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29 Aug 2010

Serve up spuds for a healthy meal in minutes

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August 29, 2010 Category: Food And Beverage Posted by:



Cheryl Koompin knows a thing or two about getting dinner on the table for her family after a long day of work. She and her husband raised two boys while maintaining the family’s potato farm in American Falls, Idaho. That meant years of early mornings, long days in the field and making sure dinner, homework and chores were taken care of in the evening.


Today, Koompin is the United States Potato Board’s (USPB) chairman of the board. She is using this expertise and leading the U.S. potato industry in their efforts to educate consumers, specifically moms, that potatoes are a nutritious, delicious and quick mealtime solution.


“I understand first-hand the challenges of getting a healthy meal on the table in minutes,” says Koompin. “I hope some of the potato tricks and tips I learned over the years can help other moms speed up dinnertime prep. Plus, kids love potatoes and moms can feel good about serving them.”


One medium (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, sodium or cholesterol, and more potassium than a banana. Pound for pound, potatoes are also still one of the least expensive items in the produce department. One serving – a medium potato – will set you back only about 25 cents.


Nutritious, affordable and delicious, but are potatoes convenient for today’s time-strapped mom trying to get dinner on the table in a hurry? Yes.


You can speed up your spuds in a number of ways, including using your microwave for perfect baked, roasted and mashed potatoes. Potatoes are also one of the best vegetables for slow cookers, one of the most popular cooking appliances today, because you can prepare a dish the night before or in the morning and have dinner ready when the family gets home. The starch in the potato absorbs water and swells during the cooking process, resulting in tender, fluffy potatoes that require no monitoring while cooking.


The USPB’s new recipe for Quick & Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken and Potatoes calls for bone-in, skinless chicken breasts, fresh-from-the-farmers’-market ingredients like red potatoes, baby carrots, pearl onions and button mushrooms, and simple seasonings like Herbs de Provence (dried herbs found in the spice section of most grocery stores) and fresh thyme.


Visit to see three additional flavor variations to the Slow Cooker Chicken & Potatoes recipe. You’ll also find videos and a host of potato recipes.


Quick & Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken and Potatoes

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: Can range from four hours to eight hours, depending on temperature set on slow cooker


4 small (2 pounds) bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed

2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence (or combination of dried thyme, fennel, basil and savory)

1 teaspoon garlic salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 1/4 pounds small red potatoes

3/4 cup frozen, thawed pearl onions

1 cup small baby carrots

3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

8 ounces small baby bella or white mushrooms

Chopped fresh thyme (optional)


Combine the Herbs de Provence, garlic salt and pepper on a dinner plate. Spoon flour on to second dinner plate. Coat each chicken breast in the herb mixture; then dredge well in flour.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add chicken and cook over medium-high heat until chicken is golden brown on both sides (approximately three to four minutes per side). Cook chicken in two batches if necessary so as not to crowd the pan.

Place chicken in a large slow cooker and add remaining ingredients except fresh thyme. Cover slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or on low for eight hours. Sprinkle with fresh thyme before serving, if desired.

Makes six servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories: 430, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1.5g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 100mg, Sodium: 400mg, Potassium: 771mg, Carbohydrates: 43g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 45g, Vitamin A: 90 percent, Vitamin C: 60 percent, Calcium: 4 percent, Iron: 20 percent


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