As a full-time college student, sometimes I find myself in a vegetable root. Between late nights studying in the library and rushing from class to class, I just want comfort food, especially in the depth of a Wisconsin winter.
How exactly do you define “comfort food”? I would say hot — because it’s about ten degrees outside — cheesy, creamy and buttery. Yes that definitely covers it.
What if I told you this dish has all the comfort without the extra fat of traditional cheesy, creamy and buttery foods?
Here is what you need to recreate this comforting winter snack or appetizer:
- 1 bunch of asparagus per person
- Olive oil
- Feta cheese (or preferred topping)
I love looking at a short recipe list, and this dish is as simple as it appears.
- Turn the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the yam to remove dirt and pierce a few times with a fork. Wrap in foil so the top of the yam is still exposed. Place the yam on the middle rack. Set the time for 80 minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove the white end of the asparagus (by snapping off the hard end) and toss the leftover heads in olive oil. Arrange the asparagus heads on a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- When the yam has about 20 minutes left, put the asparagus in the oven as close to the middle rack as possible (beneath the yams).
- Let cool for about ten minutes before serving.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper and feta cheese, then serve.
Its 11 PM on a Sunday night in December, and you’re studying for your hardest final exam Monday morning. The late night munchies are starting to creep up on you, and you reach for a bag of potato chips and…. STOP right there! Lets think about this choice for a second:
- You are probably not actually hungry, but stress speeds up your metabolism.
- Eating promotes a feeling of calmness and satiety.
- Potato chips will not make you fill satisfied, but probably increase your cravings.
- The salt in potato chips will make you feel thirsty, and you will be more likely to reach for that ice cold, sugary soda.
Luckily, I have a quick solution that will satisfy the most intense late night cravings for sweet and salty goodness: Baked Squash Chips.
Squash is one of my favorite fall vegetables to cook with. You can add it in soup, roast it and throw it into your veggie lasagna, make a squash puree, and now you can make chips. You will need your squash of choice (I like butternut), salt, and olive oil.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking pan with tin foil or parchment paper. Now you have the option to peel the squash or not, I have done it both ways and I do not have a preference Thinly slice the squash with a sharp knife or mandolin. I like using a mandolin because then all of the slices are the same width. You can find these for cheap at T.J. Maxx or Marshalls in the cookware aisle!
Toss your squash slices in a bowl with olive oil so they are evenly coated. Arrange the slices on the baking pan so they are not touching. However, these chips will not spread like cookies so they can be fairly close together. Sprinkle a little salt over the chips for a little extra flavor. Salt in
moderation is not bad for you, and it can actually have beneficial effects for some people. If you are on a no salt diet, use a different spice/ herb such as rosemary or thyme. Bake for about 20 minutes or so depending on the thickness of your slices.
There you go! Now you have a healthy late night snack that will leave you feeling satisfied. You could also serve these delightful chips as a side with a salad or wrap. Salty and sweet truly is the best of both worlds!
Who doesn’t love that sugary vanilla smell wafting through the baseball stadium? And who would ever think that it came from the sugared nut stand? Well here is a great recipe for you to try at home in the offseason, and if you don’t like nuts, it will still make your house smell amazing.
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of tightly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- About 2 cups of your favorite type of nut, or why not try a mix!
First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, cloves in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg, water, and vanilla. Add your nuts to the wet ingredients bowl and stir them around so they are well coated. Next, transfer your nuts to the dry ingredients bowl. You may want to mix your dry ingredients in a bag so you can just shake the nuts around. This method makes less of a mess. Transfer the mixture to a greased foil covered pan and spread out the nuts. Bake for 25-30 minutes. You should keep a close eye on your sugared nuts because they are quite easy to burn, especially pecans. You should check the even every 10 minutes or so and stir up the mixture.