Roasted Italian Potatoes

Tender Roasted Italian Potatoes served over a bed of crispy greens, topped with pine nuts and fresh lemon juice is what I like to call my solution to wanting a hot meal with almost as little effort as possible.

As I’m typing this, my Zo-girl Fresh (that’d be my dog Zoey by the way), is snoring up a storm while flopped on the couch next to me. I swear that girl sleeps more than she’s awake, and snores louder than most humans. And now that I’ve given in to her sneaky ways of climbing on the living room couch and into our bed in the past several days, she’s becoming quite the spoiled princess. Not that she hasn’t always been one, but she acts so distraught when I don’t let her up.

She’s all, “What? You think I’m going to lay on this shaggy rug when I know perfectly well there’s a cushy couch or bed filled with blankets to keep me warm?”

And I’m like, “Zoey, I know you’re fricking adorable and I want to snuggle but you’re too big and it’s just not going to….” (as she nuzzles her head into me)…”Ok, come on. Get up here.”

She’s just a dog. I won’t be so easily persuaded with my children one day, I swear.

Okay so all of that dog talk was just a completely random side note to the main focus of this post. POTATOES! These potatoes are the star of the show today.  Just thinking about the generously seasoned potato chunks has me craving them all over again right this very minute. That’s saying a lot considering I just ate a tiny piece of homemade brownie and trying my best to resist going back for another piece. With the taste of chocolate still lingering in my mouth, it’s not often I would also have a desire for real food. But these potatoes, both crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, are oh so savory and simply perfection.

Roasted Italian Potatoes

Makes 2 servings

10 small red potatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce, for serving
2-3 teaspoons lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons pine nuts

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, add potatoes and olive oil. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to coat potatoes evenly with the oil.
3. In a small bowl, combine oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary and salt. Stir well to combine and add to potato bowl. Mix well to evenly coat potatoes with the seasonings. Gently shake potatoes onto the foil-lined baking sheet in an even layer. Cover the entire pan with a sheet of foil and place in oven.
4. Let cook for 30-40 minutes or until fork tender, removing pan from oven about halfway through to gently shake/turn potatoes. Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes. Divid potatoes among plates of lettuce, then top with a squeeze of lemon juice and a heaping tablespoon of pine nuts.

Mid-Week Vegetarian Review

Goooooood morning! It is quite a good morning for me, because even though it’s only Thursday, it is my last day of work until next Tuesday. Greg and I are meeting our families in Panama City Beach for the holiday weekend. No, it’s not the party scene you’re thinking. His family has a house in the more “local” area that isn’t necessarily flooded with crazy college kids on spring break. We’ll be avoiding that as much as possible and enjoying some quite pool/beach/family time.

That being said, I know this weekend is going to be challenging. Eating out is sure to bring temptation…cheeseburgers here, french fries there. Not to mention the Easter brunch staples like baked ham, bread rolls and desserts galore.

Since I started my new way of eating last weekend, I haven’t had much trouble making good choices. I have found creative ways to enjoy more vegetables, beans, and other whole foods in my diet.

Like I said before, I haven’t ruled out eggs or cheese completely. An over-easy egg was perfect on top of these home fry style potatoes, complete with bell pepper, onion and ricotta cheese. Can you say, “Yum.”? 😉

Then, for two nights in a row, we had veggie pizza for dinner! Using almost the same method as these Sausage and Pepper Flatbreads (obviously using different ingredients), these babies were ready in no time. 

Yesterday was the first Wednesday of the month. You know what that means, right? Well, probably not unless you have amazing memory from last time I mentioned this. It means cake at work! Cake is most definitely not on the list of whole or plant-based foods. Buuuuuut, rules are meant to be broken. We actually get bagels at the office for breakfast too on these days. I skipped the bagel and stuck with my own breakfast of oatmeal, so at least I only splurged once. (These are the things I tell myself that let me sleep at night…j/k.)
Of all of my meals this week, last night’s dinner wins the blue ribbon. Greg insisted on Sweet Potato Quesadillas. I have to admit, this is one of my specialties. Probably one of the best things I make. But I just wasn’t in the mood (I had made a bean/corn wrap for lunch and wanted to switch it up).
So after throwing together some ‘dillas for G, I added some of the remaining filling mixture- sweet potatoes, black beans, onions, corn and spices- to the skillet with a large handful of spinach. I let everything cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly until the spinach was wilted and all ingredients were hot. 
The mixture went right on my plate with a few tortilla chips to scoop. 
If I find something this delicious in Florida this weekend, I’ll be a happy semi-vegetarian camper! 

Sun-Dried Tomato Ricotta Potatoes

Hey Friends. My Monday flewwww by and I’m counting on the same for today, and the rest of this week for that matter!

I’m really proud of this recipe today. It’s so versatile, which is one of my favorite qualities in a dish. Plus, and more importantly, it’s healthy and delicious. Winner, winner…potato dinner!

I’m trying to eat as much of the food in my fridge and cabinets as possible before going grocery shopping again. It’s impossible for me to go to Publix to just grab an item or two. I always coming out spending more than I intended. To avoid this problem, I’m trying to ignore the lack of meat or fresh produce for just a couple of days longer. If only I can make use of what I already have on hand…

Like a bag of redskin potatoes! And a random container of ricotta cheese! (Well, not so random actually. I bought the container to make these pancakes last week, but now I’m desperate to cook with the rest of it.)
It was quite the successful experiment if you ask me. Go ahead and try for yourself. 
Sun-Dried Tomato Ricotta Potatoes
Makes 1-2 servings
2 small-medium redskin potatoes, washed and sliced
1/2 tablespoon margarine or butter
1/4 of a whole green bell pepper, sliced
1/4 cup water
3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon dry basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat margarine in large skillet over medium heat. 
2. Add sliced potatoes and cover skillet. Allow to cook about four minutes. Remove lid and flip potatoes. Add water and shake skillet so potatoes are constantly moving and evenly cooking. Add green pepper sliced. Re-cover skillet and allow to cook about three to four more minutes. 
3. Remove lid and turn off heat. Add sun-dried tomatoes, ricotta cheese and spices to the skillet. Stir to evenly coat potatoes.  Serve immediately.

Poor Bambi

Here it is…

The mystery meat.

Wanna take a guess at what we (Greg) grilled last night?
Deer! Venison, Bambi…whatever you want to call it. Sorry for bringing up Bambi, but I couldn’t help but have a sense of humor as Greg and I cooked a meal like this last night. 
Greg got the meat as a Christmas gift from one of his clients. Thoughtful, huh? I have had deer meat a couple of times before when one of Greg’s best friends Taylor made it for us…wrapped in bacon. I have to say, I don’t hate it. Definitely not my first choice of meat, but not terrible either.
We made sure to marinate the meat well in advance to get the most flavor as possible. We started marinating it on Thursday night and didn’t start cooking until almost 24 hours later. 
While Greg took the meat to the grill, I was too much of a baby and insisted the almost 60 degree weather in January was too cold to be outside. I had a good excuse anyway, because we needed side dishes for our deer. 

I stayed inside and caramelized some onions and garlic in margarine before adding asparagus spears and a splash of marsala wine sauce. Yuuummmmyy. 
I also whipped up some mashed potatoes using potato flakes! We have had some in the cabinet for awhile now, ever since Greg started experimenting with homemade sourdough bread. I figured this would be a good chance to use some of those flakes up and they were much better than I would have thought! Have you ever made mashed potatoes from boxed potato flakes? So fast and easy. Not a bad copout from the real thing if you ask me. 

Apparently deer meat is fairly lean compared to most other meats. That helped me justify eating a couple extra bites too.

It really did turn out as good as it could have been. Maybe a little pink, but it didn’t look quite that pink in real life. I think that’s mostly from the lighting. And pink is a good color anyway. Only my fave to be exact. Plus, I told Greg, “Well, if we die, at least we die together.” 🙂 
After dinner last night, we stayed in for a quiet evening. Watching movies and eating ice cream. Great combination. Hey, I didn’t want to go too crazy because I have a big morning! Greg and I are going to take a cooking class downtown! He signed us up for the class for one of my Christmas presents. I have been dying to do a cooking class and I can’t wait to let you know how it goes!
Have a great, relaxing Saturday!