These days I am all for healthy eating. I always try to eat healthier food. In addition to that, I also try to find convenient and healthier cooking methods. So, I couldn’t help it when I came across a very simple potato bake recipe online. To be frank this is not one of the healthiest recipes out there. But the truth is that nothing about eating potatoes is that healthy at all. The way we eat and cook them is much worse for our well being. Most of us only love the greasy, unhealthy french fries. And unfortunately, eating french fries/ potato chips is one of the unhealthiest trends in Southern Africa. In Zimbabwe, you can see winding lines on fast food outlets, all for french fries and roasted chicken. Whilst, South Africans love their potato bakes, they can’t be exempted from this either.
Also read: What encourages unhealthy eating habits?
The one thing I love about the following potato back recipe is the simplicity of the recipe. I have noticed that it’s one of the recipes with fewer ingredients. The cooking period for this one is much shorter too. This is much better than most recipes available online. These recipes will need you to buy loads of ingredients and prepare the food for hours! However, you can modify the recipe and adjust it to your liking. What can I say? Cooking is more of an adventure and making a recipe healthier is up to you!
The link to the site with the original recipe is right below. In addition, I will give you a few tips to make the recipe healthier. I hope you will like the article!
The simplest potato bake recipe
- 4 medium-sized potatoes
- 125 g diced bacon
- 1 diced onion
- 300 ml cream
- 1 cup grated cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
Your potato bake recipe in 3 steps
- Peel and slice your potatoes
- Preheat your oven to 180°C
- Spread half of your potatoes in a layer in the base of your greased oven/baking pan.
- Add half of the onion, bacon, cream and cheese on top of the potatoes.
- Add the remaining potatoes as a layer on top of the other ingredients.
- And finally add the remaining onion, bacon, cream and cheese.
- Finish the last top layer with cheese.
- Bake in the oven until the potatoes are tender and the topmost layer is browned. (30-40 minutes)
- Wait 10-15 minutes before serving
For the original recipe please visit Taste.com.
Options and alternatives for your potato bake
Potatoes and seasonings
An article on recipetineats suggests that slicing potatoes is not always a pleasant activity. Especially when you have many potatoes to deal with. So they have an alternative recipe, however, the recipe is too long and requires many more ingredients for my liking. This only means you need to have a heavier budget and as a result, the recipe goes beyond the reach of an average person. However, I noticed some good points from their recipe.
The first good suggestion is that slicing the potatoes can be tedious. So, you can chop them into small cubes or blocks instead. This is much easier and you can chop through more potatoes easily for a bigger dish.
However, chopping potatoes is not a very wise option if you are dealing with waxy potatoes. Waxy potatoes are not a good idea for chopped potato bake. This is because they retain their shape and firmness too well. That is bad since we need your potatoes to be softer for the potato bake. And they also won’t mix with the cream too well. This will ruin the dish for people who love their creamy potato bake. An example of waxy potatoes is that of Red potatoes used for salads.
So to wrap it up, waxy potatoes are not good for chopped potato bake. And also, if you are too lazy to slice your potatoes, you can chop them up. However, you may need to bake them for longer to make them soft and nice.
Seasonings for your potato bake
Whilst seasonings will help with a good taste for the potato bake, they are also a healthy addition to the recipe. You may add minced garlic cloves, pepper, black pepper and chilli and seasonings to your potato bake. There is a recipe that also uses fresh and thyme powder for potato bakes. You can also add mustard and garlic powder. In other words, add the seasonings that you know to make your meal more enjoyable! They will bring an extra portion of healthiness and deliciousness to your potato bake.
You need a good cheese
For a tasty potato bake, you need a very good cheese that melts well. This means hard cheeses may cause a problem. Some cheeses such as feta and goat cheese do not melt well so they are no good. Cheddar is one healthy option for you.
Mozzarella cheese is good too. However, mozzarella is nice for your potato bake topping because it ensures a very nice browning for your potato bake. Like cheddar cheese, mozzarella is healthy and it melts well.
Mozzarella is one of the best cheeses for making your potato bake. It has a lower sodium and calorie content than other cheeses. In this recipe, if you want a really good browning of your potato bake, you better use mozzarella.
There are many kinds of cheese you can use and this Healthline article lists some of the healthiest cheeses to choose from. However, remember to only select only those which melt well.
This is one of the most worrisome ingredients in this recipe. Some people don’t eat anything with pork in it. Not to mention the uneasy caused by the health risks associated with bacon. Whilst a single meal once in a while may not be much of a problem, overeating bacon can cause health problems.
Additionally, the cost of bacon itself may be beyond the reach of many, especially where I come from. So I have been wondering, what can we do? Whilst, I haven’t tried this, these suggestions, are worthy of a try.
My first idea is of replacing bacon with precooked minced or thinly sliced meat. You can do this with any of the healthy meat portions. You can use precooked, pork and beef loin. Chicken breasts or mince and fish can also be used. Look at what you have and what you can afford and try the recipe with that. You can’t be robbed of a tasty potato bake because you don’t have bacon!
For those who are vegetarian or who are cutting down on their meat, there are other options too. One of the best options I wish to try is that of using sauteed oyster mushroom mince. Since I grow my oysters, I am going to try this, so wish me luck! You can try anything, just be creative and enjoy a tasty potato bake.
Healthy concerns with the recipe
I have explained and highlighted some of the health concerns with this recipe above. But there are more issues if you are a health-conscious person.
Most of the potato bake recipes I know utilise heavy whipping cream. And heavy whipping cream is a calorie-rich ingredient. Considering that we need 300 ml in this recipe, in addition to potatoes. It just means potato bake is a calorie-dense dish that can’t be eaten regularly.
I wasn’t shocked to learn that half a cup of heavy whipping cream contains 400 calories of energy. Now, what about 300 ml in addition to potatoes? Now let’s add the cream to the potatoes, cheese and bacon. Just, how many calories are we looking at?
So yes if you are cutting your calorie intake, potato bake is not just for you. Whilst there is less harm in eating the dish once in a while, eating it like daily bread is not good! So, this recipe provides you with a savoury creamy potato bake. However, it is a calorie-rich dish. Some of the other potato bake recipes are maybe even worse.
High intake of potatoes is bad for health
According to several studies, potatoes are not a good carbohydrate source. That is the reason they are excluded as vegetables on the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate. This is because they contain highly digestible and absorbable carbohydrate forms. These can cause blood sugar and insulin spikes. This means potatoes are a high glycemic index and high glycemic load food.
Just a cup of potatoes has the same effect as a can of cola on your blood sugar and insulin levels. While potatoes make you feel full for that moment after eating, you won’t feel full for long. Excluding those recipes that make use of unpeeled potatoes. In the long run, overeating potatoes increases your risks of getting diabetes, obesity, weight gain and heart disease.
Because these potatoes are not good as stand-alone dishes, the same as the potato bake.
There is no argument that potato bake is delicious. This recipe is simple yet good and shorter than most. The only concerns come in terms of your health. Eating potato bake with other dishes and once in a while may have very little damage to healthy. However, overeating potato bake is not recommended due to the nature of the ingredients which make it a calorie-dense dish.