Crunchy Baked French Fries

Crunchy Baked French Fries

Baking french fries cuts down on consumed fat, is less messy, and easier to prepare than frying. The only drawback is not doing it correctly with a resulting soggy, non-golden batch. Here’s how to bake crunchy french fries correctly:

Prepare the Potatoes

Begin with russet potatoes (3-4 will make 4 servings), they are the best french fry potatoes and you can leave the skins on, saving preparation time. Scrub down the potatoes (peel if desired), and cut into wedges or thin fries. Wedges are faster to prep and will give you more tenderness on the insider, while thin fries will easily get crispy all the way through.

Crispiness occurs when water evaporates from a food product. With this in mind, the larger in volume wedge fries will have more water content, while the thin cut fries will have less water content, therefore allowing the evaporation to occur easier. When it comes to cuts, it’s a matter of preference for crunchiness factor, knife skills, and time.

Once your potatoes are cut, place in a bowl and cover with cool water to help seep out the potato starches. Overnight is great, 8-10 hours is ok, and 1-2 hours if you dry them very well and follow the next steps. Basically the less starch, the crispier your fries. Change out the water every few hours or so.

Bake

Drain the potatoes well, you want them to be as dry as possible, any water remaining will keep them from crisping up.

Preheat the over to 450 degrees. Coat the fires with olive or canola oil, sprinkle on salt, garlic power, minced garlic, nutritional yeast, paprika, etc. Whatever toppings you want on your fries. Just don’t sprinkle pepper or cheese yet- the pepper will bitter in the high heat and the cheese may burn. In fact if you’re worried a topping may burn, just save it for the end.

Scatter the fries into one layer on a sheet pan. Don’t be afraid to use an additional sheet pan if you’re making a lot. The key is to expose each fry to the heat and avoid steaming them by burying the fires under one another. If you want to protect your sheet pan, use parchment paper instead of foil. The paper will allow water to move away from the fries while the foil will keep the fries soaking.

Bake the fries for 25-35 minutes, tossing occasionally and keeping an eye on them. Also don’t be afraid to open the oven door every so often to allow steam to escape. For crispy fries: think sauna, not steam room. Finally, if they still aren’t as crispy as you’d like at the end of 35 minutes, place the sheet pan under the broiler for a minute or two, don’t walk away!

Take the fries out and toss in more seasoning immediately: pepper, grated parmesan cheese, pickled jalapeño peppers, truffle oil and chopped parsley, to name a few. The residual heat from the fries will really absorb whatever toppings you add.

Enjoy!

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7 Ideas for Leftover Potatoes

Leftover Potatoes

Some people really dislike the idea of leftovers and some refuse to eat them entirely.  Regardless, any budget-savvy cook knows the waste that it is to throw away leftover food when it can be used again in a new creative dish.  Because we know that leftover potatoes can seem particularly unsavory the second time around, we have come up with seven ideas for how you can use leftover potatoes in a way that will surprise and delight your family or guests!

 

Freezing Potatoes

What Works and What Doesn’t

Before we get started with some recipe ideas, you should know that while raw potaoes do not respond well to freezing, cooked potatoes are fine to freeze and it can be an excellent way to put aside your potato leftovers until you are ready to serve another potato-based dish!  This is good to keep in mind, especially if you have family members who are picky about eating leftovers and who may become suspicious if some form of potatoes is served back to back! (http://eatingonadime.com/leftover-baked-potatoes/)

 

Leftover Potato Recipes

Seven Ideas for Potato Leftovers

Twice Baked Potatoes

  • First, cut the potatoes in half length-wise and scoop out the baked inside of the potato while leaving the skin intact.
  • Then, mash the potato filling while mixing it with sour cream, ranch, cream cheese, garlic salt or whatever suits your fancy!
  • Finally, refill the skin with the seasoned mashed potatoes, top with bacon or cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until thoroughly warmed!

 

Skillet Hash

  • Depending on the desired texture, you can chop or shred your leftover baked potatoes for this tasty dish.
  • Fry with a pre-cooked meat and any combination of vegetables and seasonings until the potatoes are crispy and brown.  You can even mimic the restaurant style and serve scrambled eggs, cheese, and bacon on top!

Potato Salad

For recipes that can be quite time-consuming such as potato salad, take advantage of knowing that the job is already half-way done when you have leftover potatoes!  Quickly put together the recipe for your favorite potato salad and refrigerate for at least 24 hours for full flavor saturation!

 

Potato Cakes

Of course baked potatoes can be converted to mashed potatoes, but what if you are starting with leftover mashed potatoes?  Try thinking potatoes instead of pancakes!

  • Mix the mashed potatoes with cheese and chives and bacon or whatever seasoning you choose.
  • Form into balls and then slightly depress.
  • Fry until crispy brown and serve with sour cream on top!

 

Potato Quick Bread

Don’t forget that potatoes can be used to make a quick bread which can be an excellent side to a lunch salad or a frittata for dinner.  Here is one great recipe to try!

 

Potato-Based Casserole

Any form of potatoes can be used in a variety of simple and appetizing casseroles.

 

Potato-Based Soup

And the same can be said for many warm and delicious soups!

 

So before you throw those potatoes out, freeze them instead or try any one of these tasty options!

 

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A New Twist on Mom’s Old Recipe

Old Recipes

Two of my favorite vegetables are potatoes and green beans.  They are an unlikely pair, but I recently created an innovative dish where the two complement each other perfectly.  The recipe has its roots in the Hungarian cooking tradition since it includes paprika, and my mother has been making a variation of it for years.  We refer to it simply as “fried potatoes,” but they really aren’t that at all.  They are much, much more.  (And healthier than they sound.)

Imagine a chilly, fall afternoon when you are trying to decide what to cook for dinner.  You decide to throw some steaks and barbeque chicken on the grill, but what will you make to go with it?  You rummage through your refrigerator and pantry finding, among other things, green beans and potatoes.  You usually cook the two separately, but tonight, you decide to get creative and blend them together.

Ingredients:

Red-eye potatoes – 6 potatoes
Onion – 1 large onion
Parsley – 1 cup, chopped
Green beans – 2 cups
Canola oil – 2 tablespoons
Paprika
Salt
Pepper

Instructions:

 Coat a frying pan in Canola oil and add in your chopped onion.  Cook on medium until onion is browned.  In the meantime, boil potatoes until they are soft but firm and cut them into slices.  You don’t want them perfectly ready to serve because they will cook more in the frying pan.  Once your onion is browned, add the sliced potatoes to the frying pan.  Then, season with salt and pepper and a liberal amount of paprika.

You will also need to boil green beans until they are just right to eat.  When the potatoes are browned, but not quite finished, add the green beans to the mixture.  Season once again with salt, pepper and paprika.  About five minutes before you are ready to take the potato and green bean dish off of the stove, add one cup of chopped parsley.

Mom’s “fried potatoes” are surely more than just fried potatoes, especially when you add green beans.  This dish would be best served as a side to a simple chicken or beef recipe or even a good steak.  The potatoes give it a hearty feel while the green beans and parsley make it taste fresh.  Give it a try and taste for yourself.

 

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Sweet Potato Side Dishes

Potato Side Dishes

Sweet potato is the reigning vegetable of the season. It's tasty, easy to make, and a versatile ingredient for soups, stews, pies, and casseroles. Plus, it's one of the healthier items of produce you can eat. Deemed a "superfood," it's loaded with vitamins A and C as well as potassium. It makes a great side dish for holiday dinners or even family nights. Here are some healthy, yummy recipes for sweet potato.

Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup

This soup is a perfect appetizer before the main course. It's simple to cook and doesn't take much time at all.

  • Prick two large sweet potatoes with a fork, then microwave on high for 7-10 minutes.
  • Over medium heat, cook a tablespoon of canola oil in a Dutch oven. Add one chopped yellow onion and brown for 2-4 minutes.
  • Add a garlic clove, three cups of tomato juice, two teaspoons of ginger, and a four-ounce can of drained green chiles. Boil for 10 minutes.
  • Peel the sweet potato and puree half of it with half a cup of smooth peanut butter and a 15-oz can of vegetable broth. Put the other half in the pot.
  • When the puree is done, add it to the pot and stir occasionally.
  • If the soup is too thick, you can thin it with water.
  • Add pepper and cilantro on top to serve.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

This is a hearty vegetarian chili packed with nutrition. It goes well with slices of fresh French bread for dipping.

  • Heat three tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven on medium heat.
  • Add one diced sweet potato and a chopped onion to the oven, then cook for 4 minutes until onion browns.
  • Add four minced garlic cloves, two tablespoons chili powder, four teaspoons of cumin, and a dash of salt to the mixture.
  • Add two and a half cups of water and simmer, then cook for 10-12 minutes.
  • Add a can of chopped tomatoes, two cans of rinsed black beans, and two teaspoons of lime juice. Stir often and simmer for 5 minutes until ready.

Honey-Cinnamon Oven Roasted Sweet Potato

This simple, easy recipe yields delicious cubes of sweet potato that are sure to wind up on every plate.

  • Peel and cube four sweet potatoes, then lay them on a roasting tray.
  • Drizzle potatoes with olive oil, honey, and cinnamon.
  • Roast for 25-30 minutes.
  • When potatoes are done, drizzle with a little extra olive oil and add some sea salt to taste.

Sweet Potato Casserole

This dish is a staple of Thanksgivings everywhere, but also works well for family dinners on weeknights.

  • Cook two sweet potatoes in the microwave, pricking them first, for 7-10 minutes until soft.
  • Mash together in a large bowl with four tablespoons of butter, two eggs, half a teaspoon of vanilla, half a cup of white sugar, a dash of salt, and half a cup of milk.
  • Pour mixture into a baking pan.
  • In a separate bowl, mix three tablespoons of butter with one-third cup of flour and half a cup of brown sugar. Add half a cup of chopped pecans and then sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture.
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 325 F.

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