Two Side Dishes

Sweet Potato Fries and Three Bean Salad
These recipes feel a little like cheating. They are so easy that I almost think I should not include them here, but I don’t want people to overlook these.

Sweet Potato Fries

I bought a small electric fryer (This is not exactly the model I found at my local Aldi, but it is very similar and for a similar price.) It is just large enough to make one potato’s worth of fries. (Or as my friends from Great Britain would say, “chips”.)

Peel the sweet potato (and of course, these instructions are true for white potatoes.) Cut them into slice 1/4-1/2 inch thick, then cut them again at the same size to make the fries.

Rinse under cold water, then place in a bowl. Fill with water and ice. Let them chill for 30min to overnight.

Get the oil hot, 325F/162C. Use an oil that remain liquid at room temperatures (canola, corn, safflower or peanut work very nicely.) Drain the water off the potatoes, and using a clean cotton towel, get the fries as dry as possible. Carefully place in the oil. Let let cook for 6-8 minutes. They will start to get limp. Remove them from the oil and let drain. set them aside to rest.

Turn the heat up to 350F/175C. When hot, place the fries back in the oil for 1 minute. they will quickly get golden brown. Serve immediately.

Three Bean Salad
Makes approximately 8 portions (1 cup each)
2 cans cut green bean
1 can cut wax (yellow) beans
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed until clear
1 medium onion, slice thinly.
apple cider vinegar 
sugar (or I used Splenda)
Salt and pepper to taste
Place everything in a non-reactive bowl (glass is best). I try to find low sodium versions of the vegetables. That way, if you need to add a bit more, you are in control of how much is added.
Mix the dressing (equal parts vinegar and sweetener.) I make it in small amount ata time until I get enough. How much is enough? Hard to say, but after placing all the vegetables in the bowl, you want to add enough dressing to come about 3/4 of the way to the top. It’s okay if not everything is submerged. The onions will get soft and collapse, and the beans will give off their own juice. 
Mix together, season as needed, cover and refrigerate overnight. This is a salad that tastes better a few days after making it.
Nutritional data (using Splenda, and no-salt-added vegetables)
Calories:       149
Fat:                     0g
Sat fat:                0g
Chol:                0mg
Sodium:    295.6mg
Carbs:            32.6g
Fiber:               6.7g
Protein:            6.7g
Most of the calories and carbs are from the kidney beans.
I served these sides with burgers, fresh off the grill. I dressed my bun with Vidalia onion and avocado slices (on the bottom bun) with a dollop of coarse German mustard on top of the meat.


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Pulled Pork Chili

Pulled Pork Chili
Serves 10 (1 cup portions)

This morning I woke to 45F temperatures. To me, that means chili season. But some chili can be high fat, and some high sodium. This is neither, just high flavor. This is one of those little life hacks that I talk about on one my Make Your Someday Today Trevitorials. Make good food and eat it. When you make it yourself, you know what is in it!

In a large (3-4 quart kettle) add:
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
Add your preferred chili spices

Sautee that together until the onions begin to get translucent (5 minutes)
1 tablespoon tomato paste. Stir to mix together, then add:
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained, and low sodium if available
2 cans beans, drained and rinsed
1 pound pulled pork

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. After 30-40 minutes, taste and add more seasoning as needed. This is better if you can then chill it for a few hours or overnight.

So, why is the beer in the picture? I make my beans with a pressure cooker. I use 1 cup dried beans (here is a mix of white navy beans and black bean), one onion diced, 2-4 cloves garlic minced and 4 cups beer. This is one of my favorites, Green Bay’s own Wisco Disco. Put the lid on, set to high pressure and leave them cook for 45 minutes. When it is time to add the beans to the tomatoes, I dump everything in, beans, beer, onion and garlic.

Nutritional data:
Calories:         210
Fat:                  5.4g
Sat fat:             1.7g
Chol:           38.5mg
Sodium:      32.7mg
Carbs:            18.2g
Fiber:               4.6g
Protein:            19g

Green Beans and Butternut Squash

Green Beans and Butternut Squash
Serves Variable

This is a wonderful cool weather meal. It is very well-suited to pork dishes, but hearty fish (salmon), lamb or venison would be equally good.

On my podcast, Make Your Someday Today, many guests talk about need to make adaptations to changing conditions. When you make a side dish like that, you have automatic flexibility. You can prepare whichever meat you have in your freezer or is on sale at your local market. And this dish simply looks good!

Fresh green beans
Medium butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil

I didn’t weigh the ingredients, so I don’t know how much to tell you to use. I used about 4 cups of beans and 2 cups of squash and got 4 large portions from it.

  1. Put a large pot of water on the stove, and turn to high
  2. Peel the squash. 
  3. Cut into approximately 1/2 inch (10mm) slices. Then cut them into cubes.
  4. Trim the ends off the beans, and wash under cold water.
  5. Heat a large non-stick pan over med-high heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  6. Place squash in pan. Let them saute a bit until the first side begins to brown, then start to toss every minute or so to evenly brown them.
  7. When the water comes to a boil, place all the beans in. Prepare a colander in the sink.
  8. After one minute, pour the pot of beans into colander. (You just “blanched” those beans.)
  9. Let them drip dry for a minute, then add them to the large skillet. Continue to toss until the beans are heated through. 
  10. When done, the squash will retain its shape, but be easy to piece with a fork, and the beans will be hot, yet still have crispness. (If you want the beans softer, keep them in the water for an additional 2-3 minutes.) 
Nutritional data:
Calories:           96
Fat:               3.8mg
Sat fat:             0.6g
Chol:                0mg
Sodium:         9.4mg
Carbs:             15.8g
Fiber:                4.4g
Protein:             2.7g

This is excellent with grilled pork chops, by the way!

My podcast, Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly show, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be. I hope you give it a listen! 

Two Different Bean Salads

Chickpea Salad
Serves 10 (1/2 cup portions)
1 cup dried chickpeas (or 3 cups canned)
1 large cucumber, seeded and diced
1 cup diced red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1.  Prepare dried beans according to package instructions. (If using canned beans, pour into colander and rinse with water.)
2.  Place all ingredients into a bowl, and mix.
3.  Refrigerate overnight.

Nutritional data:
Calories:    62
Fat:           2.3g
Sat fat:      0.2g
Chol:           0mg
Sodium:    11mg (This is using dried beans. Canned beans will add about 215mg per serving.)
Carbs:       13g
Fiber:       5.9g
Protein:   3.4g

Four Bean Salad
Serves 16 (1/2 cup portions)

This salas is a bit more sweet than the first salad.

1 cup dried kidney beans (or 1 can kidney beans)
1 cup dried navy beans (or 1 can navy beans)
1/2 cup dried Lima beans (or 1/2 can Lima beans)
2 cups fresh green (or yellow) beans
1 cup onion, diced
3/4 cup table sugar (you can replace some or all of the sugar with stevia or Splenda, if you want)
3/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoon olive oil

1.  Mix sugar, olive oil and vinegar.  Stir until sugar is dissolved. (Warming in the microwave will help.) Set aside.
2.  Prepare all beans according to label directions. (If using canned beans, pour into colander and rinse with water.)
3.  Trim green (or yellow) beans, and cut into 1 inch pieces.
4.  Bing 1 liter water to a boil in a 2 liter pot. Blanch the beans in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain water off.
5.  Combine all beans with onion.  Pour dressing over, and mix. Refrigerate overnight.
6.  Add black pepper to taste.

Nutritional data:
Calories:    110
Fat:              1.8g
Sat fat:        0.3g
Chol:             0mg
Sodium:      14mg (This is using dried beans. Canned beans will add about 225mg per serving.)
Carbs:         26g
Fiber:         9.5g
Protein:     5.6g

Other option for this salad:

Add sweet bell pepper, jalapeno or other hot peppers, tomatoes, or corn.

Baked Beans

Baked Beans (modified to further reduce sodium levels)
Serves 10

This recipe is far easier than you would guess and tastes better than anything you will find in a can or deli.

3 cups canned beans (any variety, or a mix of varieties) -OR- 1.5 cup raw beans that you precooked according to label directions
1 medium onion, finely minced (about 1.5 cup)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 clove garlic, mashed and minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons each: tomato paste, brown sugar, meat drippings (if using meat)
1/2 tablespoon each: Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, dry mustard (optional, but important)
4 ounces shredded pork (or shredded beef, ground beef, ham, bacon, or no meat at all)

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.
2.  Prepare beans according to label instructions if raw. If canned, open cans and rinse.
3.  In a large non-stick skillet, add olive oil and saute onions, garlic and ginger over medium heat until beginning to turn translucent (about 5 minutes.)
4.  Add beans, and all remaining ingredients. Stir over medium-high heat until evenly hot.
5.  Pour into an 8×8 baking pan or similar dish.  Bake uncovered until thickened (about 30 minutes, but 45-60 won’t hurt it.)

Nutritional data: (updated to reflect no ketchup or BBQ sauce)
Calories:       122
Fat:               3.1g
Sat fat:          0.7g
Chol:             12mg
Sodium:         55mg
Carbs:         23.4g
Fiber:            11g
Protein:         10g

Note:  My pressure cooker recipe for beans is simple.  Add raw, unsoaked beans to the cooker and add an equal volume of water. Seal lid and set for high pressure. Place on heat.  When steam begins releasing from valve, reduce heat to a low simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat, set in sink and cool quickly with cold running water. Open the lid when the pressure is gone (and follow your pressure cooker’s specific instructions for safety.)

The next time I make the beans, instead of using water, I will use beer for added flavor.

Salmon Patties with Basil Mayo and Mexican Chop Salad

Speaking of hungry, this was last night’s meal. Two pan-fried salmon patties, with a bit of basil mayo and a Mexican chop salad. With the homemade vinaigrette, the entire meal was 626 calories. I don’t know how much the meal cost, but it is not much. A can of salmon is inexpensive and full of protein and healthy fats. A couple eggs, a bit of onion and some bread crumbs. The salad was made with ingredients that were not needed in recipes from earlier in the week, and just sitting in the fridge. The basil mayo is prepared Hellmann’s and dried herb.  I had the meal made, start to finish, in 15 minutes.  Inexpensive in time, money and calories.

Salmon Patties  (Makes 6 patties, approximately 3 inches in diameter)

1 can (14.75 oz.) salmon, drained.  (Any type of salmon)
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 eggs

Mix together with your hands. It should be wet, but not dripping, and should form into a ball and hold its shape. 

Approximately 1/3 cup per patty.  Scoop, form into a ball and press flat. Heat a non-stick skilled with a little olive oil. Place patties in skillet on medium for 3-4 minutes per side. Patty should be nicely browned, but still moist inside. Serve with your favorite tartar sauce or this basil mayo.

Nutritional data per patty:
Calories: 146 
Fat: 7.6 g 
Sat Fat: 1.7 g 
Chol: 117 mg 
Sodium: 401 mg
Carbs:  3.7 g
Fiber: 0.2 g
Protein: 16.6 g

Basil Mayo (1 serving)
2 Tbsp. Hellmann’s low fat mayo
1 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. minced garlic
Mexican Chop Salad (1 serving)
2 cups mixed greens (or whatever you have)
2 Tbsp. black beans (leftover from a prior meal)
2 Tbsp. whole kernel corn
1/2 avocado
1 small red bell pepper
1/2 jalapeno chili
Dressing of your choice