If all else fails: potatoes

If all else fails: potatoes

Posted by The Wares Team on 7th May 2020

There can be no denying that the past few weeks have forced every household in the country to make changes that were unimaginable even at the start of the year. Many of us are working from home or have been furloughed from our jobs, some are self-isolating for at least 12 weeks, and all of us are getting used to a new way of shopping, either switching to home deliveries or trying to do one big shop a week.

Meal plans are becoming the new normal, as families spend more time thinking about the food they eat and try to make their grocery shopping go a lot further. No doubt many of us have had to rustle up a meal out of unusual ingredients, having found ourselves running out of some store cupboard essential or other, and unable to simply pop to the shops to replace it.

In today’s blog post, we thought we’d take a look at something of a culinary lifesaver - the humble potato. By having a big bag of potatoes in store at all times, you can guarantee to be able to pull together a tasty, nutritious and balanced meal that doesn’t stretch the budget.

Potatoes for dinner

It’s easy to think that potatoes are a bit dull and dreary, but if you believe that, you need to think again! It’s time to see potatoes as the base on which to build a fabulous meal. Let’s start with the humble baked potato...how often do you serve these with baked beans or cheese, or perhaps both? Tasty though those fillings may be, it’s easy to get a lot more creative with baked potatoes.

Try them topped with strips of juicy frying steak, onions and Swiss cheese, for example, or go veggie for the evening with a range of grilled vegetables drizzled in olive oil. Think red and yellow peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, thin strips of courgette and a little bit of spring onion. How delicious does that sound?

Potato wedges are another great idea, and these are likely to go down well with kids as well as adult family members. Try loading them with good quality bacon, or grate some Parmesan on them, then sprinkle with paprika and crisp up in a hot oven. Potato wedges are great for dipping too, so make a batch and have an informal supper with lots of tasty dips, such as salsa, yoghurt mint sauce or hummus.

Potatoes for lunch

Whilst you might not want to sit down at lunchtime and scoff a big, loaded baked potato, there are still ways to incorporate those inexpensive and versatile spuds into a lunchtime treat. How about making a big batch of potato salad for example? Chop and boil some potatoes and then mix with mayonnaise, pepper, chopped spring onion and chopped hard-boiled egg. If you make more than you need, you can stop it drying out by storing it in glass jars in the fridge, so you have plenty to dip into over the next couple of days or so.

Another fabulous potato snack is crisps - and how many times during lockdown have you wished you had a bag in the cupboard, ready to graze on? What a lot of people don’t realise is that homemade crisps are easy to make and they taste sensational. This is a great idea to get the kids involved in a kitchen project, as they’ll be keen to learn once they know what you’re planning to make. You can make these by frying them in oil, or by baking them in the oven, so if you do involve your kids, you may want to choose the oven-baked option to minimise the risks involved.

Not forgetting soup

Of course, we couldn’t talk about how versatile potatoes are without talking about soup. Quick to make, nutritious and filling and a real comfort food for all the family, soup is something we should all make more often. And potatoes are perfect as a base for any type of soup, giving it just the right degree of thickness. Potato and leek is the obvious choice to get started with, but why not try a fancy cream of potato soup, adding milk, pepper, herbs, celery, mustard seed and a splash of Worcestershire sauce, for a surprisingly elegant taste?

You can also go experimental with your soup, adding spices from your favourite style of food. If you love Indian food, try adding Indian spices to your basic soup recipe. Prefer Thai food? Add coconut milk and a spoonful or two of Thai green curry paste. Again, you can use glass jars to store your soup in the fridge, to spread it out over several days.

Have you been getting creative with your meal planning and cooking during lockdown? Have you found some new favourite dishes, or invented your own exciting recipes? Please feel free to share your ideas and experiences with us, and we’ll share them with our friends and followers. Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!