What am I?
You eat this more than any other vegetable, but not how you think.
I'm most often used as an ingredient in other dishes or fried and served with a burger.
Where I grow
I grow under the ground, and I'm actually a tuber, which means I hold nutrients that the root collects.
If I get sunlight while I'm underground, I'll turn green and poisonous.
After I'm picked
After I'm picked, I should be put in a dark, cool place.
More than half of my harvest is sent to factories to make other food, like chips.
However, I'm also delicious cooked and eaten plain or added to soups.
Did you guess... Potato
Potatoes have been an important food for 7,000 years.
Watch the video to learn more about potatos!
A potato is a root vegetable, the Solanum tuberosum. It is a small plant with large leaves. The part of the potato that people eat is a tuber that grows under the ground.
A potato contains a lot of starch and other carbohydrates. Potato usually has a light-brown or yellowish skin and is white or yellow inside. If the potato gets light on it, the tuber turns green and will be poisonous (only if you eat a lot).
The potato is originally from the high and cool areas of the Andes of Peru. It was grown as a food crop more than 7,000 years ago. When Spanish conquistadores came to South America in the 1500s they took potatoes back to Europe.
It took nearly 200 years for the potato to become a widely grown crop. In the 1780s the farmers in Ireland began growing potatoes because they grew well in the poor soils. They also have most of the vitamins that people need to survive. The Irish became so dependent on the potato that when the crop failed in 1845 there was a famine and many people starved to death.
The potato plant is now grown in many different parts of the world. Captain William Bligh planted potatoes on Bruny Island, Tasmania in 1792. In Australia they are now the largest vegetable crop.
Potatoes are almost always eaten cooked. People cook potatoes by boiling, baking, roasting, or frying them. French fries are potatoes cut into long pieces and fried until they are soft. Potato chips are potatoes cut into very thin round pieces and fried.
Source: Potato Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.
In an earlier post, I shared a recipe for Not Your Average Chili. I created that recipe based on ingredients that were on sale and in season at the grocery store, but I didn't have a recipe in mind prior to going to the store.
As I stated in that post, "I like to go to the store with little or no plans for meals for the week. I know it's a foreign concept to many of my meal-planning friends, but if I go in with a set plan, I may miss out on discounts, fresh and in-season produce, and new recipe ideas. When I shop, I start in the produce section and base all of my meals for the week on what is on sale and what looks ripe and ready to eat. If my meal plan includes avocados but they are not ready to eat, I would either be forced to use unripe avocados or change my meal plan. Going in with no plans makes shopping more fun and keeps my mind opened to possibilities!"
SNACKSTER SAM'S BIG ADVENTURE - ON SALE NOW
Later in the week, I had no plans for dinner again . . . but I did have several ingredients that I knew would make a great meal! Watch the video below to see what I created and keep reading to get the recipe:
If you go to the grocery store with an open mind, you might find you get more creative in the kitchen, create some fresh and nutritious meals, and save money! I'm sharing the recipe I made, but I listed other ingredients you can add or subtract to it based on what is available, on sale, and in season!
One Pan, No Plan Dish
Instructions: Choose from the vegetables, seasonings, proteins below. Use what you have on hand and don't be afraid to add more and experiment! This recipe is really just to give you an idea of what flavors go well together.
4 potatoes, diced
1 green pepper (or any color variation), chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2-1 package fresh mushrooms
Handful of kale
Handful of fresh spinach
1 cup tomatoes (canned or fresh)
1 can tomato sauce
2 chicken breasts, cooked
1 cup red kidney beans
SEASON TO YOUR TASTES
Add oil to saucepan and heat to medium-high. Add hardy vegetables (potatoes, pepper, onion) and seasoning. Cook, stirring often, until potatoes are tender. Add protein of choice. Add tomato sauce and stir until sauce is thoroughly distributed. Add softer vegetables (leafy vegetables, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes). Cook for a few minutes or until leafy vegetables are tender.
(If cooking chicken, either do so in another pan or fully cook in the ONE pan and set aside until directions call for you to add the chicken back to the pan. Otherwise, this is a great way to use leftover chicken!)
TIP: Get children involved with prepping the vegetables. Smaller children can wash vegetables and rip up leafy vegetables while older children can open cans and stir the pan. At the dinner table, ask them to identify the different vegetables in the meal. Then discuss where the vegetables grown - is it on the ground or on trees? For older children, go further and find out the geographical location where they grow!
Want to learn more about helping kids find the best foods? Get the book: SNACKSTER SAM'S BIG ADVENTURE
Did you try this recipe or can't wait to? Have a comment to share? Please do below!
Danielle is the mother of two, small business owner, and creator of Snackster Sam. She has been concerned about healthy habits and nutrition for over a decade, and conducted an award-winning scientific study on portion control. Danielle is an author and community activist who is passionate about helping people reach and exceed their personal and professional goals.