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Three affordable ways to jazz up a potato

Mashed, boiled, baked, or fried, potatoes constitute a food group for most college students. As the chameleons of the vegetable family, potatoes take on the taste of the other ingredients or spices in the dish. You can grab almost anything from your pantry and throw it into a dish with potatoes and it’s guaranteed to be delicious. There are millions of unique ways to cook this simple vegetable and the best thing is that potatoes won’t break your grocery budget for the week because you can make some amazing dishes for under $10. To save even more money, you can always “borrow” some of the ingredients from you friendly local dining hall or unsuspecting neighbor.

Potato chips

Potato Chips ~ $8

Russet Potato – $1.09

Extra Light Extra Virgin Olive Oil – $4.39

Land O’Lakes Butter made w/ Olive Oil – $2.39

Salt and pepper to taste

We have all experienced those late night cravings for potato chips. Sometimes all you are thinking about while cramming for that test is the taste of a salty, crispy chip melting in your mouth. When the craving strikes, just slice up a potato, cover it in some olive oil, butter, salt and pepper, and pop it in the oven. 40 minutes later you have a delicious snack that not only doesn’t break the bank, but doesn’t set your calorie count back for the week. Although these chips are not as crispy as commercial potato chips, they retain the light fluffy texture of the potato that makes you feel full longer and ensures that you won’t break into the snack drawer and gulf down a whole bag of Doritos or Lays later in the night.

Pizza Potato

Pizza Potatoes ~ $5

Russet Potato – $1.09

Prego Marinara Sauce – $1.69

Mozzarella Cheese (shredded) – $2.99

No pizza dough? No problem! This unique combination of two of America’s favorite dishes, a baked potato and a pizza, hits the sweet spot for potato and cheese lovers a like. Microwave a potato until it is tender (about 10 minutes) and after slicing it in half, hollow out the inside. Fill the potato with marinara and sprinkle it with mozzarella cheese. Another 15 minutes in the oven, and you have a hand-sized pizza without the fuss of making or buying dough. The great thing about this dish is you can top it with whatever you like: pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, scallions, or even pineapples if you are a fan of Hawaiian pizza. For a little over $5 you have a perfect light meal or quick snack.

Idaho Sunrise

Idaho Sunrise Twice-baked Potatoes ~ $8

Russet Potato – $1.09

Organic Eggs – $2.79

Sargento Mexican Blend Cheese (Shredded) – $2.99

Scallions – $0.99

Eggs and potatoes are a match made in heaven. An Idaho Sunrise Potato takes this pairing to a whole new level: an egg baked inside a potato. The main draw-back of this recipe is that it calls for a twice baked potato, so it can be more time consuming, but the taste makes it all worth it. Better yet, you can bake an extra potato when you make the pizza potatoes for dinner and just save it for breakfast the next morning. Just crack an egg into your baked and hollowed out potato and top it with cheese and whatever toppings your heart desires. The scallions added another dimension of flavor to the eggs, but other herbs like parsley or chives work well, or even bacon to round out your breakfast. The eggs cooked perfectly in the oven, remaining soft and fluffy. The yolk oozes out when you cut into the potato and makes for a delicious and colorful plate.

*A note on cooking potatoes: Be sure to cut a slit or two when baking or microwaving a potato to avoid the potato exploding while it’s cooking.

-Anushi Shah

Cover photo source.

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