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Frozen fries, tater tots, onion rings


Chimayo Joe
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I don't know if this has been done as a Topic.  I don't have a huge amount of experience with these types of products, and thought I'd see what others' preferences are.  (I'm also thinking this is a topic where Toliver might have had something to say. RIP, Tim.)

 

The products I can recall having are Ore-Ida fries, crinkle fries, tater tots, and crowns, Alexia onion rings, sweet potato fries and sweet potato puffs, Kroger sweet potato crinkle fries, Safeway Signature Select onion rings, and Checkers/Rally's fries. I've probably had others that have slipped my mind.

 

I like Checkers fries.  Those are what I've been buying lately.  The Ore-Ida items I've had are okay but are something I'm likely to buy only rarely.
 

 I also like Alexia onion rings.  I do not like the Safeway onion rings (minced and formed onion.) i'm sure I've had other brands of onion rings, but they must not have made enough of an impression good or bad for me to remember them.

 

As I recall, Alexia sweet potato fries and puffs are decent.  Alexia seems to be a pretty good brand. I need to try more of their products. Kroger sweet potato crinkle fries are okay.

 

I have some Arby's curly fries in the freezer at the moment, but since I'm not a big fan of Arby's curly fries I'm not expecting much from the frozen variety.

 

Anyone have any favorites?

 

 

 

 

Edited by Chimayo Joe (log)
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I've been disappointed by Ore-Ida and have been buying Alexia.  But I don't often cook onion rings or premade fries.

 

To get the best results I deep fry the Alexia products.

 

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If I know I'm going to fry them in oil (the best, IMO), pretty much anything is fine - Ore-Ida, Alexis, even store brand.  I am weirdly picky about onion rings and haven't found a brand I like much.  The Alexia sweet potato fries are excellent.  Frozen potato products seem to be very popular and therefore there have been some shortages.  Recently I wanted tots and there were no national product ones in the case.  I got the Kroger brand and we decided we actually preferred them.  They are flatter than the regular ones and extremely crisp on the outside.  

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On 1/26/2022 at 4:53 AM, weinoo said:

I just bought a bag of these, and will try them out soon...

 

image.thumb.png.76afe77e59288fd02c1fad1c2083c2f9.png

 

The Alexia product is OK too. Never tried the Ore-Ida.

I'm eagerly awaiting your review. I have a pack of the same in the freezer. Spud Puppies. What a dopey name. Spud Puppies are hot dogs wrapped in potato pancakes.

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I don't do ffs at home very often at all.  I get my fill of them as a side at cafes and burger joints, etc. and usually bring leftovers home to finish.  With take-out you always seem to get a huge portion.

 

I grew up before the french fry came to dominance, when burger joints sold bagged potato chips and at home you had that or potato salad.

 

My mom pan fried potatoes, and she was good at it.  That's the kind I started making when I cooked for myself, got away from it for years and just going with ffs, but I've gone back to pan fries (potato coins, sliced across the potato rather than lengthwise, shallow fried in a skillet).

 

I do like shredded hash browns with breakfast, sometimes with lunch.  Best ones I've found for my taste are the Season's Choice at Aldi (nice long shreds of potatoes) and the refrigerated Simply Potatoes brand.

 

I'd like to find a good source of frozen shoestring potatoes, too.

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I think I'm going to get sick of this frozen onion rings and potatoes binge pretty quick. I've just been baking the things I'm trying.

 

Arby's Curly Fries are okay.  It's hard to cook them evenly because the sizes and shapes vary so much.  The ones that end up just right aren't bad.  Probably wouldn't buy them again.

 

Alexia House Cut Fries are also okay. They're bit bland and don't really brown. Probably wouldn't buy these again either.  I wanted to try the Yukon Select Fries, but the store I shopped at didn't carry those.  I'll get to them sooner or later. I'm thinking later.

 

Grown in Idaho Super Crispy Crinkle Cut Fries crisped pretty well but have a slightly odd flavor.  Ketchup is enough to obscure that flavor, but I wouldn't buy these again unless I don't find a crinkle cut fry that's better.  My guess is that I will find better.

 

Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries are the best Ore-Ida fries I've had.  Not fantastic but good.  Looks like they tried to copy McD's fries and  succeeded more with appearance than taste, but still, they aren't bad.  I bet these would be pretty good fried.  I'd buy these again.

 

In the freezer but untried are Nathan's Thick Sliced Battered Onion Rings.

Edited by Chimayo Joe (log)
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When I was very young (1960s and early 70s), frozen fries came in boxes - similar to the boxes that some frozen vegetables still come in.  I used to spend a lot of time at the home of my English stepsister's mother (we are a bit of an odd family).  She always had boxes of Giant (regional grocery store) fries in the freezer and, as a permanent fixture, a pot of oil with a basket in it on the stove.  This arrangement was used as a pick up meal, an afterschool snack, part of a more complete sit down meal, etc.  This was nirvana to the soul of my fat little carb-loving self, as you can imagine😁!  French fries on tap, if you will.  These were the best frozen fries I ever remember eating.  I've since been told by British acquaintances that the practice of keeping a pot of oil with the basket in it on the stove at all times is a common thing in the UK.  

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10 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

When I was very young (1960s and early 70s), frozen fries came in boxes - similar to the boxes that some frozen vegetables still come in.  I used to spend a lot of time at the home of my English stepsister's mother (we are a bit of an odd family).  She always had boxes of Giant (regional grocery store) fries in the freezer and, as a permanent fixture, a pot of oil with a basket in it on the stove.  This arrangement was used as a pick up meal, an afterschool snack, part of a more complete sit down meal, etc.  This was nirvana to the soul of my fat little carb-loving self, as you can imagine😁!  French fries on tap, if you will.  These were the best frozen fries I ever remember eating.  I've since been told by British acquaintances that the practice of keeping a pot of oil with the basket in it on the stove at all times is a common thing in the UK.  

 

I keep my pot of oil with the basket in it on top of the blast chiller, personally.

 

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1 hour ago, MetsFan5 said:

@Chimayo Joe I found Nathan’s onion rings to be fairly good for a frozen product. 

I had them and agree they're fairly good.  I like the batter they used. The onion flavor is too mild for my tastes, but I still enjoyed them.  It's been too long since I've had Alexia onion rings for me to say how they compare, but I think the onion flavor is pretty mild in those, too.  It shouldn't take me too long to sample what onion rings are available to me locally.  There aren't many of those in comparison to potato products (I'm definitely not tryng all the potato products.) I'll probably revisit Alexia onion rings since those are the ones I think I like best.

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Last night I tried Alexia Rosemary and Sea Salt for the first time.  A bit salty to my taste, but I can't say I wasn't warned.  Other than the salt they were quite good.  I would have preferred Alexia Yukon but Whole Foods was out.

 

I fry by heating a pot of peanut oil on high till the temperature reaches 180-190C.  I then lower in the basket and time 4 minutes.  I used to judge doneness by color but invariably the resulting fries were overcooked.  Time works better for me.

 

Dinner02072022.jpg

 

(Ignore the fish and slaw.)

 

 

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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8 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

I forgot to say that some restaurants have started serving those coated/battered fries which I assume are a frozen product.  I haven't accidentally bought a bag of them so far.  If I do, they will be thrown through the kitchen window.  Detestable things.


I like those in the “sweet potato” variety, because any other method has failed me so far to get crispy sweet potato fries …

 

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11 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Last night I tried Alexia Rosemary and Sea Salt for the first time.  A bit salty to my taste, but I can't say I wasn't warned.  Other than the salt they were quite good.  I would have preferred Alexia Yukon but Whole Foods was out.

 

I'd probably like those.  I like Smashburger's rosemary fries.  I had Alexia Yukon fries for the first time last night and thought they were very good but a little light on salt for my tastes (easy enough to add some salt.) I'd probably even like the saltiness of the Alexia rosemary fries.

 

i guess I might as well update with what I've had since the last time I posted to the thread.  
 

Direct comparison between Alexia onion rings and Nathan's onion rings was a close contest, but Nathan's edges out Alexia.  The styles of these are different enough that I'm sure I'll buy both again from time to time.  I didn't like Market Pantry (Target store brand) onion rings, and Red Robin onion rings of a similar style were even worse.

 

Market Pantry Crispy Crinkle Cut fries didn't hit the mark either.  They were just barely okay for me.  Slightly thicker than other crinkle cut fries I've had. I tried varying the cooking times & temperature and couldn't get them cooked to suit me.  Wouldn't buy them again.

 

Market Pantry Crispy Shoestring fries were the best of the Market Pantry products I tried.  They crisped well and tasted okay.  Probably not something I'd buy again, but I didn't dislike them.

 

I figured something would beat Grown in Idaho Super Crispy Crinkle Cut fries, and it didn't take long for that to happen.  Kroger Extra Crispy Crinkle Cut fries are better than I expected them to be.   They are slightly thinner than other crinkle cut fries I've had, and the crinkles are deeper.  The ingredients list of those two are almost identical, but I think the shape of the Kroger fries allows a lighter hand to be used with the ingredients they add to promote crisping.  There's not as much of a fluffy central core with the Kroger fries, so that might be a consideration for some people, but I liked these.
 

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, Duvel said:


I like those in the “sweet potato” variety, because any other method has failed me so far to get crispy sweet potato fries …

 

 

Yes, SP fries get soggy fast.  I've had modest success dusting in starch and  thin-cutting, but still not crispy enough

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31 minutes ago, gfweb said:

@Chimayo Joe Thanks for  the investigations.

Remind me,  are you air frying or oil frying?

I'm bakng them, more or less as the directions suggest for that method.  No doubt frying would be better, but I started out baking them and have just stuck with that.

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Convection really makes a difference with frozen fried products. I don't have an air "fryer" but I bet they do a great job on this kind of thing. I put my tots on a cooling rack over a foil lined sheet pan and do a high temp convection bake. Nice results, quick cleanup.

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50 minutes ago, btbyrd said:

Convection really makes a difference with frozen fried products. I don't have an air "fryer" but I bet they do a great job on this kind of thing. I put my tots on a cooling rack over a foil lined sheet pan and do a high temp convection bake. Nice results, quick cleanup.

Similar experience here.  In the CSO, on convection, I bake tots and the like on a screen similar to this. (eG-friendly Amazon.com link)

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