The older I get, the more I want to simplify my life. In the past couple of months, I’ve started clearing out the boxes in the basement; I threw out countless old magazines; I gave away a bunch of dishes and utensils I rarely used; and now, I’ve even “cleaned up” my holiday menu routine.
When I was in my 30s, I used to spend days preparing for a big holiday dinner. No dish was too extravagant or time-consuming. This year, I’ve decided to focus more on the guests at my table while creating good, simple, healthy food that allows me to spend more time with the people I care about.
Of course, my eating habits have changed, too: nowadays, I no longer consume sugar, gluten, animal products or alcohol, so that does cut out many of the recipes from years gone by. But even if I could still eat all those rich, heavy, fatty foods, I’ve come to prefer the way I eat now. (Okay, I admit that I miss champagne on New Year’s Eve. But I’m still hoping that will return some day, once my metabolism is fully mended).
And just because my menu boasts ease and simplicity, that doesn’t mean I don’t crave a delicious feast that looks impressive and that my guests and I will relish. It’s just that this year, the meal will be made from healthy, real food ingredients. Plus, they’ll all be a breeze to make.
These potato croquettes fit the bill perfectly. They look and sound quite fancy, but don’t worry, they’re a snap to put together. Plus, they’re a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes (though I must confess, I’ve actually cooked up a batch of potatoes just so that I could use them in this recipe). Croquettes make a perfect side dish for a savory main course, offering up a flavorful, fluffy interior coated with a crispy crust (in this case, baked rather than fried).
Try these all on their own, or topped with your favorite gravy. Or serve them for brunch instead of home fries, alongside some pancakes and tempeh bacon. However you serve them, they’re the ideal accompaniment to your holiday meals this year: a simple, elegant way to help ease the stress and make it a happier, fuss-free and more enjoyable holiday.
Now if only I could find a way to simplify cleaning up afterwards. . .
Elegant Potato Croquettes
3 cups (720 ml) Erewhon Corn Flakes cereal, divided
2 cups (480 ml) leftover or prepared mashed potatoes, cold or at room temperature
1/2 cup (120 ml) full-fat canned coconut milk
1 tsp (5 ml) paprika
2 Tbsp (30 ml) coconut oil, at room temperature
Fine sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Line two cookie sheets with parchment, or spray with non-stick spray.
In the bowl of a food processor, process the corn flakes until they resemble a coarse meal. Measure out 2/3 cup (160 ml) of the cereal crumbs and add it to a large bowl with the potatoes and coconut milk (leave the rest in the processor). Stir the potato mixture until everything is evenly combined. Set aside for at least 5 minutes.
Add the paprika, coconut oil and salt to the remaining crumbs in the processor bowl. Process until the oil is incorporated and the crumbs are evenly coated with oil; do not overprocess. Turn the mixture into a small bowl.
Using a large ice cream scoop or 1/3 cup (80 ml) measuring cup, scoop out the potato mixture and roll it in your hands to create an oval shape (resembling a football). Roll the oval in the cereal crumb mixture to coat well. Stand the “football” on one of its small ends on the cookie sheet, and press gently until the bottom is flat and the top is slightly domed. (Alternately, you can simply form patties and roll them in the crumbs; no need to flatten them in that case). Repeat until all of the potato mixture is used up.
Bake the croquettes for 25-30 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet about halfway through baking, until tops are beginning to brown. Serve immediately. Makes 10 croquettes. Store, covered in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Not suitable for freezing.
Suitable for: ACD Stage 2 and beyond; refined sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut-free, yeast-free, vegan.
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