This weekend was full of freeze dried rice and beans for dinner and granola for breakfast. That’s not how I usually eat, but it is during a three day backpack trip on the Ozark Highlands Trail. The refreshing fresh flavors of these paleo Mexican chicken and sweet potato bowls was a warm welcome after the cold hiking trip.
I have learned a lot in the two years since I started going on backpacking trips. Perhaps the most important thing is how good a home-cooked meal like these paleo Mexican chicken and sweet potato bowls taste when you are fresh off the trail. Flavors galore. This meal is really easy to put together and does not require a lot of prep. It’s also really healthy and full of protein and vitamins. With Christmas on the way, fresh meals like this are a good break from the delicious, but heavy foods we indulge in during the holidays.
I had never baked sweet potatoes in rounds like this so I was skeptical of how they would turn out. With just a drizzling of olive oil, some salt and smoked paprika, they are a delight! They also bake a lot faster than a whole sweet potato. It only took them about 30 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees.
Be sure to slice them the same thickness so that they all cook in the same amount of time. You can also throw on a dusting of cinnamon for a sweet note. The trickiest thing about this meal is finding perfectly ripe avocados. I often find the best ripe avocados in Hispanic grocery stores. Once in a while, Walmart or Harp’s will have some good ones, but it’s definitely hit or miss.
You could easily make this meal vegan or vegetarian by skipping the chicken. Add some rice with the beans and you can get all your essential amino acids. My next version of this will be to stuff it into a tortilla for a delicious sweet potato and chicken burrito with guacamole. Stay tuned.
PREP TIME: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 30 minutes SERVINGS: 5
- 1 lb. chicken tenders
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 poblano pepper, sliced thin
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
- 1 onion, sliced thin
for the sweet potatoes:
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, sliced in thin rounds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- smoked paprika
- olive oil
for the beans:
- 1 can black beans
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- Mix cumin, salt, oregano, chili powder and smoked paprika together in a small bowl. Cover both sides of chicken tenders with mixture.
- Heat oven to 400. Dust sweet potatoes with salt, paprika and a bit of olive oil and place on baking sheet. Place sweet potatoes in oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until soft.
- Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a large pan and place onions in on medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes and then add peppers. Cook for another 10 minutes.
- Place a bit of olive oil in a separate pan and heat to medium high. Cook chicken for about 3-4 minutes per side until it reaches 165 degrees inside. Remove from heat.
- Simmer beans, spices and lime juice in a small pot.
- Put bowls together, serve and enjoy!