Want to know my secret for keeping the food bill under control? Cook with the basics!
One of the most nutritious and economical foods is the potato. Varieties include baking potatoes, boiling potatoes, sweet potatoes, red potatoes and all-purpose potatoes, to name just a few. Depending on the time of year, #10-15 of spuds can cost $1.50-3.00. That’s cheap! It’s full of fiber and vitamin C and is extremely versatile.
Feeding 11 hungry mouths most of the time, we use about #20 of potatoes a week. I use them most everyday in a variety of ways. The great thing about potatoes is that they don’t require a lot of fuss to get the family running to the dinner table!
My goal is to “Just Get ‘em Fed” and with potatoes, I can do just that!
Here are a few fantastic ideas to get you started at taking advantage of this great food buy:
Baked potatoes – This seems pretty obvious, but don’t limit baked potatoes as a side dish. Baked potatoes make a great meal all by themselves. I like to make a simple potato bar with cheeses, sour cream, bacon bits, the works and just let the kids enjoy making them. Overall, it’s a pretty filling meal and once again, cheap. You can even put these in the crockpot wrapped in foil! How easy is that?
Mashed potatoes – Another favorite among my kiddos and I make it according to what I have in the frig that needs used up.
Sometimes, I just smash them with butter, salt and pepper to taste. Other times, I’ll add some cheddar cheese, sour cream, etc. I don’t like to feel restricted to a recipe, I prefer to make use of what I have on hand. Most weeks, I’ll make mashed potatoes at least once, about #10 worth! Whatever is leftover, if any, can be used for Potato Pancakes by adding an egg (or two, depending on volume of potatoes) and frying them. You could add some onion and chives to kick up the flavor a bit, but basic salt and pepper should be sufficient for most.
Fried potatoes – Another favorite with the Tribe! I just use canola oil in a big skillet (make sure it’s hot before adding potatoes), chop up the potatoes, maybe add a little chopped onion, salt and pepper, and fry them until they are crispy. We eat this as a side to our breakfast casserole or burgers. Lots of variety here, you could add some peppers and make it taste a little different. Use your imagination.
Crockpot partners – Green beans with red potatoes is one of our favorite meals, served with cornbread. You can use chicken broth or vegetable broth. When in season, fresh green beans are a cheap but nutritious food!
Oven Fries – These are sure to be a hit with your fam and once again, this recipe lends itself to major flexibility! (Recipe from “Simply in Season”)
Scrub 4 medium potatoes and cut into thin sticks or wedges and place in a large container with a tight lid. Pour 2 tablespoons of oil over potatoes, cover and shake well to coat all fries with oil. Then sprinkle 1/2 tsp. of salt and mix. Spread fries in a single layer on baking hseets, bake at 425 until golden brown and fork tender, about 30-45 minutes, stirring and flipping fries every 5-10 minutes.
Greek-style: Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1/4 tsp. pepper and 2 cloves of garlic (minced).
Super spicy: Add 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp. minced garlic, 1 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tablespoon ground red pepper (optional) and 1/4 tablespoon of habanero pepper flakes.
Rosemary Garlic fries: Add 3 cloves minced garlic with 1 tsp. dried crushed rosemary. This is especially good with sweet potatoes.
Potato Bake – Here’s another super easy way to enjoy potatoes! (from “Simply in Season”)
Easy Potato Bake
4 large potatoes, unpeeled and thinly sliced
Place in a greased 2-quart baking dish
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 tbsp. butter or oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. pepper
In a saucepan, heat together until butter is melted. Drizzle over potatoes. Cover and bake at 425 degrees until tender, about 45 minutes.
Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded, on top and take 15 minutes longer. Yummo!
On the Grill – This is an area in which I am still learning, but foil and potatoes can be great buds in the summer time on your grill! Add other seasonal favorites like onion and peppers to personalize your potatoes the way you like them.
Soups - Soups are a major staple around here in the winter, how about some Potato Soup? Just about any soup does and/or can incorporate potatoes.
Sweet Potatoes - We love sweet potatoes! Have them for lunch or a yummy side dish for dinner. I just bought some this week for 28 cents a pound, that’s just crazy ridiculous. If your kids don’t like them, scrape out the insides, mash them with cinnamon and butter. It tastes kind of like pumpkin pie!
What do YOU love to do with potatoes? I would love to hear about it!