This post has been a long time coming as the kids head back to school and we finish traveling for the summer. Most of the summer travel has been for work purposes since I am also a travel writer. I’m very thankful for having had the opportunity to try Tasteful Selections brand of bagged potatoes and our family has been very creative in trying to come up with simple side dishes that are quick during the week but also tasty. That can be a very extremely difficult task. My mom has so far been using the potatoes in a lot of stir fries with summer sausage and onions. While these are great side dishes from Grandma, I’m on another mission to be a bit more creative, introduce additional toppings and spices to the kids, and on some days eat with reduced fat and sodium. Some of the side dish ideas I created with the Tasteful Selections Honey Gold potatoes were dishes created out of necessity. Rather than just serving the potatoes in a boring way with salt and pepper I decided to add some popular mix-ins in order to control portions and to ensure the kids would eat it. This way of cooking creates #RescuedMoments and saves time if you are a busy parent. That is a difficult task for a single mom to do . . . Creating a dish that is not just tasty but doesn’t produce a lot of wasted food.
Many of the sides I create start out in the same way. Either the potatoes are boiled, roasted and then set aside for cooking later or cooked in the crockpot so they are ready when I get home. Here are a few mix-ins and ideas that I use for a quick side dish that is filling for whatever main item we have at dinner.
Everything on it Baked Potato Bar
For this simple side dish, we just cook the potatoes according to the directions on the package. If the Honey Gold potatoes are the #3 size or larger I do cut them up into quarters before cooking. Once the potatoes are done, I just set up dishes for baked potato toppings. Rather than everyone arguing about what they want on theirs, they can choose their toppings. They just scoop up a serving of cooked potatoes and then top their potatoes with all of their fixings. From light sour cream, shredded cheese, bacon bits, green onions or scallions, or just simple butter everyone can easily create the side dish they want.
If you are serving this at a party, you can create a baked potato bar and cook up a batch of the Tasteful Selections Honey Gold and serve. What’s great about doing it this way is that you can manage how big or small of a serving based upon the spoon you use. This is important in my household as we manage calories. About 4 or 5 Tasteful Selections Honeygold potatoes are approximately 90 calories for the potatoes alone. That’s a good serving size for a side dish and probably way more than what we would eat for a side. If you created a baked potato from a large russet, the calories would make a difference. Just think in terms of a small baked potato to extra-large. Small (1-3/4″ to 2-1/2″ diameter): 150 calories, Medium (2-1/4″ to 3-1/4″): 190 calories, Large (3″ to 4-1/4″): 325 calories, Extra-large (4-1/2″ to 6″): 512 calories. That’s why some baked potatoes are big enough to be entrée potatoes.
Other side dish adds in that I particularly enjoy include the following:
Roasted tomato salsa and corn
Prepare potatoes according to the directions. For a simple roasted tomato salsa with corn you can use store bought and add corn into the salsa or make your own. You can use fresh but I love the taste of roasted tomato salsa or pico as we like to call it here in Texas. I usually save this in a bowl in the refrigerator or freeze it. Here is my favorite recipe:
6 plum tomatoes
2 large jalapenos
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
½ teaspoon of salt
½ white onion chopped
Chopped cilantro – 1/3 cup
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar (optional)
The broiler method: Lay the tomatoes, onions, garlic and peppers on a baking sheet and place about 4 inches below a very hot broiler. Roast until blistered and blackened on one side, about 6 minutes; with a spoon or pair of tongs, flip the tomatoes and roast on the other side. Take out of the broiler and cool on top of the stove.
In a food processor grind up the chiles, onion, garlic and salt until there is a fine paste. Then Add the tomatoes and pulse a few times until you have a coarse-textured puree. Transfer the salsa to a serving bowl, and stir in any reserved tomato juices. Once complete add the cilantro and vinegar. You can also add more water to thin it out. Add salt if necessary.
3. Roast ears of corn and then shave off of cob with a knife. You can add the corn to the salsa or keep it on the side.
4. Spoon salsa and corn directly over the potatoes
Broccoli Cheese and Avocado
This simple mix in includes ingredients my kids enjoy the most. Broccoli, cheese and avocado and is so simple to make as a topping for your potatoes. You can either use frozen or fresh broccoli florets cut up and cook according to your preferred method. If you are time constrained like most single mothers are I recommend steamer bags or containers in the microwave. As for the cheese you can use any cheese you like such as cheddar or parmesan and to keep it healthy use a reduced fat version. I added avocado as a healthy fat and something I eat to help with decreasing my LDL cholesterol levels. Plus the kids get to eat more broccoli and veggies.
What are some of your favorite easy go to weeknight side dishes? How would you prepare you own potato side dishes? What are ways you create #RescuedMoments?
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Tasteful Selections but this recipe is my own and free to be used by Tasteful Selections. All opinions are 100% my own.