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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Potatoes: World’s Most Widely Grown Vegetable

By Sherrie Norris

No matter how you say it — Kennebec, Russet, Irish or Red, or how you fix it — baked, mashed, fried, in a casserole or soup— the potato can be one of the most versatile vegetables to have on hand. With virtually hundreds of ways to prepare it, the potato is known as the world’s most widely grown vegetable and is consumed in many different ways.

Potatoes in the United States are grown in nearly every state, although about half of the crop comes from Idaho and Washington, with North Dakota and Minnesota not far behind

Not only are they good, but potatoes are good for you; containing many vitamins, including niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and vitamin C. They are also rich in such minerals as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphates, sodium and sulfur.

While not a low-carb favorite, potatoes are not laden with fat, unless, of course, we top them with popular add-ons such as butter, sour cream and cheese. An average-sized (baked) potato, weighing from 6-8 ounces contains only about 100 calories.


Potato Casserole

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. melted butter or margarine

6 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1 cup grated sharp cheese

2 Tbsp. flour

2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

2½ cups milk

¼ cup finely crushed cracker crumbs or potato chips

Cook onion slices in butter/margarine until lightly browned. Place one-fourth of the potatoes in bottom of greased baking dish. Layer one-fourth of each: onion, cheese, flour, salt and pepper. Repeat layers. Pour milk over top; sprinkle with crumbs. Cover and bake in oven at 350 for one hour. Remove cover the last 15 minutes to brown.



Simple Potato Soup

3 Tbsp. butter

1 cup chopped onion

3 cups diced peeled potatoes

¾ cup chopped celery

¾ cup grated carrot

2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

3 cups water

3 cups milk

½ tsp. parsley flakes

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add onion and cook until soft. Add potatoes, celery, carrot, salt, pepper and water. Simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add milk and parsley. Heat just to boiling. Makes about six servings; recipe may be doubled as needed.


Onion Roasted Potatoes Recipe

1 envelope dried onion soup mix

1/3 cup oil of choice

2 lbs. potatoes, peeled

Heat oven to 450 degrees. In large plastic bag, add potatoes, cut into chunks,

oil and soup mix. Shake until potatoes are well coated.

Place in shallow baking pan and bake, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes

or until potatoes are tender and golden brown.


Baked Potato Skins

8 lg. potatoes, baked and cooled

2 Tbsp. butter, melted

½ lb. bacon, fried, drained, crumbled

1 small minced onion

½ cup grated Cheddar cheese

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, leaving skins on.

Scoop out potatoes. Brush inside of skin with butter, bacon and onions.

Top with cheese. Bake 15 minutes at 450 degrees or until crispy.


Baked Wedges

12 potatoes washed and cut lengthwise into 8 wedges each

1 egg white, beaten

Seasoned salt

Cooking spray

1 large nonstick baking sheet

Preheat oven to 450°F. Rinse potato wedges briefly in cold water and dry them well

on paper towels.

Place egg white in a large mixing bowl. Add potatoes and toss them well to coat.

Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Spread potatoes on sheet, shaking off

excess egg white.

Spray tops of potatoes lightly and evenly with cooking spray.

Place potatoes in hot oven and roast approximately 25 minutes.

During cooking time, turn potatoes once or twice with tongs or a spatula.

The fries should be golden brown and crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.

Sprinkle fries with seasoning, transfer them to a serving bowl and serve hot.


A great snack for kids, especially when served with a variety of dips such as

ketchup, ranch dressing, or melted-cheese dip.