Last weekend I ran in my first ever 5K. I know all you marathoners out there are thinking, big deal, but for me it was a big deal. It took me 36 years to train for this race and I ran my heart out. When it was over I had the biggest goofball smile on my face for at least a good hour or more (the Professor ran with me—isn’t he the cutest?!)
I’m the girl who in the sixth grade had a quasi panic attack when told I was going to have to run a mile for some presidential youth fitness challenge (thanks a lot George H.W. Bush). I don’t think I even went once around that track before I passed out. Let’s just say I’ve been calisthenically challenged my whole life.
I’m sure if you saw me running now you would see a very slow, middle-aged woman, sweat pouring down her bright-red face. But in my mind, with my Macklemore blasting, I feel badass, like the woman Beyonce wishes she was on a good day—amazing, sexy, powerful, unstoppable. For those 30 minutes, I am no one’s wife or mother or employee. I am just running.
Another (more obvious) reason I’ve gotten into running is it allows for a significantly less guilt-ridden carb load every now and again. One of my current favorites are these sweet potato nachos. Really, melty cheese on anything floats my boat, but caramelized roasted sweet potato fries topped with creamy black beans and smoked cheddar cheese is outta this world.
The recipe below is a pretty pared-down version but you could top to your heart's content. Browned and crumbled chorizo, sliced jalapeños, or shredded chicken would all be delicious tucked in between the sweet potatoes. Or you could leave them as is and serve them with a plethora of toppings like guacamole, salsa, pickled jalapeños, or sour cream.
- 4 large sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 (15.5 ounce can) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Arrange racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch thick sticks.
- Divide sweet potatoes evenly between two sheet pans and drizzle each pan with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Spread out the sweet potato sticks into a single layer and roast in the oven until tender, about 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.
- Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and move the upper rack to the middle of the oven. Heat the broiler to high.
- Transfer one tray of sweet potatoes to an oven-safe platter and top with half the black beans and half the cheddar. Top with the other tray of sweet potatoes and layer the remaining black beans and cheddar over the top.
- Place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.