Potato Diet Hack Practicalities (that means new recipes)

After a couple of days banging away on theory, time to once again revert to the practical. You know my ethic of the hack: make it highly palatable and rewarding, trust the potato to do its job.

So let’s get right to it. I’d already shown you the mashed potatoes and then the hash browns from the initial day of what began our week away for the holidays. Other than a sensible meal or two at a restaurant during those initial 3 days up at the cabin, I stuck with the potatoes exclusively. While I didn’t do pics, one thing I learned was that a nuked, chilled, then peeled and sliced potato with salt & malt vinegar is grand.

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The above was a combo of leftovers from the night before: mashed potatoes, no-fat gravy, 2-3 oz of steak from one of the restaurant trips. Make the cold taters into tater balls, nuke ’em, chop the leftover steak into chunks, add to the gravy, add some more stock to make soupier, and you’re done. Divine. Eat with a spoon. We ate that while watching San Francisco dominate and annihilate Chicago.

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On Tuesday, we headed down from Arnold, CA, to Vista, CA for the Xgiving holiday with family. I was undecided about continuing the potato deal and since I hate being a pain in the ass in person, I opted to set it aside and to be a good and gracious guest. Bea’s sister lives right next door to her parents, her sister and family went to Vegas. We took their place, they have this pool and it was 75 on Black Friday, and this is where I spent it.

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Last Saturday we took off. It was 89 on the drive through LA and still 75 in the afternoon when we stopped in Pismo Beach for the night.

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We took a stroll Sunday morning with Rotor and Nuke before heading home, eventually catching the 2nd half of the tenuous 49er win against the Saints.

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Half of 1 chicken breast between the two of us, 2-3 potatoes, a bit of onion, citrus, reduced chicken stock, zero added fat, but lots of things like cumin, curry, etc. I’ve never made Mulligatawny and have no idea of the recipe, but that’s what it reminded me of.

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There comes a time. I still had a breast & a half of chicken, so a low fat version of chicken piccata was in the making. Here was how I spelled it out for my brother who wanted to make it for himself the next evening.


  • 1 quart Kitchen Basics chicken stock. Get it in a pot on boil, reducing even before you start
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 lime or lemon
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced longitudinally and latitudinally (4 pieces per breast)
  • 2 potatoes, mashed
  • 2 tsp sour cream (or butter….for the potato mash)
  • capers
  • gluten free flour
  • bit of coconut fat (I used only a tsp)


Get the pot of stock going and the salted water for your 2 potatoes. heat up the cocnut oil, dredge your chicken, brown well in the oil, 2-3 min per side. Take off, set aside (all the other stuff is going).

Deglaze the pan with the wine, let it reduce. Then add a bit of stock from your boiling pot, let reduce, add more, etc. In the meantime you should have put the potatoes in the water once at a boil.

The bits of gluten free flour you deglazed should be enough for a saucy consistency once reduced enough, but make sure you have enough volume, reduction, etc.

At the end, add the juice from the lime or lemon and a tsp or two of drained capers. Make sure the sauce is just as you want it, turn off the heat, put the chicken back in, cover and let sit while you drain potatoes and mash with the sour cream or butter.

30 minutes.

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Beef stock reduced from a quart to a half pint with 1-2 oz of chopped roast beef for two servings. No added fat. Line the bowl with your mashed potatoes, ladle in your reduction. Eat it with a spoon. 

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Lunch yesterday. Oven fries (very little fat), lots of salt, and a bit of TJ’s Organic Catsup and malt vinegar on the side.

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For all my Canadian friends. After the touch of drama, I just had to make my version of it, with what I had.

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That was Bea’s portion. This was mine.

Same oven fries. Little fat. While they’ve been going, reduce 1 Qt Kitchen Basics unsalted chicken stock to about half a pint. I thickened slightly with about a tsp of potato starch in a slurry of cold water, introduced to the boil. A bit of salt & pepper, nothing else added. So, the gravy is zero fat.

Instead of cheese curds, it was a sprinkling of very ripe crumbled blue cheese I had on hand for a while. That’s the secret the French know about cheese: the riper, the less you need.

Alright, go forth and experiment.

Put all authorities trying to tell you what to do in the proverbial short pants.

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.


  1. blahblah on December 1, 2012 at 10:54

    Hey, your dogs look like Spuds Mckenzey. Remember him?

  2. Rhys Morgan on December 1, 2012 at 19:37

    Damn homie! Way more ambitious than me. I’ve just been baking all my potatoes. I make them more palatable with a little cinnamon, salt, and stevia. Maybe a touch of coconut oil. Tastes like churros haha…talk about food reward.

  3. Amy H. on December 2, 2012 at 03:51


    Good looking food, as always. My favorite way to do potatoes is so simple but always gets raves: peel a few potatoes. Slice them width-wise about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through a few times, so you get a “fan effect” from the slices. Place in a baking dish. Melt a tsp or two of butter per potato in 2 cups of beef or chicken stock, season potatoes with S&P. Pour stock over potatoes and bake at 400F for an hour, basting potatoes frequently.

    The stock will reduce into a thick sauce and the potatoes are tender inside, crispy out. Leftover are great with an egg the next day.

    I used to think I had no issues with wheat/gluten and was ambivalent about Paleo for a while, always starting and stopping after a few weeks and going back to bread, until recently. My doctor thinks I’m silly and over-thinking some of my anxiety and digestive issues and won’t do the tests for sensitivity, so I just proactively cut the gluten, wheat, and other grains out.

    What a freaking difference it has made for me. Anxiety and panic attacks diminished after a week. I put white potatoes back into the diet, usually eating 3 per day in addition to my meats and other veggies. I’m still losing weight and I feel great. The fog is finally lifting and I have enough energy to make it through the day.

    I’m nursing a baby right now and it makes me a ravenous beast – some days it feels like all I do is eat and I am still physically, stomach-growling hungry for more. Since I added a few potatoes to my daily breakfast and one or two as a snack most afternoons, I find myself less ravenous and able to go longer without eating. I don’t know what it is about the potatoes – maybe the lack of “food reward” or maybe its satiety and sanity from carb intake. Maybe it’s just something about potatoes being a fondly remembered comfort food that I can’t give up, but they help me keep up the necessary caloric intake for breastfeeding and simultaneously calm cravings that would otherwise stall my weight loss efforts. I should note that I’m eating red or Yukon gold potatoes that are roughly baseball sized or smaller. I think three giant Russet potatoes would be too much, but the baseball sized potatoes are perfect for me. For a quick prep I usually just microwave one or two and sprinkle with salt and vinegar. I never, ever realized how good that could be. Sometimes I also slather them in Vidalia onion mustard. Yum.

    I’m not ready to go all in on a potato-only diet. I don’t know what it would/could do to my milk production, but I’m happy with the results so far and am glad, nay, joyous, Nay! Thankful that I can eat such a simple satisfying food.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 2, 2012 at 08:06

      Thanks Amy. I’ll have to give that a try today. Sounds great.

    • Mark on December 2, 2012 at 20:04

      Made this tonight. great dish. The potatoes taste very rich and after cooling off absorbed the entire amount of liquid. I did sub in 1/4 cup of the stock (Kitchen Basics – Thanks Richard for that find) for some red wine. I think a diced onion would be another fine addition. But as is, amazing flavor / effort profile! :)

      • Richard Nikoley on December 2, 2012 at 20:19

        Made it tonight too, with one single raw, wild kill elk linguisa sausage sliced the same way. Had to drain off the fat and reduce a bit in the end while the dish sat it the (off) oven.

        Bea killed it. Ate more of it that I did. That’s because she got all aggressive.

  4. tatertot on December 2, 2012 at 14:57

    Several people have mentioned the role of potassium and sodium in this hack. Also, vinegar seems to change the characteristics of starch absorption in the gut. 3lbs of potato have 115% the RDA of potassium, but lack lots of other important minerals and vitamins. Salt and vinegar seem to be a natural ‘pair’ with potatoes. I wonder if there is something to this? Anybody…

    The potato diet has gotten a crap-load of interest lately on MDA. A whole bunch of folks starting a week of it tomorrow, some with sweet potatoes, some doing it a la Nickoley, some purists. They are supposed to be starting a new thread in Odds and Ends, if they do, I’ll post a link.

    The potato hack is a perfect holiday-reset.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 2, 2012 at 21:58

      That’s cool. I’m glad I’ve put a kink in there but Im gonna resolve to be humble in this. I’m just here to help and make potato recipes.

      One more, tonight.

      • marie on December 3, 2012 at 08:25

        Mais non! There is such a thing as too humble.
        Your synthesis of all the potato ‘diet’ information out there and incorporation of a little bit of liver/meats makes what seems to be a sane approach with more nutrients and a whole heck of a lot more yumminess that I’m pretty sure makes a big difference to people trying it out, especially the more hesitant ones. I know it inspired in me some serious curiosity to experiment.
        Thank you.
        Meanwhile, are you still collecting recipes? I may have one more for you, hopefully tonight when I get home ;) : greek potato and lentil (or lima bean) ‘meat’ balls. Heavy on the potato and on herbs. Boiled, formed, brushed with up to 2 tbsp olive oil then baked.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 3, 2012 at 08:31

        I have to be humble, now, see?

        Oh noes!

  5. tatertot on December 2, 2012 at 15:00

    Just had a funny thought…wouldn’t Richard’s ‘Potato Diet’ make a cool looking ‘food pyramid’?


  6. Tatertot on December 3, 2012 at 08:43

    This should be a good place to watch lots of people on diff variations of the potato hack…

    “The Super Secret Potato Project
    Okay, not really so secret – but ANYWAY, this is where some of us …are going to start a potato diet hack for 5 days, starting Monday the 3rd through Friday the 7th.

    We’ll be recording whatever we want and documenting it in this thread.

    Most of us will be eating potatoes and ONLY potatoes, some others may choose to
    add other nonfat veggies to *their* hack.

    All are welcome to post any stats or just results at the end of the hack as they so choose.

    Party on potato peeps!”

  7. Joshua on December 3, 2012 at 07:02

    So Richard – it kind of sounds like your experiences are indicating that fat and carbohydrate are perfectly fine macronutrients on their own or mixed with protein, but are “dangerous” to pair together from a weight standpoint. Does that sound reasonable?

    I feel like that’s the impression I’m getting from Hyperlipid, but I’m not sure I’m understanding him well enough.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 3, 2012 at 07:15


      Pretty much what it seems like to me. I don’t think a little of fat and/or protein hurt. Think of it like the Asians do, bowl a rice, a little fish or some other meat, some veggies. Different is that potatoes are way better nutritionally than rice.

  8. Ashleyroz on December 3, 2012 at 12:57

    My husband and I started this last week. I’ve quit because my joints got progressively achier (I’m presuming I might have an issue with nightshades that I never noticed before) so I’m re-starting with a more wahls style with tons of raw and lightly cooked veggies and fruit with some overrripe bananas and small amounts of mollusks and offal. I did lose about 5 pounds in the 5 days I was on, it, though. My husband is still doing great with it. Our favorite recipe so far is potato, shallots and parsnip baked latkes. Tiniest bit of fat to keep from sticking in the oven. They’re really delicious though. Especially with a spoonful of unsweetened applesauce.

    • Ashleyroz on December 3, 2012 at 13:33

      I’m living in poland right now so I’m looking for a potato alternative. If I were still in the states I’d try it with green plantains. There’s gotta be some other staple I can find. Just going to carb up doucherider style with bananas and fruit for the time being until I find something else.

  9. […] Alright, the few fearless who remain—because I love to help the real Paleo minded, non fear-motivated whenever I can, and screw the rest to death—let's cover another dish and I'm doing just this one, because I've just come to believe this may be all you need because it's that good. Commenter Amy is the star. […]

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