Posts Tagged 'peanut butter'

African Sweet Potato Stew with Red Beans

Whilst cleaning out my potato storage drawer (note the “whilst” of procrastination) this is what I discovered:

Yams Gone Wild

Sweet Potatoes (not actually yams, which are grown in Africa, but rarely here) make lovely plants.  Once, I put sprouting sweet potatoes out on the kitchen counter where they grew into pretty little trees. I cut out the sprouting section and planted it in a pot, where, much to my then child’s delight, it grew and grew and grew.

But admiring the random growth of sweet potatoes does not put food on the table – or in a bowl to take to a potluck.  I rescued the remaining sweet potatoes, and went in pursuit of an idea to use them that 1) could be cooked in advance in a crock pot, and 2) could be hauled in said crock pot container to a picnic potluck.

This recipe originally came from Cooking Light, with some fat lowering alterations.  I had great plans to take home the leftovers to bring for lunch, but there was nothing left. The crock pot had literally been scraped clean. So be forewarned.

African Sweet Potato Stew with Red Beans

Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups  (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 1/2 cups cooked small red beans (I used a 14 ounce can of red beans, drained)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2  teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
3 Tablespoons peanut butter (I used chunky, but either would work)
6 lime wedges (or ¼ cup lime juice)

Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes, adding water to “steam-fry” the onions as needed, until tender.

Place onion mixture in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Add sweet potato and next 10 ingredients (through chiles). Cover and cook on low 8 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Spoon 1 cup cooking liquid into a small bowl. Add peanut butter; stir well with a whisk. Stir peanut butter mixture into stew. Serve with lime wedges or sprinkle with lime juice if you are taking it to a buffet. Makes 6 servings, at about 5 grams of fat/serving.

HINT: Serving sizes are usually a dinner size portion if the recipe is a main dish or side dish. But at a potluck or buffet, people usually take a scoop of each of the dishes offered, meaning that the number of servings you bring usually at least doubles. So don’t necessarily double or triple the recipe to bring it to a buffet unless you anticipate a large number of people.  Oh, and the fat grams per serving are proportionately lower, although most people at a potluck aren’t counting fat grams – they just want to eat good food.


Peanut Udon Noodles wth Lemon, Ginger, and Chives

One of the few things I miss eating very low fat, especially when I am in weight-losing rather than maintenance mode, is peanut butter.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are one of my favorite comfort foods.  I have been known to eat peanut butter straight off the spoon.  It’s not that you can’t eat peanut butter – you can eat just about anything if you account for its fat grams – but at 16 grams for a 2 tablespoon serving, it takes up a good hunk of your daily grams.  I did find something called Better’n Peanut Butter.  It has 2 grams of fat/serving.  It isn’t “better’n”, but it actually makes a decent PB&J sandwich.

So I am always looking for recipes that give me the taste of peanut butter but spread the peanut butter out over several servings.  I found this recipe in my daughter’s blog.  She got it from cookthink, a blog I am going to explore for more recipes.  It makes a good dinner side dish with perhaps a chicken breast or an Asian-style pork tenderloin.  I made it to have something interesting and filling to take for lunch.  A spoonful of water in the container and into the microwave – it reheats nicely.

Peanut Udon Noodles with Ginger, Lemon, and Chive

About 3/4 lb udon noodles (I used a half pound package of fresh noodles, or you could use about 3 packages of dry)
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
½ cup water
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon honey
2 teaspoon minced ginger
2 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Cook noodles according to package directions and drain them. Combine all remaining ingredients except chives in a small saucepan and simmer for five minutes, whisking to dissolve peanut butter. Stir chives into sauce and simmer for another 30 seconds, then pour over noodles and toss to combine.  This makes 4 servings at about 5 grams of fat/serving.


Variations: If you want it to be very lemony, add another tablespoon of lemon juice.  Or omit the lemon juice altogether and you will have noodles similar the sesame noodles you sometimes get in Asian restaurants.  You can also sprinkle the finished udon with ¼ cup of chopped, dry-roasted peanuts, but you will need to add 4 grams of fat/serving, or 9 grams/serving total (but it’s very good this way if you have room in your gram count).

Hint: To chop peanuts, measure them out and put them in a small sealable plastic bag. Pound them all over with a heavy knife handle or the bottom of a glass or cup until they are the size you’d like them.


I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

More about me.

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