Few vegetables are as versatile and tasty as the potato. Baked, fried, sauteed, or Hasselback, there are so many ways to make a meal satisfying with potatoes -- search thousands of potato recipes on Yummly for the one to round out your meal…
Baked potatoes are the classic side to pair with a juicy steak, and it's not tricky to get them to cook up the way they do in a steakhouse. For the ideal texture, they should cook to an internal temperature of 205 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, the interior should crumble nicely with a fork so you can mix it well with butter and sour cream for that steakhouse experience. Traditionally, baked potatoes are brushed with vegetable or olive oil before being wrapped in aluminum foil. If that's how you prefer to bake your potatoes, remember to remove the foil as soon as possible and never store leftover potatoes with the aluminum on the potato. With the foil, the potato can develop botulism and will not be safe to eat.
While sweet potatoes have a different flavor than russet potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes, they're very versatile as well. For decades, you'd only see them on the Thanksgiving table in the form of sweet potato casserole under a layer of marshmallows or a pecan crumble, but cooks have gotten creative with these tubers in the last few years. Baked sweet potato fries, recipe catalogs, but you can find side dishes like Moroccan stuffed sweet potatoes or crispy rosemary sweet potatoes. You can even find them as vegetarian or vegan main dishes like sweet potato fajitas or sweet potato gnocchi.
Americans love their mashed potatoes! As simple as a dish as it is, there are a number of ways to make them. Peel them, cut them, and throw them in the slow cooker for a set-it-and-forget-it side. For more immediate meals, peel them (or leave the skins on for more nutrition), cut them and boil them to be mashed. You can use a ricer or potato masher to break down a bunch of potatoes or use a stand mixer. For smaller batches, you can mash them with a fork or whisk. The one thing you have to remember it not to overmix them -- it will leave you with gummy potatoes instead of the fluffy potatoes you were expecting.
For easy meals, you can't go wrong with roasted potatoes. Make sure to scrub them down before you cut them, spread them out on a sheet pan, drizzle them with olive oil and pop them in the oven for twenty minutes. Seasoned with kosher salt and black pepper for simple flavors, or sprinkle them with parmesan cheese and Italian seasonings like oregano and marjoram or if you want Mexican flavors, dust them with cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. You can roast them by themselves or make them part of a sheet pan dinner -- they do well with most meats because you can control their cook time by cutting them to a size that matches the cook time for fish, chicken, beef, or pork.
Scalloped potatoes or potatoes au gratin is the OG casserole. A basic recipe layers thinly sliced potatoes, cheddar cheese, and sliced onions in heavy cream, but there are many variations. You can swap out the cheddar for a hard cheese like gruyere or parmesan to give it a deeper flavor. You can add vegetables like mushrooms, or you can trade the onions for leeks to mix things up. Additionally, you're not restricted to a casserole dish to bake your potatoes in the oven. They can be cooked in a skillet, slow cooker, pressure cooker, or however works best for you for the ultimate comfort food.
Potato casseroles aren't limited to scalloped potatoes -- there are many delicious recipes for cutting up potatoes and bake them to make a meal. Most of them involve cheese, but there are a few that rely on spices to make them a unique side dish. Some include vegetables like broccoli or corn to double up on the nutrition while others call for meat like bacon or ground beef. In addition to lunch and dinner recipes, potato casseroles make great breakfast dishes in the form of hashbrown casseroles. In the oven or a slow cooker, with eggs or without, there's a breakfast potato casserole recipe for you to enjoy.
Twice Baked Potatoes
If a regular baked potato isn't delicious enough for you, perhaps you should try a twice baked potato. Basically, you're adding two steps to a baked potato recipe, but it's worth the extra work. It involves thoroughly cooking a regular baked potato, scooping out the interior to mix it with cheese, salt, and whatever other ingredients the recipe calls for and then putting the mixture back into the potato skin to bake it again. They can be made with or without vegetables, and you can add bacon or ham if you want some extra protein. If you haven't made twice baked potatoes before, now's the time to try them. You won't regret it.
Garlic potatoes can make any meal special, but you can make them in a variety of ways. Whatever type of potato you have on hand, it can be turned into garlic potatoes, but new potatoes and fingerlings make great garlic potatoes for a weeknight meal or a dinner party. Prep time is minimal for small potatoes because they only need to be halved if they need to be cut up at all. Toss them in the slow cooker with minced garlic, and they're ready in a few hours. Garlic smashed potatoes require a bit more effort, but they're crispy, garlicky, and make an elegant side for roast chicken or baked salmon.
Potato Cooking Tips
Potatoes are very easy to cook, but they do have a few quirks, and if you've never encountered them, they can throw you off. For instance, if you're doing meal planning for the week and you want to get ahead by cutting up the potatoes, you should cook them immediately or store them in water. When raw potatoes are exposed to the air, they oxidize and turn pink. They're safe to eat if they're pink, but they're not pleasant to look at. Two other things that were previously mentioned but should be reiterated is not to overmix mashed potatoes to prevent them from getting gummy, and if you cook potatoes in foil, don't refrigerate the leftover potatoes in the foil to prevent them from developing botulism.
Potatoes make awesome leftovers. If you made too many baked or mashed potatoes, you can easily work them into your weekly meal plan as casseroles or potato pancakes. The potato is a forgiving vegetable, and you can find thousands of recipes on Yummly to make whatever you're in the mood for.