You may not know the world”s largest potato chip — 23 inches by 14 1/2 inches — was produced by the Pringles Co. in Jackson, Tenn., in 1990. Or that a potato was the first food to be grown in space. But we all know potatoes are nutritious and inexpensive, and so versatile they could be used in a different way every day of the year.
You don”t have to be a Mr. (or Mrs.) Potato Head — the first toy to be advertised on television — to love the root vegetable that is reported to be the second most consumed food in the United States. (Milk/dairy products are first.)
The starchy tuber is often maligned in a low-carb world, but potatoes are not inherently “bad” for us. However, the ways we sometimes prepare them leave something to be desired. Food.com reports that some sources estimate one-third of all potatoes are destined for the fryer. And we admit, passing up butter and sour cream on a fluffy baked potato does take some will power.
Actually, a medium sized potato (5.5 ounces) is only 100 calories, fat-free, and contains 3 grams of fiber, 45 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C, and 21 percent of the daily requirement for potassium, says food.com. And that”s for starters.
The gluten-free potato is also mentioned multiple times in sample MyPlate menu plans released by the USDA this year to help foster healthy eating.
Cook ”em up
Calorie-counting aside, the prevalent potato — grown in all 50 states and in 125 countries worldwide — plays well with others from morning ”til night.
Breakfast casseroles, potato pancakes and several other recipes can be made with fresh potatoes, shredded or diced. Short on time? Best-potato-recipes.com recommends using frozen hash browns or even dried potatoes.
For your breakfast potato casseroles, try adding chopped onion, diced ham, bacon or sausage, and almost any vegetable you”re partial to.
Who doesn”t love potato soup? One tip: shred the potatoes instead of cutting them into pieces. The shredded potato can be cooked along with other ingredients, saving you the time of boiling potatoes in advance. A satisfying meal when served up with fresh cornbread or warm sourdough.
If your potato salad has become ho-hum, consider shaking things up with a new version. Did you know Europeans reportedly consume twice as many potatoes as Americans per year? Recipes for international variations can be found at best-potato-recipes.com, plus see recipes for Spanish potato salad and Greek potato bake in today”s pages. Or, try the Amish Pennsylvania Dutch country recipe included. These are courtesy of best-potato-recipes.com.
Even if National Potato Day doesn”t rank at the top of your week”s to-do list, it does give us a chance to spare a thought for this crop that produces about 45 billion pounds of harvest each year and inspires festivals around the globe.
Remember, this Friday, to love the spud.
GREEK POTATO BAKE
6 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and quartered
Small bunch of fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 small, ripe tomatoes
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place potatoes, thyme, garlic and tomatoes in a roasting pan. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Mix olive oil and white wine; pour over potatoes.
- Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil and seal the edges.
- Bake for 30 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and the potatoes are tender.
1 1/2 pound red new potatoes
1/4 pound crab meat
2 tablespoons chives, minced
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons nonfat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons nonfat yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- Bake potatoes in a 350 degree oven until tender (30-45 minutes). Let cool. Cut into quarters.
- In a bowl, combine all other ingredients. Stir in potatoes. Place into a shallow baking dish.
- Broil 4-inches from heat until golden. Serve hot.
SPANISH POTATO SALAD
2 pounds new potatoes
1/2 medium Spanish onion, diced
1 large tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 pinch saffron threads
1 cup real mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/4 cup flatleaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- Boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain and slice (about 1/2-inch thick).
- While potatoes are cooking, combine vinegar, honey and saffron in a small cooking pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Add the mayonnaise and garlic to the saffron mixture. Stir together and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place cooked and sliced potatoes in a large serving bowl and fold in the mayonnaise mixture, tomatoes, onion, thyme and parsley. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
BREAKFAST POTATO CASSEROLE WITH SAUSAGE
4 cups frozen diced hash brown potatoes, thawed (about 16 ounces)
1/2 pound pork sausage or sliced sausage links
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
- In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion, (break up bulk sausage with a spatula). When sausage is cooked through, drain off excess fat.
- In an 8-by-8-by-2-inch square baking dish, layer the hash brown potatoes, half of the shredded cheese, browned sausage and onion mixture, and remaining shredded cheese.
- In a bowl, combine eggs, milk and pepper; pour egg mixture over cheese. Bake, covered, in a 350 degree oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Transfer casserole to a wire rack and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into squares.
BACON CHEESE POTATO SOUP
6 to 8 large baking potatoes
2 cups milk
4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup butter
8-12 strips bacon, cooked
1 cup sour cream
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
- Bake the potatoes until they are tender. Cool slightly and then peel. Mash the potatoes if you want a creamy soup. If you prefer a chunky potato soup, cut the peeled potatoes into cubes.
- Combine the butter and flour in a large soup pot. Cook on medium heat, stirring, for 1 minute, then slowly whisk in the milk and chicken broth.
- Add salt and pepper, potatoes, cooked bacon and cheddar cheese. Simmer until cheese is melted and soup is heated thoroughly. Just before serving, stir in the sour cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.
AMISH POTATO SALAD
6 medium white potatoes with skins intact
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon celery seed
4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
- Boil potatoes in a large pot filled with enough water to cover. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain, and set aside to cool.
- While potatoes are cooking, hand beat two eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a saucepan. Stir in vinegar, milk and mustard. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in butter. Refrigerate until cool, and then stir in the mayonnaise.
- Cut cooked potatoes into a medium dice. Place in large bowl. Combine with onion, celery, carrots, celery seed and hard-cooked eggs. Gently fold in the dressing. Refrigerate before serving to let the flavors blend. Serve chilled.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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