The other day I came across a post called Habit Shift: Meal Prep, where author Erin Boyle offers tips on developing the habit of prepping for meals in advance. For example, try scrubbing and chopping sweet potatoes in the morning or the night before instead of right before dinner. Which made me think, it’s all about habit shifting, isn’t it? The journey for Alex and I over the past 8 years of cooking together has been one of shifting habits: completely changing our minds about the way we eat to focus on fresh, home-cooked meals instead of frozen or packaged ones. And it hasn’t been that hard, it’s just been a change. It’s reaching for a handful of nuts and dried cherries for a snack instead of potato chips. Or chopping up veggies for a stir fry or curry instead of dumping flavor packets into a skillet and stirring. It’s not painful, it’s just a different way of thinking.
We certainly still don’t have it all figured out, but we’re getting closer. For us, prepping most meals on the weekends suits us, and we’ve found a few easy meals that work on weeknights. It’s not glamorous or perfect, but it works. And each time we cook, we learn more about what works. In this phase of life, roasting whole sweet potatoes for 1 hour before dinner doesn’t work, but cutting potatoes into fries in advance and roasting for 25 minutes might.
If you’ve been with us from the beginning, you’ll know we have a slight obsession with sweet potatoes, as well as with Mexican flavors. Combined, the two compliment each other perfectly. And what better than sweet potato fries? While fries may sound indulgent, these are actually quite nourishing: basically roasted sweet potatoes with black beans, salsa, and a lime “crema” made out of tahini. Sweet potato fries don’t end up quite as crispy as russet potatoes, but the sweet, gooey potatoes against the zesty topping is fantastically satisfying.
How about you — what habits have you shifted to cook more at home? Or what habits would you like to shift?
A few of our favorite sweet potato recipes:
- Roasted Two-Potato Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
- Lentil and Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Loaded Sweet Potato Skins with Pinto Beans
- Roasted Nourish Bowl
- Loaded Sweet Potato Rounds (a fan favorite!)
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas (another fan favorite!)
*For a dairy-free or vegan option, omit the feta cheese.
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 limes
- 2 ½ tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon Mexican hot sauce (Cholula)
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 15-ounce can black beans
- 1 cup salsa
- ½ cup feta crumbles (optional, omit for dairy-free or vegan)
- Fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Wash the sweet potatoes, leaving on the skin. Slice off the ends of each potato, then slice the potato in half lengthwise. Place the potato half cut side down and cut off a ¼-inch slice, then lay the slice on its side and cut it into several long strips. Repeat until all potatoes have been cut into fries. (See this video for inspiration, though our method is slightly different.) The pieces can be uneven, but aim for as uniform of thickness as possible.
- Place the fries in a large bowl; drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, then add 1½ teaspoons garlic powder, 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, 1 tablespoon chili powder, and 2½ tablespoons cornstarch. Mix thoroughly to combine. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the fries on the paper, placing them as far apart as possible.
- Bake 15 minutes on one side, then flip the fries and bake 10 to 20 additional minutes until the fries are dry and slightly browned; watch them carefully as the cooking time can depend on the thickness and the heat of your oven. (If the majority of the fries seem soft, continue to cook.)
- Meanwhile, make the cumin lime "crema": finely mince 1 garlic clove and juice 2 limes. In a small bowl, stir together garlic and ¼ cup lime juice with 2 ½ tablespoons tahini, 1 tablespoon Mexican hot sauce (Cholula), 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon cumin, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.
- Drain and rinse the black beans and sprinkle with a few pinches kosher salt.
- When the fries are done, cool for about 5 minutes, then serve immediately. Some fries may be slightly soft, but the outside of the majority of the fries will be crispy. (Note: Fries are best right out of the oven; they become softer as they sit.) To serve, top the fries with black beans, cumin lime "crema", salsa, feta crumbles and cilantro leaves.
This post is sponsored by North Carolina Sweet Potatoes; all opinions expressed are our own. As you know, there’s not much we love more than the humble sweet potato. Thank you for supporting the partners that keep A Couple Cooks in action!