Some nights (OK, most nights!) you don’t want to fuss with dinner. You want it easy, you want it fairly quickly, and you want it without nonsense. Sometimes getting through the day seems like it was hard enough, and you just want to skate right through dinner.
But there are these expectant, hopeful faces around the table, waiting for something delicious! What to do?
Be confident in your own kitchen skills, and wing it. Here’s an example from the other night at my house, and it turned out pretty darn well, if I do say so myself. It also had several things going for it:
- a minimum of dishes (less wash-up later)
- using up pantry staples (random herb and spice mixes that accumulate over time)
I had grilled sausages left over. What should I serve with that? On the counter I had a bag of Piccolo potatoes — creamy yellow-fleshed tiny potatoes that are washed and ready to go, from The Little Potato Company. So that was an easy decision. How should I make the potatoes? Microwave to the rescue, for easiest and fastest performance.
I’ll put it in the form of a recipe for practicality, but you will see that once you make it, you won’t need to memorize amounts. It will become second nature to you.
Here are the principles at play:
- The rule of thumb is it takes about 7 minutes per pound to microwave potatoes. If you use 1 1/2 pounds, then your timing would be 10-ish minutes or so. If the potatoes are tiny or cut into small pieces, the timing might be slightly less, so check a bit earlier.
- Drizzle oil so the potatoes are extremely lightly coated, but not swimming.
- This is your chance to use up the random spice mixes you have in the pantry. It could be a barbecue mix, Italian herbs, a Mexican adobo, Cajun, chili powder…look around and will certainly find a jar of something you wish you knew what to do with! This recipe is the solution. If it has salt as an ingredient, no need to add more salt. If it doesn’t, salt the potatoes to your taste.
Recipe: So Simple Weeknight Potatoes
Summary: So Simple Weeknight Potatoes — So Easy You Won’t Need a Recipe are what you make when you need to round out your dinner plate, your family is hungry, and you need it NOW! Bonus: It uses up random herb and spice mixes you have in the cupboard.
- About 1 1/2 pounds Piccolo Potatoes (or other tiny variety or fingerlings)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Herb or spice mix from your pantry
- Cut Piccolo potatoes in half; leave skin on. Place potatoes in microwave-safe container with a lid. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (the better the quality, the better your dish will be!). Sprinkle with whatever spice mix you like, and toss the potatoes until the spice mix evenly coats them – start with about 1/2 teaspoon and add more as needed. (The spice mix can be as simple as a shake of seasoned salt.)
- Microcook the potatoes about 9 minutes (1100-watt oven), until done. They are done when you can stick a toothpick in them and the flesh yields.
- Taste and add salt as needed. If there is salt in your spice mix, you probably won’t need to add more salt.
- Serves 4 (with leftovers).
Note: This will work with lots of potato varieties. If all you have are full-size potatoes, simply wash them (leave skin on) and cut into bite-size chunks.
About these potatoes: Piccolo Potatoes come in a 1 1/2-pound bag, from The Little Potato Company. Piccolo is just one of several varieties of “potatoes with personality” offered by The Little Potato Company. Favorites are Terrific Trio (a mix of red, yellow and blue small potatoes), Cherie (ruby colored skin, oblong shape), Baby Boomer (round tinies), and a couple of others. They have thin skins so don’t require peeling, they are small so they cook quickly, and already washed so they can go from package to plate in 5-15 minutes, depending on how fancy you want to get with them. Mine were sent to me by the fine folks at Frieda’s Specialty Produce Company. You know them…these are the people responsible for introducing the Kiwifruit back in 1962. Since then, the company has given center stage to newcomers shallots, cherimoyas, Donut peaches, sugar snap peas and habanero peppers, among some 600 other specialty fruits and veggies they offer in supermarkets and restaurants. We <3 Frieda’s in the ShockD kitchen!
Preparation time: 3 minute(s)
Cooking time: 9 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Culinary tradition: USA (General)