Friday, January 4, 2013

Hash Browns, Regular, Smothered, Covered, Chunked, and Diced

It's Friday.  Hooray!  It's dinner time.  Boo!  What should we have?  I didn't want to go to a lot of trouble, but we were hungry.  For what?  It's always my decision somehow.  If I ask Dan what he wants, he always says "What do you want?"  So, I just may as well make a decision.  What do I want?  Something easy, but tasty.  Hmmmmmm.

Do you know what was on my mind?  Waffle House fried potatoes!  Have you ever eaten at a Waffle House?  We stop there often when traveling because the food is consistent, inexpensive and you can be in and out in nothing flat - not lots of waiting like there is at so many sit down restaurants.  They cook the food right in front of you, and they serve breakfast 24/7.  Yum.

Now,  you know,  I have never met a potato I didn't like.  Seriously.  But, there is only one thing better than fried potatoes and that is fried potatoes with onions.  The Waffle House goes a little further with their hash brown potatoes.  This is how they list it on their menu.  You can get them: Regular, Large or Triple,  All the Way, or:

smothered - sauteed onions
covered - melted cheese
chunked - grilled hickory smoked ham
diced - grilled tomatoes
peppered - jalapeno peppers (or you could use bell peppers)
capped - grilled mushrooms
topped - Bert's chili
country - sausage gravy

When you place your order, they yell to the person on the grill:  "one order regular, smothered, covered, chunked and diced" if that's the way you order them.  That is the way I fixed them tonight!
Can I tell you how good they were?  Well, I will.  They were amazingly good - and easy to fix.  It took me a total of 20 minutes to have this wonderful dinner on the table.

You could put any toppings you like on hash brown potatoes.  Yes, anything your little heart desires.  Here is how I made these for our dinner tonight.

First, I chopped a medium onion, diced about 10 cherry tomatoes (they're hard to see in the red bowl), diced some deli ham, and grated about 1/3 block of cheddar cheese.  Whatever you are going to add, have it prepared beforehand, because the cooking part goes pretty quickly.

I used 1/2 a bag (about 15 ounces) of frozen hash brown potatoes.  I try to keep frozen hash browns in the freezer at all times.  They are great when you want a meal in a hurry.  No peeling and chopping, which is what I usually do.

Using a large skillet, put in a good amount of vegetable oil and let it get really hot, until it starts to ripple.  I would say 1/4 cup, depending on how many potatoes you are going to fry.  Start with 1/4 cup, you can always add more if needed.  Add the potatoes and spread out in the skillet.  Add the onions at this time because they take the longest to cook.  If you are going to use chopped bell pepper, add it also.  These two items take the longest to cook.

Let the potatoes brown on the bottom before you stir.  Once they start to brown, stir them so that you bring the brown potatoes to the top and the uncooked potatoes are on the bottom.  Stir as needed with a spatula so that you scrape all that brown goodness off the bottom of the pan.  You know that crispy, crunch part?  mmmmmm  When the onions become translucent and the potatoes are getting good and brown, add the ham and tomatoes.  Stir thoroughly so they will get good and hot.  Salt and pepper to taste.  The last think to add is the cheese.  Sprinkle it over the top and let it melt.  Remove the pan from the stove and you are ready to serve!
You now have Regular, smothered, covered, chunked and diced potatoes.  This is a complete meal and we have left overs for breakfast.  I simply added some fresh fruit and a nice piece of buttered toast.  Just like the Waffle House only better because we didn't have to leave the house.   If you don't want meat, don't add it.  Add any ingredients you think would be tasty.  I would use red bell pepper, but they don't agree with Dan.  Needless to say, we didn't miss them.

Anytime you need a quick and scrumptious meal, think about trying a meal like this.  You could add eggs on the side if you wanted and make a complete breakfast for dinner.  These potatoes would also be great for breakfast or brunch.  They are so easy to make and so good to eat.  Yum. Yum. Yum.

Next time you want a fast, easy, tasty meal, give these a try.  You will make them again.  Yes, you will.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

You can fix this meal faster than you can drive to a fast food restaurant and go through the drive through.  Fixing food at home does not have to be a chore.  It can be quick and delicious.

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