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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Guilt-Free Potato Chips

Can you easily eat an entire bag of potato chips? I know that I can! Here's how I trim some of the fat and make them at home.

French fries, potato chips, mashed potatoes...I haven't met a potato that I didn't like. Growing up, my Dad always used to make what he called "Silver Dollar" fries. They were basically just what the name implied: potatoes, roughly the size of a silver dollar, fried up and salted. Even though the only difference between those and regular french fries were the size and shape, I preferred the Silver Dollar fries so much more. Of course, that was back when I was a kid and I didn't really give too much thought to calories, fat or how food was prepared. Nowadays, as much as I love fried food, I also look for alternative, more healthy ways to cook. If you are like me and love chips, then you have to check out this super easy, much healthier way to prepare them.

Here's what you'll need to serve 2-3 people as a side:

1 lb. potatoes
Cooking spray
Salt, or another seasoning of your choice 

The key to the tastiest chips is to start with high-quality potatoes, preferably ones that are a uniform size. I usually use the ones that I get in my CSA box, and these happened to be new potatoes. You could also use Yukon Gold. Since I used a combination from two week's of boxes my potatoes were not the same size, and it just makes it a bit more difficult when trying to figure out cooking times. But, you can improvise and just watch them more closely.

First, either using a mandolin or a sharp knife, you want to cut them into thin slices, a about a millimeter thick.

Throw the sliced potatoes into a colander, and give them a quick rinse. Then pat most of the excess water off using a paper towel.

Next, and here is where the uniformity comes in, lay them on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. If your circles are not the same size, I find it helpful to group similar sizes together as the smaller ones will need less cooking time.

Give the potatoes another spray with cooking spray, and then liberally sprinkle them with salt. A coarse salt is best. You can add more or less, depending on your taste or tolerance for salt. I have also used some other spice in place of, or in addition to salt. I have tried dill, cheddar cheese sprinkles and chili powder. Experiment! Try different seasonings and see what you like.

After your potatoes are sprayed and seasoned, pop them into a 350 degree oven and sit back and wait, but keep your eye on them.

After about 10 minutes, depending on the size, they will start to crisp and brown. When they turn a golden brown, flip them and pop them back into the oven. You don't need to respray or add more seasoning (unless you want to!).

The potatoes will cook for another 10 minutes or so, but watch them closely so that they don't burn. if you have some potatoes that are smaller than the rest, you'll need to take these out earlier. In some cases, they don't even need to be flipped. I like to have a mixture of very crispy brown ones and some soft golden ones. This way, I feel like I have both chips and french fries.

Even though they are not fried, they are still super crisp and very robust.  They are great to serve with burgers, sandwiches, or even pork chops (as we did one night for dinner).


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