Roasted Parmesan Cranberry Red Potatoes


parmesan roasted Cranberry Red Potatoes photo by lsimon

Cranberry Red seed potatoes called out to us this spring. Plant me, plant me!

We doubled the size of our garden this year, smack dab in the middle of the sunny back yard. So there was room for two bags of organic seed potatoes. The garden center had maybe a dozen oddball kinds. Reds, yellows, blue, and whites. We went for the Cranberry Reds and Swedish Fingerlings.

Cranberry Reds are red skinned outside and pink inside. The texture of the flesh is moist and smooth, like the common red potato you can get at the grocery store.

I was super anxious to start harvesting potatoes. I had always heard, “plant on Good Friday, harvest on the 4th of July”. My husband grew up on a farm and they planted potatoes in the huge family garden. He had never heard of this and thought it was way too early for our planting zone of 5.

With encouragement from me, he planted the seed potatoes earlier than he thought prudent. And no harm done. We harvested our first potatoes about the middle of July. They were very small, we enjoyed them, and let the rest keep on growing.


pink flowers on cranberry red potatoes 6-18-2009 photo by vsimon

most potatoes have white flowers

Mature Cranberry Reds are ugly potatoes. Many are lumpy. They have alligator skins, rough and crackly.  I am not sure I like the pink insides. Maybe I was hoping for more vibrant color. The inside color is variable. Some are quite pink, some are very pale, some are streaked.

They are supposed to be long keepers. That is very important with organic potatoes, since we do not spray them to prevent sprouting.

If they are firm and not stinky in January, I may look at them more kindly. I wonder if the inside color will change a bit.

Here is one of my favorite recipes for potatoes. The salty parmesan gets golden, crusty, crispy, fragrant. The insides get soft and smooth.

You can also use bakers instead of red potatoes. Really, all potatoes are good this way. Try it with cauliflower too, yum.

Parmesan Potatoes

Adapted from Everyday Foods

Serves 4

ingredients metric measures
8 medium sized red potatoes about .5 kg
1 egg white 1
1 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese 180 gm

oil, nonstick aluminum foil, or parchment paper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut potatoes into quarters, set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg white until frothy.

Toss potatoes in egg white to cover thoroughly.

If any egg white is pooling in the bottom of the bowl, drain some off.

Toss potatoes with 1 cup of parmesan cheese.

Oil a rimmed baking sheet, or better yet, line it with nonstick foil or parchment.

Place potatoes in a single layer on the pan and cover with remaining cheese. It is OK to let the cheese scatter in the pan. These bits get especially crispy.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the cheese is golden and crispy.

Did you plant potatoes this year? Or use usual kinds from the store. Please tell us about them.

Mexican Lasagna-so easy the kids can make it.

easy-mexican-lasagna (2)

easy Mexican lasagna photo by vsimon

My oldest daughter requested I post easy entrees. Actually, most people want easy entrees. So here you go. Mexican Lasagna is  family friendly, budget friendly, and time friendly.

This has been a favorite of our personal chef clients for years. I usually make it in 3 or 4 small Pyrex rectangles. These containers measure approximately 5×7 inches.

We layer the ingredients in each container and the client does the final warming. If you assemble it in 1 or 2 portions per container, it can be quickly warmed in the microwave.

Mexican lasagna freezes well too. So make some for now, and save some for later.

Home alone?

Mexican lasagna is easy for older kids to assemble, and easy to warm themselves if they are eating on their own.

The ingredient amounts are not critical here. You can even make this meatless and the carnivores aren’t likely to notice. Simply mix the chili powder in with the beans if you delete the meat.

I think the refried beans are required though. They add a creamy consistency and help hold this all together. And do try the green chilies, they are not hot.

Is this gluten free? What do I need to watch our for?

Chili powder is usually gluten free. Taco seasoning may not be, and it costs more.

Do not substitute wheat flour tortilla for corn, even if you don’t need gluten free. The corn tortillas are really better here. We use corn tortillas in this recipe for all our clients, glutinous and gluten free.

There are many gluten free commercial varieties of salsa. Keep reading those labels!

Other nutritional concerns

Go for the leanest beef you can find.

This dish can be high sodium if you are not careful, and maybe that does not matter to you.

Refried beans are often high sodium. You can get lower sodium canned whole beans, or cook your own beans without salt. Mash them, or pulse in a blender to get the creamy consistency.

Purchased salsa can vary a great deal in sodium content. Choose lower sodium varieties and well as gluten free. Trying a bit more heat also increases the flavor so you will not miss the reduction in salt.

Cheese can be high sodium. Use sharp cheddar for more flavor, and reduce the cheese to 1 cup.

Easy Mexican Lasagna

Serves 4-6

ingredients metric measure
1 pound ground beef 480 gm
2 tablespoons chili powder 15 gm
12 corn tortillas 12
1- 15 oz can refried beans 425 gm
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 240 gm
1- 4 oz can chopped mild green chiles 120 gm
3 cups salsa, approximately 720 ml
1/2 cup sour cream, optional 120 ml
1 avocado, diced, optional 1

cilantro to garnish, optional

Make and bake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown ground beef with chili powder.

Cut a few of the tortillas into quarters, to fit in the corners of the pan. You can use a knife, but scissors work great too.

In an 9×9 pan, layer 1/2 to 1 cup salsa, 2 tortillas plus some quarters, a few glops of refried beans, about 1/3 of the cooked ground beef, some chiles, and some cheese. No need to be exact here.

Repeat 2-3 times.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Garnish with sour cream, avocado, and cilantro.

Or be your own personal chef and prep the lasagna to bake or microwave later.

Allow cooked ground beef to cool. Layer as above in 3 or 4 smallish  oven safe dishes with lids. Cover and store in the fridge or freezer.

If frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Or microwave for 6-10 minutes.

See, it really is easy.

Coming this fall! Kitchen Therapy online cooking video subscriptions.

Sure, the blog is a great source for gluten free recipes, and it will continue to be.


gluten free yeast bread batter photo by lsimon

But maybe you want more.

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Numerous classes are coming.

Healthy After School Snacks that the kids can help make.

Fuel Up Breakfasts, some cooked in a crock-pot overnight, warm and ready when you get up.

A (not too) Scary Halloween menu.

Super Soups, nothing canned here.

My First Thanksgiving, really, it is easier than you think.

Make Friends with a Pressure Cooker, for a satisfying lifetime relationship.

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