook about 9 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Drain, add 2 tsp butter or olive oil (vegan), set aside.
In a small skillet heat a T or so olive oil to medium high, add zucchini and carrots, saute about five minutes.
Top pasta and broccoli with sauce and veggies, I like to finish with pecorino and fresh Italian parsley.