GINNA PARSONS: Oven fries are tasty, healthful

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

OK, it’s been two weeks since I got back on my healthful eating and exercise plan and the scales say I’ve lost four pounds. My guess is it will be slow-going from here on. If I lose a pound a week, I’ll be thrilled.
I’ve been revisiting a lot of my old lowfat and calorie-friendly recipes over the past 14 days and have come to realize there’s a lot of tasty, good-for-you food out there. We’ve been eating lots of delicious chicken, turkey and fish and more than a couple of meatless meals.
I’ve been very conscientious about getting more fruits and vegetables on my plate. I’m making it a point to have a piece of fruit with breakfast, at least one vegetable at lunch, a piece of fruit in the afternoon as a snack and another green vegetable and a salad with dinner.
That leaves little room on my plate, or in my tummy, for protein and carbs, which is a good thing. Now, I’m not saying protein and carbs are bad. We need both in a healthful diet. We just don’t need as much of them as I had previously been eating (think two pieces of chicken on a bed of white rice).
When I do have carbs, though, I try to choose good ones and I believe baking potatoes are good ones. I’m not going to have white potatoes every day, mind you, but when I do have them, I’m going to prepare them well.
These Oven Fries we made Sunday evening were every bit as good as those you get in restaurants. I think the key is soaking them in water for an extended period, then patting them dry.
And just in case you have any doubts, my 14-year-old son, Patrick, a french fry connoisseur, told me he really enjoyed them.
Enough said.

Oven Fries
3 pounds russet potatoes (about 6 large), unpeeled
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
Course salt
Freshly ground pepper
Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1⁄4-inch wide strips. Place cut potatoes in a large bowl and cover with water by 2 inches. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Lightly coat two rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray. Drain potatoes and pat dry; wipe out bowl. Toss potatoes in bowl with oil and season with salt and pepper. Divide potatoes between baking sheets and arrange in a single layer. Bake until golden and crisp, about 45 minutes. Toss potatoes and rotate sheets. Bake 15 minutes more.
Serves 8.
Nutritional info per serving: 154 calories; 3g fat; 4g protein; 31g carbs; 2g fiber.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.