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.


Note: the link to Amazon is an affiliate link. That means if you click on it and buy one, I will receive a small commission. It does not change your cost at all, but it will help me continue to provide recipes and advice here and in my podcast

Baked Cod, Garlic Sauteed Spinach and Baked Fries

Baked Cod with Garlic Spinach and Baked Fries

This is an easy meal, that will be ready to eat about 45 minutes after you put the potatoes in the oven. Meals like this are healthy, easy, inexpensive (especially if you buy frozen fish when it is on sale) and are convenient as the potatoes and fish cook at the same temp, at the same time. Using bagged baby spinach makes this quick. Just don’t use pre-chopped garlic from a jar. That tends to be old and bitter.

We talk about planning ahead and making good choices like this on my Make Your Someday Today podcast. When you take the little time to make plans in advance, you are able to save more time, live healtier, lose weight and save money! What a great combination!

You can make this with any white fish (cod, haddock, pollack, flounder are all good choices.) In general, place the fresh (or thawed) fish in an oven safe pan, drizzle a hint of olive and then sprinkle dill, salt and pepper as needed. (Garlic or onion powder are also good options. Another excellent option is Penzey’s Sunny Spain.) Bake at 450 for 8-12 minutes, dependingon thickness of the fillets. The fish is done when it begins to flake it you lift an edge with a knife.

Garlicky Sauteed Spinach
Serves 2-4, depending on how much everyone likes spinach.  In our case, this made three servings.
15 ounces baby spinach  
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 large cloves garlic, sliced thin
  1. Prepare all ingredients, but don’t start cooking this until the fish and potatoes are done. This only takes about 4 minutes once the pan is hot.
  2. Heat your non-stick skillet (large, 11-12 inches).  Add olive oil.
  3. Add garlic, stir until it begins to brown (1-2 minutes.)
  4. Add half the spinach, tossing frequently for 1 minute. It will begin to wilt.
  5. Add remaining spinach, tossing constantly until the spinach is uniformly wilted (another 60-90 seconds.)  
  6. Serve immediately.

Nutritional data:
Calories:       83
Fat:             5.3g
Sat fat:        0.8g
Chol:           0mg
Sodium:   119mg
Carbs:         7.4g
Fiber:          3.4g

Protein:       4.7g
Baked Fries
Serves 4
2 large Russet (baking) potatoes
2 tablespoons oil
Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 450F
  2. Wash  potatoes.
  3. With skins on, cut potatoes into 1/2″ thick fries.
  4. Place in bowl. Drizzle oil, toss and season as desired.
  5. Place on baking pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Turn and toss every 15 minutes.
  6. After 30 minutes, place the pan with fish in the oven. The fish and fries will finish at about the same time. 
  7. When the fish is done, remove from oven and cover with foil to keep warm. Do not cover the fries or they with steam and get soft/soggy. When done, they should be brown and crisp.

Calories:     205
Fat:             7.2g
Sat fat:        1.0g
Chol:           0mg
Sodium:  20.9mg
Carbs:       32.1g
Fiber:          3.4g
Protein:       3.9g
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! 

Portabella “Burger” and “Fries”

Portabella Burger and Fries
Serves 2

1 large baker potato, washed, but not peeled
2 large portabella caps
1/2 Vidalia onion, sliced
1+1 tablespoon olive oil
Mustard (I like a spicy brown)
1 slice of cheese (optional and your preferred variety)
2 hamburger buns (Optional, but it makes for a more enjoyable “burger” experience)

Preheat oven to 450, and turn your grill on high.
Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium sized bowl.
Slice the potato into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Then cut into 1/2 thick fries. (I used a crinkle cutter from Pampered Chef.)
Place fries in the bowl and toss in the olive oil to coat.
Place fries on a baking pan, spread out so they are not touching.
Bake for 18-24 minutes (or until the outside is brown and crispy and the inside is soft and hot), turning halfway.
Remove and sprinkle with your preferred seasoning. I used Penzey’s Sunny Spain.

Take the portabella cap and remove the stem. With a spoon, scrape the gills off the underside. Coat the upper surface with the residual olive oil from the potatoes. Set aside.

While the fries bake, place the remaining olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add onions. Saute until soft and caramelized (5-10 minutes.)  Set aside.

After the onions are done, place the portabella caps on the grill (they could also be pan-fried on the stove.) Grill until they are hot and starting to sweat their juices.  Lay the slice of cheese (if using) on the cap to let it melt. (I used a smoked Swiss.)

If you want, place your buns on the grill grate, cut side down, to toast them.

Place the portabella cap on the bottom of the bun. Place half of the caramelized onions on the cheese, and top with mustard. Serve with half the baked fries.

Nutritional data (Portabella Burger with 1 slice cheese and bun):
Calories:        255
Fat:                 11g
Sat fat:           4.7g
Chol:              20mg
Sodium:        381mg
Carbs:         26.7g
Fiber:            6.5g
Protein:       12.7g

Nutritional data for the fries:
Calories:        175
Fat:                3.7g
Sat fat:           0.5g
Chol:                0mg
Sodium:          21mg
Carbs:          32.1g
Fiber:             3.4g
Protein:          3.9g

Other options:
Add fresh or sauteed jalapenos.
A slice of tomato
Sun-dried tomato
Barbeque sauce and bacon (Yum!)

Baked Cod, Baked French Fries, and Brussels Sprouts

Baked Cod with Baked French Fries and Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze
Serves 4

24 ounces Alaskan Cod fillets
2 tablespoons butter
Your preferred herbs (I used dill weed and Penzey’s Sunny Paris.)
2 large Russet potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound raw Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1.   Preheat oven to 425
2.   Place cod fillets in a 9×13 baking dish. Dot fillets with butter, sprinkle with herbs. Set aside.
3.   Slice potatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Turn and slice again into 1/4 inch strips.
4.   Toss potato strips in 2 tablespoons olive oil.
5.   Lay potatoes strips in a baking sheet in a single layer so that none are touching.
6.   Place the cod on oven’s upper rack and potatoes on lower rack.
7.   After 15 minutes, flip fries. Switch fries and cod to different racks.
8.   While baking, mix Parmesan cheese, paprika, onion, garlic and salt. Set aside.
9.   Heat non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil.
10. Saute Brussels sprouts, toss frequently for 15 minutes.
11. Add wine and balsamic vinegar. Toss frequently, until the liquid is reduced by half. It will be like thin syrup.
12. Fries and cod will be done after 30 minutes in the oven. Sprinkle Parmesan seasoning over fries.

This meal took about 10 minutes to prepare, and thirty minutes to cook. It is fast and simple.

Nutritional data baked cod:
Calories:      230
Fat:                7.2g
Sat fat:           3.9g
Chol:         108.8mg
Sodium:    133.5mg
Carbs:               0g
Fiber:                0g
Protein:      38.9g

Nutritional data for baked fries:
Calories:      218
Fat:                 8.2g
Sat fat:           1.7g
Chol:              3.1mg
Sodium:     208.8mg
Carbs:          32.1g
Fiber:             3.4g
Protein:         4.8g

Nutritional data for Brussels sprouts:
Calories:      107
Fat:                 3.5g
Sat fat:           0.5g
Chol:                 0mg
Sodium:       21.1mg
Carbs:          12.1g
Fiber:             3.4g
Protein:         3.5g