March 6, 2014 at 3:14 p.m.

So many ways to prepare

So many ways to prepare
So many ways to prepare

It is National Potato Month. There are so many different recipes for potatoes and today I decided to make French fries. H-m-m-m. Not the best way to prepare potatoes nutritionally, is it?  The term is surprisingly a strictly American phrase. However, the French are credited with the popularity of thin-cut potatoes fried in oil. So, today, we’re making baked fries, plus a couple of other potato recipes. Are they fattening? Not necessarily so, depending on what you add to them. It’s full of good nutrition. One medium potato (about 5 oz.) with skin on has 110 calories, 23 gm carbs, 0 gm. fat, 0 cholesterol, 3 gm protein, 750 mg potassium and get this, 2,170 mg fiber! Yes, they are good for us without adding butter, sour cream, cheese, etc. Let’s make baked fries!

CRISPY POTATO WEDGES
4 medium potatoes (russets), scrubbed, leaving skin on, cut into one inch wedges
1 T. olive or canola oil
1/4 t. pepper
1/8 t. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 3/4 t. garlic powder) optional
Ketchup or ranch dressing

Put potatoes in a large bowl; add cold water to cover. Let sit for 15 minutes. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a non-stick baking sheet with olive or canola oil; set aside. Drain potatoes in a colander. Spread on a double layer of paper towels. Cover with a second layer of towels. Press down to dry the potatoes. Transfer potatoes to a dry large bowl. Sprinkle with oil, pepper and salt; toss gently to combine. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake potatoes for 20 minutes. Using a spatula, turn potatoes; sprinkle with garlic. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes, turn baking sheet around, after 10 minutes for even browning. Serve with ketchup or dressing (Why dressing? They are delicious! Try it... if you like ranch dressing.) Makes four servings. Note: You can use sweet potatoes instead of russets. Make as directed adding 1/2 t. paprika to the seasonings.

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SEASONED POTATO WEDGES WITH  CHIVE DIP
1 t. paprika
3 large baking potatoes, scrubbed, with skin on, each cut into eight wedges
1/3 c. milk
1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted

Dip:
2 c. (16 oz. carton) light sour cream
1/2 c. cooked crisp, crumbled bacon
1 T. snipped chives or minced onion
1/2 t. garlic powder

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a pie pan, combine flour, cheese and paprika; mix well. Dip potatoes in milk, then coat with flour mixture. Put on a sprayed 15x10 inch jelly roll pan. Drizzle wedges with butter. Bake 45-50 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender and browned. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine all dip ingredients, mixing well. Serve with potato wedges. Makes 24 wedges.

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CREAMY POTATO STICKS
1/4 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1-1/2 c. milk
1 can cream of celery soup, undiluted
1/2 lb. process American cheese, cubed (Velveeta)
5-6 large baking potatoes, peeled
1 c. diced onion Paprika

In a saucepan, combine flour and salt; gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook and stir for two minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in soup and cheese until smooth. Set aside. Cut potatoes into 4x1/2x1/2 inch sticks; place in greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with onion. Top with cheese sauce. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with paprika. Makes six servings.

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ZIPPY POTATO CHUNKS
4 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into
3/4 inch cubes
1/3 c. butter, melted
1 envelope herb and garlic soup mix
1 T. hot pepper sauce
Blue cheese or ranch salad dressing

Place potatoes in a greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Combine butter, soup mix and pepper sauce, drizzle over potatoes. Bake uncovered at 450 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.  Serve with salad dressing. Makes six servings. Thought for the Day: I’ve learned that many people want to live on top of the mountain, but that all happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.


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