One of the things I love to do is recreate modern, nutritious versions of childhood favorites. I’ve got a healthy version of this classic Italian pasta coming your way very soon, and I’m so excited to share it with you.
In the meantime, let’s talk about these sweet potatoes!
I remember when I waitressed at TGI Fridays waaaaay back in the day, and how I would order their Jack Daniels Chicken and Loaded Potato Skins on my lunch break and eat both plates in their entirety. How I did not need a four hour nap after that is beyond me. Aah, to have the the metabolism and energy of a 19 year old!
These days I eat for pleasure, sure, but also for fuel. As you know by now, and I speak about it more extensively here, I believe the two concepts can and should live happily together. This recipe is a great example of that.
Sweet potatoes are simply baked, then filled with cheese and ground beef that’s been simmered with fragrant southwestern spices. Top with all your favorite taco toppings – avocado, salsa, lime, sour cream… the possibilities are vast. Feel free to swap in ground turkey or chicken, or leave the meat out and replace with black or pinto beans for a vegetarian version . All delicious!
I also love that these are essentially a one pan meal, similar to this recipe for my Vegetarian Enchilada Bake. You can add a simple avocado and corn salad, or sliced tomatoes with a cilantro dressing if you’d like but I find one large sweet potato to be a satisfying dinner all on its own.
I’ll always have a place in my heart for those greasy, loaded TGI Fridays potato skins, but like my beloved sequin tube tops those are best remembered and not replayed.
Tex Mex Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
4 Sweet Potatoes
1 lb. ground beef
½ cup chicken stock
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon dried oregano, cumin, and paprika
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
⅓ cup pico de gallo or salsa
½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup red onion, diced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt a few grinds of fresh cracked pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
2 scallions, sliced
Pico de Gallo
Preferred hot sauce
1 avocado, sliced thin
1 lime, cut into wedges
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Using a knife or a fork, carefully poke holes all over the sweet potatoes. Place the sweet potatoes onto a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes until fork tender.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add the onion. Saute for 5 minutes, then add beef and cook, breaking up large pieces, until just cooked through. Add the salt, spices, tomato paste, and stock and cook for 5-7 minutes until thickened.
Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and slice them open. Scoop about ⅓ cup of the inside and reserve for another use to make room for the stuffing.
Season the interior with salt and pepper and set aside.
In the pan with the beef, add ¼ cup of cheese and cilantro and toss to combine.
Using a spoon, stuff each sweet potato with equal parts of the mixture, don’t be afraid to be really generous. Add remaining ¼ cup of cheese to the top.
Transfer the stuffed sweet potatoes back into the oven and let bake for another 10 minutes until warmed through and cheese is melted.
Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven, and top with or serve with garnishes. Enjoy!