Growing up in a small town in Northern Iowa, believe it or not, is a wonderful thing to be able to experience. As a child, I was able to take part in many activities I would have never been exposed to if I had grown up somewhere else. One of my fondest memories is how excited my friends and I would get for the County Fair to roll around every July. I was in 4-H, which meant most of my summer was spent creating projects to be judged at the County Fair, with the hopes that they would be good enough to receive a blue ribbon or even make it to the State Fair. I can vividly remember the week leading up to judging day, sitting at our sewing machine for hours, making sure the stitching on the clothes I made was just right, staying up late into the night to make sure the bread and cookies were perfect, and my mom probably putting in more hours helping me those last few days than she should have :) After judging day, my cousin and I would be so excited to go exploring through all the buildings and exhibits. One of our favorites, every year, was the oyster cracker exhibit. It was actually an exhibit for Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning Mix and all you could use it for, but we only thought of it as the oyster cracker stand. Yes, out of everything that was at the fair, including thrilling rides, my favorite thing involved food, big surprise :) That stand was there every year, and we would go there several times to get our free samples of oyster crackers seasoned with their special ingredients. I’m actually surprised they let us come back as many times as we did!
You’re probably thinking, well that’s a sweet story, but why in the world is she telling us this??!! Well, something very special was created from this memory that will have you all thanking the Northern Iowa County Fair…a new recipe :) Last week I was thinking about those oyster crackers and how I could never get enough of them. Wouldn’t that seasoning go great on something else I love, besides oyster crackers? What about sweet potatoes? And that, my friends, is how County Fair Inspired Sweet Potato Fries were created! These may be my new favorite appetizer/side! They are quickly becoming a staple around this household. You must give these a try!!!!
County Fair Inspired Sweet Potato Fries
2 – 2 1/2lbs Sweet Potatoes (its easiest if you can just find one big one, but if not, a few smaller potatoes will work)
1 package (1oz) The Original Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning Mix
½ tsp Dillweed
½ tsp Lemon Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Salt
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1. Cut sweet potatoes in to French-fry-shaped spears. This is probably the most difficult part of the recipe.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine ranch seasoning mix, dillweed, lemon pepper, garlic salt, and olive oil.
3. Toss sweet potato fries in seasoning mix, making sure all fries are covered generously with seasoning.
4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 1-2 baking sheets with nonstick spray (depending on how many fries you have). Spread fries out evenly on baking sheets, making sure all are flat on the pan and not layered on top of each other. Bake 20 minutes
5. Pull pan out and sprinkle desired amount of cheddar cheese over fries. Bake an additional 7-10 minutes. Serve with your favorite condiment or enjoy them by themselves!
These fries are to die for! Perfect appetizer for the weekend or even as a side with a tasty burger. Its one the whole family is sure to enjoy!!!!