Cooking Potatoes

Cooking potatoes is a great way to add nutrition to your diet without the high cost. For the best frugal tips and recipes, look no further than the humble potato. 

At the time of this writing and in my neck of the woods, I can buy a 10-pound sack of potatoes for $6, enough potatoes to supply my family of five for about three meals.  If you're looking for a low-cost way to get debt free, potatoes can be a good way to go.

One Little Package, Lots of Nutrition

One potato, including the skin, provides you with almost half of your daily need of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Potassium. Eating potatoes is also an excellent way to add Thiamin, Niacin, Iron, Folate, Phosphorus and Manganese to your diet.

A single spud also gives you 7.5 grams of protein and very little fat - it's the butter, sour cream and cheese that can cause problems, so back off on those and you've got a great nutritional food at an excellent price.

Growing potatoes is an excellent source of self-reliant food.

But Steer Clear of Fast Food

If you're thinking of stopping by the fast food joint for your daily dose of potatoes, think again. Their method of preparing potatoes virtually guarantees you get no nutrition from your spud but plenty of fat and calories.

Potatoes prepared for fast food places are washed and sliced in a factory and then frozen before being transported to far away restaurants. By the time they're thrown in deep fat, cooked and served to you, nutritionally they scarcely even resemble a potato, so plan on cooking potatoes at home instead.

If you're new to cooking, the humble spud is a great place to start. Preparing potatoes is easy. Plus, they can be fixed in a variety of ways. Here are some ideas on ways to prepare potatoes.

The Traditional Baked Potato

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub your potatoes with a little butter and wrap them in aluminum foil. Bake your potatoes for 45 minutes until they are fork tender. It couldn't be a simpler way of cooking potatoes.

If you're looking for a fast and easy lunch that doesn't taste like fast food, bake some extra potatoes and store them in the fridge. Remove the foil and heat them in the microwave. Top them with a small amount of butter or margarine and salsa. They'll have that baked-from-oven taste and far fewer fat and calories.

During the hot summer months when you don't want to heat up the kitchen, rub your potatoes in butter, wrap them in foil and place them in your crock pot on a low setting for ten hours or until they are tender. It's a great way of cooking potatoes without heating up your kitchen.

Oven Fries

This is one of my favorite ways of cooking potatoes and a great way of cutting out the fat. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash your potatoes, cut them in half lengthwise and then slice them one quarter of an inch thick.

In a small bowl, add one cup of water and one and a half tablespoons of olive oil. Dip each potato slice in the oil and water mixture and place them on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and garlic or lemon pepper and then bake for about 20 minutes or until the slices are brown and slightly crispy. This is a great way of cooking potatoes your kids will love.

Or How About Regular Fries?

You'll need a deep-fat fryer, such as a Fry Daddy or Fry Baby to make these, but hands down, this is my family's favorite way of cooking potatoes.  Use coconut oil or lard (yes, it really is much healthier than vegetable oil) so you can enjoy these guilt free.

Here's what you need:

  • 5-6 medium-sized potatoes
  • coconut oil or lard
  • salt, to taste
  • deep-fat fryer

Slice the potatoes and place them in a large bowl.  Cover them with cold water, and allow them to soak for 30 minutes.  Soaking the potato slices will leech out the starch and improve the flavor and texture.

After half an hour, drain the potatoes and wrap them in a clean cloth.  Heat the oil in the fryer until it reaches the temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

With a slotted spoon, gently lower the potato slices into the fat; don't drop them in, or the oil might splash out onto your skin.  Cook them for two and a half minutes and then remove them with the spoon.   Place them on a plate lined with paper towels. 

Once you've cooked all the potato slices, cook them one more time for about two to two and a half minutes or until they're golden brown.  Cooking them twice will make them crispy.  Season with salt.

Cooking Potatoes for Scalloped Potatoes

If you're looking for a complete meal, look no further than this baked dish or Scalped Potatoes, as I used to call them as a kid. Add ham or ready to eat smoked sausage for a complete dish.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 cup ham or sausage
  • 1 cup shredded cheese

Wash and slice three to four medium sized potatoes and steam them for about ten minutes or until they are tender. While the potatoes are steaming, cook the onions in butter until they are tender. Add the flour and stir until it is well-blended. Gradually add the milk until the mixture is thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the steamed potato slices and the meat or meat substitute. Top with the cheese and place in a greased casserole dish. Bake for about half an hour.

Baked potato soup

Potato soup is one of my all-time favorite ways of cooking potatoes.  This recipe comes from Allrecipes.com and serves six.

  • 12 slices bacon
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 7 cups milk
  • 4 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


Cook the bacon in a large, deep skillet until browned.  Drain, crumble and set aside.

In a stock pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour until it’s smooth.  Gradually stir in the milk, whisking constantly, until thickened.  Stir in the potatoes and onions.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Mix in the bacon, cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the cheese is melted.

This recipe serves six.

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