Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute Parmesan scalloped potatoes with onions

I RECENTLY MADE A HAPPY DISCOVERY. Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals has been on one of our 900 Italian cable channels for quite some time but always dubbed, in Italian. I’d sort of given up on the plucky chef’s show until I checked again on a lark the other night. And cheerio! It was in English (I know, I know. I could watch it in Italian and maybe learn more but after working all day and chasing the little guys by night, the last thing this preggie wants to do at 8pm is study a foreign language. Sad but true.) I’ve seen exactly 1 1/2 episodes now and made my first recipe. These potatoes are so good–and refreshingly I’m not the only one who thought so–that I’ll be back to channel 609 again. Even if it’s in Italian. Well, depending on how the day goes…

Since Jamie Oliver is actually quite famous for taking on the junk food industry, not to mention school lunches, “healthy” recipes aren’t hard to come by here. Both his show and website feature dozens of gorgeous ideas for family meals, all ready within half an hour. And nothing says family friendly like a fast recipe. While his aren’t packed with wheat germ, they’re fresh and delicious dishes designed to introduce rich flavors that everyone can enjoy together. Like me, he wants his kids to eat food, real food and come to love the ritual of the whole thing.

That’s just what we did this weekend. In fact, we even ate out on the terrace for the first time this spring. We kind of had to; it was such a gorgeous day and the food (more on this in upcoming posts) was so tasty that we had to celebrate in the fresh air and sunshine. Plus Phoebe had been begging to eat outside for a couple of weeks and if I’ve learned anything about successfully eating with kids so far, it’s this. Stack the deck in your favor. To the terrace we go…

Estelle has four teeth now and she’s officially out of the purely pureed stage but we still need soft and chewy foods for her. These potatoes work perfectly for the littlest diners at the table. Remove the onions from their portions if you think they’ll object and either blend up a batch or just mash them up into small enough pieces for happy gumming.

I made no substitutions to Jamie Oliver’s potato recipe, which he calls quick dauphinoise. I suggest making–and enjoying it–just as he’s got it here as part of a complete (and amazing looking) chicken dinner: Mustard chicken, quick dauphinoise, greens and black forest affogato. Cheers!

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