Root Vegetable & Potato Bake

I thought this might be a nice recipe to share with you all now that it’s coming up to the biggest dinner of the year – December 25th. These days everyone is looking to put their own individual twist on the classic meal and I thought this was lovely way to cook your vegetable and one of your many potato side dishes. Lets face it, there is always about 3 or 4 different types of potato sides on an Irish Christmas Dinner Table.

Now the only advice I can offer with this one is that you should only commit to it if you’re ready to slice all those veggies and not lose patience half way through. I used my Slicer Dicer so I didn’t have that worry – use one if you can, it will literally halve your preparationn time.

Christmas is such a special time of the year and I hope you all have some family or friends at your dinner table to share the day with. Hosting the Christmas Dinner is no easy feat, I have only done two in my lifetime so far and no matter how many helpers or time you give yourself, we all know it is a serious day of preparationn and timing accuracy.

I look forward to Christmas dinner in my family’s home so much every year, my mother always does such a stand out job. My sister and I missed a few Christmas’ over the past number of years from living abroad and it meant so much for us all to sit around together last year for the first time in 5 years.

With the Turkey and Ham usually being the main event, I’m sure many of you will agree that the side dishes that come with the meat are crucial and have to be delicious and plentiful. No amount of roast potatoes will ever be enough on the Christmas table 🙂

This veggie bake is rich and indulgent and has a great Christmas taste to it with the hint of nutmeg. Any root vegetables or potatoes can be used for this dish once they slice thinly for you and are suitable for baking, below can just be a serving suggestion.

I have a few more Christmas side dishes to share with you between now and the big day so keep an eye out if you feel like doing something a little different this year. You can also eat more of these sides too seen as they’re on the “clean” side 😉

Ingredients

2 Carrots
2 Rooster Potatoes
2 Parsnips
1 large Sweet Potato
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
300 grams White Sauce*
70 grams Parmesan, finely grated
½ Tsp. Ground Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 190 Degrees Celsius.
Rinse and peel, top and tail your vegetables accordingly.
Using a good, sharp vegetable knife or a vegetable slicer (love mine), thinly slice each of your root vegetables.
Grease a medium sized oven dish and layer up all of your root vegetable slices.
Prepare your white sauce as directed in whatever recipe, jar or packet you are using.
Here are a few ways to make your own white sauce;

White Sauce:

https://clodaghscountertopblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/zucchini-lasagne/

There are a few white sauce alternatives you can use in this recipe. I also found this great link from another blogger’s website for lots of other white sauce ideas;

https://www.thehealthychef.com/2013/04/white-sauce-10-ways/

Just before you finish the white sauce, stir in the nutmeg, crushed garlic and desired seasoning.
Pour the white sauce over the layered root vegetables making sure it reaches all the corners of the dish.
Sprinkle the parmesan on the top.
Add the dish to the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and the top layer is golden brown.
Serve the bake as a side dish to any main meat, poultry or otherwise and maybe some steamed greens.
This veggie bake is really rich and creamy and such a good comfort food, It works as a great accompaniment to roast chicken (that’s what I had it with) and I bet it would be a great festive side to serve up over the holiday season.
Enjoy All! xx

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Sunday Brunch -Sweet Potato Hash Brown

Sweet Potato Hash Browns are a fab dish to help make a yummy Sunday Brunch from home.
As always, they’re super quick and cost next to nothing to make so you can then add another dish to the list of meals you have conquered as a Healthy Cook.
I gave these a go for the first time on Sunday last and was nervous about the result.
I didn’t have the normal orange sweet potatoes handy but I had the smaller, white sweet potatoes as they are currently what’s in season.
What I like about these is that they are not as sweet as the regular orange potatoes and look more like regular potatoes so the trick to the mind that you’re having something naughty kicks in again.
They are still sweet enough that you know its sweet potato though which I like because I genuinely love the taste of sweet potato.

So my usual weekend breakfast is always poached eggs and then a little bit of whatever else I fancy. If I’m feeling extra clean, it’s poached eggs, wilted spinach and toasted porridge bread or sometimes I will throw together black pudding, haloumi and poached eggs which is seriously yum!

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So last Sunday I met myself in the middle and said I would have my usual poachies but with a something a little more weekend than spinach and toast.
These homemade hash browns are popping up all over my Instagram and Facebook feed so I said I’d give them a go myself and hope for the best.
And this is what I came up with;

Ingredients

2 small White Sweet Potatoes / ½ medium – large Sweet Potato
1 small bunch Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 small handful of plain Brown Flour
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil / Coconut Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Heat some oil on a pan on the hob.
While waiting for the pan to heat, peel the sweet potato and grate through a cheese grater into a bowl.
Add parsley, flour, oil and seasoning into the bowl and mix it all through.
Add a little bit more flour or a little bit more oil depending on the consistency of the mix, it needs to be sticky and binding so it will hold together.
Once you have the right consistency, take half the mix in your hand and squeeze out any air pockets.
Pack the potato mix firmly between both palms of your hands until you make a firm patty that will withhold the pan.
Repeat this step with the second half of the mix.
You can make smaller ones if you wish but I got two good burger-sized patties from the above measurements.
Slap both patties onto the hot pan and press down with a spatula.

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Cook on each side for about 4-5 minutes or when they start to turn golden brown.
I was unsure if the potato was fully cooked so I popped mine into the microwave for another minute just to be 100%.
You may not need to do this but it’s just a tip in case you’re unsure.
The hash browns are now ready to serve with whatever other breakfast ingredients you are in the mood for.
I had poached eggs with mine and the combo was really good together.
Let me know if you give them a go and what you have them with, I’m always looking for fresh ideas!

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The Salad Bar – Sweet Potato & Fig Salad

I ordered this salad in a bar in Australia a few years ago and have been obsessed with it ever since.
It’s such a simple combination of ingredients but I would have never thought to combine them and now I’m so glad I have because the taste is something serious.
With its sweet against salty combination, this salad will certainly satisfy your taste buds and also impress your friends at that Summer Barbeque.

Ingredients

100 grams Fresh Baby Spinach
1 medium Sweet Potato, diced
1 cup Greek Feta, diced
1 cup Dried Figs, halved
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 Degrees C and cover an oven tray with greaseproof paper.
Spread out the sweet potato cubes on the tray and spray with olive oil.
Pop the tray in the oven and roast the cubes until cooked through, about 20 minutes usually.
Remove the sweet potato from the oven and leave to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
While you’re waiting for the cubes to cool, add spinach, feta and figs to a large salad bowl.
Add the balsamic vinegar and toss.
When the sweet potato has cooled, add this to the salad bowl and give it another toss.
Pour yourself a glass of wine, grab a fork and sit out the back to enjoy.
Hashtag Summer 🙂

Sweet Potato Scoops

Ingredients

1 medium Sweet Potato, washed
4 cubes Frozen Spinach
4 Tbsp. Low Fat Cream Cheese
2 sprigs Spring Onion, finely chopped
4 Bacon Rashers, diced
½ cup Grated Parmesan
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Method

Preheat your oven to 200 Degrees C and line an oven tray with greased parchment paper
Rub your squeaky clean Sweet Potato with olive oil, cut in half lengthways and wrap in tin foil.
Pop the potatoes on the tray and into the oven for 45 – 60 mins (keep an eye on them as you don’t want to overdo them, it will depend on their size how long they will take).
When they have been cooked through, remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and the tin foil and leave to cool for about 10 minutes.
While waiting for the potatoes to cool, throw your diced bacon rashers onto a hot pan and cook quickly.
Transfer cooked bacon to some paper towel to absorb any excess fat.
Once cooled, cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh into a bowl.
Put the potato skins to one side.
Defrost the frozen spinach and drain off any excess water.
Add the spinach, chopped spring onion, cream cheese and cooked bacon bits to the potato.
Mix up all the ingredients with a spoon until even and stuff the mix back into each of the halved potato skins.
Sprinkle each of your potato halves with the parmesan and grill until golden brown.
Serve piping hot.

These guys are such a treat and taste a lot naughtier than they really are.
You can have them as a main meal or use one half as a side to a main dish either, it’s totally up to you!
The filling’s ingredients are also not limited to what I have suggested, you can use any number of ingredients that you like to make your filling.
Enjoy Guys!!

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Spiralized Twisty Fries

This version of the fast food favourite takes only five minutes to put together and is super satisfying.
You also get to play with my favourite kitchen toy; The Spiralizer, which is always fun (for me)!
Not even a recipe really, all you need is your desired mix of seasoning and a potato. Simples!

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My seasoning mix is pretty predictable as you’ll note from so many of my recipes and is only a guideline for you to use,
coat your twisties with whatever seasoning you’re in the mood for.
Below is my usual;

1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Smoked Paprika
1 Tsp. Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp. Chili Flakes
1. Tbsp. Olive Oil

You will also need 1 large (sweet) potato

Method

Preheat the oven to 160 Degrees C.
I always leave the skin on the potato or sweet potato as so much of the vegetables nutrition is locked into the skin.
My advice is to give the spud a good scrub and then swirl it through your Spiralizer.
Once Spiralized, coat the twisties in the olive oil and your chosen seasoning evenly.
Spread them out on some greased parchment paper and place on an oven tray in the middle of your oven.
These twisty fries only need about 8-10 minutes so be sure to keep an eye on them, shaking the tray about 5 minutes in to
keep them from sticking to the parchment paper.
Remove your twisty fries from the oven once golden brown and serve with your favourite sauce.
Delish!

Vegetable Chips

Vegetable Chips are a really good way to use up any leftover veg you have left in the vegetable drawer. As always with my recipes, they are quick and simple to make and the result is always delicious (if I do say so myself)!

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They can be enjoyed as an On The Go snack or as part of a main meal. They also look beautiful when they’re done so you could even serve up a bowl if you’re having people over.

The recipe is pretty basic and you can use any of the following vegetables as a starting point for some inspiration;

Raw Beetroot
Carrot
Sweet Potato
Potato
Parsnip
Zucchini
Radish

Ingredients

300 grams Desired Vegetable
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tbsp. Cracked Sea Salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees C.
Using a vegetable peeler, vegetable slicer, mandolin or the ribbon blade on the Spiralizer, thinly slice your vegetable.
Place into a mixing bowl and add in the olive oil, salt and pepper.
Mix it all together until the vegetables are evenly covered.
Spread the vegetables on to some greased up parchment paper ensuring there is only one layer of chips on each tray
depending on how much you’re making and the size of your tray.
Pop into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables start to crisp up.
Turn of the oven but leave the vegetable chips in to finish crisping.
Once you’re happy with their crispiness, remove the vegetable chips from the oven and let cool.
The chips are good to eat and can be stored for 2-3 days after.
Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

Ingredients

500g lean beef mince
1 large sweet potato
1 cup frozen garden peas
2 carrots
1 chopped brown onion
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic
1 beef stock cube
1/2 cup thick beef gravy
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Pop the oven on to preheat 180 degrees C and bring a pot of water to the boil.
Peel the sweet potato and dice into medium sized chunks.
Add the sweet potato to the pot of water and boil for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.
Slice and dice the carrots so that they are nicer and small like the frozen peas.
Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the garlic and onion once hot.
Fry the onion and garlic for about 3 minutes or until brown and then throw in the mince.
When the mince has browned, crumble the beef stock cube through the mince mix and stir through.
Add the gravy a small bit at a time to ensure the mixture stays thick and coats the mince all over.
Add the carrots and peas and stir through until the mix is coated evenly.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Reduce the heat and leave to cook slowly.
Meanwhile, remove the sweet potato from the hob and strain. Once all the excess moisture has been drained, mash the sweet potato pieces to make a soft mash potato mix.
Using a deep oven dish, scoop the mince mix from the pan into the dish and spread out evenly.
Layer the sweet potato mash thickly and evenly over the mince and smooth out using a fork.
Pop the dish on the middle shelf of the oven and leave to set for about 30-40 minutes or until the mash begins to brown and crisp.
Serve with a light salad or some steamed greens.