My husband and I are recent "empty nesters" and have been enjoying a little bit of new found freedom the last couple of weeks. We haven't ever been big restaurant eaters but we have a new affinity for Outback Steakhouse. It seems like the other restaurants have raised their prices to the point that we can now eat at Outback as cheaply as we can eat at one of our local diners. If we each have the Outback Special for around $10, and drink the ice water, its a pretty cheap date night. A few times we have splurged and bought a half order of the Cheese Fries. They are divine! And OF COURSE, I had to figure a way to make these AT HOME MY WAY! And boy oh boy did I have success! These are really good. My older daughter wants me to make them over and over in the same week. She just can't get enough of them.
I bought a 20 pound bag of potatoes (well... I bought two actually) for $1.98 each so this date-night splurge was really cheap to make at home. We NEVER fry anything any more unless we have the fish frier set up outside. So, these potatoes aren't as bad for you as they look. They are baked in very little oil with however much cheese you are brave enough to sprinkle on. This is how I did it.
Baked Cheesy Fries (Preheat oven to 400 degrees)
- 6 Washed brown-skinned potatoes (however many you need for feeding your family) (leave the peeling on)
- 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese / sharp, mild, medium, or colby (really any kind of cheese would be fine)
- Seasonings I used: Season salt (generic Lowrys), onion powder, pepper
- 3 T. Oil (olive, canola, or vegetable oil)
I used this awesome frenchfry cutter my husband got last Christmas (and we had never used) - it works magnificently. My Mom got it at Bass Pro. Its super worth it! We pushed the potatoes through the cutter with the peeling on. Super fast!
Place all the fries in a big bowl. Drizzle with the oil. Stir well to coat the fries in the oil.
Dump on lightly oiled or sprayed cookie sheet (actually I didn't remember to do this step and since my fries were lightly oiled, they didn't stick or anything). Try to get them in one layer with just a little crowding. If you have a bigger family, you may have to use two cookie sheets.
Sprinkle with the seasonings of your choice.
Bake uncovered in 400 degree oven until the fries are browning. I would guess 20-30 minutes. (I didn't remember to time them but you want them completely done before melting the cheese because that doesn't take but a minute).
Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven until the cheese melts (app. 1-2 minutes).
My daughter ate hers as "loaded" potatoes with a little sour cream. My husband and I just ate ours as cheesy fries! They would probably be great with a little leftover chili and cheese as well for a complete pig out dish!
We bought some inexpensive steaks and all three of us ate for less than $10.00. It was fun and delicious and we decided we will be making this often.