So, if you're anything like me, weeknight dinners are borderline lame. Between work, keeping 4 kids alive/happy and maintaining a house that is baseline respectable (aka I need to be able to just walk into the basement without sending up an S.O.S. to my 3 year old to pull me out of the laundry piles. Wait, how was my laundry like this before 4 kids too?), I just don't have it in me to pull out all the stops on a weeknight meal.

ENTER THE LOADED SWEET POTATO. What a gem. This thing packs all the nutrients my potato loving bootay NEEDS, but doesn't skimp on flavor (give me a meal without any flavor and I will just skip to the wine, thanks). It's quick to make and can easily be a meal for one or many depending on your needs. You can change up the toppings quite a bit based on what you have to use up in your fridge or pantry and this can be a vegan, vegetarian or meat lovers meal depending on what toppings you choose. Thanks for the versatility, you big, beautiful spud.

Personally, I'm into the Southwestern twist and we also usually have a couple vegetarian meals each week to keep things a little healthier, so that's what you'll see in the recipe listed below. I've been seeing Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos all over menus at my favorite restaurants, so I put a little spin on that for dinner tonight. You can steam the potatoes in the microwave or bake them in the oven if microwaves freak you out. You might prefer to cook the potatoes to just al dente because, if you're anything like me, you think that mushy sweet potatoes are best reserved for those in the 4-12 month old age range. It's like a choose your own adventure, but with dinner! Enjoy!

-Sweet Potatoes (1 per customer)
-Black Beans (you can soak your own if you have time; I just rinsed and drained one 15 oz. can)
-1/2 large White Onion (for this recipe, I like the onions raw to add texture that crunches, BUT you could also saute them with the black beans if raw onions aren't your thing)
-1/2 tsp. Cumin
-1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
-1/4 tsp. Paprika
-1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
-Salt & Pepper (as needed, to taste)
-about 1/4 cup water or broth (I used chicken broth, veggie would be fine too)
-Queso Fresco (or Cotija or Queso Blanco)
-Fresh Lime (to garnish)
-Chopped Cilantro (to garnish)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prick the washed potatoes all over with a fork and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 45-60 minutes depending on how large the potatoes are. While the potatoes are in the oven, toss the black beans and all spices in a saute pan over medium heat making sure the beans are evenly coated in spice. Add enough water or broth to coat the beans and simmer for about 5 minutes until the mixture is heated through and the liquid is mostly absorbed. When the sweet potatoes are done, top with the black bean mixture, diced white onion, a sprinkle of queso fresco, chopped cilantro and a quick twist of fresh lime. Serve immediately. End the weeknight blues.