Tag Archives: potatoes

Pizza with Yukon Golds, caramelized onions, blue cheese & bacon: $1.36 each

Given the abundance of tomatoes and basil in our garden during the summer, pizza has become sort of a seasonal thing around here. Which is too bad, because having the oven on at high temperatures is a great way to warm up the house, especially if you have an oil-burning furnace like we do. (Being from California where everyone has electricity or natural gas, I originally pictured an oil-burning furnace as some sort of iron-clad Depression-era boiler that looked like it came off a submarine, but was disappointed to discover it looks like any other furnace.) Did you know heating oil costs more than gas right now? Because it does, and this causes me great anxiety any time we turn the thermostat over 60 degrees, so I’m always looking for auxiliary heat sources. Anyhow, this is my attempt at a seasonal pizza for January, using garlic oil in place of tomato sauce and thyme leaves in place of basil. It definitely doesn’t scream “PIZZA!,” but it’s still pretty damn good.

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Carolina pork, apple & sweet potato stew: $1.29/serving

As a big pork-and-fruit fan, I’d been eyeing this recipe in James Villas’ Pig: King of the Southern Table for quite some time. We had a few packages of $1.69/lb. boneless country-style pork ribs left over from a long-ago stock-up trip to Costco, so I knew it was only a matter of time before it made it into the rotation. Now that it’s been snowing for a couple days (I’d include a picture, but today is the only day it seems to be sticking, and so far it’s a relatively un-dramatic dusting), I can’t hold off any longer. A stew was pretty much the only thing that sounded appealing, let alone a stew with pork, apples, AND sweet potatoes, which tastes even better than it sounds. (Don’t be alarmed if it looks soupy in the picture; the liquid is easily adjustable.)

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Two-potato vindaloo: $1.91/serving


Traditional versions of this aromatic Indian stew typically include meat, but this vegetarian interpretation is so flavorful and satisfying I guarantee you won’t be left wanting. It’s a bit time-consuming to make, even by my infamously impractical standards, but oh so worth it on a cold January night. Skip the yogurt condiment and it’s vegan and gluten-free, perfect for a mixed-crowd dinner party or potluck.

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Splurge: sweet-potato chips: 54 cents/serving

I originally made these as a Thanksgiving side dish (albeit on a larger scale) for my sweet-potato-hating extended family. I simply couldn’t fathom a Thanksgiving without sweet potatoes, and this turned out to be an excellent compromise. There wasn’t a crumb left in the basket, and no one believed me that I hadn’t added anything to them but salt. One of my brothers-in-law hates sweet potatoes so much he can’t even stand the notoriously irresistible sweet-potato fries at Burgerville, and he loved these. They’d also be good with a sandwich, as a party appetizer, or just an anytime snack.

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Farfalle with roasted sweet potato & sage: 68 cents/serving

Though we try to plan out all our meals in advance to make sure everything we buy gets used, sometimes things just don’t work out as intended. Given our shopping habits, we have a lot of staples in the house, such as grains and things that can be frozen long term, but not a surplus of fresh or particularly useful items, like produce or cheese—especially near the end of the week. That makes coming up with meals on the fly without having to stop at the grocery store or compromise upcoming dishes a particular challenge. This light but satisfying dinner (it would also make a good lunch) came together with nothing but scrounged items from the yard and basement—a handful of fresh sage leaves, half a package of pasta, some frozen bread crumbs, and a small, elderly sweet potato nearing the end of its useful life.

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Turkey soup with mashed-potato dumplings: 9 cents/serving

Not counting gravy, we had six side dishes this year at Thanksgiving, plus one appetizer. Mercifully, mashed potatoes and cranberry relish were the only sides that weren’t either eaten in their entirety (the latter because I…um…forgot to put it out completely) or taken home by family members.

Of course, mashed potatoes just happen to be the most inconvenient leftover possible. They’re gluey, they’re heavy, they can’t be eaten right out of the container while standing in front of the fridge…yet they have to be used somehow.

I considered biscuits, I considered shepherd’s pie, and I considered some kind of soufflé, but ultimately this idea won out because it consists entirely of leftovers, save for some salt, parsley from the garden, and less than a cup of flour.

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Sweet potato, corn & jalapeño bisque: 59 cents/serving

You may have noticed that sweet potatoes are on sale right about now. I certainly did, which is why I picked up a few extra while shopping for Thanksgiving. I’ve made a lot of sweet-potato-based soups in the past (sweet potato and regular potato, sweet potato and lentil, sweet potato and squash…), but this one—adapted from one I saw a long time ago in The New York Times—is by far my favorite. It’s spicy and sweet, with little bursts of flavor from the pieces of whole corn. You could even cook another jalapeño separately and serve sprinkled over the top if you want it really hot. It’s not only simple and quick enough to make the week of Thanksgiving, it would also make a wonderful Thanksgiving first course.

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White beans & cabbage: 71 cents/serving

Aside from the time it takes to cook the beans—and no one’s going to come arrest you if you used canned, although it certainly will no longer cost 71 cents a serving—this dish takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish. There’s something wonderfully illicit and street-food-ish about the combination of crispy potatoes and salty cheese; in fact, the whole dish tastes exponentially less healthy than it actually is. Which is somewhat ironic given that the recipe is adapted from Heidi Swanson’s “Super-Natural Every Day,” a healthier-than-healthy book if ever there was one.

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Maple-Dijon roasted sweet potatoes, apples & sausages: $1.51/serving

I offer little by way of explanation for the quality of this photo, other than to say the accompanying audio track, if it were to exist, would consist of me shrieking hysterically after the last clean cooking utensil in the entire house had just fallen into a crack between the oven and the counter. To put it mildly, the past few days have not been going very well for me. But instead of running out to McDonald’s, here I am, BY GOD trying to throw something—anything—together to create some semblance of a home-cooked meal for under $2 a serving. Sincere apologies to Frugal Feeding, whose beautiful roasted celebration squash and sausage dish served as something of an inspiration.

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Potato gnocchi with sage & brown butter: 63 cents/serving

I’m not going to sugarcoat it—making good gnocchi is HARD. No matter how much of an expert you think you are, it doesn’t take much to overwork the dough, or keep it so wet that instead of light, delicate pillows you get dense, gummy cubes.

I’m also not going to pretend that these are the most perfect gnocchi to ever grace a plate outside of a professional restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not terrible…given that I’ve only been cooking in earnest for about two years and don’t have a drop of Italian blood in my body, they’re actually pretty good. But real Italians, the kind who believe there is only one way to make gnocchi—their way—might want to just pass this post on by.

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