I’ve been sort of really into junk food that’s not actually junk food lately.
Like BBQ cheeseburgers that are actually made of vegetables and beans (plus cheese and BBQ sauce).
The other day I ate a humongo pile of chips, all salty and crispy and satisfying… except they were made out of kale sooooo technically they were pretty good for me, right? There’s been non-fat milk in all my lattes, which, in my world, gives full permission for adding chocolate or caramel, or one of those sorts of wonderful things. I baked some southwest egg rolls (recipes for those little yummies later this week!!) and they were just as full of spice and crunch and wonderful dip-a-bility as they would have been if I’d deep fried those babies.
Also… CHEESE FRIES. The ultimate pile of cheesy, greasy, deep-fried and then dipped in ranch dressing, potatoes that are usually covered in wonderful things like bacon!
Except that I baked these.
But before I baked them, I married them with mustard and sweet onion flavors- sort of like those Snyder’s pretzels that leave that weird and unyielding yellow flavor film on your fingers? The stuff that won’t come off AT ALL without a thorough hand-scrubbing? Like that flavor, minus the annoying sticky properties.
Am I rambling?
I feel like I’m rambling a little bit.
It’s just that… my biggest small boy is trying out for wrestling today and I am kind of freaking out about it. Of course, he can’t know I’m feeling freaked out because what if I transferred all my nerves and twisty worried mommy feelings? That would be awful. Plus he’s a boy and he’s in middle school and worried mommies are basically not cool and everything. He wasn’t worried AT ALL when he left the house this morning.
And if he was, then he is extra good at pretending (but I really hope he wasn’t).
Maybe it’s because I’m a girl, or a parent, or completely lack any amount of coordination or athletic ability, but wrestling seems scary!
It seems scary, right? Or is that just me?
The nerves explain my need for comforting platters full of cheese and potatoes, right?
And the fact that I’m really enjoying my size-smaller jeans is all the more reason to keep baking stuff that restaurants would just loooove to be deep-frying.
Bacon would have been most excellent crumbled over the top of all this melted cheese, but Evan insisted on having the last couple strips on a whole wheat dinner roll as a sandwich in his lunchbox. No mayonnaise. Or lettuce. Or tomato. Nothing. Just bacon and whole wheat bread. His lunch requests remain a mystery to me.
So anyway… baked cheesy mustard and sweet onion fries. Make these!!!
They are super comforting. Especially when your kid is trying out for wrestling. Cross your fingers for me, okay? Because I’m pretty positive my biggest little boy has got this. I just need to learn how not to worry… but I should ask someone other than my mom because even after five kids and two grand-babies and more sporting events than I could ever keep track of, after allllll that, she still paces up and down the sidelines at every soccer game.
Baked Cheesy Mustard & Sweet Onion Fries (adapted from THIS recipe for Baked Chili Cheese Fries at Joy the Baker)
3 Russet potatoes, scrubbed, roughly peeled, and sliced into french fries
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon seasoning blend; I used Morton’s Nature’s Seasoning, but something like McCormick’s Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning would be great, too (though I’d probably use a little less of that).
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons dry mustard OR 2 tablespoons prepared spicy mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup honey
1 cup shredded cheddar or blended cheese
1/4 cup chopped scallions
Pre-heat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you can use non-stick cooking spray, but the potatoes will still want to stick a little bit, so the parchment paper is recommended)
Place your sliced Russet potatoes in a large bowl and toss them with the olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, and seasoning blend. Set them aside.
You can prepare the mustard & sweet onion flavor one of two ways: I’ve done this both ways and they are both delicious! The only difference is that sometimes I run out of dry mustard, but I always have prepared mustard on hand.
Method 1: In a small bowl combine the cornstarch, dry mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Toss this mixture with the already moist and seasoned potatoes. Scatter the potatoes in a single layer across your prepared baking sheet (Note: you may need two baking sheets). Drizzle the potatoes with the honey. Bake the fries for 30-40 minutes, removing every 10 minutes to stir around the baking sheet so they evenly crisp all around. The last 10 minutes, stir and then sprinkle them evenly with the cheese. Scatter the green onions over the baked fries before serving.
Method 2: In a medium bowl whisk together the cornstarch, prepared spicy mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and honey. Pour the liquid over the seasoned and moistened potatoes in the large bowl and toss to incorporate. Scatter the fries out across the prepared baking sheet (Note: You may need two baking sheets) in a single layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes, removing every 10 minutes to stir around the baking sheet so they evenly crisp all around. The last 10 minutes, stir and then sprinkle the fries evenly with the cheese. Scatter the green onions over the baked fries before serving.