Today’s post comes to us from Food Fighters contestant and lifestyle guru Cortney Anderson-Sanford. An avid home cook and mother of two, Cortney gets a kick out of cooking with her kids and taking inspiration from them.
You would think the start of school means lots of free time to cook long and involved family meals. Except, school doesn’t get out until 4pm, then add on homework, after-school activities and play dates – you’re left with very little time to get a healthy, family-friendly dinner on the table before a reasonable bedtime. This is why planning ahead and having the correct kitchen tools are essential.
This fall, I plan to take on the epic foodie fad of spiralizing. I’ve been inspired to make our fall dinners a touch more healthy and vegetable forward. To get a taste of this trend, Sur La Table let me borrow one of their new KitchenAid Spiralizer attachments. But the hitch was that I could only have it for 48 hours. When I brought it home for the weekend, the air in our house was electric. My 13-year-old son Ollie began inspecting every piece of produce that I planned to use and started staging a pre-spiralizing photo shoot. We had apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, kabocha squash and beets. I was pretty sure we wouldn’t get through it all in 48 hours.
First off, I have to say I just LOVE KitchenAid attachments. The packaging on all of their products is beautiful and really easy to open. You can attach and go in a matter of minutes with very little reading of directions. The spiralizer attachment is just like the rest — click, tighten and here we go.
I decided to start with sweet potatoes because they are one of my favorites. I popped on the large spiral noodle blade with the peeling feature and had lovely, bright orange snoodles in an instant. Oh my goodness, right out of the box I had a major crush.
I soaked my snoodles in cold water for about ten minutes to ensure crispness, preheated my oven to 375°F, strained the snoodles, dried them well with a paper towel and tossed them with a light coating of olive oil, pinches of S & P, cinnamon, cumin and a drizzle of honey. I then spread the potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and baked them until crispy, but not too dark. In less than 25 minutes, I had an easy-to-clean-up, healthy snack.
My husband Ben really enjoyed the crispy snoodles dipped in chipotle aioli. My thought is if you are using a healthy vegetable you should add in a little splurge. Healthy eating to me is all about moderation and balance.
Potatoes are always a hit with the family. I decided to try the small noodle spiralizer with the peeler blade to create hash brown potato nests for a make-ahead, simple, school morning breakfast. I adapted a KitchenAid recipe from the spiralizer’s quick-start guide for poached eggs on root vegetable nests. I only used russet potatoes per my children’s request.
I highly recommend trying this super simple recipe that will fill hungry bellies before long school days. The wonderful part is that these cute little baskets can be baked ahead and frozen. I just loosened the cooked nests with a spatula and placed the cooled tray in the freezer overnight. The next morning I placed the nests in a resealable bag. The frozen nests are so easily warmed up any morning you need a quick potato fix.
CARROTS AND CUCUMBERS
I wanted to test the small-core spiral slice blade using both soft and hard vegetables side by side. I thought that there would be no way this little attachment could produce an attractive spiral from both a rock hard, large carrot and an English cucumber. Guess what? I was wrong. I ended up with lovely, orange and green long spirals that I stuffed in mason jars and turned into quick, refrigerator pickles. I did test both delicate rainbow heirloom carrots as well as large, standard orange carrots and found the bulk and mass of the standard carrots produced better spirals.
Just as I was about to remove the spiral slice blade I saw a lemon sitting in my fruit basket and decided, what the heck, lets give this a try. Easy squeezy lemon peezy, I had amazing, thin lemon spirals perfect for garnishing cocktails, pitchers of lemonade or topping fresh salmon.
I chose Washington State Pink Lady and Granny Smith apples to use with the large-core spiral slice blade and the peeler. SO simple to achieve evenly sliced, perfectly peeled apples. At this point, I had run out of kitchen time so I put the apples in a resealable bag with a heavy dose of Ball Fruit-Fresh. The ascorbic acid (vitamin C) prevents the apples from turning brown. I use this vitamin C trick on fruit for school lunches and can’t wait to use spiralized snacks as a fun, healthy surprise for my boy’s lunches. I finally had time a day later to make a batch of puffy spiral apple crisp. Having the apples pre-prepped made this recipe a snap.
Time to get out the big guns. When I first started noticing spiralized produce recipes, zucchini noodles were touted as being able to trick even the pickiest of eaters. I certainly had my doubts until I served zoodle carbonara at a dinner party with family and friends. Those who know my husband Ben know that he does NOT eat zucchini, EVER! Ben finished his entire serving of zoodles. My very good friend Margot, normally a pescatarian, had three helpings of these bacon-and-egg-laced zoodles.
I realize it was sneaky putting such a decadently delicious sauce on the zoodles, but sometimes it’s ok to be extravagant with toppings when you’re using healthy zoodles.
MY TIME IS UP!
I was so upset when I had to say goodbye to the KitchenAid Spiralizer attachment. I didn’t get to try squash, beets, turnip, jicama, pears, and the list goes on and on! I feel like I barely twisted the top of the possibilities with this easy-to-use device. But I know I’ll be purchasing the spiralizer right away so that my family can enjoy delicious coiled treats on rainy, cold Seattle nights.