Potato Success Tips!
I like to serve potatoes as part of a meal. They cook quickly without a lot of fuss and everyone always loves them.
You can also fall in love with a potato’s nutrient profile. A small potato contains about 130 calories, features resistant starch, and it has a half day’s supply of vitamin C. It contains more potassium than a banana. And it is a good source of vitamin B6, fiber, and magnesium. Plus it has phytochemicals and antioxidants.
So let’s learn the 3 kitchen hacks that make potato dishes really great! These are the three most important:
- Purchase just enough potatoes for a week. The big bags of potatoes are a great value when you know you will use them within a week. Otherwise you risk having potatoes that turn green or grow eyes.
- Select potatoes that are all the same size so they cook more uniformly and look nicer in finished dishes. It only takes a minute to do this while you are shopping.
- It is always best to store potatoes at room temperature in a paper bag or cabinet that does not allow light on the potatoes. Storage at room temperature versus the refrigerator ensures that the starch in the potatoes does not convert to sugar. This means your potatoes will cook quickly and be more fluffy. The paper or other opaque bag prevents light from reaching the potatoes, which causes them to turn green.
Not sure which potatoes to purchase?
Consider a few of our favorites along with tips on how we serve them:
- Sweet potatoes turn out great if you microwave them first for a few minutes (about 3-5 minutes per potato) and then finish them in the oven along with whatever else you are baking. You get the best of both worlds: a potato that cooks quickly but browns and gets crispy on the outside while it is in the oven. Often I put chicken or fish in the oven for 20 minutes and then add the potato or sweet potato after it has been microwaved so it gets crisp the last 10 minutes of the roasting time for the protein items. They are all done together! And this simple, unattended meal is always delicious and well received.
- Try red-skinned potatoes because they can be quartered, boiled quickly, and served with fresh parsley, lemon, and a little butter on top. No peeling needed! Any meal looks more fancy when these are on the plate, showing their red color.
- The big baked potatoes or sweet potatoes can be cut in half so they serve two. Using 1 large potato or sweet potato for 2 people is a great idea.
- Fingerling potatoes cook fast and you can serve them boiled one night and in salad the next. It is always a good idea to cook a little extra one night and use the leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Potatoes are no exception!
- Try Yukon gold potatoes because you don’t need to peel them before mashing. For the best mashed potatoes, make sure you have cooked them very well so they practically disintegrate when it is time to mash them. You can drain them, put them back on the stove, and allow the moisture to evaporate before mashing them. Make sure you mash and then add the milk, seasonings, butter, and liquid. For prettier mashed potatoes use a scoop to put them on a plate or pile scoops on a warm platter. Garnish with a little drizzle of olive oil and paprika. Chopped herbs are wonderful, too. Why not make a mashed potato bar and allow everyone to drizzle on spoonfuls of fixings like chopped scallions, salsa, plain yogurt, pasta sauce, cheese, etc.
More delicious potato-dish ideas:
- Mashed pesto potatoes – add basil pesto at the last minute or drizzle it over the top
- Kale potato salad – combine the two while freshly cooked and warm with a little light mayonnaise, whole grain mustard, red wine vinegar, and black pepper
- Wasabi potato salad – use your favorite recipe and add a little wasabi horse radish for a kick
- Oven fries
- Sweet potato “spaghetti” – find in Whole Foods – this is a raw sweet potato that is cut in noodles – we like to serve turkey bolognese sauce over the top and we do cook and mix with real spaghetti noodles but it is very fun!
- Baked honey sweet potatoes – drizzle with a little honey after you cut them in half
- Grilled potatoes: https://foodandhealth.com/recipes.php/recipe/94/grill-baked-garlic-potatoes/
Print handout – foodandhealth.com-Potato Success Tips
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Cathy Bowers, RD