I love baked potatoes.
They’re comfort food to me.
We ate them all the time growing up, usually topped simply with butter, salt, and pepper (and sometimes sour cream).
These days, I’m all about upgrading the humble baked potato.
There’s so much more than a simply baked russet! Red waxy potatoes are deliciously creamy when baked, as are potatoes of all colors of the rainbow.
This newest spin highlights the earthy flavor of the potato with fresh rosemary and creamy manchego cheese.
I love how red potatoes are a little smaller than russets. They’re the perfect portion 🙂
Their creamy texture & delicate skin makes them super easy to eat, & they pair perfectly with minimalist toppings.
So, manchego cheese is pretty awesome.
It’s a semi firm Spanish cheese which got its name because it was traditionally made from the milk of sheep who grazed on the plains of La Mancha.
Ooo the plains of La Mancha!
Anyways, I love it because it has a yummy creamy mild taste & melts perfectly.
For these baked potatoes, I simply topped them with a pat of butter, wisps of manchego cheese, minced fresh rosemary, and a sprinkle of fresh cracked black pepper and flaky maldon sea salt.
The result: a simple side dish that tastes oh so gourmet.
- As many small red potatoes as you’d like
- A drizzle of olive or grapeseed oil if you’re cooking them in the oven
- Pats of salted butter, preferably grass fed
- Shredded Manchego cheese, for sprinkling
- Minced fresh rosemary, for sprinkling
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- Flaky Maldon sea salt
Cook the potatoes to your liking. The fast way is to prick them with a fork & cook them in the microwave using the “potato” setting. The longer way is to rub them with olive oil & bake in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for roughly 45 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted smoothly into the center with no resistance. The time will vary depending on the size of your potato.
The microwave will produce soft potatoes, while the oven will give the potatoes a crispy flaky skin. I like both ways, it just depends what you’re in the mood for, and how much time you have!
Once the potatoes are cooked, use a knife to cut an “X” shape into them & open them up. Use a fork to mash them flat on your plate. The potatoes should have a star-like shape.
Once the potato is flattened, spread a pat of butter over the top of each & let it melt into all the crevices. Sprinkle with plenty of shredded Manchego cheese & fresh minced rosemary. Season well with fresh cracked black pepper & flaky Maldon sea salt. Enjoy immediately!
I try to make it a habit to eat veggies at least 3x per day.
That could mean breakfast-lunch-dinner, or it could just be lunch & dinner with a snack or two sprinkled in.
This is important, since the typical American diet is sorely lacking in fresh produce- especially green leafy veg! Did you know that nearly 1/4th of the general American public (22.6%) doesn’t even consume veggies once per day?? At the very minimum, you should aim for 2-3 cups of vegetables each and every day.
Vegetables are truly nature’s medicine.
They provide us with powerful phytochemicals that slash our risk of developing many chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and even dementia. We co-evolved alongside plants, and our body literally requires them for good health!
One of the easiest ways to include some veg at dinner is to serve a simple side salad.
Now I’m not talking anything crazy. No need to dice a zillion vegetables or labor over a complicated dressing.
In fact, my favorite simple side salad is just that.
It features fresh delicate baby greens tossed with a classic red wine vinaigrette.
And that’s it. No heavy vegetables or add-ins. Just lightly dressed baby greens.
And don’t be deceived. Although this salad is super simple, it’s also crazy delicious.
The homemade vinaigrette is the perfect complement to the slight bite of tender greens. The tang from the vinegar, creaminess from the Dijon, and delectable hint of garlic on the back end make this salad seriously addictive.
Try serving this Simple Side Salad alongside pasta dishes, grilled meats, or even at family gatherings. But watch out, it disappears quickly!
- 8 oz mixed baby greens
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, garlic, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Season with fresh cracked salt & pepper to taste and whisk again until well combined.
Place the baby greens in a large serving bowl. Drizzle with just enough dressing to coat. (Be careful not to over-dress or you’ll end up with a limp salad!)
Every family has their go-to garlic bread recipe.
And there’s totally two different garlic bread camps.
- The soft, fluffy buttery garlic bread that is baked wrapped in foil, with the two halves of the loaf tightly wrapped together to steam & meld the flavors.
- The crispy, crunchy garlic bread that is baked open faced, to develop a nice crust & golden bubbly top.
I don’t know about you, but I fall into the crispy camp 🙂
There’s truly nothing better than warm buttery garlic bread with a soft center and crunchy flaky crust.
While there’s nothing wrong with the classic butter + garlic combination, I’ve recently been obsessed with this herbed variety.
When preparing the buttery garlic spread, you simply add a small handful of fresh parsley & basil. This creates a vibrant green delicious spread that takes garlic bread to a whole new level.
The herbs add a kick of flavor and freshness that traditional garlic breads lack.
Try this herbed variety next time you’re baking some garlic bread. And don’t be surprised if it turns into your new family favorite!
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup mixed herbs, I used half basil, half parsley, packed
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large sourdough or French bread load
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a small food processor, blend together the butter, herbs, garlic, salt, and olive oil until evenly combined.
Cut the loaf of bread in half, lengthwise. Spread half of the herbed butter mixture on each side.
Place the loaves in the oven, buttered side up, directly on the oven racks (this makes for a crispier crust). Cook for about 15 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.
Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and cut into slices.