Friday, May 3, 2013

Paleo Stuffed Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

My family jokes that I never prepare the same meal twice. That's obviously an exaggeration, but I do feel the urge to always mix things up, both to suit my personal preference and for sharing purposes in cyber space.

Sometimes I do actually crave the SAME thing, without any tweaking, fiddling or reworking. On those nights I don't post, because I hate to be redundant. Well tonight I found a way to buck my own system. I basically prepared one of our house favorites (my stuffed mushrooms), but I swapped sweet potatoes for the mushrooms.

Why? Well, first of all my kids don't like mushrooms. I usually prepare the meal on nights they're not around. So subbing in sweet taters allowed for a meal everyone would eat.

Second, as my body is trying to get readjusted to warm weather runs again, I find myself dragging a bit. Sweet potato is my go-to carb when I need a running boost.

Finally, I was really curious to see if the flavors would work well together. And they did! So I have something to share, and a familiar and comforting dinner to enjoy.

I had two honking big sweet potatoes on hand tonight. If yours are smaller, I would suggest using four. My sausage also had a lot of flavor, but if you plan on using a milder one, or perhaps some plain ground turkey, I'd suggest tossing some garlic and onion powder in when you mix the sweet potato "guts" with your meat.
Paleo Stuffed Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes, halved
1/2 lb. Italian sausage
small amount of pizza or marinara sauce
one batch cashew "cheese" sauce (see below)
chopped green onions, for topping

"cheese" sauce:
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
1/4-1/2 cup water
3 tbs. olive oil
4 ounces roasted red bell peppers
2 tbs. arrowroot powder
3 tbs. nutritional yeast flakes
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Place sweet potato cut side down on baking sheets, and cook for 30 minutes or until soft.

While potatoes are baking, make cheese sauce. Combine cashews, 1 cup milk, olive oil, red peppers, arrowroot, nutritional yeast and lemon in a high-speed blender. Process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add water, a tbs. at a time, until your desired consistency is reached. Set aside.

Remove potatoes from oven and allow to sit until cool enough to handle.

While potatoes are cooling, remove sausage from casings and cook until brown in a large skillet, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat but leave in skillet.

Scoop out the insides of the sweet potato, being carefully to leave a sturdy enough "shell" of the skin behind. Add the sweet potato flesh to the skillet with the sausage. Stir to combine and taste for seasoning. If the mixture is too bland, season with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder.

Put a tbs. or two of pizza/marinara sauce in empty sweet potato skins. Place on baking sheet and stuff with sweet potato and sausage mixture. Evenly distribute "cheese" sauce on top (you might have extra).

Return to oven and bake for 5 minutes. Top potatoes with chopped green onions and serve.