Thursday, January 28, 2010

Random but Ever-So-Delicious Dinner!

So, last night, I had no plans for a meal. But, I ended up "throwing some things together," and we had a delicious, if not completely mis-matched, dinner!

I took a can of crushed tomatoes, a can of tomato paste, some water, a can of red kidney beans, a can of great northern beans, some pasta, some chunks of zucchini, some frozen spinach, plus some herbs and spices, and - voila! - minestrone!!!! I didn't have any green beans on hand, or I would have thrown those in the pot, too. Oh well, it was yum-O! A couple of days ago, Casey and I had lunch at Olive Garden (LOVE their minestrone!) - so, that is what inspired me!

And the completely random dish that went with it? Sweet Potatoes L'Orange! We first had this dish at Thanksgiving (thanks Rene'!), and I totally loved it. Unfortunately, I tried to re-create it at Christmas from the same recipe, and it turned out pretty lousy, if I do say so myself! So, I took the same recipe, only very loosely followed it and sort of improvised the rest. Turned out great!

Here is my tweaked version. Sorry, no exact measurements. I really hate when I find a recipe that sounds really good, but they don't give exact measurements...but, like I said, this was improvisation! Next time, I'll try to measure, and then I'll revise this post. It was really good (had some for breakfast and lunch the next day!), so I'll be making it again soon!

Sweet Potato L'Orange

Take a few sweet potatoes (I did four) and bake 1 to 1 1/2 hr at 425 degrees (until nice and soft).

When they are close to being done, start the sauce.
In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup orange juice to boil.
Add a splash of lemon juice.
Lower heat - keep at a simmer.
Mix 2 tsp cornstarch with 1/4 cup water - add mixture to orange juice.
Continue stirring until you see a slight thickening.
Remove from heat, let cool for a few minutes.
Add about 2 Tbsp agave nectar (or some other sweetener - I'm not sure how dry sweeteners will do, but it would probably be fine) and a splash of almond extract (vanilla would probably be good, too, if that's what you've got)

Peel baked sweet potatoes (skin can be peeled off easily with fingers once they have cooled a little)
Slice potatoes into 1/2 inch slices.
Arrange slices partly overlapping one another (like shingles on a roof) in a serving dish in a single* layer (something with sides - you don't want orange sauce everywhere!)
Pour sauce over potatoes.

*If necessary, you can arrange the potatoes in more than one layer, just divide the sauce appropriately and pour some sauce over each layer.


Again, sorry for all the "about's" and "probably's" - more exact info later...

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