DIY Junk Food

But first, a little bit of Gratitude:
Make that, eternal gratitude for the great walking tune suggestions. There were a couple of songs among the recs that were on the list of songs I’d once thought of adding but had forgotten. And there were more than a few new-to-me tunes I’m looking forward to checking out. Thank you so much! Meanwhile, keep those hits coming!

Moving along to the topic of the moment: junk food. I used to eat a lot of it; now I don’t. But losing 100 pounds and gaining a boatload of energy and vitality didn’t completely erase the taste for certain junk foods despite their salty, sugary, fatty, chemical-laden reputation. It’s keeping the scale numbers and its cousins blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate, and blood sugar (not mention my squish belly) in check that has had me bypassing the junk food aisles and avoiding 92.8% of restaurant offerings.

But not anymore! This week, I revisited a couple of old favorites: french fries and tortilla chips. One teensy difference, though, is that I made them at home! Yep, I’m now making my own junk food. Fortunately it was quite easy for my first two explorations: french fries and tortilla chips. Recipes (though it seems a bit far-reaching to call them that) follow.

If you’re skipping the recipes in favor of kicking off your weekend, I’ll wish you a good one now! For those looking for a potential junk food fix, read on…

French Fries
Thanks to super value menus and the emergence of the “loaded potato”, potatoes are viewed in a negative light by many. How unfair! Underneath that half-pound of cheese, butter, and imitation bacon bits, potatoes are rich in potassium and vitamins C and B6. (For those keeping score or anticipating inviting me to dinner, I actually prefer my baked potatoes with only a smidge of butter and lots of fresh-cracked black pepper.)

French fries have been problematic for the healthy eater wannabe simply because they’ve been immersed in and soakage of unhealthy fat during preparation. Even before I started eating healthier, I had given up most restaurant/fast food fries because they were just too greasy and salty. Ick! But earlier this week, I got a hankering for some fries and not wanting to expend a splurge for them, I decided to make them myself.

Ingredients for one serving:
1 potato (I used a red potato because they were on sale)
2 tsp. safflower oil (or other healthy oil sitting on your countertop within easy reach)
Kosher salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Optional: garlic or onion powder, paprika, taco seasoning–any spice or seasoning you want actually

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2a. Scrub and peel potato (or don’t peel it if you like the skin)
2b. Wash your hands well, while you’re at it.
3. Slice potato into french fry size (or wedges or letter shapes or whatever you want)
4. Place potato in bowl and add other ingredients. Toss all together using fingers, unless you skipped step 2b.
5. Spray cookie sheet *lightly* with cooking spray of choice.
6. Place potatoes in a single layer on cookie sheet and slide it in the oven.
7. Bake for 15 minutes, turn potatoes, and bake 15 minutes or so more, until they look crispy enough for you. (Oven temps vary, so start watching at the 10 minute mark.)

The result: crispy on the outside, meaty on the inside. Yummy! A tablespoon of reduced sugar, no HFCS ketchup on the side, and I was happy. My non-scientific nutritional estimate had these fries at about 200-230 calories, 5g protein, 5g fiber, 10g fat (1g saturated, 1g polyunsaturated, 8g monounsaturated). Not an everyday food, not even an every week food, but it’s nice to know I can have them now and then without wrecking my nutritional goals.

DIY Tortilla Chips
I buy blue corn tortilla chips from time to time, and I’ve done well with eating them in proper portions. My problem, though, is that they sometimes go stale before I finish the bag. I don’t like to throw away food, so I’ve quit buying them, which has meant no chips and salsa to have with my Mexican Chicken dishes. :( Enter: just-in-time corn tortilla chips! (I made flour tortilla chips before, but these are better.)

Ingredients for one serving:
2 6-inch corn tortillas
1/2 tsp. safflower oil (or other healthy oil sitting on your countertop within easy reach)
Kosher salt, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Brush or rub tortillas with oil (I put a little oil on one tortilla and then match it to the second one and rub together. Then I flip sides and repeat. Just a little time-saving tip, at no additional cost)
3. Use a knife (or your pizza wheel, if like mine, it has been sitting in your utensil drawer unused for a couple of years) to cut the tortillas into wedges.
4. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray of choice.
5. Spread tortilla wedges in a single layer on cookie sheet.
6. Sprinkle salt (and any other seasonings you want) across the wedges.
7. Bake for 5-10 minutes. Start watching for the edges to curl at around the 5 minute mark.

The result: crispy, crunchy, FRESH chips perfect for dipping. Unless I’m planning on serving a crowd, I’ve bought my last bag of any brand tortilla chips. These chips are just that good! Plus, I don’t have to worry about any overages creeping into my snacky little hands unless I want to go through the steps, simple though they are, again. But truly, this is the perfect serving size alongside a healthy chicken or turkey taco salad!

Based on the brand of corn tortillas I used, I’m assigning these chips 90-100 calories per serving, with a smidge of protein, fat, and fiber.

There you have it. Two easy-as-can-be DIY junk food “recipes” for your LIMITED enjoyment!

What ‘junk food’ would you like to find a healthy-ish way of enjoying? Some day soon, I’m going to try my hand at making crackers, probably these crackers.

16 thoughts on “DIY Junk Food

  1. Hey Cammy,

    I’ve been reading your blog and following your comments around everyone else’s blogs ever since I started mine last May, but I honestly think this is the first time I’ve commented. No reason, except kept telling myself I’d come back when I had more time to get to know you through your blog. I’ve been doing that this afternoon and just want to say what a great story you have and to thank you for the time you spend on your blog. I’ll not be missing any more of your posts!!

    I bought a 40-lb box of sweet potatoes yesterday from the grower. Bet that French Fry recipe will work just fine with sweet potatoes also. Yum! Yum! Think I just planned dinner. LOL!

    I’m in East Tennessee so we are just across the state from each other. Look forward to knowing you better.


  2. Great recipes Cammy! Thank you!!! I have had variations of these but I am so lazy about all that cutting up stuff & I don’t have the gadgets.

    I have a lot of junk food I would like to see in healthier forms but at least I have a couple cookie recipes that help me thru & I like them too! They meet my cookie needs during the week, my protein cookies & then I have my real treat on the weekend!

  3. I love oven fries and they are good with sweet potatoes as well.

    The built in portion control on the chips is a good advantage to making your own. Since I have helpers in the food eating around here I still buy my favorite Trader Joe’s corn tortillas.

    I would like a good home made oven baked onion ring that would be crispy, got a recipe for that?

  4. Yum, lots of great stuff here! :)

    I must say I firmly believe the companies that make this garbage make it so that we are addicted to it. That makes me sad.

  5. Yum – it’s never occurred to me to make tortilla chips that way. I’ll definitely have to try this! Thank you for the recipe.

    I’ve been making my own fries lately but with sweet potatoes – love them!

  6. Yum yum to both snackies. I have had a hankering for tortilla chips lately. Thanks for the instructions–last time I tried they weren ‘t very crispy.

  7. Well, you’ve done it again with the recipes! I’m still wanting to stay away from too many carbs, but I need to make these things for my family. I can’t stand feeding them empty, processed calories.
    And oh my gosh, those spelt crackers are really interesting! I want to be that kind of mom… maybe someday.
    Have you heard about Kale chips? I have a friend who just made them and need to give it a try.

  8. Your versions don’t sound like junk at all, they sound delicious.

    Check out independent Australian artist Clare Reynolds on YouTube, I love her voice and lyrics.

  9. I cannot wait to try the tortilla chips (one of my downfalls). And I wonder why I haven’t tried this before as I do use the oven for “frying” french fries and sweet potato fries often. Thanks for the good tips.

  10. Yum. Thanks for sharing. Okay, I want the tortilla chips to be Lime tortilla chips. Can you make that happen? And, while you’re at it, I want them to be 0 calorie . . . .:-) Looking forward to next week!

  11. I want to try that recipe with a sweet potato, also. I bet it will be my new favorite!

    Tell us sometime what new songs are recharging you. I really lliked the playlist you started with.

  12. It’s the small changes that really help us to maintain change and changing from deep fried potatoes to a healthier version is a perfect way of helping us stick with the changes. I’ll be trying your recipe later.

  13. Pingback: Cammy Goes Crunchless

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