My requirements for a weeknight meal used to be simple.
1. Quick – Because I didn’t get home from work in time to do anything elaborate.
2. Easy – Because I had just worked all day and then driven for at least an hour during rush hour to get home and my brain was not capable of anything complicated.
3. Inexpensive – Because we like to save up and do something special on the weekends.
4. Delicious – Because no one likes to eat something that doesn’t taste good!
5. Nutritious – Because, well, just because.
Really my requirements haven’t changed over the years, but I’ve just added a sixth one that sometimes gives me a little trouble and that is versatility. This means two things. First, that the recipe is easily adaptable to ingredients that I have on hand or that were fresh/on sale that week at the grocery store. And second, here’s the sometimes difficult part, meaning that I have to satisfy the palates of my husband and me (as much as I like macaroni and cheese I don’t want to eat it every meal), the palate of a toddler (who would like to eat macaroni and cheese at every meal), and, now also, the palate of an 8 month old (who would love to eat macaroni and cheese and anything else that she can fit into her mouth, but only has two teeth). So when I figure out something that will feed all of us with, ideally no changes, but I’m down for making some minor adjustments, I’ve hit gold! That’s how I feel about this meal. It meets ALL of my requirements and I don’t feel like I’m eating toddler food.
I start with sweet potatoes and cook them in the microwave. Requirements 1-5: check, check, check, check, and check. Then I sauté some onions, mushrooms, and leafy greens to top the adult version. Mash up half of one with a little molasses and top with finely chopped nuts and a little cheese for my toddler and cut some up into bite-sized pieces for the baby to eat as finger food. Dinner is done!
Mushroom & Mixed Greens Loaded Sweet Potatoes
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. cremini mushrooms (or whatever kind you like)
2 c mixed greens (I used a kale-spinach-arugula mixture that I had in the fridge)
2 Tbsp sherry (you could use soy sauce or teriyaki sauce, if you prefer)
1/4 c chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp butter
2 tsp brown sugar
- Wash sweet potatoes. Prick the skin of each potato with a fork 6-8 times (to prevent it from exploding in the microwave), wrap with a damp paper towel and place on a microwave safe plate.
- Microwave for 8-10 minutes turning over once. These will be really hot! Set aside to cool a little while you finish the topping.
- While the potatoes are cooking, add olive oil to a large skillet and cook onions over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Add mushrooms and stir to combine with onions.
- Pour in sherry and stir to loosen any brown bits of flavor on the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms brown, about 10 minutes.
- Pour in the chicken stock and immediately add the greens, stir and cook 1-2 minutes until greens are wilted, but still vibrant. Remove from heat.
- Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and split open. Break up the flesh a bit with a fork. Add half the butter and 1 tsp brown sugar to each potato and stir to combine. You can omit, this, but it plays up the natural sweetness of the potatoes and gives the final dish a sweet-salty combo that my husband and I love.
- Top each potato with half of the mushroom mixture and dig in! After you’ve prepared the plates for the little ones, of course!