"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Taters 'n' Onions

In an effort to make some of my favorite recipes allergy free, or at least lower in allergens, I've been scouring Pinterest for copycats of various premade ingredients. Now, I don't think I've ever used Lipton Onion Soup mix to actually make soup, but it's always been a staple in my pantry, just as it was in my mother's.

I've used it for pot roast, both in the slow cooker and in the oven. -- Throw a cheap cut of meat (I like a chuck roast), some potatoes, celery, carrots, onions, and water into an oven bag or a crock pot and cook it low and slow. The meat comes out fork tender and the veggies end up tender and soaked in a beautiful gravy.

I've used it for onion dip -- Pour one packet of the soup mix into a quart of sour cream and stir. It's best if you refrigerate it overnight to rehydrate the onion. Of course, these days, I'm more likely to use Greek yogurt as a more healthy alternative to sour cream.

But my favorite use for it is oven roasted potatoes -- This recipe is courtesy of the back of the Lipton Onion Soup Mix box. The only difference is that I reduce the amount of oil. Scrub potatoes and cut into desired shape. (I usually go with chunks or steak fries.) Mix a packet of Soup Mix with 1/4 cup of oil in a zip top bag. Add potatoes and shake until they're coated. Bake on a nonstick cookie sheet at 425 until potatoes are tender in the middle (about 45-60 minutes).*

The potato recipe was my litmus test for these two Pinterest experiments. Heh. Like I needed an excuse. As always, click the section title for the pin.
Click for the link to the official original recipe. This is also the source of the above photo.

This one is really good. It's got a nice, bright flavor, like fresh green onions, and would be a great starter for soup. I would probably also use it for roasted potatoes or a flavoring for other roasted vegetables. If you aren't a lover of the Lipton, try this one as the flavor is quite different.

I would love to tell you that this one is an exact copy of the Lipton mix, but I can't. I actually like it better. The flavor is so close, but it's somehow cleaner. I don't know how else to describe it. That said, if you want the Lipton flavor without all the crap, use this one with the gluten-free bouillon granules.

*Now because this is a favorite recipe of mine, I do vary it so it never gets boring. Here are a few variations I use that you might appreciate:
  • Before tossing the potatoes with the oil and onion mix, microwave them to speed up the cooking time, then finish them off in the oven. It changes the texture slightly but saves a ton of time.
  • Par-boil the potatoes (boil them until they're almost done) before laying them out on the cookie sheet. Then pour the oil and onion mix over the top and toss it all to coat the potatoes. This changes the texture quite a bit. They come out much softer, like good, old-fashioned home fries.
  • I love onions and hate to see them go to waste, so when I have an overabundance, I cube them and toss them with the potatoes. It just adds another layer of onion to the recipe.
  • Finally, this one was a (very naughty) tweak passed on to me by a friend. Add chopped, fresh onion, more oil, and half a stick of butter. Oh. Em. Gee. This is one of those recipes best reserved for special occasions. (But it's sooo good.) For another layer of naughty, add bacon. Best to cook this one in a baking dish with higher sides and you'll need to stir it a few times so the bottom doesn't burn.

Happy Cooking!

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