Sloppy Joe Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

We're halfway through the High Holy Season of Fitness (aka January). How are you feeling so far with those New Year's goals and intentions to eat a little better in 2018?

I truly believe the key to optimal health and a body you love is to cook more and to cook seasonally. BUT I'm also a fitness professional and this is the busiest time of year for our industry. (Think: like tax season for accountants multiplied by 10 lol.)

Since launching the test round of our new fitness program last week, I've been in total fitness mode and failed at cooking the majority of my meals at home like usual. The Whole Foods hot bar and healthy restaurant take out is the only thing keeping me alive right now.

This week, I'm getting back to business in the kitchen starting with this recipe for Sloppy Joe Stuffed Sweet Potatoes from Paleo Running Mama. She has so many fab recipes on her website, and many are or can easily be made fat loss-friendly! 

Sloppy Joes: A Serious Design Flaw

I've been eyeing his Sloppy Joe Stuffed Sweet Potato recipe for a long time because back in the day, I was a huge fan - of the taste that is. 

As a kid, I hated being messy. I hated having sticky hands or getting too dirty, and spilling things (especially on myself) ranked pretty high on my list of annoyances. (Still does.) Little LAQ was always bothered by sloppy joes because how DOES one keep all that ground meat and sauce from falling out of a hamburger bun? This was a serious design flaw to me.

But this idea of serving sloppy joe meat in a sweet potato? Not only delicious, but freaking brilliant if you ask me. The threat of spills, stains and overall sloppiness is significantly reduced without the hamburger bun.

I've decided I'm renaming the Sloppy Joe. They shall henceforth to be known as "Neat & Tidy Joe's." 

Think the name will stick? ;) 


Serves 4-6 From Paleo Running Mama

INGREDIENTS 

4-6 small sweet potatoes (1 per person being served)

For the Sauce:

3 medjool dates, pitted and soaked in very hot water for 5 minutes to soften

1/4 c. water 

1/4 c. tomato paste

1 c. no-salt-added tomato sauce

3 1/2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbs. coconut aminos

1 tsp. spicy brown mustard

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (regular paprika is fine)

1 and 1/4 tsp salt

For the ground meat:

1 lb. ground beef (80-85 % lean), turkey or bison

1/2 Tbs. cooking fat (olive oil, coconut oil, etc.) 

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 red bell pepper ,diced

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

Optional: chopped green onions

DIRECTIONS

  1. FOR THE POTATOES: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Use a paring knife to poke holes in the potatoes. Lightly coat the outside of the sweet potatoes with coconut oil using your hands and season lightly with sea salt. Roast for about 1 hour or until easily pierced with paring knife.

  2. FOR THE SAUCE: In a food processor or blender, puree the soaked dates with the soaking water and tomato paste. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and puree until smooth.

  3. FOR THE GROUND MEAT: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the cooking fat. Add ground beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add the onions and cook until onions are transluscent and beef is almost browned. Add diced bell peppers and minced garlic. Cook until meat is browned and veggies are soft.

  4. Remove from heat. Drain off some of the liquid (about half) from the ground meat and browned veggies. Return to heat and turn heat to medium high. Add sauce to the skillet and stir occasionally. Bring the sauce to a low boil and then reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

  5. Cut each sweet potato in half and top with sloppy joe mixture. Top with diced green onions if desired.