Tater Love

To say these are trying times is more than just an understatement. It's nearly laughable. Between wondering where all the toilet paper went and attempting to work from home (if you're lucky) while getting your kids to do something beyond look at screens (again, if you're lucky), there's that ever-nagging question that somehow doesn't manage to take a break even during the throes of a global pandemic. How can I use all these taters?

Potatoes store well and can be downright foundational in many recipes. Whether you're looking for a hearty main dish or a side that will stand up to your main course, taters are there for you. And, if you're like me, you find them simply comforting. Maybe that's why so many comfort food recipes feature potatoes. Whatever the reason, we've worked them into all manner of delicious recipes over the more than two decades Seasoned Cooking has been helping you set the table and fill it with love made tasty.

Below, we're offering ten of our favorite tater-centric recipes. Whether you are looking for a main course for breakfast or a side for dinner, we've got you covered!

Twice Baked Breakfast Potatoes

  • 4-8 baking potatoes, scrubbed and salted with pickling or popcorn salt
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 egg for each potato
  • 2 tablespoons diced ham for each potato
  • 1-2 teaspoons sliced green onions for each potato
  • 2 tablespoons grated cheese for each potato

Place the potatoes plus ¼ cup water into a slow cooker fitted with a lid. Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. This step can be completed up to 2 days in advance - just pop your finished potatoes into a sealed container and into the fridge until ready to use.

When you are ready to finish the dish, preheat the oven to 400° F. Lightly spray a glass baking dish; set aside.

Heat the butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and crack the eggs into the pan. Add the ham and soft scramble the eggs; remove immediately from the heat to avoid over-cooking the eggs.

Using a spoon, remove most of the inside of the baked potatoes; reserve for another use. In the cavity, place the soft-scrambled eggs and ham; arrange the potatoes in the glass baking dish. Sprinkle each potato with sliced green onions and grated cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is melted. Serve warm.

  • Yields: 4-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: About 5 hours (though most of it is unattended slow cooker time)

Tater Skin Casserole

  • 1 package (30 oz.) frozen potato wedges
  • 1 c. chopped fully cooked ham
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
  • 4-6 sweet mini-peppers, sliced into rings
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 c. grated cheese - choose your favorite variety
  • 1/2 c. sour cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange the potato wedges in the baking dish; bake for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are thawed and beginning to brown. Top with half each of the ham, bacon, pepper rings, and green onions. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Sprinkle with the remaining ham, bacon, and pepper rings.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are tender. Top with dollops of sour cream and the remaining green onions when serving.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

Slow-Cooked Paprika Chicken and Potatoes

  • 2-3 baking potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 8 oz. sweet mini peppers, seeded and halved
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T. Northwoods seasoning, or your favorite paprika-based seasoning blend
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika

Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover the stoneware insert and cook on HIGH for 5 hours or LOW for 7-9 hours. Stir gently once before serving with crusty bread and your favorite wine.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes, plus unattended cooking time

Sheet Pan Sausage & Potato Bake

  • 4-6 red potatoes
  • 1 small acorn squash
  • 5-7 mini sweet peppers
  • 8 oz. green beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. smoked sausage ring
  • 4 oz. blue cheese
  • 1 avocado

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Cut the potatoes - skin on - into bite-sized pieces. Slice the squash into thin strips — remove the seeds and stem. Slice the mini peppers in half — remove any excessive seeds. Trim the green beans. Toss all of them together with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread evenly on a large sheet pan. I used the bottom of my broiler pan. Nestle the smoked sausage ring into the center of the pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the sausage is hot and sizzling.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven and sprinkle the top with the blue cheese. Allow the pan to cool while you slice the avocado into thin strips. Add the avocado to the top of the pan and allow it to warm slightly as the rest of the pan cools. Slice the smoked sausage into chunks and serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes

Potato, Crab and Shrimp Cakes

This is a rather unique dish and a good way to use leftover baked potatoes. You might try this with leftover mashed potatoes as well. My son suggested I make these for breakfast he liked them so well.
  • Leftover baked or mashed potatoes (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cans crab meat, drained
  • 1 cup small cooked shrimp or cocktail shrimp
  • 1 green onion, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil plus 2 Tbsp. butter for frying
  • Sour cream

If you are using baked potatoes, scoop the potato out of the peel using a spoon and put into a bowl. Discard the peels. If you are using leftover mashed potatoes, simply put 2 cups into a bowl. Next, add the crab, shrimp, lemon juice, diced green onion, chopped parsley, eggs, butter, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Mix well with a fork, being sure to crush any potato clumps. The mixture should be rather stiff and not pasty or wet.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil until sizzling. Drop 2 or 3 large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the skillet and fry for about 5 minutes per side or until golden brown, pressing down slightly to form a thick patty. When browned on both sides, remove from skillet and place on a serving dish. Fry the remainder of the mixture in the same way.

When all of the cakes have been fried, serve with a generous portion of sour cream or applesauce as a dip and enjoy. The quantity above should make about 8 to 10 cakes. Allow 2 per person.

Hint: You may also add lemon zest to the mixture to perk it up a bit more, or add about one teaspoon hot pepper flakes if you like things on the spicy side.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Roasted Caesar Tater Salad

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 lb. red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 c. sliced green onions
  • 4 c. mixed greens
For the dressing:
  • 2 anchovy filets
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 T. mayonnaise
  • 1 T. mustard
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 T. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Add the olive oil and the garlic to an oven-proof skillet and sauté for one minute. Add the potatoes, stir to coat and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place the skillet in the oven and roast the potatoes for 30 minutes or until they are a light golden brown.

Make the dressing by combining the anchovies, garlic, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese in a small food processor, blender or immersion blender cup. Puree and then, with the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Season with pepper and salt, if desired, although it will probably be salty enough.

Toss the roasted potatoes, green onions, and dressing. Spoon onto a serving plate lined with mixed greens.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes

Smashed Miso Butter Taters

  • 2 pounds baby potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Butter, melted
  • Miso paste
  • Finely chopped chives

Place the baby potatoes in a large pot and fill with enough water to just cover them; bring the water to a boil and liberally salt the water. Boil the potatoes for 8-10 minutes, or until they are fork tender. Drain the water away; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Using a baking sheet, sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Place the potatoes on the sheet, making sure they are not touching and have some space between one another. Using a potato masher or strong fork, press down in the center of each potato to smash them.

Combine the salt, pepper, melted butter, and miso paste to form a sauce. Brush the sauce generously over the smashed potatoes. Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned and crispy at the edges. Serve sprinkled with chopped chives.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Hasselback Potatoes with Pepper-Chevre Sauce

  • 4 baking potatoes
  • 2 T. butter, melted
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper — choose according to your spice preferences
  • 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 2 oz. chèvre, at room temperature
  • 1-2 tsp. red pepper jelly
  • Salt or seasoning salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Scrub the potatoes well. Cut slits in the potatoes, leaving the bottom intact: Cut slits into the potato, stopping just before you cut through so that the slices stay connected at the bottom of the potato. Space the slices 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch apart. Place the sliced potatoes in a baking dish.

Combine the melted butter, olive oil, ground red pepper (I used chipotle to give them a smoky-spicy flavor), granulated garlic, and salt. Brush the mixture over the potatoes in the baking dish. You will not use it all. Reserve the remainder and place the baking dish in the preheated oven. After 25 minutes, remove the baking dish and brush them again with the mixture. Press apart any layers that have not naturally spread apart from the baking. Replace the baking dish and bake another 30 minutes, until the potatoes are crispy on the edges and soft at the center.

While the potatoes are baking, combine the chèvre and red pepper jelly. You may wish to microwave the jelly for about 10 seconds to help it liquify, as that will make mixing easier. To serve, spoon some of the goat cheese sauce over the hot potatoes and sprinkle with salt or seasoning salt (I used a blend of coarse salt, crushed red pepper, and garlic).

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

Slow Cooker Potato Leek Soup

  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 leeks, chopped (light green & white parts only)
  • 1 (32 oz.) container, chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • ½ tsp. dried dill weed or 2 T. chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, fry the chopped bacon. Add in the chopped leeks. Cook until the leeks are soft and the bacon is crisp.

Transfer the bacon and leeks to your slow cooker. Stir in the chicken broth, water, potatoes, celery, and seasonings. Stir well, then cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours.

During the last 30 minutes of cooking, whisk together the half & half with the cornstarch in a medium bowl. Stir into the soup and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Adjust the seasonings to taste and serve topped with shredded cheddar cheese and additional crumbled bacon, if desired.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes plus 6-7 hours simmering time

Spicy Shrimp and Corn Chowder

  • 10 oz. shell-on large shrimp
  • 4 ears fresh yellow sweet corn
  • 3 c. water
  • 2 T. bacon fat
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • ½ large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 T. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 4 Yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 T. cornstarch, stirred and dissolved into 2 T. water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 T. chili-garlic paste (choose your favorite variety or make your own)

Peel and devein the shrimp; separating the shrimp and the shells. Husk the corn and remove the silk. Cut the kernels from the cobs into a bowl. This should give you a couple cups of corn. Separate the corn and the cobs.

To make the shrimp-corn stock, place the reserved shrimp shells and corn cobs into the pot of the Instant Pot or a stock pot. Add 3 cups of water and either 1) lock the lid of the Instant Pot in place and set it to cook at high pressure for 20 minutes, allowing it to naturally release after cooking, or 2) put a lid on the stock pot and bring the contents of the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to allow a simmer, and let the stock simmer for 30 minutes. After the stock has been made, drain the liquid off the shells and cobs, which can then be discarded.

Heat a 4 quart heavy pot over low heat and add the bacon fat. Add the onion, bell pepper, thyme, and smoked paprika and sauté, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes, until the onions and peppers are soft. Add the reserved corn kernels, potatoes, and drained shrimp-corn stock. Turn up the heat, cover, and boil for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the lid, and then use the back of your spoon to smash some of the corn kernels and potatoes against the side of the pot.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the salt and pepper. Stir the cornstarch mixture and slowly pour it into the pot, stirring constantly. As soon as the chowder has come back to a boil and thickened slightly, remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Allow the chowder to rest while you prepare the spicy shrimp.

In a nonstick skillet, melt the butter fully. Add the reserved shrimp and sauté until the shrimp are fully pink and a little browned at the edges. Add the chili-garlic paste and stir gently to fully coat the shrimp. Remove from the heat.

To serve, ladle the chowder into bowls and stack several shrimp in the center of each bowl.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: About 1 hour