Sweet potato dressed up 2 ways

The kitchen is my happy place, which is a good thing, because I spend a lot of time in it. It seems I’m always either developing recipes, or cooking them for a camera. And then there’s the not-so-small matter of cooking for my husband and four daughters every day. Truly, I love it.


But today I’m sharing with you what I make when I’m alone; cooking for one.

When I’m by myself, I like something easy to make and comforting. I turn to one of my favorite ingredients that falls lower on my husband’s list: sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins, especially A and C, and minerals, have filling fiber and even a couple of grams of protein per medium 95-calorie spud. Before you panic about all the sugars in the sweet potato – it’s right there in the title – relax a little, because that full potato has about 7 grams of sugar.

And, I’m going to make both a dinner and a dessert out of it, so personally I think those numbers make sense for the sweet tooth it will satisfy.

Here’s the plan, which involves very little actual cooking: Poke a few holes with a fork into a sweet potato and bake it until tender (about 50 minutes at 350 F, or 8 minutes on high in a microwave).

Once it’s cooked, slice in half, cut a slit down the center of each half, and top with just the tiniest bit of coconut oil or butter, which will melt beautifully into the hot potato flesh. (You can skip this part if you are watching fat intake, but even a smidge of coconut oil adds a ton of flavor.)

Sprinkle one side with cinnamon and top with fresh fruit and chopped nuts or seeds. Add a drizzle of maple syrup if you are feeling fancy.

Sprinkle the other side with a little spice, like chipotle powder, cumin and hot paprika, or curry powder. And then top with drained canned beans, lentils, chopped leftover chicken or shrimp and something crunchy like pepitas or cashews.

Place the two halves on the same plate, and there you have it: a two-course meal on one plate. Perfect for a Netflix night alone.

But you can easily scale the recipe up to include friends, should you decide to invite them.