Saturday, May 22, 2010

Low Fat Hashbrowns . . . With Butter! Fresh and Dehydrated Potatoes

I just opened this up to finish it and found a blank page.  No wonder I didn't get it posted.

Growing up and most of my adult life, I made hash browns by frying them in half a stick of margarine in a ten inch skillet.  Yummy, yes, BUT a real killer, literally.   I stopped all that 50 lbs. ago and still haven't gained it back.

One of my favorite hobbies is now to take old favorites and making them healthy while still keeping the yummy.  This is how I plan to get the next 30 lbs. off and be healthy again!!

Here's what you'll need:

  • 6 - 8 oz. potato
  • Butter flavored pan spray
  • 1/2 t. to 1 t. butter
  • salt, pepper, seasoned salt, or spices blends that you like.  I have used Cajun, Mexican,  various Mrs. Dashes and Spike. 

Now let's talk spuds.  Not all of them are created equally and can be prepped in various ways.

Russets --  our good old stand-by that we have all grown up with.  Peel them, grate them and go to town. If you want the nutrients that are concentrated just under the skins, scrub them good.  I keep a brush in my kitchen just for scrubbing veggies in my kitchen.  Does that seem like an obvious point?  I caught one of my kids scrubbing away one day with the brush that I used on dirty dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.  YUCK!  So I now have a little tub label "veggies".  It holds a variety of cleaning tools that I still run through the dishwasher frequently for food safety sake.  If I want the russet skins to be a little less "woody", I use the dark green scrubber on it.  You can tell the one on the left is a little lighter from being scrubbed this way.  Makes it a lot more palatable, if you get my drift.  If you really that woody texture, just use the brush.

Golden, Yukon, Red and other thin skinned potatoes.  ---  I love these varieties, however,  occasionally, I have found that the golden and yukon can make pretty mushy hash browns. I believe it was when they were very wet for some reason. Now, if there seems a lot of water, I blot them with a paper towel or to be thrifty, I use one of my clean up rags that has been bleached.  I never peel them, just scrub them good with a brush and check for spots that are really weird.

Dehydrated Potatoes  ------ I have found that the dehydrated potatoes usually double in size when soaked in water.  I think this is one of the best additions for your long shelf life food storage.  If using shredded style, just rehydrate in your fridge the night before or earlier in the day if using them for dinner.  If you are using slices or dices, you will enjoy them better if you steam them for a few minutes after re-hydrating them and before frying them in your skillet.  I have found that if you don't steam them first, they tend to turn very chewy and tough.  Just not the texture and yumminess we are love to eating.

Time to shred ---  I have found that using a course grater makes them better.  A fine grater makes them cook into more of a solid mass.  If you want them to make a kind of patty with all the shreds melding together, use the finer one.  Trim the bad spots and shred.

1.  Give the pan a good coat of pan spray.  When it is good and warmed up, put in  half to a whole teaspoon of butter and spread it around good.  Sprinkle the potato shreds evenly around the pan..  Pat them down with the edge of the spatula.  If you use the flat side of it, they will be denser and cook up less tender.  Season with salt, pepper. seasoned salt, or any of the blends that Mrs. Dash makes.  They are all good!

2.  Cover the pan with a lid to help them cook through tender.  Check once in a while to see when they are browned as much as you would like.  When they are, spray the surface with the pan spray just before flipping them.  Loosen them around all the edges and then flip them all at once if you can.

3.  Tap them down with the edge of the potatoes again and let them cook until they are browned to your liking.

Now to make them even better let's talk about really tasty!  Planning ahead can make the big difference when it comes to using pantry foods.  I almost always rehydrate my dried foods over night for the next day.  Think about what you have.  I love to add diced peppers, celery & minced onions, just mixing them with the potatoes.    Everything is placed in water the night before in the fridge and it's all ready in the morning by draining it all.

Sometimes I sprinkle a little cheese (of course it's low-fat and only 1 oz.) over them as the second side is cooking and drizzle some salsa over it on our plates.  There is a whole meal in one dish when you add a little fruit on the side!