Easy, filling and tasty, here’s a great recipe for the wrongly maligned tuber
The lowly potato, that inexpensive, readily available, and easy-to-store tuber, has gotten a bad rap. Most of us love potatoes, especially turned into silky mashed potatoes, crispy french fries, creamy potato salad, and, for many, potato pancakes eaten during the festival of Hanukkah. But ask almost anyone if potatoes are good for you and they’ll say, “Not really and they’re fattening.”
Neither of those facts is true. Potatoes, which experts estimate have been cultivated and eaten by humans for 100,000 years, contain vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals, plant chemicals with disease-protective properties. In fact, one medium-size potato (skin on) provides 45 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, 18 percent of potassium, 10 percent of vitamin B-6, and trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. And some health experts say the indigestible part of the potato offers protection against colon cancer, improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, increases satiety and may even reduce fat storage.
As for the fattening myth: A 5-ounce potato contains only 110 calories. It’s not the potato that adds calories; it’s the fat we fry them in and the butter, sour cream, bacon and other goodies we pile on potatoes that ups the fat and calories.
For RVers, potatoes are inexpensive and store well in a dark, cool cupboard. Pop them in the microwave (or oven) and add your favorite toppings for a hearty meal. Or boil and eat with a little butter or add to salads, scrambles, frittatas, soups and more. And you can visit museums dedicated to the potato in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and in Blackfoot, Idaho.
Here’s a recipe for potato lasagna from Canada’s Prince Edward Island (PEI). The island is famous for growing several varieties, including russets, and the thinner-skinned round whites, reds, yellows and blues. Adding potatoes allows you to cut the amount of meat (and fat) and gives this dish a satisfying chewiness. Using prepared marinara sauce makes preparation easy. This dish tastes even better the second day.
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- 1 pound ground beef
- 6 cups potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ¼ cup green pepper, chopped
- 1½ cups mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups pasta sauce
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
- ½ cup low-fat Mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brown ground beef with onion, mushrooms, green pepper and garlic.
Add pasta sauce and oregano and cook until heated through. Arrange half the potato slices in a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spread with half the beef mixture, and sprinkle with half of the Parmesan cheese.
Layer the remaining potato slices and cover with the rest of the beef mixture.
Bake covered, until potatoes are tender, approximately 65 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses and bake uncovered for 5 more minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
- Variations: Add grated carrots and/or chopped broccoli florets to sauce.
- Serves 8