Potatoes are a delicious and nutritious food that have unnecessarily got a bad reputation. French fries are probably one of the most common cravings when it comes to "cheat meal" food, but if you cook them the right way, they're a great healthy option for satisfying a craving and they taste far better than anything you'll find fried up in a restaurant or fast food joint. You don't have to give up potatoes or your favorite foods! You just have to find healthier ways to eat them.
Potatoes are a great source of carbohydrate, fiber, and they are a very good source of vitamin B6. It's also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, manganese, copper, niacin, phosphorus, Vitamin B3 and more. Recently UK scientists at the Institute for Food Research discovered that potatoes have a blood pressure lowering compound called kukoamines. They offer a variety of phytonutrients and can be very healthy, depending on how you cook and prepare them.
Aside from the nutrition perks, they tend to be easy to get ahold of and relatively inexpensive. They can be eaten in many different ways, kids love them and they aren't a hard sell at the table, even for people who tend to be leery of health foods.
We eat a lot of potatoes in our house - all kinds of potatoes, in all kinds of ways. Everything from topped baked potatoes, baked "french fries", breakfast/country potatoes, skillet, mashed, roasted, diced, sliced - they're all good.
Of all the ways we like to eat potatoes, baked "french fries" or diced skillet potatoes are our favorite - they're awesome for a homemade burger and brew night, or alongside fresh fish or veggies and salad. Sometimes we'll just bake up a huge plate of fries just to snack on with some ketchup and/or a bit of all natural or homemade mayo (we all have our own guilty pleasure - mine is dipping homemade french fries in mayo).
You will need
- 3-5 lbs of whole potatoes - Organic is preferable and pretty much any kind of potato will work, with the exception of yams & sweet potatoes (also delicious) that will get mushy if you cook them this way.
- Cooking oil - Make sure to choose an oil that is safe for cooking in high heat (avocado oil, canola oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, etc) - you can also use olive oil if you extend the cooking time and lower the oven temp (under 320 for extra virgin olive oil and under 400 for virgin)
- A large glass casserole baking dish (roughly 9x12)
- Seasonings of your choice; classic salt & pepper are delicious, but garlic, paprika, turmeric, Italian (not necessarily all together), all taste great, too.
- Cutting board & knife
Serving Size - This makes a very large casserole dish of fries! We easily eat 3 lbs of baked fries between the two of us, but it can feed a larger group (2-8) as a side dish.
Wash potatoes thoroughly, and cut out any bad spots. Leave the skin on but if there are any spots where the skin is green, make sure you peel it and/or cut it out.
For more traditional style (baked) "french fries" from the oven
- Cut into desired "fry" shape by cutting the potato lengthwise
- Lightly coat the glass cooking dish with cooking oil of choice
- Add in sliced potatoes and stir in seasonings of choice, making sure to add more oil if necessary (fries should be lightly coated)
- Cover with aluminum foil to speed cooking
- Put in oven at 400 degrees for 60-80 minutes, flipping potatoes roughly every 30 minutes
- *For crisp french fries, remove aluminum foil for the last ~15 minutes of cooking
For diced potatoes on the skillet
- Cut into desired cube shape
- Heat skillet to 300-370
- Lightly coat the heated skillet with cooking oil of your choice
- Add diced potatoes, add seasonings of your choice, and stir, adding more oil if necessary (potatoes should be very lightly coated)
- Cover & stir occasionally (every 5-8 minutes) until potatoes are golden brown (roughly 20-30 minutes - keep an eye on them the first time until you figure out how you like your potatoes cooked)
Keep the sodium content lower by using spices heavily and salt lightly.
Sources: Cooking with Olive Oil
World's Healthiest Foods: Potatoes
Do you eat a lot of potatoes? What's your favorite way to eat potatoes? If you try either of the recipes above, let us know what you think!