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Family Central: A Better Fry

I don’t know about your kids, but mine would eat French fries every night if I let them.

I don’t, of course, but I am always looking for a recipe or ready-to-serve fry that satisfies their fried-food craving, but doesn’t make me feel like a horrible, junk-food-pushing mom.

Alexia brand potatoes are my new best friend.

These are all-natural potatoes, available in our frozen section, that cook up crisp in the oven, so you don’t need the fryer. The flavors are sophisticated enough for adults, but won’t turn off kids. Their regular waffle fries are dusted with onion and garlic powder, and the spicy sweet potato sticks get a kick from chipotle powder.

They take a little longer to bake than some brands – up to 30 minutes – but they actually get nice and crispy in the oven, without burning. They’re delicious alone, and even better if you doctor them up a little bit. The regular waffle fries, for instance, are great if you dust them with a bit of chopped fresh rosemary or grated parmesan cheese, after cooking but before serving.

Alexia also makes some good little appetizers you can pop in the oven and serve, including breaded whole mushrooms and my family’s favorite – mozzarella stix, with a tasty Italian bread-crumb coating. We serve those with a spicy arrabbiata dipping sauce (Mezzetta’s Napa Valley Bistro is our go-to brand).

I didn’t know much about this company before we started enjoying the fries, but a little investigation turned up that it was founded by a chef named Alex Dzieduszycki.  And, surprise, surprise, he knows something about healthy snacking. Twenty years ago, his catering company also created another favorite healthy snack of mine — Terra Chips, one of the first lines of snack chips made out of exotic veggies like taro, yucca, and parsnip.