We ate a lot of potatoes growing up. I didn’t think it was possible to eat more. Mom put them in soups. She baked them, boiled them, mashed them. There were fried potatoes, roasted potatoes, and taco stuffed baked potatoes. There was potato salad and potato pancakes. Occasionally, there was potato gratin.
If you’d asked me, we had potatoes coming out of our eyeballs. But in my senior year of high school, I struck up a conversation with a stranger in the grocery store checkout line. My perspective has never been the same.
(I have a tendency to talk to strangers. It makes some people uncomfortable, but often I learn amazing tidbits. So, I just roll with it. You never know what you will learn.)
For whatever reason, I had a five-pound bag of potatoes in my cart. The man behind me grimaced at them. “You don’t like potatoes?” I asked.
“If I can help it, I’ll never eat a potato again,” he said. Turns out, the first year he and his wife were married they were so poor, they ate potatoes. Only potatoes. Big russet potatoes. “Mac ‘n’ cheese was a lavish expense,” he told me.
Clearly, Mom wasn’t cooking that many potatoes. Today, I still eat a lot of spuds. I like them, a lot. Particularly roasted. But sometimes, mixing things up makes the old standard all the better. This Roasted Sweet Vegetable Medley is still a budget friendly dish. But, it has a huge boost of flavor.
Roasted Sweet Vegetable Medley
(Adapted from Richard Swearinger’s Roasted Vegetable and Chickpeas featured in the Better Homes and Gardens November 2011 issue)
Serves 8 as a side (4 as a main dish)
This is a great side or, topped with a poached egg, it’s a fantastic vegetarian main dish. To give it a boost of protein, try adding a drained and rinsed can of chickpeas.
1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large red onion, peeled, halved, and cut into 1-inch wedges
1 lb red or russet potatoes, cut into cubes
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS olive oil
1½ tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1 tsp packed brown sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place all ingredients in a large shallow roasting pan. Toss well to coat (I like to use my hands).
Roast uncovered for 45 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned and tender, stirring twice throughout cooking process.
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