crispy roasted potatoes

potato wedges

You know a side dish is good when your family asks you to make it with every meal.  We could be having spaghetti and they want these potato wedges.    It’s actually my husband who is doing most of the asking, but the kids certainly agree that these little guys are addictive.  I also like that it has basically replaced the bag of frozen fries.  Just like my rant earlier in the year about over-indulging in snack stand french fries during baseball season (bacon-wrapped potatoes), I was beginning to feel reluctant to buy those bags of steak fries at the store to accompany a meal.    We went through that stint of buying the sweet potato fries – trying to pass them off as healthier in our minds, but in the end it is still a bag of frozen fries.  These wedges are so much better for you and so easy to make.  I found the recipe in Cook’s Illustrated,  and I have learned that it is pretty hard to mess up.  So easy in fact, that my husband, not so innocently, said that I should make them for Thanksgiving this year.  Now, I know he loves them, but he was just conjuring up past Thanksgivings, and all of our mashed potato mishaps.  Cheap ricers gone wrong, burners not bringing the water to boil, vegetable peelers breaking, over salting, you name it.  But I had an industrial ricer sitting on top of my fridge, waiting to step in and save the day.  Plus, once I told my husband that he would have to share the wedges with 10 people instead of just three, he quickly changed his mind.  Mashed potatoes came back onto the Thanksgiving menu real fast.

golden potatoes

sliced potatoes

crispy roasted potatoes  (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

3  TB canola oil
cooking spray
2  (24 oz) bags small golden potatoes, each potato sliced into four wedges
4  TB cornstarch
1 1/2  tsp garlic powder
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
pinch crushed red pepper flakes

seasoned potatoes

get started on the crispy roasted potatoes:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Slice the potatoes.  On a large baking sheet lined with foil, coat with cooking spray.  Add oil to baking sheet and place in oven.  While pan is heating up, place potatoes in a large bowl and toss with cornstarch and remaining ingredients.  Carefully remove preheated baking sheet from the oven, and tilt sheet to evenly coat with oil.  Place potatoes, mostly cut side down in a single layer, and roast until browned on all edges, turning halfway through, for about 30 minutes.  Add kosher salt and pepper to taste if needed.

roasted potatoes

note:  potatoes feed 6-8 hungry people.  We like to add grated cheese to them when they come out of the oven.  Feel free to adjust the seasoning or add other spices to the cornstarch.  It’s all good.

bacon-wrapped potatoes

bacon wrapped potatoes

I am tired of french fries.  I never thought I’d hear myself say that, but it’s true, and it’s because of baseball.   Soccer you aren’t even given bleachers, let alone  a place to buy a snack.  You endured the game with whatever you felt like packing, if anything at all.  Now that the kids are older and play organized baseball and softball, it seems that every town we play in, including our own, has the much beloved snack shack.  What used to be an occasional treat has now become a nightly offering that I have to fend off.  Fries, soft pretzels, slushies, soda and Big League Chew are being requested  left and right, and there isn’t much I can do but give in to the madness.  I have done everything I can think of to fend off the greasy magnetism of that shack but I keep losing.  I pack fruit, nuts, Goldfish but fries seem to make it into the mix anyway.  I have fed the kids dinner at 4pm, but by the start of the game at six, the one that isn’t playing is asking for skittles or fries.  Then after the game is over, the one who played thinks they deserve an ice cream or yet again – fries.  And to top it off, there is nothing worse than stealing one of your kid’s fries and it turns out to be a lukewarm, soggy mess.  I mean, if you are going to indulge, it better be worth it, right?
So in honor of the potato, I felt like doing it justice this past weekend.  We had family and friends over and were grilling steaks, and although I have a “go to” recipe for crispy oven-roasted potatoes, I saw this one and knew that the bacon would be a hit with everyone.   So I put my girlfriend to work wrapping them up, and by the looks of the empty bowl at the end of dinner, I’d say that I became a potato fan again – we all did.

bacon-wrapped potatoes (adapted from Southern Living)

non-stick cooking spray
6  medium-size red or golden potatoes, cut into eight wedges each
kosher salt
24  slices of bacon, cut in half
ground black pepper


get started on the potatoes:

Preheat oven to 425.  Coat a jelly roll pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Sprinkle potato wedges with kosher salt.  Wrap each potato wedge with the halved slice of bacon.  Arrange potato wedges in a single layer on the cooking sheet.  Bake at 425 for 40 – 45 minutes or until bacon is crisp and browned.

girlfriend at work

potato in bacon

note:  this serves 6-8 people.

roasted potato salad with mustard dressing

golden potatoessliced golden potatoes

I have made and eaten a ton of coleslaw this summer, so when I needed a side dish to go with my ribs recently, I went the potato salad route this time.  I love traditional potato salad, but was really looking for a spin on it.  I decided on this one from Cooking Light July 2006, but because I wanted more than just potatoes and onions, I made some additions.  It worked out.  You can check out the original recipe and look to see what I did, and decide how you want your dish to be.  My whole thought with choosing this recipe was that the mustard and vinegar would cut through the heavy barbecue flavor of the ribs.  Plus, I didn’t have to boil or peel potatoes!  Happiness!

I found this recipe easy to make and was exactly what I was looking for.  I loved the sherry vinegar and mustard combination which separated this recipe from the usual mayo salad.  I changed it up a little (because I’m a pain) and added some expected elements like the boiled eggs and celery.  Go with what you might have in your fridge too – snap peas, scallions, bell pepper, cheddar cheese…etc.  Once you have the base salad, I don’t think you can mess it up.  This is a kickin’ side.  Enjoy!

roasted potato salad with mustard dressing (inspired from Cooking Light July 2006)

3  pounds golden potatoes, unpeeled, cut into one inch pieces
1  TB olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
red chili flakes
non-stick cooking spray
6  slices prosciutto, diced
2  cups Vidalia onions, diced
2  garlic cloves, minced
3  stalks celery, sliced
3  TB whole grain mustard
3  TB reduced fat mayonnaise
1 1/2  TB honey
1 1/2  TB sherry vinegar
1/4  cup fresh parsley, chopped
3  hard-boiled eggs, chopped

get started on the salad:

Preheat oven to 400. Toss first four ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on a jelly roll pan. Bake at 400 for 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring once.  Meanwhile, add sliced prosciutto to a non-stick pan on medium heat and brown until starting to get crisp on edges.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Coat the same pan with non-stick spray and add onions on medium-low heat.  Cook 15 minutes until golden brown and caramelized, stirring often.  Add garlic to the pan and cook for another minute.  Add onion mixture to bowl with prosciutto.  Add celery and potatoes to onions and prosciutto.  Stir to combine.

prosciuttocelery, prosciutto and onion

Combine mustard, mayonnaise, honey and vinegar in a small bowl and stir with a whisk.  Add mustard mixture and parsley to potato mixture and toss to combine.  Add eggs last and gently toss.  Adjust potato salad with more mayonnaise or mustard depending on your taste.

roasted potatoesroasted potato salad

note:  This recipe serves 8.  Serving size is 1 cup.