Sunday, November 8, 2009

Yesterday With My Children We Made.....Basil Potatoes Croquettes

You know, I have this "Eating by Example" theory: children eat what they see others eat. How many of your children have come back from school and ask you for "a banana" or for a "whole apple, skin on" or, maybe more frequently for a "bag of chips" because they just saw their friends eat them at school? It turns out that I have other theories... For example, I strongly believe in the "If They Cook it, They'll Eat It" theory. I have implemented it at home with my two children and it has worked great so far.
"Oh yeah? But every kids eat Potatoes Croquettes", you might argue. "That was an easy one". True. Except that we used fresh basil in the mashed potatoes; I wanted them to have fresh green bits on their plate that they were not going to set aside... And because they got to scissor the basil leaves, it made it more fun for them to eat it afterward.
When I cook with my two sous-chefs (age 4 and 2), I try to make simple recipes that are immediately ready (not one of these recipes where the dough has to rest for one hour). I also try to make recipes that can be cooked in the oven. Our kitchen stove dates back to the 70s (ie, not your most-efficient-environmentally-friendly stove). It has these dangerous electric spirals but somehow some GE engineers came up with the brilliant idea of a cold door. That's why I like to cook something in the oven: my children can come, turn on the light, and see their food bake without me worrying (too much) that they'll burn themselves. Of course, when I cook with my sous-chefs, there is a lot of cleaning to do, including the floor, but I think it's worth all the fun we have and the smooth dinner afterward!!
For this recipe, I pealed the potatoes myself but asked my sous-chefs to help cut them. We boiled them to make mashed potatoes. They helped me grate Parmesan, scissor fresh basil, and add butter and milk to make the mashed potatoes. We made the croquettes with our hands, trying to shape them in circles... and we put them in the oven. I served the croquettes with a side of cucumber salad to my children and with just greens for my husband and I. Have fun, stay tune for more "Yesterday With My Children We Made" recipes and Bon Appétit!


- 4 medium potatoes, skin off, cut in small pieces
- 4 leaves of fresh basil
- 3 Tbs Butter (about 50g)
- 1/4 cup (50g) Parmesan
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
Yields about 12 croquettes depending on the size of the potatoes.

  • In a pot, boil the potatoes
  • Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C); line cooking sheet with parchment paper
  • Mash the potatoes
  • Add butter and stir until butter is melted and fully absorbed
  • Add milk to achieve desired consistency : you don't want the mashed potatoes to be too liquid because you want to be able to shape them.
  • Add fresh basil and Parmesan
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Shape the mashed potatoes into round croquettes (about 2 inches (5cm) in diameter and 1/2 inch (1cm) thick) and put them on parchment paper
  • Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown

My Personal Comments
  • You could use instant mashed potatoes mix to save time. Just make sure you don't make it too liquid.
  • You could finish to cook the croquettes under the broiler (watch your kids then!!)
  • If you don't have an oven, you could cook them in a pan with olive oil.
  • I don't use eggs in the batter; I find that you don't need them if the mashed potatoes are not too liquid.


  1. This is a great feature. I like to have my older daughter cook with me and would love any new ideas for good meals to make together. Thank you!

  2. my guys are forever picking herbs out of everything i make! you're on to something letting them cut the chiffonade. loving your blog. please please please link up to big words little foodies on tuesdays at food with kid appeal, i would love to hear all the funny things you and your two sous-chefs are up to. tout a l'heure!