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The Healthy Potato

Did you know that the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals in a potato can help ward off disease and benefit human health?

 

Heart health

The potato’s fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 content, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. Potatoes contain significant amounts of fiber. Fiber helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease.

Inflammation

Choline is an important and versatile nutrient that is present in potatoes. It helps with muscle movement, mood, learning, fat absorption and memory. It enhances early brain development. Vitamin C and quercetin function as antioxidants, protecting cells against damage from free radicals. Quercetin has an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect that protects the body’s cells from damage by free radicals

Bone health

The iron, phosphorous, calciummagnesium, and zinc in potatoes all help the body to build and maintain bone structure and strength. Iron and zinc play crucial roles in the production and maturation of collagen. Phosphorus and calcium are both important in bone structure.

Immunity

Research has found that vitamin C helps reduce the severity and duration of a cold. Potatoes contain vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants help prevent cell damage and cancer and promote healthy digestion and cardiovascular functions.

Blood pressure

A low sodium intake is essential for maintaining a healthy blood pressure, but increasing potassium intake may be just as important. Potassium encourages vasodilation, or the widening of the blood vessels. Potassium, calcium, and magnesium are all present in the potato. These have been found to decrease blood pressure naturally.

Cancer

Potatoes contain folate. Folate plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, and so it prevents many types of cancer cells from forming due to mutations in the DNA. Fiber intake from fruits and vegetables like potatoes are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.

Digestion and regularity

The fiber content in potatoes helps prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

Weight management and satiety

Dietary fibers are commonly recognized as important factors in weight management and weight loss. They act as “bulking agents” in the digestive system. They increase satiety and reduce appetite, so that a person feels fuller for longer and is less likely to consume more calories.

Metabolism

Potatoes are a great source of vitamin B6. This plays a vital role in energy metabolism, by breaking down carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids. These smaller compounds are more easily utilized for energy within the body. Potatoes contain a compound known as alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), which helps the body to convert glucose into energy. Alpha-lipoic acid can help control blood glucose levels, improve vasodilation, protect against retinopathy in diabetic patients, and preserve brain and nerve tissue.

Skin

Collagen is the skin’s support system. The Vitamin C in a potato works as an antioxidant to help prevent damage caused by the sun, pollution, and smoke. Vitamin C also helps collagen smooth wrinkles and improve overall skin texture.

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Creamed Peas and Potatoes

Just like Grandma used to make………..

1 Green onion

2-1/2 cups Peas, frozen or fresh

1 lb  Summertime red potatoes, small

1/4 cup All-purpose flour

1 Dash Pepper

1/2 tsp Salt

2 cups 2% milk

1/4 cup Butter

Peel potatoes and cut into bite-sized pieces. Skins can be left on, if desired. Place in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Boil for approximately 10 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain & set aside.

Boil the peas for approx 10-15 min. and drain them when finished cooking. Set aside with the potatoes.

In a saucepan, add the onion and butter. Cook until the onion is tender, but hasn’t browned yet. Add flour, salt, and pepper.

Stir until mixed and then add in all the milk and stir into flour mixture until all ingredients are well blended. Continue to stir and cook until the mixture has thickened and begins to bubble. Cook for 1 more minute.

Add the potatoes and peas to the cream sauce. Stir until well distributed and thoroughly heated.

Season to taste and serve while hot.

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Egg Ham and Asparagus Breakfast Bake

Start the day off right with this Breakfast Bake. Potatoes, cheese, ham, asparagus, tomatoes, and sunny side up eggs make this a satisfying, hearty dish.

 

 

 

 

12 sprigs asparagus

12 grape tomatoes

1 3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup egg substitute

3/4 rounded tsp. table salt

3/4 rounded tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

5 tbsp. instant potato flakes

1/3 cup minced onion

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 lb white or red Summertime potatoes, cooked & diced

2 cups shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese

1 cup diced cooked ham

4 large eggs

1/8 tsp. kosher salt

1/8 tsp. coarse black pepper

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Wash and dry asparagus and tomatoes. Cut and discard the bottom (flat end) 2 inches of the asparagus. Cut the remaining into 1″ pieces. Slash each tomato lengthwise but keeping it intact. Working in a large bowl, squeeze the juice out of the pulp. Set tomatoes aside.

In a medium bowl, add milk, egg substitute, table salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Whisk until frothy. Add potato flakes, onion, and garlic. Whisk to blend.

Spray a 9” x 9” inch baking dish with cooking spray. Add potatoes. Add half of the cheese. Quickly whisk the milk mixture and poor half over the cheese, making sure to scoop up some the solids that settled to the bottom of the bowl. Add ham, asparagus, tomatoes, and the remaining cheese. Top with the remaining milk mixture. Bake for 35 minutes.

While the casserole bakes, make aluminum rings to mold the eggs: Tear 4 strips of 12” x 5” inch wide aluminum foil. Fold each one in half, lengthwise. Repeat fold. Bring two ends together and make a 1″ fold onto itself to close ends. Holding the fold together, make another 1/2″ fold. Open up the ring. It should be approximately 2- 3/4″in diameter. Generously grease both sides with oil. Remove casserole from the oven. Place aluminum rings in each quadrant, pressing down slightly into surface. Break an egg into each one. Sprinkle with kosher salt and coarse black pepper. Bake for about 25 minutes or until egg is set, but yolks are still runny. The custard layer should also be firm in the middle. Remove rings immediately.

Allow to set about 15 minutes before serving.

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Christmas Cheesy Potatoes

Diced green peppers and pimentos give these Christmas Cheesy Potatoes a festive look. They’re the perfect, comforting side dish to your holiday meal.

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 1/4 cups whole milk

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup finely chopped green peppers

4 cups peeled, cubed and cooked Summertime potatoes

1/4 cup chopped pimentos

1 cup bread crumbs

2 tablespoons melted butter

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour, salt and pepper, then use a whisk to blend it in. Gradually stir in the milk. Cook and whisk this mixture over medium-low heat until it is smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Add the cheese to the sauce pan and mix until smooth.

In a lightly greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish, add the cooked potatoes, green pepper and pimentos. Pour the cheese sauce over the top of the potatoes.

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and the melted butter. Mix well.

Sprinkle the bread crumbs overtop the cheese covered potatoes. If you reserved a few of the green peppers and pimentos, add them to the very top of the casserole.

Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly and heated through.

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