Whether you’re getting ready for summer or just want to eat a little better, add this Sausage, Sweet Potato and Vegetable Hash to your collection.
You know when it starts getting warm out, and you pull out your summer clothes…or when that first cold snap hits, and you have to look for those clothes you haven’t worn since last winter? It’s amazing how sometimes they have miraculously shrunk since the last time you wore them.
In 2012 I went to the OKC Memorial Marathon with Betty to cheer on the runners. After watching people of every age and body type run past us, and many walkers as well, I decided then and there that I had absolutely no excuse not to do it myself. The furthest I had run before that was a 5K, but I didn’t let that stop me. I ran a 10K that May, and then signed up for the OKC Half Marathon in April 2013. Betty and her hubby Jack go to Mexico every spring, so I figured the race training would be a great way to get into shape, and the trip would be my reward. I made great time for my first run, and had an amazing trip to Playa del Carmen.
During every race, when that runner’s high is in full mode, I pledge to maintain my running and good eating habits all year long so I don’t spend January getting back into shape before I start training in February. I’m usually pretty consistent through July, but once August hits my life is consumed with getting ready for football season. During the season, I’m lucky to get in 2 runs a week.
When I’m running regularly, and logging 20+ miles/week, I can cheat more with my diet. My problem is that I like to cheat even when I’m not working out consistently, and my waistline does not appreciate that. My training and eating for every successive half marathon has not been nearly as stringent as for my first race. I always have great plans to be strict, and start out really well, but then life gets in the way. I also know I’m going to finish the race no matter what, so that makes it a little easier to justify.
No, I won’t give up carbs, and will never do a completely drastic diet change, because I know those won’t work for me. So when I’m in that motivated mode, I focus on small changes that still add big flavor. I track my food on the My Fitness Pal app, and reduce the bad carbs. Sausage, Sweet Potato and Vegetable Hash is a great recipe for that.
As a kid, I refused to eat sweet potatoes. I’ve always loved regular potatoes, but I just couldn’t stand the texture of sweet potatoes. At Thanksgiving the only part of the sweet potato pie I would eat was the marshmallow topping. That worked out, though, because that was the part my mom didn’t like. A few years ago I finally started gradually eating sweet potatoes, and slowly became a fan. At restaurants I would get sweet potato fries. At home, I would bake them, and add brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. Yes, I realize that adds calories, but it makes the potatoes taste much better.
This Sausage, Sweet Potato and Vegetable Hash is so delicious. I use Italian sausage, because I always have it in the house and it has more flavor than regular sausage. My favorite brand is Johnsonville; there are several varieties available, and I use the spicy. The spice is not overpowering, so you can certainly add red pepper flakes to increase the heat. I’ve made this recipe by cooking the potatoes from raw, but sweet potatoes are very dense and take longer to cook. Instead, boil the potatoes for 3-5 minutes, depending on the size of the dice, and cook from that point.
I add bell peppers to so many dishes. But I love the color and crunch of the peppers, and it’s a great way to add bulk with very few calories. I also add kale, for additional fiber. Sausage, Sweet Potato and Vegetable Hash is a very savory dish, so if you’re wanting something sweet you won’t find it here. But it is very hearty and filling, and has a mix of wonderful flavors. I cook the sausage first, and use those drippings to cook the everything else. For an even lighter dish you can substitute turkey sausage or even a vegetarian sausage. If you do that, you’ll probably need to add a little oil to saute the vegetables. I add homemade vegetable broth to cook down the kale, and that also adds great flavor.
Sausage, Sweet Potato and Vegetable Hash is definitely a keeper. It’s a great way to eat better, and you can mix in other vegetables.
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