Sunday, October 10, 2010

Easy Oven Fries


Today I faced the same dilemma many of us face on many nights: eat out or eat in.  After a busy week, a night out at a restaurant can be a good break and saves some cooking and cleaning up time so there's more time for fun.  But then there's the EXTREMELY inflated price of restaurant food, and the fact that unless you're going to a unique or upscale restaurant, you're getting an added-fat, added-sodium, added-preservative version of things you usually cook at home.  Not to mention that for  those of us with little ones it means a trip, which in turn means rounding up bottles, diapers, wipes, bibs, baby this, baby that.  It's good for every now and then but it can be more trouble than it's worth.  I started out sending Shaheid to the store for a pizza, and ended up whipping up these darn tasty baked fries with a burger for our Saturday night fare.  The burger is just a 96/4 patty with 2% sharp cheddar cheese slice, grilled onions, pickles, lettuce and tomato on a whole wheat roll.  But the fries....the fries are the real star here.  Sure, they're not as crispy as deep fried potatoes, but what could be more flavorful than crispy potatoes with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a pinch of salt that's just enough so that the flavors pop in your mouth?  All I know is that when I was eating these fries, I didn't care to know.

I used the microwave to prep the potatoes and then finish them in the oven, which makes the whole thing about 20-30 minutes from start to finish.  If you're really in a rush, you can broil them instead of baking them but you better watch out for the broiler monster, who distracts you from watching your foods until you smell the distinct smoky smell of BURNT.  They're cheapier than fast food or frozen fries, plus they taste better and you can make them in about the same amount of time as you'd make some of their flash-fried, evil step-cousins.  Potatoes are cheap, and salt and olive oil are staples, so it's practically free :)  These fries + DVR'd Grey's Anatomy = Mommy time!  You'll come back to these time and time again.  Just try not to make it the same day :)

UPDATE: I tested these fries again, and found that a hot pan makes for a bit of extra crispy-ness so you can put your baking sheet in the oven while it is preheating for added crunch.  And unless you're in a super time crunch, don't skip the baking because it removes moisture from the potato which also adds to the crisp.  Also, the "fries" won't be super brown but I promise you they will be crispy!

Easy Oven Fries
Prep time: 7 minutes  Cook time: 40 minutes
Cost $1.87     Servings: 4 
3 pounds potatoes
1/4 cup water
olive oil
kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Rinse and cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. 
Place the pieces in a microwave safe bowl with 1/4 cup of water and cover with plastic wrap, cook on high for 8 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender but not completely cooked through.
Drain the potatoes and toss with olive oil to coat.  
Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the fries are crispy.  Use a spatula to toss the fries halfway through.Garnish with kosher salt while hot.



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