February 19th, 2020

From Our Table: Peter Cottontail is peeking around the corner

By Joanne Smith on April 9, 2019.

Submitted Photo
Start thinking about this Cheesy Sweet Potato Delight if you want to get an early start on your Easter dinner.

Easter is a bit later then usual this year. In fact it’s so late this year it’s actually during final exams at both of my son’s and my daughter in-law’s universities. That means they won’t be able to come home for Good Friday or Easter Monday. Did you happen to hear my very big sigh? Oh well, the Easter celebrations will go on!

Good Friday is just nine sleeps away. Some of you may already be planning your Easter Dinner menu. Whether you have the ever-popular Easter main course of ham or perhaps lamb or maybe even turkey, one side dish is often included in the celebration. Can you guess what it is? If you were thinking succulent scalloped potatoes you are correct.

To start the journey to the perfect potatoes in a deliciously creamy sauce let’s first talk potatoes. Yukon gold make great scalloped potatoes but frankly almost any potato will work. My very strong recommendation however is to encourage you to buy as close to home as possible. We are so fortunate in our area to be able to get locally grown potatoes almost year round. If you can’t find potatoes grown right in our own wonderful province of Alberta and specifically in southern Alberta for sure you can find potatoes grown in Canada.

The same goes for the other common ingredient in scalloped potatoes, onions. Because it’s fairly easy to store both of these root veggies it’s quite easy to find locally grown year round.

My family loves this creamy potato dish so I’ve made it often in a variety of ways. When I’m short on time my scalloped potato recipe is super simple. I saute a small-to-medium finely chopped onion and a couple cloves of garlic in a tablespoon of butter. Once they are soft I add in a can of mushroom soup and a half a can of milk. I scrub about 4-6 potatoes and slice them as thin as possible leaving the peel on if they are in really good shape otherwise I peel them before slicing. I spray a baking dish with cooking spray then layer half the potatoes and top with half the mushroom soup sauce. Then I top that with the rest of the potatoes and pour the remainder of the sauce over. I cook them covered on high in the microwave about 10 minutes usually stirring gently once and cook a bit more if they aren’t all tender, in approximately two-minute intervals. Sometimes I serve them like this with a parsley garnish or I might sprinkle the top with a layer of grated cheese and broil in the oven uncovered for about two minutes watching carefully so they don’t burn.

I’ve also previously shared a much more complicated creamy recipe in my column that I’ve made many times. Since I’ve already given that recipe I was looking for perhaps a unique twist on the traditional recipe. Bingo! I found the perfect one from my friend Loretta who is always trying new recipes and is a very good cook.

I hope this will inspire you to start planning your Easter dinner celebrations with your family and friends. And don’t forget to buy local.

Have a wonderful Easter everyone!

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Cheesy Sweet Potato Delight

1 pound sweet potatoes, thinly sliced

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced

1 onion, very thinly sliced (optional)

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 tsp salt and ½ tsp fresh ground pepper, or to taste

1 tsp each ginger, nutmeg and ground red pepper

1 tsp thyme

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese or Gruyere cheese

grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

dried parsley for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine sliced sweet potatoes, white potatoes, flour, salt, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, pepper, and thyme; toss to combine.

4. Sprinkle a little Parmesan on the bottom of dish.

5. Arrange one layer of sliced potatoes, alternating white and sweet potato slices, overlapping slightly, on the bottom of prepared baking dish. Followed by very thinly sliced onion rings if using.

6. Sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan and pour about one-quarter cup of evaporated milk.

7. Repeat layers with remaining sweet potatoes, onions, Parmesan, and milk.

8. Top with shredded swiss or Gruyere cheese.

9. Cover with foil and bake for about 35 minutes.

10. Remove foil and continue to bake for 25 more minutes, or until top is browned and bubbly.

11. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes while sauce thickens.

12. Garnish with grated Parmesan and dried parsley.

13. Serve while warm.

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