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Black bean avocado topping for sweet potato waffle fries

Sometimes convenience foods can serve as a platform for added creativity in the kitchen, such as these dressed-up frozen sweet potato waffle fries, perfect for an after-school snack.

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    Spruce up frozen sweet potato waffle fries with a topping of spicy black beans and fresh avocado.
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We are still working on smoothing out the kinks in our "back to school" routine. It seems that no matter how much you prepare, it still takes time to get into the groove again. Fortunately, the kids were eager to return to the classroom and greeted the first day with excitement. We had an extra challenge this year. My girls returned from a family wedding in Greece one day before school started so their little bodies were functioning 8 hours ahead of their classmates. Yes, we added a healthy dose of jetlag to new classmates, new teachers, and packing lunches.

I’m trying to cut myself some slack with our food routine. When I have the time, I love being creative and feel compelled to treat the kids to yummy, new lunchbox surprises. With too much on our plates this year, I’m working to convince myself to take the easy route for a while and stick to old favorites.

Now and then, an opportunity in my Whipped inbox jumps out at me as its theme feels in sync with my current state-of-mind. While reading an introduction to Alexia, I was first piqued by their bag of all-natural Sweet Potato Fries made with only real ingredients and touting the GMO-free label. Oven-baked sweet potato fries are a family favorite but the fresh potatoes take a long time to peel, slice and bake. Since I’ve been selling myself on convenience lately, I decided that Alexia’s frozen, all-natural Sweet Potato Fries were worth a try.

Recommended: Easy recipes for kids

Once I get involved with anything, I usually get involved 120%. (Moderation is something I am working on.) Standing in front of the freezer case in the grocery stores while surveying my option, my wheels began turning with snack and meal ideas for the kids. Before I knew it, I had filled my cart with five different types of Alexia potatoes! Waffle, crinkle, tots, rosemary, sea salt…

I baked the Seasoned Waffle Cut Fries a few minutes longer than suggested because I like them quite crispy. The grooves were filled with a light seasoning of salt, pepper, onion and garlic. The skins are still on the edges of the fries and the potatoes feel “real,” not like the oddly compressed frozen potato products.

We have a toaster oven that I use daily to reheat and bake things. I often freeze meatballs and cookie dough and just bake what we need as we go. As an after school snack, I prepared a few of the Seasoned Waffle Cut Fries and loaded them with seasoned black beans, avocado and a tiny dollop of low fat sour cream (see recipe below). You could add cheese or other nacho-like toppings, but I was trying to keep them healthier with a heavy dose of the protein-packed beans and fresh avocado. The kids loved them and said they would be happy to eat them for their entire dinner some time while my husband and I agreed that with a little garnish, they are yummy enough to serve as appetizers at a party.

Black Bean Avocado Waffle Fry Bites
Makes 12

12 Alexia Seasoned Waffle Cut Fries
1 can black beans
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 medium avocado
Light sour cream
Chives, chopped (for garnish)

1. Preheat oven and cook 12 Alexia Seasoned Waffle Cut Fries according to package directions.

2. While they are baking, open the can of black beans and drain 3/4 of the liquid from the can. Pour the beans into a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the cumin, salt and oregano. Using a potato masher or back of a spoon or fork, mash the beans a few times leaving a majority of the beans whole.

3. Stir frequently over medium heat for about 10 minutes until they are warmed through and slightly cooked down. They should be thick so they don’t run through the holes of the waffle cut fries. Remove the beans from heat.

4. Cut the fresh avocado into 1/2 inch chunks. When the fries are ready, top with a spoon full of black beans, some avocado pieces and a small dollop of light sour cream. If desired, garnish with freshly chopped chives.

This post is sponsored by Alexia Foods though all opinions are my own.

Related post on Whipped, The Blog: Honey chipotle dip for sweet potato fries

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of food bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by The Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own and they are responsible for the content of their blogs and their recipes. All readers are free to make ingredient substitutions to satisfy their dietary preferences, including not using wine (or substituting cooking wine) when a recipe calls for it. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

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