Monday, February 1, 2010

Cheap Bastid's Taters on the Cheap

So, last week I’m checking the grocery specials for Stater Brothers. I do that every week as I’m planning the week’s round of grocery shopping and potential meal ideas. London Broil was on special for $1.88/lb and that was good. But, no soda was on 3 for $10 so Carolyn is going to have to ration her remaining Pepsi products (have you noticed a big spike in soda prices lately? Geez, it’s gotten ridiculous and I’m glad that I rarely drink it).

What got my attention was the special for Ore Ida frozen fries. The ad was offering 20 to 32 ounce bags of Ore Ida fries for $2.99--$1.00 off. Now wait a minute. I buy a 10 lb. bag of potatoes for $2.49. That’s a quarter a pound. These frozen fries are $1.50 a pound—on special. Now, if I go by prices at fast food places, their fries are probably more like $8.00 a pound (I’m guessing that the fries on the dollar menu fries are 2 ounces).

I make roasted fries all the time—mainly because they taste better. In my life I’ve tossed lots of frozen fries onto a cookie sheet and popped them in the oven. So, do you want to save some money? Make your own fries. It’s really easy.

These oven fries (and I like the big, wedgie ones) are really tasty. I do them in the oven and I do them in a pan on my grill too. Your basic frozen fry takes about 20 minutes in a 400-425 degree oven. These take 20-30 minutes at 425—and if you cut them the size of regular fries they’ll be done in 20 minutes or less too. There’s 5 minutes of prep rather than the 30 seconds to cut open the bag and dump the frozen fry on the cookie sheet. But…

The “but” is the big thing. I’m talking 25 cents a pound not $1.50. Do the math. If you make these once a week for a year—a pound each time (and that’s conservative) you can save
$65 a year. That’s real money. For us, it’s a week’s groceries—free. Saving money on your food bill isn’t hard—it’s just common sense.

Cheap Bastid’s Oven Fries (for 2)

3 medium potatoes—about 1 lb
A couple of good glugs of cooking oil
Medium bowl
Cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 425. Rinse potatoes well and pick off any “eyes” that are sprouting (I just use my thumbnail). Pat dry with a paper towel. Cut each potato (using a good chef’s knife with a bit of heft) into 4 quarters--lengthwise once, then rotate 90 degrees and lengthwise again. That’s 4 big wedges, then cut each wedge for a total of 8. If you want regular size fries cut the potato into thirds then cut each of those into about 3/8” strips.
Put cut potatoes into the bowl. Pour a couple of good glugs of oil over them—2 to 3 tablespoons worth. Season the potatoes. Use kosher salt or salt and pepper or some garlic powder and dried parsley or salt and cayenne/chipotle for a bit more kick (I like that hint of heat that cayenne gives). Reach into the bowl with your hand and thoroughly mix potatoes so that they have a light coating of the oil. Now, dump the whole shebang onto a cookie sheet (preheat the sheet of you want but it’s not really necessary) and spread into one layer. Pop into the oven for about 12 minutes if you’re making wedges or about 8 if you’re making fries. Remove from oven and flip the fries over then put them back in for another 8-10 minutes until golden or medium brown.

This is going to make wedge or steak fries that have a crisp outside and are puffy and hot inside. They’re delicious. It might take you a couple of times to get your timing down so they come out the way you want them and not overdone. But, you’ll enjoy the taste. If your kids don’t want them because they’re neither MickyDees nor frozen that’s OK! That means more for you. But, they’ll like them too.

And that’s the Cheap Bastid way: Eat Good, Eat Cheap, Be Grateful.

No comments:

Post a Comment