Simple Made Better

I think we’ve all had nights where nothing sounds better than “kid food.” Macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, French toast, pancakes… and in my case, chicken fingers and fries.

See, this time of year rolls around every year, and even being nearly 8 years removed from college graduation, this weather and the stress in the air of finals always reminds me of good times at Bradley University studying (or not) for finals. I talked before about my first semester of finals there… today, you’ll hear about my last.

Terrible flashback photos…. now:

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I don’t know what I was thinking with the sparkly top, or what was up with my weird pose there…

As an education major, my last semester of finals was actually the winter before I graduated. My last semester was spent student teaching, and my “final” was to successfully complete student teaching, which I did. My last semester of finals was a grueling and stressful time, as I was completing the last classes I needed to qualify for student teaching, which in turn would qualify me to be a certified teacher. I spent hours upon hours writing lesson plans, thematic units, classroom management plans, and the dreaded Project Based Learning (PBL) project that took weeks upon weeks of stressful math-related work. Most of my classes required a huge project in addition to a written exam with due dates only days apart. The stress was enormous, and therefore, so was my appetite. I returned to my old haunts to indulge in chicken fingers and fries… and “study” with endless pots of coffee.

My nostalgia got the best of me today and I just had to indulge. Don’t worry, I didn’t fry up chicken fingers and fries… rather, I made a fairly “gourmet” twist on them. I first saw the idea for these potatoes on Wiggs’ blog and they had this way of haunting me. Tonight was the night. I did a bit of research and found that they were called “Hasselback potatoes” and are a traditional Swedish method of cooking potatoes.

hasselbeck potatoes

Hasselback Potatoes

Ingredients

* 5-6 medium white or red potatoes

* 1 clove garlic per potato

* 1/2 tsp. butter per potato

* 1 tsp. olive oil per potato

* Salt and pepper

Directions

The process is simple: slice potatoes almost all the way through about 2mm to 3mm apart. It helps to lay the potato in a large kitchen spoon. The edges of the spoon help keep the depth even. Slice garlic thinly and insert 1 slice between each slice in the potato. Drizzle with olive oil and top with butter, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 425* for about 45 minutes, until the edges are crispy and the inside is soft. Top with your choice of toppings, I used some herb garlic Chavrie.

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I also made some panko-crusted chicken fingers, and I have to say, these were the best I’ve ever made!

chicken fingers

I rolled some chicken tenders first in flour, then egg wash, then some panko bread crumbs. I baked them on a rack with the potatoes for the last 20 minutes, and ate them with these delightful grape tomatoes. Too bad I can’t enjoy an endless pot of coffee and hot fudge sundae like I used to… but my nostalgia? Totally quenched…

 

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14 Responses to Simple Made Better

  1. I’ve seen these Hasselback potatoes before, but have never made them! What a great idea for a party – I’m sure people would be impressed!
    .-= Ally@Sweet & Savory´s last blog ..Cooking with Kids: Ice Cream Dessert =-.

  2. Brandie says:

    I’ve never had these potatoes before, but they sure are pretty! I do think I need to try this. Thanks Mara!
    .-= Brandie´s last blog ..Recipe Card Holder Craft (easy craft for kids) =-.

  3. Christina says:

    Whoa those potatoes are totally cool looking!! They look so fancy and pretty for “just” a baked potato! Plus I love the sliver of garlic in between each slice, I bet that boosts the flavor factor up! I’m not a huge potato fan, but I think I just might have to try these! Beautiful pics too! Thanks for sharing Mara! 🙂
    .-= Christina´s last blog ..Cupcake and Cookie Bouquets =-.

  4. mmm I love it! Looks delicious! Especially the potato. I love how perfectly cut it is.
    .-= Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat)´s last blog ..Exciting News! =-.

  5. Ooooo, I’m SO glad you made those! They’re a real favorite around here. I’ve experimented with different twists – most recently I made them with sweet potatoes, rosemary, and caramelized slices of red onion. And every time I make them for company I always get big “oooh”s and “ahhh”s.
    .-= Wiggs (The Beholder)´s last blog ..We now interrupt our regularly scheduled programming =-.

  6. Marianne says:

    How fun are those potatoes? I bet they would go swimmingly with the herbed fresh cheese I bought at the farmer’s market on the weekend. And who doesn’t like a chicken finger. Any food you can dip is okay by me!
    .-= Marianne´s last blog ..Silver Hills Sprouted Grain Bread Giveaway =-.

  7. laura says:

    Oh I love to make chicken strips like that! They taste so good.
    .-= laura´s last blog ..Just Another Meatless Monday #11 an Ode to Humble Hummus =-.

  8. That whole meal looks incredible. I am so intrigued by that potato, too. So cool!
    .-= Jessica @ How Sweet It Is´s last blog ..Happy Mother’s Day. =-.

  9. Lauren says:

    Haha, I definitely get those “kid-food” cravings!!! Tonight, I think it will be Mac and Cheese but only now, I try to make it a bit more sophisticated. Veggies and hot sauce do the trick. 😉

  10. I like sparkly so I like the top! 😀 I saw this potatoes for the first time on Sunny’s Cooking For Real show. I loved baked potatoes and think that they get such a bad rap as a veggie. Looks beautiful Mara, you did a great job! 🙂
    .-= Andrea (Off Her Cork)´s last blog ..Tuesday Tip: Boiling Corn on the Cob =-.

  11. YUM! Those potatoes look so pretty. I saw Sunny make some like that on the Foodnetwork. There’s a packages of chicken tenders in my freezer and I think I know how I want to use them !! 😀
    .-= Mary @ What’s Cookin’ with Mary´s last blog ..Thyme & Sage Roasted Chicken =-.

  12. What a delicious twist on an old favorite! Your new version sounds MUCH better than plain ole’ kid food. I have never heard of a hasselback potato before, but they are just so pretty! 🙂
    .-= Lara (Thinspired)´s last blog ..Here’s to You! =-.

  13. I love the baked chicken tenders! And those potatoes are a great idea! I make some kind of potato every week, so I will make those for my family for sure!
    .-= Jenn@slim-shoppin´s last blog ..Lasagna for one! =-.

  14. Autumn says:

    This whole meal looks great! That potato looks amazing! You gotta love those little kid meal cravings! I think you definitely stepped it up a notch!
    .-= Autumn´s last blog ..I’m in a food funk… =-.

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