No matter what time of year it is, potatoes are always an excellent staple to have in your household. Wait until they go on sale at your local grocery store and stock up. Store your potatoes in a dark, dry area to prevent the "eyes" from sprouting and they will last longer. The best reason for having potatoes on hand is that they are extremely versatile as well as filling. For example, a simple side dish to make (and perhaps the most common) is mashed or creamed potatoes.
Although the actual preparation of the potatoes can be time consuming with the peeling, and the boiling and the mashing. it is definitely worth the time since real mashed potatoes taste so much better than the boxed variety. To make perfect mashed potatoes every time, simply follow this recipe which has been passed down in my family for generations. Peel and boil about eight to ten medium sized potatoes. Once tender, mash with a potato masher, a blender (or a hand held mixer, which I find much faster). Mix in half to one whole stick of margarine and approximately one cup of milk.
The amount of milk you add may vary depending on the consistency you like of your mashed potatoes. My great grandmother has in her recipe, "Add a palmful of salt." (I found that about 4 tbsp equaled her "palmful.") You can also add variety to your mashed potatoes by adding a little chicken broth instead of milk to give your mashed potatoes added flavor without the salt.
You could also mix in sour cream and chives or go Mexican and mix in a little hot chili pepper. Truly a versatile side dish. Another quick and easy potato side dish is "Country Potato Wedges.
" Simply slice six to eight medium potatoes into quarters. Place a half cup of vegetable or olive oil and one packet of onion soup mix into a plastic storage bag (like a Ziploc). Toss the potato wedges in the bag with the seasonings and then place them on a cookie sheet. It might be a good idea to spray the cookie sheet with a little cooking spray to prevent the wedges from sticking. Bake the wedges in the oven on 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until you can pierce them with a fork easily.
Lastly, and probably the easiest way to fix potatoes quickly, simply place six to eight medium potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until you can pierce them with a fork easily. Slit the top of the potato once it is cooked and fluff the whites with a fork gently. You can top your baked potatoes with the usual butter and sour cream. You can also try a little variety by adding chopped chicken and shredded cheddar cheese on top or use some spinach and parmesan cheese. The topping possibilities for your average baked potato and the additions you can create for your mashed potatoes truly make this pantry staple the MOST versatile side dish in the kitchen!.
Della Franklin is a business owner, successful IT Systems Manager & Internet Marketer. She counts 10 years experience as a teacher as well as being a Certified Network Engineer, cook, wife & mother. See more about her at http://www.foodielooksatfood.com or http://www.dogwoodsquare.com