Thursday, February 20, 2014

Perfect Baked Potatoes

Last week, I was listening to an NPR show about healthy foods and both the nutritionist and food scientist were praising the health benefits of potatoes.  I think they got a bad rap back when the Atkins diet was popular, but are making a comeback as people realize all the good stuff packed in:
- good source of potassium (more than a banana!) at 18% of the daily recommended value (DV)
- excellent source of vitamin C at 45% of the DV
- good sources of fiber, vitamin B6, and iron  (more nutrition details here)

And most kids love them!  My two kids are picky eaters and would be content living on chicken nuggets, but are happy to eat almost any potato dish I make.  I always buy organic potatoes, however, since conventionally-grown potatoes absorb a lot of pesticides and are sprayed with an anti-sprouting agent.  (My grocery store carries 5-lb. bags of organic potatoes which are only slightly more expensive than conventional.  Totally worth it!  See my post on 12 Foods to Buy Organic for more info.  This summer we will be growing some of our own also.)

Baked potatoes are one of our favorites and are super easy.  However, I've made my fair share of mushy, lumpy, and unevenly-cooked taters over the years... until I found this easy recipe!  They come out fluffy and evenly cooked on the inside with a crispy, salty skin -- perfect!

- medium or large baking potatoes (like Russet)
- coarse Kosher salt
- olive oil or vegetable oil

1. Set oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Scrub potatoes and dry with a towel.

3. Use a cooking brush to coat potatoes lightly with oil.  Lightly sprinkle coarse Kosher salt over each side.  Place potatoes in a shallow baking dish, not touching each other.

4. Bake medium potatoes for about one hour, large potatoes for an extra 10-15 minutes.  Turn them over half way through baking.

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