Let's face it, if you're anything like me, there are times where you need to go to the supermarket but you just don't have the time or energy. Chances are you will have at least one potato in the house. Read on because that potato might just become a meal...
Things are tough in the world right now. I don't know of anyone who isn't feeling squeezed by rising living costs and stagnant wages. The really sad thing is that so many people are even worse off than this. So, in the spirit of frugality and realising it is an expensive time of year I thought I will do a few reviews of recipes containing the ultimate cheap ingredients. So, where to start? Well potatoes are about as cheap a food as you can get. For a big family, buying in bulk can also really make sense. Just store somewhere cool out of sunlight.
When I was a student, I remember we used to get a sack of potatoes from a local farmer at the start of term. This meant that even if my money ran out I would have the option of potato wedges or jacket potato to keep me going.
It's strange with the influx of Atkins type diets, in recent years I'd cut back on my potato consumption. Since I've had my son, I'm back eating them and I can genuinely say I've seen no impact (positive or negative) on my weight but I have seen a positive impact on my wallet.
So, now for the top 10
1. Jacket Potato. Yes I know this is easy but you probably don't realise how easy. Never bother making a jacket spud in the microwave, it's worse than disgusting, oven is the only way. Yes, your oven will be on for a long time but why not make extra? You can use any leftovers for some of the recipes below or just mash the centre and reheat in the microwave, with a little butter and covered for a couple of minutes.
So, how easy is a jacket potato?
Am I going to write a recipe?
Oh go on then!
Jacket Potato - serves 1, easily scaled up(!)
1 potato, you want an old potato which is the right kind of size to bake. If it's enormous it might not cook through. If it's tiny, it will need a shorter cooking time.
Heat your oven to 200oC, 400oF.
Clean off any mud from the outside of your potato and prick the skin going approx 0.5-1cm into the flesh. This avoids the potato bursting. If you want to speed up cooking time, put a metal skewer into the potato all the way to the centre.
Put into the oven and bake for 1hour 15mins or until soft when squeezed. Be careful if you've used a skewer as it will be very hot.
I recommend you investigate your cooker. Most electric ovens I have ever used have an option to put in a cook time which will then switch off the oven when the time is up. If your oven has this option, you probably also have the option to delay the start of cooking too. Well why is this important? If you're out in the morning or afternoon at a toddler group, you might not be at home an hour and a half before your child wants to eat. Well set it all up before you go out and bingo! Hot jacket spud when you walk in.
2. Keema Curry. Too many people feed their babies and toddlers bland food. There is really no need! Potatoes are lovely in a curry too and this dish is so economical as it's made with mince.
3. Cottage Pie. A simple recipe here using bolognaise ragu or one using slow cooked pot roast (which is absolutely delicious). Fantastic to use up spare jacket potatoes and leftovers.
4. Bubble and Squeak. No nothing to do with mice. Again a great leftovers recipe, fantastic for Boxing Day breakfast!
6. Fish cakes. Made with spinach and salmon this gives an extra 'superfood' dimension and great for hiding vegetables for fussy toddlers. Brilliant for baby led weaners.
7. Fish pie. The classic. I've made this since my son was a baby and still make it now. Creamy, nursery food.
8. Chowder. An interesting dish to feed a baby or toddler who is starting to feed themselves with a spoon. Lots of lovely lumps too if they want to switch to using their hands.
10. Potato cakes. Great as an accompaniment to other dishes or as a meal in their own right. Far more interesting and tasty than a frozen potato waffle or 'smiley face' and loads of options to change the flavours, add in vegetables etc.
As is always the case, inevitably you come up with other recipes for potato after posting. Here are a couple more recipes if the cupboards seem bare and you fancy something tasty:
Mini Meatloaves (gluten free)
Tortilla (Spanish Omelette)