Potatoes, while not the most flavorful on their own when raw, are the most favorite vegetables of many people. The potato is not the most nutritional vegetable (especially when fried), but they are cheap and filling. However, after years of french fries, mashed potatoes, and baked potatoes they start to lose their appeal a little bit. The potato is bland by nature and after so long of using the same seasonings, that blandness begins anew. Instead of just slopping down that same old lump of mashed potatoes tonight, try instead reinventing them into a flavorful dish with these recipes.
Herb Roasted Potatoes
This is the most underutilized way to prepare a fantastic potato. Essentially, roasting potatoes in oil and herbs is the healthiest way to get what little nutritional benefits there are from potatoes. Many different herbs can be used to create many different flavors, so really the combinations are quite endless--Rosemary, garlic, parmesan cheese, lemon butter, thyme--all make great additions to a roasted potato in their own right.
Parmesan Garlic Roasted Potatoes
5 medium potatoes cut into small pieces, skin left on
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Garlic salt or 3-4 cloves of minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste (if using garlic salt, regular salt is not needed)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash the potatoes thoroughly before cutting into wedges. Toss the potato wedges into a bowl and coat liberally with olive oil (or vegetable oil, in a pinch). Mix the wedges around with clean hands to assure they are properly coated. In the bowl, add the minced garlic, parmesan cheese and parsley. Make sure to toss the mix with your hands or a fork, enough to make sure all the seasonings are evenly coated on each oiled wedge.
Lay the wedges out on a sheet pan before sprinkling with salt and pepper to taste. Bake until golden brown 20-30 minutes.
Mashed potatoes are just awesome, there are so many different things that one can add to them to keep the flavor from getting too boring. Garlic , cheese even just plain old buttered mashed potatoes, they are all good. Aside from the following recipe, I also highly recommend adding some feta cheese into the mix. It was worth mentioning as not too many people think of feta as a good seasoning compared to the more popular cheddar or parmesan cheeses.
Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
No one ever expects it.
6 large Yukon Gold, washed, with skins intact and cut into small chunks.
3/4th cup of milk
3 tablespoons of horseradish, of whatever heat desired. Wasabi paste can also be used but less if more.
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Add potatoes into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and continue to boil for about 25 more minutes until the potatoes are tender.
Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes while adding in the milk, horseradish and salt then stir until smooth.
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The unhealthiest potato option, but sometimes french fries are just needed. However, there are a few way to jazz up the flavor. My personal favorite is garlic and parmesan, but the below are good too.
Lemon Rosemary French Fries
A little sour, a little savory, alway flavorful.
1 pound of Yukon Gold, julienned. Skins intact or peeled, whatever your preference is for fries.
1 to 2 teaspoons of dried Rosemary or a few fresh sprigs.
Lemon Salt to taste
To make lemon salt, mix together:
Zest of 1 whole fresh lemon
4 table spoons of sea salt
Be sure to be rough with the lemon zest and salt to really combine the flavors, grinding with a mortar and pestle is best, but not everyone just has one laying around so grinding with a spoon is fine.
In a high sided frying pan, heat up 1 to 2 inches of cooking oil. Place one of the julienned fries in the oil before turning on the stove. When the fry rises to the top, the oil is ready to fry in.
Add the fries to the oil, being careful not to overcrowd. When the fries just start to brown, add in a bit of the rosemary, depending on how many batches you will need to make. When the fries are golden brown and crisp, place them in a bowl with a paper towel to soak up the oil. Now dust the hot fries with lemon salt and enjoy.
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Undoubtedly, the most popular potato casserole in many households is au gratin potatoes. Personally, au gratin potatoes are my least favorite way to these vegetables, however for a delicious casserole consider adding some of the classic flavor boosters.
Crockpot Cheese and Bacon Casserole
Cheese and bacon are great flavor boosters that everyone sees as being a bit of their guilty pleasure and for good reason. Melted cheese and well cooked bacon are savory and comforting, which added with potatoes just makes this casserole a perfect comfort food. I prefer using a Crockpot for this casserole simply because I wanted the potatoes to be well steamed and in the oven the potatoes ended up crispier rather than soft like a casserole should be.
1 package of bacon, cooked until brown yet still pliable, save grease (optional), diced
1 onion, diced
1 pound of red potatoes (roughly 6 to 10), quartered with skins
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Before placing in the Crockpot, cook the bacon, dice it and let the grease cool. Wash the potatoes thoroughly and once the bacon grease is cooled mix it with the potatoes so that they are coated thoroughly. This is an optional step but really brings the flavor.
To help steam the potatoes and ease clean up a bit, line the Crockpot with tin foil, leave enough at the top to somewhat fold over the casserole to help the mixture steam. Layer the ingredients as followed: potatoes, onions, bacon, cheese, and dot the top with butter. The butter can be skipped for those who used the bacon grease. Repeat this layering process until the ingredients are used up or the Crockpot is full.
Fold the foil over the top and place the Crockpot cover on. Let this mixture cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.
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