What to CookOn the Cheap

Consider the Potato

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Cooking on the cheap shouldn't mean minute rice and buttered pasta every night. With a little creativity and a little planning, Gabriella Paiella shows us how to make the most of a tight budget -- without sacrificing flavor or variety. 

Today: Let the humble potato be the highlight of your meal.


Here's a little secret: French fries are pretty much my favorite food. For all my culinary adventurousness, I'm never more satiated than when I'm digging into a plate of perfectly crispy shoestring fries (with a side of bourbon on the rocks, of course). 

My love for potatoes doesn't just stop at the French fry. They may be initially unsightly, but they're also remarkably cheap, incredibly filling, and easily dressed up. Here are some ways to stretch a bag of potatoes into several inventive meals.


Anya von Bremzen's Potato Soup with Fried Almonds is a rich, unexpected take on potato soup. (You can easily omit the serrano ham to and replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth to make it both vegetarian and budget-friendly.) If you're looking for more of a standard, classic recipe, this Creamy Potato Soup with Bacon Vinaigrette should fit the bill. Again, you can easily make this one vegetarian too. 


Like Anya's soup mentioned about, this potato salad gets the Spanish treatment and turns out far more inventive than a run-of-the-mill recipe. Meanwhile, mixing smaller potatoes with arugula makes for a weekday lunch that's equal parts fresh and hearty.


These Wonder Fries -- which won Your Best Recipe with Potatoes -- are the sort of side that's totally acceptable to make into a full meal without judgement. Another totally addictive side? This decidedly grown-up take on tater tots. And if you need one more, go with Francis Mallman's Potato Dominoes.


A warm, cheesy potato gratin is never NOT a good idea, especially when paired with a glass of wine after a long work day. Try a classic, or add celery root or caramelized onions for a different edge. Meanwhile, potato-based dumplings are a must-try weekend dinner project, whether you're going with gnocchi or pierogies

Tell us: What are your favorite potato recipes?

Tags: my broke kitchen, potatoes

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