Microwaving a potato is a quick and easy way to add a baked potato to a meal. Sometimes potatoes get a bad rap for not being good for you. However, potatoes are a good source of potassium and Vitamin C and they do not cost a lot. The instructions for microwaving a potato were a little out of date on our website, so we have updated them. Below are the steps and some recipes to go along with your microwave baked potato. You can also find the instructions on our website at: https://spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/recipe/microwave-baked-potato/
Steps to making a microwave ‘baked’ potato:
Scrub potato under warm, running water.
Prick potato 6 to 8 times with a fork.
Place potato on a microwave safe plate.
Microwave on high for 5 minutes.
Flip potato over. Microwave on high for 2 to 5 more minutes or until potato is tender. Additional time will depend on the size of the potato and the power of the microwave.
You can make either one or two potatoes at a time using these steps.
Our March recipe of the month is Loaded Potato Soup. Potato soup is a favorite in my home. It comes together pretty quickly and it makes a filling meal in one bowl.
My favorite thing about potato soup is that this recipe easily adjusts to make more or less depending on our needs. If I want to have leftovers throughout the week, I double this recipe. I have also found this freezes well, so I sometimes make a double batch and freeze some for a future meal. On the other hand, if you are cooking for one or two, you can cut this recipe in half to make a smaller batch.
My family’s favorite thing about potato soup is that they can add all kinds of toppings. Shredded cheese, diced ham, and soup crackers are their top choices. Though they would also like crumbled bacon, sliced green onions, or our homemade croutons (click this link to find the recipe). You can choose your favorite toppings to make this soup your own.
Which is better, sweet potatoes or white potatoes?
The honest answer is they are both delicious and nutritious. There is certainly room for all types of potatoes in a healthy diet. Potatoes of all kinds can be prepared simply and in a wide variety of ways. They both provide nutrients that are important for good health and they taste great when mixed together in recipes. Here is a snapshot of what white and sweet potatoes have to offer.
Fiber (if skin is eaten)
Less than 1 gram
Less than 1 gram
29% of your daily vitamin C needs
65% of your daily vitamin C needs
More than 100% of your daily vitamin A needs
21% of your daily Potassium needs
13% of your daily Manganese needs
27% of your daily Potassium needs
50% of your daily Manganese needs
*Information based on a one-cup serving including potato skin
Potatoes are delicious, nutritious and low cost. The healthiest potato recipes don’t add a lot of fat and calories. Here are a few from our website that I particularly enjoy.
Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.
Most of us are buying more fruits and vegetables. That is a good first step. But should you wash them before you put them away or just before you serve them? Should you store them in the refrigerator or on the counter? Will they continue ripening at home? The answer to these questions is…it depends!
Some fruits have better flavor if they are stored at room temperature. Tomatoes, unripe melons, and tree fruits (pears, peaches and nectarines) should be kept at room temperature so they can ripen and become sweeter. After they are fully ripe, store them in the refrigerator until you are ready eat them. Tomatoes will keep longer if stored with the stem side down.
Generally it is better to eat vegetables as soon as possible after picked. However, some vegetables like celery, cabbage, bell peppers and carrots will keep one to two weeks in the refrigerator.
When to wash fruits and vegetables also “depends”. If your produce has dirt on it, wash it before storing. Otherwise you can probably wait to wash your fruits and vegetables before you eat them. Neither the USDA nor FDA recommends washing fruits and vegetables in anything but cold, drinkable water. Do not let produce soak in the sink. You do not need to wash them with special products or dishwashing detergent. Melons, cucumbers, winter squash, citrus fruit, and potatoes should be scrubbed with a brush. Bananas need to be rinsed off as well. Imagine how many hands touch the fruit before it gets to your mouth.
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.
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