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Let's Do Something Different With Potatoes!

Yummy ideas for turning potatoes into extraordinary side dishes!

Meatloaf and Baked-in Potatoes

Potatoes are very versatile and can be served so many ways! They’re also economical and almost everyone loves them. Here are a few ideas to turn your ordinary potatoes into some fabulous side dishes!

The next time you serve meatloaf, try stuffing the meatloaf with the potatoes. It is very easy, and the kids will love the unexpected surprise. Prepare your meatloaf the way you usually do, and put half of your meat mixture into a loaf pan. Then add your mashed potatoes, and If you choose, a layer of shredded cheese. Then top with the remaining meat mixture and pop into the oven at 350 degrees for about an hour.

Have you ever tried Smashed Potatoes? Grab some sturdy baking potatoes (such as Idaho Potatoes) and bake them. After your baked potatoes have had a chance to cool, cut them in half and scoop out the whites and place in a mixing bowl, being careful not to tear the skin. Once you have a bowl full of potato whites, the fun can begin. Smash up the potato whites using a fork or potato masher, then add some ingredients of your choice. You can use whatever sounds good (get the kids to help with this!). Throw in some cheddar cheese, bacon pieces, chopped green onion, or maybe some salsa. Use your imagination! Once all the ingredients are mixed, use a spoon to fill the potato skins back up. Then you can top with some additional cheese and pop into the broiler for a few minutes.

Fries are an American standard… but they also have a bad reputation when it comes to fat and calories. Making fries in the oven is not only healthier, it also gives you more flavor control. You can use a standard Idaho potatoes, cut into "fry" shaped sticks, or you can get some baby red potatoes and simply cut them in half; once cut, place into a ziplock bag. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Add a little olive oil to the bag and coat the potatoes; then add some spices to the bag and shake to cover potatoes. You can use a packet of ranch dressing and dip mix (use the mix dry); you can add some rosemary and basil for an Italian taste (if you do not have those spices, then just coat with Italian Salad dressing, omitting the earlier coat of olive oil); for a southwest effect add some chipotle and grill seasoning. Once your potatoes are thoroughly coated, place in a foil lined pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray, and bake for about 45 minutes.

Try serving a warm potato salad. Boil 10 baby red potatoes, quartered. Once cooked, place in a large bowl; add ¼ c balsamic vinegar, ¼ c olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix to cover the potatoes. Optional ingredients to choose from include a handful of chopped basil leaves; 5 slices of chopped, cooked bacon; 2 cloves of minced garlic; ¼ c chopped red onion, ¼ c chopped celery and ¼ c chopped red pepper.

About the author
Taurie Lynn writes for Family Food Network. Come subscribe to our free newsletter and join in on family meal discussions on the message boards.

Meatloaf and Baked-in Potatoes

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