A friend recently asked people on her Facebook page why they like to cook because she has always struggled with enjoying it. At the time, I couldn't quite pinpoint why I love cooking so much. Then a week later, it hit me:
I love to cook because of two reasons.
#1 - I like to care for the people I love and putting a lot of time and effort into feeding them instead of throwing together prepacked foods or take-out is a way for me to show them how much I care.
#2 - Cooking is a fantastic way to be able to recreate foods you love at restaurants so you can enjoy it more often.
Back when my husband and I were first married, we were pretty darn broke. But that tends to happen when you're both students. I started cooking a lot more during those first three years of marriage because we couldn't afford to go out very often. And we had our first child just nine months after getting married (ahem!) so that made going out even harder.
I quickly learned that I could make restaurant-quality food at home for way less money than we would spend on even one serving of that same meal eating out.
Now whenever we go out and I really enjoy something, I have to come home and recreate it. It's a habit borderlining on the addiction line.
A few months ago the husband and I went on a date in Fort Collins, Colorado. We lunch at this pub and had a super yummy appetizer of home fries. They were so good, and I normally dislike thick-cut fries, that I decided to recreate them at home. Except I decided to bake mine to make them healthier.
I slice my potatoes into either thirds or quarters, lengthwise. Then chop each big piece into about 1/2" wide fries.
Then I place them on a pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on spices: garlic powder, creole seasoning, dried italian seasoning, paprika, kosher salt and black pepper. Oh and I add a few tiny pinches of ground mustard.
Then bake it at 400 for 20-25 minutes. To make sure they get crispy, I let them bake for at least 10 minutes before I flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes or until tender.
Oh, and if you want to kick these up a notch to the completely addicting stage, just grate some parmesan cheese over them right after they come out of the oven and drizzle with a tiny bit of truffle oil. You won't regret it.
Crispy Oven-Baked Home Fries
4 medium russet potatoes
Ground Mustard (two pinches)
Optional: 1/8 cup grated parmesan
1 tbsp. truffle oil
Preheat oven to 400. Scrub potatoes. Slice each potato into thirds or fourths, lengthwise. Slice each slab of potato into 1/2" wide sticks. Place potatoes on a large baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with seasonings and toss to evenly coat.
Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Flip each fry over and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and toss with parmesan and truffle oil (optional). Serve with your condiment of choice and enjoy!