While spending summer days alone at home, between bouts of trying to kill each other, my sister and I would often spend time creating stupid videos that our parents tactfully refused to watch when they came home (good move), playing with the farm cats outdoors and pretending to be world famous chefs as we prepared the few lunches we knew how to make.
Generally, lunch consisted of a sandwich, a bowl of canned soup, boxed macaroni and cheese or baked potatoes from the microwave, but that didn’t stop us from boldly describing our flavor choices as we mixed orange powder into our freshly boiled noodles.
I’ve always loved a good baked potato, and especially on cold days like we’ve been having, cutting into a hot potato and watching the steam escape makes for a comforting meal.
This past week, I had several leftover baked potatoes in our fridge, and I decided to do something more interesting with them than just warming them back up in the oven.
Apparently, a lot of diners use their leftover baked potatoes to make home fries, which explains why diner home fries are so delicious.
To get those same awesome flavors at home, I tried a recipe from “The Creekside Cook.” You can find it at http://thecreeksidecook.com /twice-baked-oven-home-fries/#_a5y_p=1845571. I didn’t change much, but I did decide to take out the amounts for the spices. I’d recommend just giving a good sprinkling of each. If you’re nervous and want to measure, I’d say you should start with about 1/4 teaspoon of each and then bump it up from there if you want more flavor.
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Two to four leftover baked potatoes
1 tablespoon butter or oil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
onion powder, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
paprika, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with an oven-safe skillet already in the oven (I used my 12-inch cast iron pan).
Cut your baked potatoes into about one-inch cubes. Remove the skins if you like (I left them on, because I love a crispy potato skin).
Once the oven is done preheating, carefully remove your pan and melt/heat up your butter or oil and swirl it to coat the pan.
Add the potatoes, stir them around a bit to distribute the butter/oil, and get them in as much of a single layer as possible.
Pop them in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and turn the potatoes so that they evenly brown and pop them back in the oven for another 10 minutes. (Keep an eye on them so they don’t over-brown.)
After the second time in the oven, if they still need some browning time, give them another stir and let them go another five minutes or so at a time until you’re happy with the color on them.
Once they’re browned to your liking, pull them from the oven and stir in the spices to your taste (throw in some cayenne, too, if you like things spicy). Let the potatoes hang out in the pan for just a moment to let the heat release some of the spices’ aroma and then serve.
We ate these for brunch over the weekend with over-easy eggs and hot coffee. It was a good way to warm up.
So if you decide to bake up some potatoes one of these cold evenings for dinner, I’d recommend tossing in a couple extra for home fries later in the week.
Just be sure to really sell your chef skills while you’re making them. I’d recommend a poorly done French accent. It seems to help.
Lindsey Young is managing editor of The Clarion, the Kansas Publishing Ventures newspaper in Andale. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.