Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Taco Potatoes

Taco Potatoes

Dorcas Annette Walker

My Taco Potato recipe is for the fellows like my husband who are meat and potato guys. No matter what else may be served unless there is meat and some kind of potato a main meal isn’t complete. My father was the same way. He’d sniff suspiciously at any fancy dish, but pass him meat and potatoes and he’d always smile with satisfaction. Today the microwave cuts time drastically when it comes to fixing potatoes. Now that’s enough to make a cook smile too.

There is evidence that the Incas cultivated potatoes for centuries dating back to the second century A.D. Three centuries later the Spaniards introduced potatoes to Europe. From 1845 to 1846 blight destroyed much of the Irish potato crop triggering off a widespread famine where around 2.5 million people died from starvation and disease. Ireland was the most likely source of potatoes being introduced to the United States when approximately one million Irish immigrated during this time. Today the United States ranks fourth in worldwide potato production.

Sprouts from portions cut from whole potatoes are planted in the spring. Then potatoes are harvested from the roots of the potato plant in the fall; Russet being the main potato variety grown here in the United States. Only ten percent of the potato crop is harvested in the winter, spring, and summer months. Potatoes are well suited for long-term storage in climate-controlled rooms allowing potatoes to be sold throughout the year, which also allows greater flexibility to sell U.S. potatoes on the open market. Idaho and Washington account for half of the entire U.S. potato production, although the highest yield of potatoes per acre are in Oregon, Washington, and California. Today the net import value of potatoes amounts to between $8 and $9 for each American while the potato farmer grosses close to $2,000 per acre in potato sales.

Russet Burbank’s are used commercially for French fries. The processing potatoes are contracted, negotiated, and signed to commercial fryers before planting. The volume of frozen potatoes consumed is now larger than the volume of fresh potatoes (less than one third of production sold) with French fries dominating. The rest of the potato production is processed into potato chips or other dehydrated products.

Potatoes are quite versatile to fix, in fact the possibilities are endless, yet no matter how they are prepared potatoes remain a filling staple. Instead of using a taco topping you can substitute:
- barbeque pork/chicken with shredded mozzarella cheese
- cooked mixed vegetables with cheese sauce
- leftover chili topped with shredded cheddar
- cooked broccoli and cheese sauce
- salsa, pepperoni’s and shredded mozzarella cheese
- sour cream with bacon bits and diced chives

Taco Potatoes

Brown 2 lbs of hamburger in an iron skillet.
Add 1 pkg taco seasoning with a small amount of water and simmer for five minutes.
While the hamburger is browning:
Poke holes in 4 medium-sized potatoes with a fork, wrap in a paper towel, and microwave for two minutes. Let sit for a couple of minutes and microwave again for two minutes until the center is soft.
Slice the potatoes in two.
Spoon taco mixture onto the top of each half potato.
Sprinkle shredded cheese over meat.
Cover and microwave for one minute until the shredded cheese is melted.
Garnish with sour cream and chives!
Preparation time is approximately fifteen minutes and this recipe serves eight one-half potatoes.

Weekly tip: After microwaving and cutting a potato in half, pinch each end of the halved potato and then take a fork to fluff up the inside pulp. This will help to keep your topping from sliding off of the potato and also let the topping seep all the way through to make your potato more flavorful!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, syndicated columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more information check out:


Dorcas said...

This sounds good, too!! I've seen this before but haven't tried it!! Will have to make them :o)) I feel the calories coming on already! haha!!

Dorcas Annette Walker said...

Now, now, now... it just depends on how much topping you put on.
You could always try putting some shredded lettuce and tomato (salad-style) topping to help your conscience out.