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Ten Healthier Potato Recipe Ideas
With 300 great potato recipes if you like potatoes you are sure like this book. Just to name a few some of the tasty recipes covered include Classic mash de luxe, Garlic roasties with rosemary, Real English chips, Gnocchi-roni and cheese, Saffron potato cakes, All-American potato pancakes.
Ten Quick Wholesome Potato Recipe Ideas
Wholesome Potatoes for Tasty Meals; along with wheat and rice potatoes is one of the staple diet foods of the world, especially in Europe and America. As nice as they are all too often with the addition of salt and too much fat in recipes rather than being a healthy part of a balanced diet they become an unhealthy addition to the diet.
In this article I aim to show you that by using alternatives to flavour food without the addition of salt and by using good alternatives to fat (butter) potato recipes can be both tasty and healthier.
The ten main recipes (and variations) in this article for preparing, cooking and serving potatoes are:
- 3 mashed potato recipes
- Scrap pies
- Chips (French Fries)
- Roast potatoes
- 4 Jacket potato recipes
- Potato omelette
- Potato Toasties
- Veg and potato pie – based on a 2nd world war recipe
Simple Quick and Healthy Potato Meals
I'm not going to show granny how to suck eggs, most of you should know how to cook potatoes; this is more about healthier preparation and cooking of your potatoes taking into account the health issues with using salt and butter, and the need of more roughage in our diets all of which are covered in some detail in this lens.
Below I give you just the basics for nine potato recipe ideas (all suitable for Vegetarians) for healthier eating with the exception of the Potato Toasty which is thrown in as a treat for the end of a long hardworking day. The tenth potato recipe I adapted from a 2nd World War recipe and therefore I shall go into more detail on its preparation.
When serving mashed potato I often use the potato scoop, it gives a good presentation to your dish and is a quick and convenient way to serve-up you mashed potato to your guests; or you can let them use the scoop themselves and they can choose how many scoops of potato they want.
The scoop also doubles up as an ice-cream scoop. A quick rinse under the tap between the main course and dessert and you get the chance to use it twice in one evening; making it excellent value for money.
Three Mashed Potato Recipes
And Using Leftovers
1. Root Vegetable Mashed Potato
When boiling your potatoes to make mashed potato to add fibre (roughage), vitamins and flavour to the mashed potato also add a generous portion of chopped and diced root vegetables to the pot (saucepan); they'll take about the same time to cook as the potatoes and when the water is drained can be mashed altogether to make a nice wholesome mashed potato full of flavour and goodness. The root vegetables you use can include carrots, turnips, swede and parsnip either just one (to your taste) or in combination. The advantage of cooking these vegetable together with the potatoes is that less energy is used in cooking, although if you wish to retain the vegetable juice (after boiling) for part of another recipe e.g. to make vegetarian gravy then you'll need to cook the vegetables in a separate saucepan to drain them separately and then add them to the potatoes before mashing.
2. Brassica Mashed Potatoes
With the exception of spinach which can be cooked with the potatoes brassica vegetables including cabbage and other leafy vegetables should be boiled separately and once drained added to the boiled potatoes for mashing in the same way as for root vegetables described above. I know the technical description of brassica is more diverse but for the purpose of this recipe I'm using brassica in a loose sense to mean leafy.
Again the leafy vegetables add fibre, vitamins and flavour to the mashed potato; the quantity you use in proportion to potatoes is entirely up to you and something you may wish to experiment with to taste e.g. just a few cabbage leaves or a whole (small) cabbage finally chopped.
And again, the vegetable juice drained from boiling the cabbage or other leafy vegetable (which may include Brussels sprouts) can be used in other cooking such as the preparation of vegetarian gravy.
3. Quick Duchess Potatoes
This is on the assumption that you made too much mashed potato the previous day, put the surplus in the fridge overnight, and coming home from a hard day's work want to use this surplus to make a quick and tasty meal.
Taking yesterday's mashed potato straight from the fridge it tends to be a bit too firm to work with, you can soften it up by briefly putting it into the microwave e.g. 30 seconds. Once soft enough to work with rather than use a piping bag (normally used for icing) with a large nozzle, which is the conventional way of making Duchess Potato you can use a potato scoop to make lots of round domes. Place these scoops on a baking tray smeared with a little margarine and bake on a middle shelf of your oven at 200c (gas mark 6) for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Mashed Potato and Veg Pie
A simple recipe for wholesome and tasty mashed potato and veg which can be served immediately as part of a main meal or put into a casserole dish and placed in your fridge for baking later e.g. preparing a meal on the weekend for reheating during the week when you get home from work and too tired to prepare a meal from scratch.
Whether served immediately as mashed potato or baked later as a mashed potato and veg pie this meal is versatile and can be served with all your usual favourites that you normally have with mashed potato e.g. fried egg and baked beans. If baked later the potato and veg pie can optionally be topped with cheese before baking for a less healthy but tastier meal.
In all my recipes (with few exceptions) I always wash rather than peel the potatoes simply because there is a lot of goodness just under the potato skins and the skins add extra roughage to the diet.
- Prep time: 10 min
- Cook time: 30 min
- Ready in: 40 min
- Yields: 2-4
- Mixed Veg
- Margarine to taste
- Spoonful of mustard
- Wash or peel the potatoes, cut in half and boil for about 20 minutes or until soft right through; easily tested with a fork.
- Wash and prepare your favourite vegetables for boiling or steaming; any vegetables and any combination of mixed vegetables will do; including onion. You may use as much or as little of mixed vegetables as you like in proportion to potatoes provided the vegetables are no more than half the total bulk of the mashed potato and veg pie.
- Root vegetables, spinach and onion can be cooked with the potatoes to save energy, with leafy vegetables and beans being cooked together in a separate saucepan. Onion, if used can either be boiled with the potatoes or added raw when the potatoes and other vegetables are mashed.
- Once the potatoes and veg are cooked drain the water, add all the vegetables together in the same saucepan as the potatoes, add a knob of margarine to taste and a spoonful of mustard.
- Mash everything together as you would with mashed potatoes and either serve immediately as part of a main meal or put into a casserole dish for baking in the oven later.
4. Potato Scrap Pie
Served With Cauliflower, Cheese Bake and Baked Beans
What to do with your leftover vegetables and potatoes; my favourite is vegetable and potato Scrap Pies. I keep all the scraps in the fridge and at the end of the week make a tasty pie from them; simple and quick.
There are two main variations to scrap pies; you can either mix all the ingredients together or layer the vegetables in the bottom of a casserole dish adding the potato on the top and levelling off with a fork.
If you mix all the vegetables and potatoes together you may wish to add a chopped onion to the mix and if it's a bit dry a few tinned tomatoes to the bottom of a casserole dish; you may also wish to a top the pie with a sprinkling of grated cheese such as cheddar cheese and maybe just a little Parmesan cheese for even more flavour.
Once all the ingredients are added to the casserole dish place it in the oven on 200c (gas mark 6) and bake for about 45 minutes or until fully cooked and golden brown.
Potato and Veg Scrap Pie
Making a Tasty Meal from Scraps in Your Fridge
Potato scrap pies are versatile and easy to make; anything goes. Save all your surplus cooked vegetables and potatoes (not served up during the week) in your fridge and at the end of the week bung them all together to make a tasty scrap pie meal that cost nothing other than a bit of electricity to cook them.
- Prep time: 5 min
- Cook time: 40 min
- Ready in: 45 min
- Yields: 2-4
- Leftovers potato and veg from your fridge
- Cheese (optional)
- Tinned Tomatoes (optional)
- Onion (optional)
- Preparation Is simple a quick, you can either mix all your potato and vegetable scraps together or layer them into a casserole dish; if you like onions you can also add some onion rings or chopped onion to the mix.
- If the potato scrap pie is a bit dry put a layer of tinned tomatoes either at the bottom of the casserole dish or as a layer above the potatoes.
- Optionally, for added flavour sprinkle some grated cheese on top of the potato scrap pie; although a less healthy option.
- Place the casserole dish in the oven on 200c (gas mark 6) and bake for about 40 minutes or until fully cooked and golden brown.
- Take from oven and serve immediately either as a meal on its own or with your favourites that you would normally serve with potato pie e.g. fried eggs and baked beans.
Years ago we used the chip pan on the cooker (hob) to cook our chips (French Fries), but once we switched to using a deep fat fryer (using vegetable oil of course) there’s no turning back. Easy to use, much safer and keeps the oil at the correct temperature ideal for cooking chips.
The type we use is similar to this model.
5. Chips (Fries in American)
English Chips (aka French Fries) not to be confused with the American chip which in England is known as the crisp.
Chips come in all shapes and sizes; and everyone knows (or should know) how to cook chips. However, although chips are not known for their health qualities I've included chips in this article because not only are there different ways of preparing and cooking chips but if you are going to treat yourself to this very traditional English food there are healthier ways of preparing and cooking tasty chips.
Eons past chips were traditionally cooked in lard; these days, although it's more difficult to get a crispy chip, chips are generally cooked in vegetable oil which is much healthier. Chips can be cooked chunky or thin dependant on your preference and taste, although the more chunky chips have a less surface area to volume and therefore with a smaller percentage of surface area in contact with the cooking oil produce a slightly healthier chip; the same thing can be achieved by making what I call Scallopchips by slicing the potato into scallop shapes rather than chipping them; in other words slicing the potato into the same shape as the American chip (English Crisp), this is especially useful if the potato is too small for conventional chipping. And if you want to be really funky why not cube your potato and make cubed chips!
The main health benefit you can add to your chip apart from the obvious of cooking in vegetable oil rather than lard is not to peel the potato but to prepare and cook the chips with their skins intact; it adds a rather distinctive taste and texture to the chip, which is quite pleasant but the main benefit is the addition of healthy roughage to the diet.
Cooking British Chips (French Fries)
A Traditional British Food
Chips, known as Fries or French Fries in America, has been a popular food in Britain since the late Victorian period, and is a versatile food that goes with just about anything or as a complete meal on its own; although my favourite is either fried eggs or omelette with baked beans, or the famous British chip butty.
- Prep time: 5 min
- Cook time: 15 min
- Ready in: 20 min
- Yields: 2 potatoes per person
- Vegetable cooking oil
- pepper and vinegar to taste
I had one like this years ago and it was an excellent utensil for cutting chips easily and quickly. I recently bought a new one, they don’t seem to be quite as big or as sturdy as they use to be; so you have to cut larger potatoes in half to use it, and sometimes the blades ride up under pressure causing the potato to jam. Nevertheless, with a bit a practice, and once I got the knack of using it, I find it a quick and convenient way for chipping potatoes, and it can also be used for chipping other root vegetables; so I find it’s still a handy little device to have in the kitchen.
- Put the chip pan or deep fat fryer on to preheat while your preparing the chips. If using a chip pan rather than a deep fat fryer keep an eye on it and make sure it does not over heat; the deep fat fryer has a thermostat to ensure the correct temperature is maintained.
- Wash or peel the potatoes. I prefer to keep the potato skins on so I just wash the potatoes rather than peel them.
- Chip the potatoes e.g. cut them into long finger like shapes, but not too thin; the ideal thickness is between about half an inch and three quarters of an inch (12mm and 18mm).
- Place the chips in the chip pan or deep fat fryer to cook when the cooking oil is up to temperature. For a chip pan test by placing one chip in the hot oil and when the temperature is correct the chip will float; a deep fat fryer has a light to signal when the temperature is correct e.g. the temperature light goes out.
- Fry the chips for about 12 to 15 minutes or until cooked and golden brown; easily tested to see if they are ready by removing one chip and trying it. Part way through cooking you might wish to lift the chip basket to just above the cooking oil and give it a quick shake to loosen the chips and aid a more even cook.
- Once cooked remove from heat and serve either with your favourite foods, on their own or in a chip butty as a tasty snack; sprinkling them with salt, pepper and vinegar to taste before eating.
When making chips do you use a deep fat fryer or a chip pan on the cooker (hob)?
6. Quick Roast Potatoes
Quick Options to Traditional Cooking for Roasters
Quick Roast Potatoes (Roasters) when in a hurry or don't want to spend hours cooking roast potatoes in the traditional way in the oven. Then there are two quick options. One is to quickly part boil or microwave the potato before finishing off in the oven and the other option is to part boil or microwave the potato and use the chip pan (deep fat fryer) to finish off and brown your roasters.
Quick Ways to Make Roast Potatoes
Several Methods to Make Roast Potatoes in Less Than an Hour
Roasting potatoes the traditional way in the oven can take hours, if like me you're a vegetarian but still fancy roast potatoes with your meal or you've forgotten to put the potatoes in the oven then there are several quick ways to make good roast potatoes quickly.
- Prep time: 5 min
- Cook time: 25 min
- Ready in: 30 min
- After washing and optionally peeling your potatoes cut them in half and part boil them or partially cook them in the microwave for about ten minutes.
- Then either finish them off in a deep fat fryer for about ten minutes as you would with chips or place the potatoes on a baking tray, pour a little vegetable cooking over them, and roast in the oven on a high temperature for about 30 or 40 minutes.
7. Quick Jacket Potatoes
Quick Options to Traditional Cooking Methods
Like Roasters (Roast Potatoes) traditionally jacket potatoes are baked in the oven for hours; these days (all too often) jacket potatoes are now exclusively cooked in the microwave. This isn't too my taste as I like the skins on my jacket potatoes to be a little crunchy; this can be achieved by part cooking the jacket potato in the microwave and then quickly finishing off in the oven on a high temperature to crisp the skins; the best of both worlds.
Whether you bake your Jacket Potato in the oven, microwave it, or a combination of both for a quick jacket potato with a crispy skin as described above there are a number of ways they can be prepared and presented from the traditional 'as is' whole to the more elaborate stuffed jacket potato; some of these options are described below in more detail:-
Jacket Potato Recipe Ideas
Four Ways to Cook and Serve Jacket Potatoes
Jacket potatoes needn't be just a potato washed and cooked in the microwave with its skin on, it can be much more exciting and tasty with a little time and care and baking in the oven; as shown in the four suggestions below.
Jacket potatoes can be served as a complete meal on their own or served as part of a main meal e.g. hardboiled egg and baked beans or with egg salad etc.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: About 90 minutes
Serves: I or 2 jacket potatoes per person
- Knob of butter or margarine
- Tomato (optional)
When cooking Jacket Potatoes in the oven (whole) I always use the aluminium prongs simply because they get hot and cook the potato from the inside while the heat from the oven is cooking the outside. Therefore not only do the potatoes cook quicker but you are guaranteed that the Jacket Potatoes will be thoroughly cooked all the way through. The type of aluminium prongs I use (readily available in England) is four spokes on a stand which is ideal but these baking nails does exactly the same and will do just as good a job.
- Wash the potatoes and partially cook for about ten minutes in a microwave. Remove from the microwave place in a hot oven for about an hour to fully cook and to give time for the skins to crisp; if you do not like the skins too crispy cover with tinfoil.
- For some of the cooking options below you will need to temporarily remove the jacket potatoes from the oven part way through cooking, so as to finish the recipe before returning the potatoes back to the oven e.g. to scoop out and stuff them.
- To aid cooking in the oven during the early stages before the Jacket potatoes are taken out and stuffed or topped with cheese it can be beneficial to ensure the potatoes are cooked right through by using jacket potato baking nails.
- Method 1. Plain and Simple 'as is' where the whole jacket potato is placed on the plate; optionally with baked beans, tomato (tinned or fresh), hard-boiled egg, cheese and or salad with bread and butter etc., served with butter or margarine on the side leaving it to your family and guests to slice the potato themselves and insert a knob of butter (margarine) themselves.
- Method 2. Baked with Cheese, about 20 minutes before they are done take the potatoes out of the oven, slice a slit across the top (about a third way into the potato) and push a slice of hard cheese (cheddar cheese) into the slit, place back into the oven to continue cooking until the cheese is fully melted. Alternatively cut a thin wedge out of the top of the jacket potato to make it easier to place the cheese inside and reduce the risk of the potato splitting in half.
- Method 3. Stuffed Jacket Potato, part way through cooking the potato (once the potato is cooked but the skins still needs to crisp) cut the potato in half (long ways) and scoop out the centre with a serving spoon. Mash the scooped out potato (adding a little margarine to taste), optionally add and mix into the mashed potato finally chopped onion. Place the mashed potato back into the skins and optionally top with grated cheese and sliced tomatoes. Place back in the oven until the cheese has melted and baked to a light golden brown.
- Method 4. Potato Skins (boats), made in the same way as stuffed jacket potatoes described above except the potato is cut into fours (length ways) to make them more boat shape.
8. Potato Omelette
A Variation on a Traditional Omelette
I like experimenting with recipes and in my mind 'Spanish Omelette' means anything goes except meat of course; being a vegetarian. In this respect I often make my Spanish omelette (which goes well with chips and baked beans) when there are a few leftover vegetables and potatoes in the fridge from the previous day's meal; and to this I may also add some chopped onion, mushrooms and perhaps a sprinkling of grated cheddar cheese. Often all these ingredients added together end up to be more bulky than the eggs of the omelette itself making it difficult, if not impossible, to flip half the omelette over on itself to make the traditional omelette; not a problem as detailed below.
If the ingredients are going to be too much to successfully flip half the omelette over, or toss the omelette over in the pan (frying pan) then I make my omelette as follows:-
With a little vegetable oil in the frying pan I put it on a high temperature to pre-heat while I prepare the ingredients. While the frying pan is heating up I quickly mix all the scrap vegetables and potatoes from the fridge together and optionally add chopped onion, mushrooms and maybe a thinly sliced tomato. I quickly fry all these ingredients in the pre-heated frying pan to warm them up, and while doing so I put a second frying pan on a high heat (with a little vegetable oil) to preheat while I beat the four eggs; at the same time I also put the grill on to preheat.
I then pour the four beaten (whisked) eggs into this second frying pan to start cooking the base of the omelette, and almost immediately also add the scraps (which by this time are already heated through) and spread them out evenly across the top of the eggs using a back of a fork; at this point I may also add a sprinkling of grated cheddar cheese evenly across the top.
Once the base of the omelette is cooked, which only takes a minute and can be tested by running a spatula around the edge of the frying pan to see if the edge of the omelette is firm enough to lift easily, then I place the frying pan under the grill (just as you would place a grill pan under the grill) to cook the top of the omelette until it is a light golden brown.
Vegetable, Potato and Cheese Omelette
Using Leftovers Potato and Veg from Your Fridge to Make an Omelette
A recipe for using all the leftovers (potato and vegetable scraps in your fridge) to make a tasty omelette in minutes.
This is a favourite of mine that goes well with chips (French Fries) and baked beans, and takes less than ten minutes to make so can be made while the chips are frying and the baked beans are warming up.
- Prep time: 5 min
- Cook time: 5 min
- Ready in: 10 min
- Yields: 4
- 4 eggs
- Potato and veg scraps from the fridge
- Grated cheese e.g. cheddar cheese
- Sprinkling of parmesan cheese (optional)
- Chopped onion (optional)
- Sliced tomato (optional)
- Remove the potato and veg scraps from the fridge, mix them together in a bowl and quickly warm them up for about a minute in the microwave.
- Place a large flat frying pan on the hob with a generous portion of vegetable cooking oil and preheat on a high temperature. As these omelettes tend to be too bulky to turn or flip over in the frying pan (unless you only have a few scraps) also turn the grill on full, to pre-heat.
- Grate some hard cheese to taste.
- Crack four eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk vigorously for a moment to fully mix the egg white and yoke together; takes about 20 seconds.
- Once the cooking oil in the frying pan is up to temperature e.g. the egg sizzles when you add a little to the frying pan, pour the eggs in and lightly mix with the cooking oil by running the spatula across the frying pan just two or three times.
- Immediately add your warmed potato and veg scraps on top and spread out evenly with the back of a fork.
- Optionally add some sliced tomatoes and chopped onion to taste.
- Sprinkle a generous layer of grated cheese on top and top off with just a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. By this time the underside of the omelette is likely to be cooked, easily tested by running the spatula around the side of the frying pan to see if the edge of the omelette is still runny or not.
- Remove the frying pan from the hob and continue cooking under the grill until the cheese has melted and is a golden brown.
- Slice the omelette into four portions with the spatula and serve with chips ((French Fries) and baked beans.
9. Quick Potato Toasty
Potato on Toast Topped With Cheese
This isn't so much a healthy snack so much as it is an unhealthy but quick treat; again, using leftover mashed potato in the fridge from the previous day.
All that’s needed to make the potato toasty is to quickly reheat the potato either in the frying pan or microwave will you toast some bread. Then (after buttering the toast) spread the potato out across the toast, top with grated cheese, optionally add a slice of tomato, and grill until the cheese is melted and a light golden brown.
A printable version of this recipe is below.
Mashed Potato and Cheese on Toast
Using potato leftovers from your fridge you can make this simple and quick tasty snack of mashed potato and cheese on toast in just a few minutes.
- Prep time: 5 min
- Cook time: 5 min
- Ready in: 10 min
- Yields: Two slices of toast per person
- Mashed Potato leftovers from the fridge
- Grated cheese e.g. cheddar cheese
- 2 slices of bread per person
- Knob of butter or margarine
- Slice of tomato (optional)
- Chopped onion (optional)
- Take the potato from the fridge and quickly preheat in a frying pan with a little vegetable oil; or warm in the microwave for a minute.
- Place your sliced bread under the grill (two slices per person) and when the first side a golden brown turn over to slightly crisp but not brown the second side.
- While waiting for the toast to do grate the cheese e.g. cheddar cheese.
- Once the bread is slightly toasted on the second side (crisp but still white) remove it from the grill and slightly butter it with a little margarine.
- Spread the cooked mashed potato over the toast and level off with a back of a fork.
- Top with grated cheese (and optionally with a slice of tomato and onions) and finish grilling under the grill until golden brown.
I bought a book like this while visiting Beamish, a living museum of the North of England portraying English life and society from the late Georgian era right through to the Edwardian period. I then had great fun adapting some of the recipes, substituting ingredients as necessary to make them vegetarian and appetizing to the modern palate, while at the same time retaining some of the authenticity of the recipe; which isn't as challenging as it sounds as meat was in short supply as reflected in many of the recipes of the time.
10. Vegetable and Mashed Potato Pie Based on a 2nd World War Recipe
And How to Make Vegetarian Gravy Stock
While on a visit to Beamish, a living museum of the North of England, portraying life as it was in Britain predominantly between 1813 and 1913 but also giving a taste of life before and after these eras I bought an authentic reproduction f a 2nd World War recipe booklet which was used in Britain for practical menus of the time that were both nutritious and economical.
Many of the menus of this period are not suitable for vegetarians, but as a vegetarian (and with a bit of imagination) most menus can be adapted to a vegetarian recipe that closely approximates the original and with some luck is just as tasty and wholesome.
The one menu which I particularly liked and adapted for my vegetarian tastes is the Vegetable and Mashed Potato Pie; and here it is below for you to give it a try.
As a vegetarian I've adapted this recipe based on a British 2nd world war recipe, including the gravy so as to be suitable for vegetarians. The recipe is in two parts e.g. the main ingredients and the vegetarian gravy stock.
The main ingredients consist of four medium sized potatoes, some margarine to taste, four handfuls of mixed vegetables and grated cheddar cheese to your taste.
The ingredients for the gravy stock ( pint - 140 ml) consist of 3 tablespoons of margarine, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion, 3 tablespoons of flour, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, pint (140 ml) of vegetable stock and a little pepper to taste.
- Prep time: 20 min
- Cook time: 40 min
- Ready in: 1 hour
- Yields: 2
- Four medium sized potatoes
- Margarine to taste for the mashed potatoes
- Four handfuls of mixed vegetables
- Grated cheese to taste
- 3 tablespoons of margarine (for gravy)
- 2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion (for gravy)
- 3 tablespoons of flour (for gravy)
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (for gravy)
- pint (140 ml) of vegetable stock (for gravy)
- Pepper to taste (for gravy)
- Make mashed potatoes as you normally would
- Chop, slice and dice a selection of mixed vegetables including any of cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnip, turnips, swedes, peas, beans (runner, broad and or kidney beans) etc., and then boil them until cooked, as normal.
- Once the vegetables are cooked drain them and use their stock to make the vegetarian gravy as described below.
- To make the vegetarian gravy slightly fry the onions in a little margarine until golden brown, gradually add the flour, while continuously stirring to avoid lumps. While still stirring on a low heat add the soy sauce, vegetable stock and pepper to taste. Continue to gently heat and stir the mixture until the vegetarian gravy starts to thicken.
- Place the cooked vegetables in a casserole dish (optionally adding any seasoning to taste), pour the gravy mix over the vegetables, add the mashed potato on top and smooth fat with a back of a fork and top with an even layer of the grated cheddar cheese.
- Finally, bake in the oven at 200c (gas mark 6) for 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is golden brown; remove from oven and serve immediately with peas.
Preparation and Cooking Potatoes
To Peel or Not To Peel, That Be the Question
Traditionally people almost always peel their potatoes in preparation for cooking unless they're new potatoes or the recipe is baked potatoes. However, unless the skin is green or there are bad bits to cut out or the potatoes are very old and wrinkly then (other than for taste) there is no reason to always peel your potatoes; much of the goodness is just below the skin, the skin is good and much needed roughage as part of a good healthy diet (people generally don't eat enough roughage for a healthy balanced diet), and the skins can add taste and texture to the meal.
Green in potato is a toxin and has to be cut out, as does any bad bits, but other than that there is no good reason to peel the potato further, just wash it prior to cooking. Potato skin in mashed potato is good, as is potato skin on chips (English chips, aka French fries); the only time you may want to peel the potatoes is if you are preparing them for 'Roast Potatoes' but even then you might want to be brave and try a few un-skinned.
Potato Gallery - Selection of Potato MealsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Cooking Spinach with Potatoes for Flavour and Nutrition
The Easy Way to Cook Spinach for Tasty Mashed Potatoes
When I first grew spinach I naturally read recipes for cooking spinach but found them all to be time consuming and quite complex; so forever looking for quick and easy ways to do things I experimented and found the easiest and quickest way to cook spinach is to boil them with the potatoes as follows:-
- Pick half a dozen spinach leaves from the garden; they can be either young or old leaves
- Quickly rinse them under the tap, as you would with lettuce.
- Bunch the leaves up and quickly slice into thin strips and then slice through them again at 90 degrees to cut them into large squares, just like you would if preparing lettuce for a salad.
- Having already placed the potatoes into a saucepan of water for boiling pop the chopped spinach on top and boil the potatoes with spinach.
- When cooked, drain the water and mash the potatoes with spinach, adding a little margarine to taste to make a tasty addition to any meal that includes mash.
Adding Vitamin B to Your Potatoes
And Adding Flavour and Good Nutrition
Vitamin B is a complex subject and it took me ages to do when I was asked if someone was getting enough Vitamin B in their diet. As many of the products rich in vitamin B which I unearthed during my research are ideal alternatives to salt for flavouring potatoes it seems fitting to include some of findings in this article.
Vitamin B is a complex subject because there is more than one type of vitamin B, and to make matters more complex, like so many other vitamins, vitamin B is easily destroyed during the processing and cooking of foods; a reminder that overcooking food destroys good nutrients.
My first step in the research on the subject of vitamin B was determining which of the vitamin Bs' are important diet requirements for Adults, and in conclusion the important vitamin Bs' are B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and B12 of which too much vitamin B3, B6, B9 and B12 can cause problems so in some rare cases it may be advisable to seek medical advice before taking vitamin B supplement tablets on a regular bases e.g. during pregnancy or if you think your diet is already high in vitamin B. But because vitamins are easily destroyed during food processing and cooking the chances for most people of overdosing on vitamin B is very slim; the likely hood is that most people are not getting enough vitamin B.
From my research of foods high in vitamin B some of the food products ideal for flavouring potatoes as an alternative to salt are listed below; the list is not exhaustive by any means, it just lists some of the more common ingredients I found high in this vitamin.
In particular many herbs and spices, including dried herbs and spices (including pepper and mustard) are high in vitamin B, as are dairy products, cheeses (particularly the blue cheeses), vegetables, cereals and nuts; and if you're not a vegetarian many meats and sea foods including fish.
As a quick guide, for some of the ingredients below I've included the DV (Daily Vitamin requirement given as a percentage of the daily requirement in 100 grams).
- Vitamin B1 - Mustard.
- Vitamin B2 - Pepper, spearmint, tomatoes, blue cheese, Brie, Camembert, Caraway cheese, Goat cheese, Limburger, Romano, Roquefort (34% DV per 100gm), Swiss cheese (17% DV per 100gms), eggs, milk.
- Vitamin B3 - Paprika.
- Vitamin B5 - Potatoes, tomatoes, cheese, eggs.
- Vitamin B6 - Herbs and spices including dried herbs and spices, onion, peppers, potato skins.
- Vitamin B9 - Herbs, onions, tomatoes, cheese and cheese sauce, eggs, milk.
- Vitamin B12 - Potatoes including sweet potatoes, cheeses, Feta cheese (28% DV per 100g), Gjetost cheese, Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese (38% DV per 100g), Swiss cheese (56% DV per 100g) Tilsit cheese, eggs (yoke of one egg is 6% of DV), milk.
Tip for Making Potatoes Creamier
Well drain the potatoes in a colander before add any other ingredients and mashing them; as soggy potatoes with a high water content never makes for good creamy and fluffy potatoes.
Good Alternatives to Butter to Flavour Your Mashed Potatoes
How Creamy Do You Like Your Mashed Potatoes
Butter makes mashed potatoes creamy and adds flavour, New Potatoes and Baked Potatoes without that knob of butter is an incomplete meal. However, butter (made from cow's milk) is high in fats which if you're on a diet, overweight and want to lose weight or Cholesterol levels are too high then you'll want to think of using margarine high in polyunsaturated fats rather than butter, especially products made from sunflower oil for example which is high in Omega-6 fatty acids which may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
If health isn't an issue as well as adding margarine when making mashed potatoes you may wish to experiment with the use of milk and eggs for added flavour. Although milk and eggs contain animal fats being a dairy product (rather than meat) they are an acceptable part of a Vegetarian diet (but not Vegan) and they are a good source of protein so adding just a little milk or a raw egg when mashing potatoes can enhance the flavour. However, unless the mashed potato will subsequently be cooked (baked in the oven) as part of a potato pie recipe then there is a health risk of food poisoning from Salmonella by using raw egg.
All about Salt and Why Not To Use it in Cooking
2 Grams of Salt a Day is All That is Needed for a Healthy Diet
Salt is an important part of the diet but too much salt is unhealthy, and we all eat too much salt because it's overused in all processed and package food.
Too much salt in a diet can cause Hypertension, high blood pressure, heart disease, Osteoporosis, kidney disorders, dehydration and swelling, digestive diseases, electrolyte and hormone imbalances.
The recommended daily intake of salt for a healthy diet is just 2 grams, a level teaspoon is 5 grams, see photo above. However, because food manufacturers already put too much salt in processed and packaged food it's difficult not to exceed the recommended 2 grams of salt a day; for example a typical slice of bread contains 0.5 grams of salt so just by eating four slices of bread you've already reached the recommended 2 grams of salt.
Salt was used extensively in centuries past for preserving food, essential in the days before refrigerators and when families had to produce their own food during the growing season to last them for the long harsh winter months ahead. But these days with refrigerators (fridges and freezers) and an ample supply of fresh vegetables in the supermarkets there is little or no need to add salt to food for their preservation.
If you wish to flavour your potatoes, other than using salt, there are plenty of healthy alternatives to choose from, some of these options being given below.
Alternatives to Salt for Flavouring Potatoes
Mint, Herbs and Spices and All Things Nice
Although every recipe I see always tell you to add salt when boiling potatoes and other vegetables there is no need to add salt, we never do and the food tastes just as good without salt as it does with. However, if you wish to add flavour to your potatoes or enhance the flavour there are plenty of alternatives to salt, listed below is just an example of some of these secret ingredients which you can experiment with; all of which I use from time to time.
When boiling potatoes you can add finally chopped spinach, a few leaves of mint from the garden or some onion; you can also add a handful of chopped root vegetables such as carrots, parsnip, turnips and or swede for additional flavouring and texture.
If you're making mashed potatoes once the potatoes are boiled and drained and ready for mashing for additional flavouring or instead of adding anything during boiling you may wish to add a spoonful of English mustard, a few mint leaves and or finally chopped onion; you may also wish to experiment with the use of herbs and spices for flavouring.
Health and Food Links
- 7 Health Risks of Eating Too Much Salt
Too much salt in the diet, which is marked by high sodium content, can deeply impact almost all biochemical pathways in your body. As a standard, your dietary
- Easy Vegetarian Gravy Recipe
The most complete collection of free recipes on the Internet, trusted by home chefs throughout the world.