Do not forget about potatoes when you are looking for a healthy and cheap meal that will fill you up. I especially like baked and roasted potatoes and try to cook extra so I have a good start for another meal later in the week.
This month’s featured recipe is Loaded Potato Soup. When you use already-cooked potatoes, you can have this soup on the table in less than 15 minutes. The recipe calls for peas, but you can substitute other frozen vegetables such as corn, broccoli or mixed vegetables.
The key to this soup and other great potatoes is to BAKE them. Do not steam them by wrapping them in foil to bake in the oven or paper towels in the microwave. Check out our video for step by step directions for the Best Baked Potatoes.
Loaded Potato Soup
- 4 Best Baked Potatoes or 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, cooked
- 1 tablespoon tub margarine
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper (optional)
- 2 cups Homemade Chicken Broth, or one 14.5-ounce can low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup nonfat milk
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4 slices (3 ounces) American cheese
- Optional garnishes: Sliced green onion, bacon bits, and/or shredded cheese
- Remove skins and mash potatoes into small pieces to make about 3 cups; set aside.
- Melt margarine in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion and green pepper, if desired. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the broth and heat to a boil. Stir in milk, potatoes, peas, and pepper; heat through, stirring occasionally.
- Add the cheese slices, cooking and stirring about 2 minutes until cheese melts. Add more milk if soup is thicker than you prefer.
- Add garnishes, if desired, and serve immediately.
Are they inexpensive? For sure.
Are they healthy? That depends.
- If your hash browns swim in oil as they are prepared and then get smothered in cheese … NO.
- If they are low in fat and sodium … YES.
- If they have added vegetables … EVEN BETTER! We’ve explained exactly how to make them that way on the SpendSmart. Eat Smart recipe page.
The Healthy Hash Browns recipe calls for Best Baked Potatoes, because one secret to great hash browns is starting with great baked potatoes. We do this by baking the potatoes, unwrapped, at a high temperature. (Save the foil for another recipe!)
You can keep baked potatoes for up to three days. Make sure you let them cool, then place them in a plastic bag and refrigerate. (If you put them in hot, they will sweat in the bag. Soggy is not good. Dry is not either, so do use the bag.)
TIP – Keep baked potatoes in mind when you already have your oven heated to 425°F. You’ll save energy if you do not heat your oven just for the potatoes.
In fact, you can do even more than make hash browns with your extra baked potatoes…
- Add to scrambled eggs with some diced ham and fresh spinach for a yummy egg dish
- Warm and top with leftover chili, cooked vegetables and cheese, or spaghetti sauce
- Create a soup with vegetables, legumes, and a low fat vegetable broth.
Healthy Hash Browns
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
- 4 cups diced Best Baked Potatoes, skins on
- 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Heat the oil in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the potatoes, onion, carrot, and minced garlic (if using). Cook about 5 minutes or until boom is golden brown. Flip or stir and continue cooking a few minutes.
- Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (if used).