Homemade Wedge Fries

Oh how do I love a good fried potato. I actually really don’t care what type of potato is served, but if it is golden brown and delicious, I’m all in. I’m still coming up with pretty much all of the menu ideas for the family, and exhausting as that can be (granted, I still enjoy it), I decided to rummage through my pantry as I normally do to come up with something to make. This time it was about four potatoes I had just looking at me, so I took them out, scrubbed them and laid them out to dry. This allowed me to walk past them about 20 times only to think about what the heck I was going to make for the evening meal.

At first I thought I would make mashed potatoes and gravy as I know my daughter loves that and could probably just eat a bowl of that for dinner, me included, but as I thought about them more I was really on the fence to make twice cooked french fries, but I didn’t want to deal with frying. Then the light came on… (it takes awhile nowadays for that light to come on) and BOOM… wedge fries!

Homemade Wedge Fries Recipe
Homemade Wedge Fries Recipe

Wedge fries can be hit or miss in my opinion. You either get ones that are too soft, or too crispy, or ones that are simply just not seasoned. Since wedge fries are a bit on the larger size, you will want to not only cook them properly, but season them properly. I think I did just that because these were actually the star of the dinner, and so much that I ended up making another batch later in the week.

This recipe is way too simple to make, and is a perfect snack, or side dish to most any meal.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • Olive oil, to lightly coat
  • 1/2 tbsp salt, more to taste
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • fresh herbs, optional
  • salted cold water

Start by taking a potato and cutting it in half, lengthwise. To each half, cut them into four wedges. I like to cut the half in half, again lengthwise, then cut each one in half on the diagonal.

Place these wedges into a large bowl of cold water.  Add about 1 tablespoon of salt and stir.

Repeat with the remaining potatoes.

How to make wedge fries
How to make wedge fries

Soak the potatoes for about 30 minutes to remove some of that starch. After 30 minutes, drain, and rinse the potatoes.

Once the potatoes have drained, pat them dry. Wipe out the bowl with some paper towel, then place those wedges back in the bowl. Drizzle olive oil all over the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and give a good toss.

How to make wedge fries
How to make wedge fries

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Lay them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and place into the oven.

Bake the fries for about 20 minutes, then turn each wedge over, and cook another 10 minutes. Take a butter knife or fork and lightly poke the wedge. It should insert rather easily. The wedge should look golden on the outside, and nice and tender on the inside.

Now here is what I like to do, but you can simply plate and serve as is.

I like to heat a very large skillet on medium heat. Add about 1 tablespoon of additional olive oil, and the butter, and let that butter come to a bubble. Slide the wedges into the skillet, and give a good jiggle to the skillet to cover the wedges in butter and oil, and let those continue to cook for about 5 minutes to get a bit extra crispy. If you are using fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary, throw it in now. If some of the wedges start to fall apart, don’t worry. I could eat a bowl of those crispy bits (and the table agreed) alone!

Give one a try, remembering that they will be piping hot on the interior. If it requires more salt or pepper, go for it otherwise let your table season to their liking.

Plate and serve.

The result is one hell of a wedge fry and a lot less oil to deal with. As I thought I would have some of these wedges remain on the table to be used for a breakfast skillet the next day, well I was wrong. The family loved them so much it was as this was their first experience eating a large french fry! Hope you enjoy.

Nacho Hot Dogs

Don’t knock us, but I will admit that as often as we have things on our meal rotation such as ‘Taco (whatever day), breakfast for dinner, roasted chicken, etc” there is one meal that probably makes it into the rotation once a month, and that is hot dog night. I love it. The dinner table however is pretty below average when it comes to loading up a hot dog and as a matter of fact, 99.9 percent of the table of eaters, excluding myself, only eats a plain hot dog. No big deal. I’m not to judge as there is something to be said about a plain weiner, or hot dog, especially if you are getting a quality weiner such as a product from Nueske’s.  For me however, well it’s a completely different experience. I love to try different things on mine, and as pure as I can get to just mustard, or a couple of peppers on top, there are often times when I’m craving something alongside that hot dog, and that’s when this little creation appeared; the nacho hot dog.

Nacho Hot Dogs
Nacho Hot Dogs

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • Your favorite wieners or hot dogs, cooked to your liking (grilled or steamed)
  • Hot Dog Buns
  • 1/2 cup Chihuahua cheese, per serving
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, per serving
  • chopped onions, optional
  • 1/2 whole jalapeno, thinly sliced, seeds optional

That’s where I am standing on the nacho hot dog. Why only cheese and jalapeno? I’m a fan of the simple nacho as the starting ground. There is something about the combination of salty cheese and a spicy pepper that when done right, it is just hard to beat. Now sure… use this as your base. If you want beans, go for it. Tomatoes, onion, salsa… go for it. It’ up to you, but the simply smokiness from the wiener, along with the cheese and chilies really makes this a great bite.

How to make Nacho Hot Dogs
How to make Nacho Hot Dogs

Once your hot dogs are cooked, place them into a bun, top with the quesadilla cheese, then the cheddar, then lay in the jalapenos.

Place on a baking sheet and place into a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted and the bun is slightly toasted. Once removed, add some chopped onions to the top.

Dig in and enjoy!

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Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispies Treats

I’m not sure if Kellog’s came up with the idea of Rice Krispies treats before thinking of just coming up with the idea of pouring cereal into a bowl and simply add milk. Who knew that melting butter, adding more sugary goodness from marshmallows, and adding rice krispies would yield one of the most popular deserts for kids (and adults) since who knows when! According to the Internet they were invented in 1939, and I am so glad that they were. Now if you know me, or have followed Simple Comfort Food for any time, you will probably realize that I have never been a fan desserts, but lately that game plan has changed (and I think I am thankful that it has).

Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispie Treats
Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispies Treats

So as I often do when making desserts, I start by thinking of my kids (and wife) and visualize how happy they will be that a dessert is present in the house, and for whatever reason pumpkin spice popped into my head. I know it is the season of pumpkin spice, and to be honest I am not a fan of pumpkin spiced anything, but again I was thinking of my kids and realizing that they love pumpkin spiced anything, especially growing up (they still are) and when really young pumpkin muffins were their absolute favorite, so I knew they would love trying these.

Rice Krispies are so easy to make that however you spin them up they are sure to be a hit. For me, these are seasonal, full of that pumpkin spice, and were not for me. I will pursue other desserts, but my kids… they pan of pumpkin spiced rice krispies treats were devoured.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 10.5 oz bag of marshmallows
  • 6 cups of Rice Krispies
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 13×9 pan sprayed with cooking spray

Way too simple.

Add a pot to the stove (or one large enough to hold all of the rice krispies), and begin melting the butter. Once the butter melts, add in the marshmallows and pumpkin spice. Reduce the heat to low melt all of the marshmallows. Once melted, add in the rice krispies and thoroughly combine.

Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispie Treats
Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispies Treats

Spread evenly into the 13×9 dish. Let the marshmallows mellow and form, then slice into bars and enjoy!

Again, I am not too big of a fan for pumpkin spice, but as this was a seasonal dessert, and full of those warm fall spices, they were hard to resist. Simply put, they were delicious and my kids devoured them.

What’s your take on pumpkin spice? Fan? If so, what is your favorite way to use it? Enjoy!

Homemade Pickled Pepperoncini Peppers

It seems as though I have always had a love for chili peppers. I assume that I got this love by watching, learning, and probably tasting hot sauces at an earlier age. It was probably hanging around our kitchen and my dad cracking open a bottle of hot sauce and asking me to try. Maybe not. Whatever the case, I love chili peppers and I probably eat at least 1/2 dozen (or more) each week. With that being said, it’s a bit sad that we had to harvest the rest of our vegetables from our garden last night. We still had a lot of tomatoes that have yet to ripen, plenty of chili peppers, and a broccoli plant that only wanted to yield it’s baby crown! I can’t say that it was anyone’s fault as to why we had so much left on the vines but in about two more weeks, those tomatoes would probably be perfect! Oh well.

Pickled Pepperoncini Recipe
Pickled Pepperoncini Recipe

That’s OK though. As much as I would like to harvest everything that we grow, I realize that we must sacrifice a few things to get what we needed from the garden. I often plant an array of chili peppers each year so I was excited to see what was flowering and low and behold it was the pepperoncini, and sure enough one of my favorite eating ‘snack’ chili peppers. There were so many peppers on the two bushes that I did not know what to do with all of them. The pickling was the first batch, and now I must figure out what to do with the rest of them. I have some ideas up my sleeve, but in the meantime, here is a quick recipe for pickling chili peppers.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large mason jar
  • ~25 whole pepperoncini peppers, washed, slit with a knife
  • 5 cloves of garlic, skins removed, lightly smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar

Just to note, Spring may be one of my favorite time of year, only for the sure pleasure of knowing that we will be able to plant, and plant something new. This is the first year we planted this peppers, and as we planted two bushes this year, I will most likely decide to plant one next year. One plant/bush will yield a ton of peppers, and probably too many for the average person depending on how much you enjoy chili peppers.

Start by making sure your peppers are cleaned and cleared of any dirt. Once cleaned, take a sharp knife and make a small slit into each pepper. Why the small slit? My plan is to let those great pickling juices infiltrate the interior and make for great flavor.

Drop each pepper into the mason jar along with the bay leaf.

Pickled Pepperoncini Ingredients
Pickled Pepperoncini Ingredients

To a small sauce pan, add the vinegar, salt, sugar, garlic, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar, then remove from the heat and let it cool.

Once cooled, pour in the pickling solution and once it is completely cool, seal and place in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days before digging in.

The beautiful thing about these pepperoncini peppers is that not only are they crunchy, slightly spicy, and are a perfect side dish (and snack (yes, I eat these for snacks sometimes)), but they are great in making them your own in terms of pickling variants, but geez are they ever easy to make. I know I was winning when we, yes I say ‘we’ because my wife participated in trying and eating more than one of them! That’s a huge deal!

To be honest, at first I had no clue as to what these peppers were when we planted. I knew what pepperoncini were, but the seeds did not state that. When trying a raw one, I fell in love, as did my wife. The pickled pepperoncini are awesome, but the raw (feel free to freeze them raw) are dynamite! I’m curious, what is your favorite quick pickle go to recipe? Enjoy!

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