Potatoes are a staple of the American diet. From French fries to baked spuds with garnishes from parsley to pecans, we eat thousands of pounds of this tasty vegetable each year.
If your cupboards are looking bare but you have a bag of potatoes in the house, here are some delicious options that can make filling dishes and add flair to your meals. While plain cooked potatoes may seem bland, try adding your favorite condiments, toppings, and flavorings to get the taste your want.
- Starting with appetizers, baked potato skins with chives, bacon, and sour cream offer a wonderful introduction to any meal. Cheese, salsa, and mushrooms provide additional flavors to enhance this enjoyable hors d’oeuvre. Or present your guests with a creamy potato soup, thin in the Old World style or brimming with cheese and sauce in the modern tradition. Twice-baked potatoes, with mashed innards following the first baking, is another tempting start to a full-bodied meal. Just don’t serve too many or your guests may turn away from the rest of your meal.
- As a side dish, potatoes are hard to beat. Potato salad tastes great in any season, but particularly summer, while scalloped potatoes edged with scallions or bacon bits warm the coldest tummy in winter or year-round. Of course, you can always mash, fry, bake, roast, boil, or broil potatoes in a number of mouth-watering recipes. Grown in a number of varieties like yellow fin, red-skinned, and Idaho, potato sides can be accented or adorned in many variegated styles.
- Potato casseroles can grace any table for any meal. Try an egg, sausage, and potato combination for your next breakfast group. Or chop boiled potatoes into a luncheon hash. Potato-filled pierogies bring a European tradition to the New World when served with hamburgers, frankfurters, or pork chops. Potato pancakes help us celebrate holidays and offer a delightful meal focus. “Koo-koo,” a Middle Eastern dish of grated potatoes mixed with raw egg, onion, and a dash of ketchup, are shaped into patties and fried in oil for another type of pancake that is filling and fun, especially when served with spring greens.
- Don’t forget dessert! Look up a potato chip cookie recipe or a chocolate cake made with the water from boiled potatoes. You can find recipes like these on the Internet or in many dessert cookbooks. Chopped chips molded into mounds with marshmallow cream and dipped in warm chocolate make an interesting treat.
- There will always be potato snacks, some more healthy than others. Look for baked potato chips unless you absolutely crave the traditional fried kind. Or opt for potato sticks with fewer calories and less fat than chips. One person even slices raw potatoes and salts them as a substitute for fresh fruit. Potatoes also can be used in making fresh, warm bread or rolls.
Few vegetables offer as many uses as a reliable potato. So start experimenting with some of the newer recipes to find alternative ways of serving this wonderful food to your family. Potatoes are not just for dinner anymore!