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Potatoes Lots o’ Ways: Roasted and Good for You

14 Dec

Mustard Potatoes #2

I love potatoes.  In the U.S., they’re the quintessential side dish for everything, whether they’re fried, mashed, baked, roasted, boiled, barbecued, made into chips, or made into salads. We put them with everything at any meal at any time of day.

A few years ago when we decided to go on Weight Watchers, the potatoes in this house, alas, had to get the fuck out of Dodge.  If you’re trying to lose weight (rather than maintain), substituting squash and veggies is the way to go.

Still, I make potatoes at least three times a week, and I still loosely (and this XMas season, I mean loooooooooosely, unlike my belt) follow some sort of weight control regimen.  This general directive is a sort of guiltless recipe for potatoes that has lots of options and still gives one that “potatoes on the side feeling” without sacrificing the potatoes themselves or the flavor and richness of them.

Roasting potatoes is easy.  The scheme upon which I elucidate below can be molded into whatever “theme” you’re cooking that evening.  The best part of this is the experimentation.  If it sounds good, go for it.  The basic method still applies.

Roasted Potatoes a Lot o’ Ways

Ingredients:

2 to 3 lbs. of any type of potato you want or have, cut into 1″ to 1 1/2″ chunks (really…any potato works, peels on or off, for that matter)

a few teaspoons of olive oil, if you’re cool with the extra fat and calories

-or-

a bunch of cooking spray, the olive oil kind is best for it

salt and pepper to taste, a good dusting of each…but remember, as my mom always told me, you can always add later, but you can’t take it out!

Makin’ ‘Em:

Preheat the oven to 425°.  Spray a baking sheet or baking dish with cooking spray or just grease it somehow.

Whatever preparation you choose above or below, roast them in a single layer on the baking sheet for 40 minutes.  They look like this going in:

Mustard Potatoes before baking

(Mustard Crusted with Onions)

Turn them once or twice to brown them evenly.  They look like this coming out, in case you forgot:

Mustard Potatoes #2

(I might enter this picture in the county fair next year, now that I look at its beauty…)

Serve.

Different Ideas Before Roasting

(Note: each variation expects that you will toss them with either a tablespoon or two of olive oil or a bunch of cooking spray.)

Salt ‘n’ Pepa:  a really bad ’80’s band, but a great classic way to roast potatoes. Toss with a good dusting of salt and pepper…a teaspoon or more of each.

Mustard Crusted (shown in the pictures):  Toss with salt, pepper, 2 tbsp. whole grain mustard, and some parsely, dried or fresh.  Add a quartered onion into this and you’ll have people offering you reach-arounds.

Smokey: Toss with salt, pepper, and a teaspoon or two of smoked paprika, which is very cheap at Costco.

Paprika-y: Toss with salt, pepper, and a teaspoon or two of regular paprika.

Indian:  Toss with salt, pepper, and a teaspoon or two of Garam Masala or curry powder.

Mexican:  Toss with a bit of salt and a packet of taco seasoning (or homemade taco seasoning, which is what I do: https://dinnerwithjonny.com/2012/10/27/10-26-12-faco-friday-faco-means-taco-in-proto-indo-european-or-so-i-heard/)

Carribean:  Toss with salt, pepper, and a teaspoon or two of jerk seasoning.

Scandinavian:  Toss with salt, pepper, and a few teaspoons of dried dill (this is especially good if you roast carrots, parsnips, and onions with them, but up the dill to a tablespoon or two if you do it).

Herbed:  Toss with salt, pepper, and a few teaspoons of dried thyme or marjoram or something herb-y.

New Orleans:  Toss with salt, pepper, creole seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s), and some cayenne, depending on how spicy you want them.

In all cases, good, healthy additions are onions, carrots, parsnips, fennel bulb slices, etc.  Just make sure they will be done at approximately the same time as the potatoes.  Green Beans, for example, don’t work because they will get burnt before the potatoes are done.

The sky’s the limit with the variations  on roasted potatoes and, truth be told, I’m guessing most already know this.  But, this is Dinner with Jonny, and through the years, I have been amazed when people ask me, “How did you DO that?”  And when I tell them, they’re like, “You’re joking, right?”  Nope.  I’m serious.  ‘Tis easy.

Until later, east, drink and peace out.

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