October 28, 2013 at 1:00 am

Maureen Tisdale

Let's Talk Food: Potato wedges with hot dogs, and what are your phone-it-in meals?

Chewy, tasty and pretty healthy, easy homemade potato wedges elevate a simple dinner on take-it-easy nights. (Maureen Tisdale / The Detroit News)

Is it OK to love meals where “cooking” is used loosely?

On Saturday nights, my husband and I often throw a few hot dogs on the Foreman, make up a batch of potato wedges and salad, then park it on the couch to tuck into it. It’s easy, we almost always have what we need on hand and it feels like a Saturday night meal: a bit junk-foody and perfect for the man-cave where we watch Netflix after a long day of chores and baby-wrangling.

Only, the past couple weeks I’ve put it on the menu for other nights, too. First off, I’ve had back-to-back bugs that have annihilated my energy. Second, the final food that stood between me and the effort to empty the deep freezer for a pre-winter defrost? Hot dogs.

Ever since my husband found them vastly cheaper purchased in bulk, we’ve been stocked with enough hot dogs to survive Armageddon. So after I emptied out lots of freezer fodder for the friend-in-need meals I mentioned before and more by using up all the leftover not-there-yet attempts at breakfast bars, I found myself staring down several vacuum-sealed packets of these puppies.

So our Saturday Night Special found itself ready for prime time four weeknights over the past couple weeks.

The potato wedges we have with hot dogs (and have only with hot dogs, come to think of it — we’re creatures of habit, the hubby and I) are ridiculously simple. In fact, I bet a better cook than I would surely figure out something fabulous to goose these up. But the way we do them (below) makes a nice blank canvas for easy dipping sauces like chipotle or bacon ranch salad dressing. In fact, with their chewy exterior and soft interior, they’re delicious with plain yellow mustard, almost like a soft-baked pretzel.

And even with the creamier dips, they’re so much healthier than fried potatoes — which is nice, since our indulgence calories are earmarked by the hot dogs.

That said, I’m open to suggestions for making these wedges a little more special, along with what you throw together when you’re under the weather — especially if such ideas won’t take more than a few more minutes on my feet in between sniffling and coughing.

What meals do you cobble together when your energy is shot? We’d love to hear about ‘em in the comments below the recipe — and don’t forget those suggestions for tweaking the potato wedges. You need a Facebook account to add comments, but they’re easy to sign up for, and free. Over the next few days, Detroit News Food Editor Maureen Tisdale will respond to comments or questions. You also can follow her on Twitter @reentiz. Join the discussion!

Ubersimple Potato Wedges

Word to the wise: The cooking temperature and time on these wedges are pretty flexible, which is swell if you’re wrangling a 16-month-old who thinks nothing’s funnier than making a run for it at bath-and-bed time. But they have their limits. One recent night when I was particularly wobbly from a sinus infection, I finished one batch for our dinner that night and put a second on for another night (they’re vastly better fresh, but I was going to be at work next round). Then I nodded off after dinner (told you before, I’m useless by 9 p.m.), and an unpleasant burnt odor and some ugly little former potatoes greeted us when my husband roused me to head back upstairs a few hours later. Next time, I’ll either set a timer or try a lower temperature for safer long-cooking.

2 large (length-wise) potatoes (you don’t want them too wide or the apple-corer won’t work)

Coarse sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Cut the potatoes in half width-wise. Put them flat-side down on a cutting board and push the apple-corer down through each half of the potato to make the wedges.

Lay the wedges skin-side down on the sheet and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Pop them in the oven til the house has a french-fry-ish smell, usually about 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the wedges and your taste; my husband likes them lightly golden, I like them a deeper brown, super-chewy verging on crispy.

Again, these are best served hot but can loiter in a warm oven for a while if you’re, say, still chasing down a toddler who doesn’t understand Mommy Has a Bad Cold and Is Kind of Done Chasing You Pretending to Be a Ghost in an Old Sheet Just Now.

Enjoy!