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Cold-weather comfort

Agriculture.com Staff 12/28/2006 @ 12:16pm

Let's give the potato a little respect. The high-protein diet craze was hard on this vegetable. Potatoes are a healthy food and can be eaten in a wide variety of interesting ways. America loves potatoes, and why not. They are fat-free, high in potassium and fiber (with the skin on), and delicious.

Here's how to use the varieties.

Russet: Cook up light and fluffy; ideal for baking and mashing.

Round white: Creamy texture, hold their shape; ideal for scalloped potatoes and potato salads.

Round red: Firm and moist; ideal for salads, soups, and boiling.

Yellow: Dense, creamy texture; use for baking, mashing, and roasting.

Thanks to the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association for these recipes. To see more, visit www.wisconsinpotatoes.com.

Start to finish: 30 minutes

12 ounces tiny new potatoes, quartered (2 cups)
1 cup water
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme or basil, crushed, or dried dill
1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
1-1/2 cups half-and-half, light cream, or milk
(1) 10-3/4-ounce can reduced-fat an reduced-sodium condensed cream of celery or cream of soup
1 cup cubed cooked ham
3/4 cup shredded American cheese (3 ounces)
Snipped fresh chives (optional)
Coarsely cracked black pepper
Shredded American cheese

Step 1: In a large saucepan combine potatoes, water, carrot, onion, celery, thyme, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Step 2: Stir in half-and-half, soup, and ham; heat through. Do not boil. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, stirring until melted. If desired, garnish each serving with chives, cracked pepper, and/or additional cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: 382 calories, 21 g fat, 74 mg cholesterol, 1098 mg sodium, 32 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 16 g protein.

Let's give the potato a little respect. The high-protein diet craze was hard on this vegetable. Potatoes are a healthy food and can be eaten in a wide variety of interesting ways. America loves potatoes, and why not. They are fat-free, high in potassium and fiber (with the skin on), and delicious.

Prep: 15 minutes, Bake: 25 minutes, Cook: 10 minutes, Cool: 15 minutes

Prep: 65 minutes, Bake: 1-1/4 hours

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