I think that the reason people use frozen potatoes is because they think washing, peeling, and cubing potatoes is a lot of work. Let me say that it really isn’t. If you need some convincing that it really is worth your time to prepare your own potatoes, let’s start by looking at some numbers. I went to the grocery store this afternoon and checked the price of frozen potatoes. The name brand was on sale for $3.69 for a 38 oz. bag (9.7 cents/oz.). The store brand was also on sale and was quite a bit cheaper than the name brand. It was “only” $2.50 for 32 ounces (7.8 cents/oz.). However, last week I bought a 10-lb bag of Russet potatoes for 97 cents – the price I typically pay for potatoes (0.6 cents/oz. – notice, that’s not 6 cents/oz., that’s o.6 cents/oz.). The store brand frozen potatoes cost 13 times as much as fresh potatoes, and the name brand frozen potatoes cost 16 times as much as fresh potatoes!!! That’s enough to make me stop and think before I throw the bag of frozen potatoes into my shopping cart!
Now, some of you may be thinking, “Yes. The 10-lb bag of potatoes may be a lot cheaper, but my time is more valuable than that.” Let me challenge you by telling you that it really doesn’t take very long to peel and cube potatoes, and cooking them takes about the same amount of time. It only took me 10 minutes, maximum, to prepare the potatoes for the recipe below.
If you’re not sure how to quickly cube potatoes, here is how I do it. Slice the potato lengthwise.
Your slices should look like this:With the potato slices stacked, slice into long, thin strips (like French fries). Turn the “French fries” a quarter turn and cube. Don't be discouraged if it does take a little longer the first couple of times. The more you do it, the easier it becomes, and the less time it will take you to do it.
3 Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1-2 Tbsp oil
¼ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat 1-2 tablespoons oil in a frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add potatoes. Make sure to stir the potatoes occasionally. You want to make sure they don’t burn, but you also want them to brown and get a bit crispy, so don’t stir them constantly. Once the potatoes are tender, remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika, adjusting the amounts to suit your personal preference.
One of my favorite things to make with potatoes is breakfast burritos. They’re easy, tasty, and inexpensive.
1 batch breakfast potatoes
½ each green bell pepper and small onion, chopped and sautéed
3 eggs, scrambled (I like to add ½ to 1 tsp Montreal steak seasoning into my eggs)
¼ lb breakfast sausage, thoroughly cooked
Burrito toppings (cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa, hot sauce, ketchup, etc.)
Place desired ingredients on tortilla and wrap into a burrito. Eat. I said it was easy!
On a different, yet related note, let me tell you that my favorite way to heat tortillas is on the stove. I used to wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave them, but my wonderful sister has enlightened me to a much better way to heat tortillas. Now I heat them in a skillet on the stove over medium to medium-high heat until they’re warm and soft. Try it sometime. I doubt you’ll ever go back to heating them in the microwave!
Ok, let’s get back to the breakfast burritos. Here’s the cost breakdown, give or take a few cents.
- Potatoes: $0.13
- Bell Pepper: $0.30
- Onion: $0.40
- Eggs: $0.30
- Sausage: $0.50
- Tortillas: $0.38
- Toppings (cheese, ketchup, hot sauce): $0.50
For $2.51 (the cost of the potatoes alone, had I bought the frozen ones), my husband and I (and our toddler) were able to eat dinner, plus we have enough leftovers for both of us to have lunch tomorrow. That’s not a bad price for two meals for two adults! And for those of you wondering what to do with the other 8½ lbs of potatoes you now have sitting around your house, rest assured, there will be plenty of potato ideas coming your way!