Tag Archives: potato

Clean Out the Fridge Potato Salad

Clean Out the Fridge Potato Salad

Have you ever looked in your fridge and found a little bit of this and a little bit of that? And … it should all be used … SOON!

When that happens, I often make potato salad! (Note: Potatoes should be stored in a cool dry place in your house for best quality … not in the refrigerator.)

Follow these quick  “1 … 2 … 3” steps!

  1. After my cooked* potatoes had cooled slightly, I cubed them and  sprinkled them with a bit of apple cider vinegar — for added flavor — while they were still warm.  (Tip: You can leave the skins on young, tender potatoes and Yukon Gold potatoes).
  2. While the potatoes were cooking, I cleaned and prepared the following ingredients from my fridge. Use your own preference as to amounts of ingredients.
    • Red peppers
    • Peas
    • Onions (part of an already cut onion in the fridge)
    • Carrots
    • Radishes
    • Dill
    • Pickle relish
  3. The last step was combining the potatoes and veggies with mayonnaise. Or, use your favorite homemade or purchased potato salad dressing. Then, chill your potato salad for about an hour before serving, to let the flavors meld.

Some other foods you can add to potato salads include:

  • Hard-cooked eggs
  • Celery
  • Cheese
  • Parsley
  • Green pepper
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • Capers
  • Olives (pitted and sliced)
  • Chives.

* If you’re unsure of how to cook potatoes, use these directions from the Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Program:

  1. Scrub the potatoes, and peel them.
  2. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes.
  3.  Put the potatoes into a saucepan. Cover with water.
  4. Bring the potatoes to a boil on medium heat.
  5. Let the potatoes simmer for 15 minutes until they’re soft.
  6. Drain the hot water, and let the potatoes cool.

Things on My Kitchen Counter

Bananas on Kitchen Counter

Recently we had new kitchen counters installed at our house. In taking everything off the counters, I began to re-evaluate what I was going to put back!

What was really important to me and would help me cook quick, healthy meals? And (this is an important AND!) … would make my kitchen a pleasant environment for cooking.

Kitchen organizers recommend only keeping items you use several times weekly or a daily basis on top of your kitchen counter. Here’s what made the cut and stayed on top of my counter.

Two-Tiered Fruit Stand

Several fruits continue to ripen at room temperature. This inexpensive 2-tiered  fruit stand (shown above) offered an attractive counter-top storage space. Fruits that benefit by room temperature storage as they ripen to perfection include avocados and tomatoes (botanically, they are fruits), kiwifruit, nectarines, peaches, pears, bananas, and plums.

Place a counter-top fruit stand in a clean, dry, well-ventilated place, away from direct sunlight and away from areas where meat is prepared.

Canisters for Garlic, Onions, and Potatoes

It’s recommended storing garlic, onions, and potatoes in a well-ventilated area in the pantry. Protect potatoes from light to avoid greening.

But what if you don’t have a pantry?

I found some storage canisters on the Internet that allowed ventilation and prevented light from reaching the potatoes. And … they looked attractive on my kitchen counter.

There also are several brands of decorative cloth storage sacks that provide ventilation and protect from light. Some of the sacks can even be hung from the wall. Individual plastic or wire baskets work well in a pantry.

The holes in these canisters provide ventilation for my potatoes, onions, and garlic.

The holes in these canisters provide ventilation for my potatoes, onions, and garlic.

Oh, Grill of Mine!

Research by Washington State University found the best method of safely grilling meats is using a double-sided (clam-shell) type grill that cooks both sides of the meat at once. These grills also are one of the fastest and easiest means of grilling meat. And, they are easy to clean … especially nice when someone else in the house helps by cleaning up after you cook!

An added benefit of a clam-shell grill is the ease of taking the temperature of thin cuts of meat from the side. According to an U.S. Department of Agriculture study, 1 out of every 4 hamburgers turns brown in the middle before it reaches a safe internal temperature. Using a food thermometer is the only way to assure a safe temperature. Check this USDA chart for safe minimum internal temperatures.

It is easy to insert an instant read thermometer into meat on a double-sided (clam-shell) grill to check its temperature while it is cooking.

It is easy to insert an instant read thermometer into meat on a double-sided (clam-shell) grill to check its temperature while it is cooking.

Dish rack

At our house, there are almost always dishes in the dishwasher; dishes waiting to go in the dishwasher in one of our sink basins; and the other basin is in use cleaning fruits and vegetables, rinsing items. etc.

At the same time, there are items that need to be hand washed for various reasons. Our dish rack was always out.

Then, I discovered on the Internet several decorative dish racks that actually look attractive sitting on your counter-top.

If your dish rack has taken up permanent residence on your counter top, it's possible to find one that is both functional and decorative.

If your dish rack has taken up permanent residence on your counter-top, it’s possible to find one that is both functional and decorative.

Mixer and Food Processor

There are some items, such as my mixer and food processor, that are too heavy to keep lifting in and out of storage.

Along with my counter-top make-over, I gave them an update also. They are now protected from dust and have their accessory parts conveniently located in pockets with these covers.

An Internet search for “mixer cover” or “food processor cover” will locate several options for these items.

Covers for heavy counter top mixers and blenders help keep them clean and dust-free. There are lots of colors, so you can match them to your kitchen decor.

Covers for heavy counter-top mixers and blenders help keep them clean and dust-free. There are lots of colors, so you can match them to your kitchen decor.

I’d love to hear from you in the comment section what you keep on YOUR kitchen counter!

The Skinny on Potatoes

assorted potatoes

“My idea of heaven is a great big baked potato and someone to share it with.” ~Oprah Winfrey

I’m not sure if I would share MY potato! There are just 110 calories in one medium-size potato. Potatoes are fat-, sodium- and cholesterol-free. They’re also a good source of potassium.

It’s not potatoes that pack on the calories, but rather the topping on the potato. An an example,  my colleagues at North Dakota State University Extension Service state, “…  a 100-calorie potato with no fat becomes a ‘stuffed potato’ with 463 calories and 35 grams fat when you add 2 tablespoons of butter, ¼ cup of cheddar cheese and 2 tablespoons of bacon bits.”

One of my favorite low-calorie — but packed with nutrition and taste — ways to top potatoes is with Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of fresh parsley or chives.

baked potato with and without chives

Topping baked potatoes with Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of fresh chives or parsley, adds nutrition, a pop of color and flavor, and few calories.

Roasted Potatoes, Tomatoes & Onions

Here’s my adaptation of one of our favorite potato recipes for “Roasted Potatoes, Tomatoes & Onions.” My husband and I enjoyed this while traveling in Sicily. It’s so easy to make! And tastes delicious.

"Roasted Potatoes, Tomatoes & Onions" are so easy to prepare and taste delicious.

“Roasted Potatoes, Tomatoes & Onions” are so easy to prepare and taste delicious.

Use amounts of the following ingredients according to personal preference. Limit to an amount that will fit in a single layer on a baking sheet with sides.

■ Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, cut in half
■ Potatoes, peeled and cut in about 1/2 to 1-inch similar-sized pieces
■ Onions, sliced
■ Olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine ingredients in a bowl and coat with a small amount of olive oil.
  3.  Roast about 35 to 45 minutes in a single layer on a baking sheet with sides, until potatoes are slightly browned and fork tender.
  4. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Cheesy Broccoli Baked Potatoes

Another favorite is this recipe for “Cheesy Broccoli Baked Potatoes” from the US Potato Board. The only fat in the recipe is in the cheese. No additional fat is used in making the sauce.

The only fat in "Cheesy Broccoli Baked Potatoes" is from the cheese. No additional fat is used in making the cheese sauce.

The only fat in “Cheesy Broccoli Baked Potatoes” is from the cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 cup low-fat milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup cooked small broccoli florets
  • Salt & cayenne pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork. Place in the microwave and cook at 50% power, turning once or twice, until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. (Or, use the “potato setting” on your microwave and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions.)
  2. Heat 3/4 cup of the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until steaming, about 4 minutes.
  3. Stir together flour and the remaining 1/4 cup milk in a cup until smooth. Add to the hot milk, stirring constantly until the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Season with salt and cayenne.
  4. Distribute broccoli over the baked potatoes, top with the cheese sauce and serve.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Calories: 269; Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 19mg; Sodium: 218mg; Fiber: 4g; Protein: 11g; Potassium: 989mg

Source: Recipe courtesy of US Potato Board. For more potato recipes, visit: http://www.potatogoodness.com

Whether you say PO-TAY-TO or PO-TAH-TO, potatoes taste great on your plate!