Weeknight Cooking

One Sack of Potatoes, Five Dinners

December 17, 2012

Put time into dinner now, and you can make it last forever -- or at least the whole week. Welcome to Halfway to Dinner, where we show you how to stretch your staples every which way. 

Today: Kelsey of Happyolks merges eating well with eating on a budget, and she does it all with a sack of potatoes. 

After cooking potato after potato, I knew this post must be dedicated to my 21-year-old brother and his housemates. If there is anyone on this planet who would find a column dedicated to a week's worth of potatoes useful, it be would him. For Austin, who loves to cook and play and celebrate life, here is a week of meals for you and your friends so you can eat well, cheaply. 

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My first potato inspiration comes from Nigel Slater's Tender -- this potato cake is like one giant, amazing latke, and it's not a bad place to start. Slater calls for duck or goose fat but here, I use butter and it is just as good.

Crisp Potato Cake by Happyolks

6 large russet potatoes
5 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons flaky sea salt
2 teaspoons fresh thyme

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here.

Potatoes, Onions, and Melted Fontina 
Wintry potatoes find their way into a dutch oven, cozy up next to onions and pockets of nutty fontina, and keep us warm for days.

Mustard Parsley Mash 
Your standard mashed potatoes wish for this moment. Make a base, and generously swirl it with chopped parsley and your favorite mustard. Eat it by the bowlful.

Herbed Potato Cake
Part of the beauty of cooking your way through a bag of potatoes is that you have absolute permission to eat potato cakes at your whim and fancy. This straddles the line between tortilla and latke, and gets studded with whatever herbs you have on hand. 

Baked Potato with Arugula and Feta
Baked potatoes are a crisper-drawer blank slate. We riff on the classic by topping ours with arugula, gently wilted by the steam of the just-cooked spud, and a healthy hand of feta. But the options are endless -- go wild, your potato awaits. 

Photos by Kelsey Brown

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Waverly
  • Christina @ Christina's Cucina
    Christina @ Christina's Cucina
  • MrsWheelbarrow
  • Lemongrass&Lime
  • Kenzi Wilbur
    Kenzi Wilbur
"Be a lamp or a lifeboat or a ladder..."


Waverly December 18, 2012
These all look great.
Christina @. December 18, 2012
All of these potato dishes look divine to me-I love potatoes "any way you slice them!" I don't know why, but potato scones haven't caught on-on this side of the pond, but they are SUCH an incredibly delicious potato creation! I grew up eating them for breakfast in Scotland and usually have a batch in the freezer, at any given time. They're really easy to make, too http://christinascucina.blogspot.com/2012/12/scottish-potato-scones-and-british.html
MrsWheelbarrow December 17, 2012
What a wonderful group of comforting foods. I'm all over that crisp potato skillet cake for tonight. Thank you!
Lemongrass&Lime December 17, 2012
Hmmm. I can't see a link for the herbed potato cake recipe. Am I missing something?
Kenzi W. December 17, 2012
You're not! These posts typically share one recipe in full, and from there, are meant to be inspiration for the remainder of your meals.
Lemongrass&Lime December 17, 2012
Thanks for clarifying Kenzi! Good to know as I haven't checked out the 'Halfway to Dinner' feature before. These ideas are indeed simple enough to serve as inspiration without needing a recipe.
Kenzi W. December 17, 2012
Of course! So glad to hear it. And welcome! We like it here.