You say potato; I say, “I’ll take five!” Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but those who know me well know that I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like. Potatoes are my favorite comfort food and I blame my mom for this obsession because she got me started on potato cravings before I was even born. Whether mashed, baked, or loaded, I’ve never had a bad meal when potatoes are involved. And, of course, I could never overlook the most popular of all potato preparations: French Fries.
French Fries were created in Paris, France (duh!) in the 1840s. They were originally called pommes frites, meaning fried potatoes – quite the original name I’d say! Their popularity was immediate, and frites soon migrated to America where they were called French Fried Potatoes. Now, that was a mouth full! So in the true American spirit, the dish’s name was shortened to “French Fries” in the 1930s, and it quickly became an American favorite.
Potatoes themselves are actually nutritional vegetables, good sources of Vitamin C and potassium. However, when fried, they lose a good portion of their nutritional value. But this doesn’t mean we necessarily have to forgo the indulgence of French Fries every now and then. That’s why we wanted to provide you with three healthier ways to prepare them, each so good you’ll have McDonald’s calling for the recipe! I know I’m not alone when I say I’m not willing to give up my favorite comfort food, so I’m always excited to find healthier ways to enjoy the foods I love, and not feel guilty. So, as the French would say, jouir de!
Guilt-Free French Fries (courtesy Ellie Krieger and www.usaweekend.com)
3 large Russet potatoes, skin on
2 Tbs canola oil
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 450°. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut the potatoes into ¼-inch-thick matchsticks. Place the potatoes into a large bowl, add the oil and toss to coat. Spread the potatoes on the baking sheet in a single layer. (Use a second baking sheet, if necessary, to avoid layering.)
Bake until golden brown and crispy, 35 to 40 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
Garlic and Herb Crispy Oven Fries
After tossing with the oil, sprinkle with ¾ tsp granulated garlic and ½ tsp salt and toss to coat evenly. After baking, toss with 2 Tbs finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and 1 Tbs chopped fresh chives.
Yields 4 servings
280 calories, 50 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein, 7 g fat, 4 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 15 mg sodium
Crunchy Baked French Fries (from www.fitnessmagazine.com)
4 tsp olive oil
4 medium baking potatoes (1 ½ pounds total), scrubbed
½ tsp salt
1/8 to ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; brush with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Set aside.
Cut the potatoes lengthwise into ½-inch-thick wedges. Transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining olive oil; toss to coat. Sprinkle potato wedges with the salt and black pepper, tossing to coat. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.
Bake in a 450° oven for 12 minutes. Turn potatoes; sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake for 10-12 minutes more or until tender and golden.
Crunchy Cooking Tips
Many restaurants double fry spuds to make them extra crispy. Get the same result by boiling the sliced potatoes for 2-3 minutes (to release moisture), then draining, tossing with olive oil, and baking.
Yields 4 servings
155 calories, 22 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 6 g fat, 3 g fiber
Baked French Fries II (from www.allrecipes.com)
3 Russet potatoes, sliced into ¼-inch strips
1 tsp dried basil
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat over to 400°. Lightly grease a medium baking sheet.
Arrange potato strips in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, skin sides down. Spray lightly with cooking spray, and sprinkle with basil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.
Yields 4 servings
145 calories, 28.2 g carbohydrates, 5.2 g protein, 1.6 g fat, 3.6 g fiber, 4 mg cholesterol, 86 mg sodium