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THE CONFIDENT COOK

Recipe: Homemade vegetable chips are a healthier alternative to snack foods -- and kids love them

Oven-Baked Vegetable Chips.Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Serves 4

Vegetable chips are quite popular right now as a healthier alternative to processed snack foods. Make your own and you can even help with the issue of food waste. British author Kate Turner of "My Zero-Waste Kitchen" jumped on the trend (she calls them crisps, as everyone in the UK does). The chips use up produce scraps such as potato and beet skins that would ordinarily be discarded or headed for the compost pile. Kale chips aren't new but as long as you're baking, add some kale leaves to the project. They're the easiest vegetable chips and cook fairly quickly. Beets here are baked unpeeled, sliced very thin in order to crisp in the oven. Use a mandoline to make 1/16-inch slices. Sprinkle them with salt and let them sit for at least 15 minutes to release excess liquid; squeeze them out, pat them dry on paper towels, then spread them on parchment-lined baking sheets in a single layer to bake. You may want to wear gloves so your hands aren't dyed red (it's temporary). Bake russet potato skins -- use the flesh to make a mash -- with a sprinkle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can also add chile powder, paprika, and cumin for a bit of spice. The recipe doubles and triples easily, but the biggest factor is time and oven space. If you have only two oven racks and two baking sheets, you'll have to juggle, rotating the baking sheets in and out as they are ready for another batch. You'll be amazed how much kids like the chips and how quickly they disappear.

1large beet (unpeeled), sliced 1/16th inch thick
Salt and pepper, to taste
1bunch Tuscan, Lacinato or curly kale, leaves stemmed and torn into 2-inch pieces
4tablespoons olive oil
Peels from 4 large russet potatoes

1. Set the oven at 300 degrees. Line 2 to 4 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a colander set over a bowl, toss the sliced beets with salt. Let the beets drain for a least 15 minutes. Squeeze any excess water out of the beets. Lay them out on paper towels and pat them dry.

3. In a bowl, toss the beets with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes or so, or until crispy. Transfer the parchment paper with the beets to a wire rack to cool.

4. In a bowl, toss the kale with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the leaves on 2 baking sheets in a single layer. Bake for 25 minutes, or until crispy. Transfer the parchment paper with the kale to wire racks to cool.

5. In a bowl, toss the potato peels with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them on the baking sheet in a single layer. If any of the peels are significantly longer than the others, tear them in half. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes or so, or until crispy. Transfer the parchment paper with the potato peels to a wire rack to cool.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Serves 4

Vegetable chips are quite popular right now as a healthier alternative to processed snack foods. Make your own and you can even help with the issue of food waste. British author Kate Turner of "My Zero-Waste Kitchen" jumped on the trend (she calls them crisps, as everyone in the UK does). The chips use up produce scraps such as potato and beet skins that would ordinarily be discarded or headed for the compost pile. Kale chips aren't new but as long as you're baking, add some kale leaves to the project. They're the easiest vegetable chips and cook fairly quickly. Beets here are baked unpeeled, sliced very thin in order to crisp in the oven. Use a mandoline to make 1/16-inch slices. Sprinkle them with salt and let them sit for at least 15 minutes to release excess liquid; squeeze them out, pat them dry on paper towels, then spread them on parchment-lined baking sheets in a single layer to bake. You may want to wear gloves so your hands aren't dyed red (it's temporary). Bake russet potato skins -- use the flesh to make a mash -- with a sprinkle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can also add chile powder, paprika, and cumin for a bit of spice. The recipe doubles and triples easily, but the biggest factor is time and oven space. If you have only two oven racks and two baking sheets, you'll have to juggle, rotating the baking sheets in and out as they are ready for another batch. You'll be amazed how much kids like the chips and how quickly they disappear.

1large beet (unpeeled), sliced 1/16th inch thick
Salt and pepper, to taste
1bunch Tuscan, Lacinato or curly kale, leaves stemmed and torn into 2-inch pieces
4tablespoons olive oil
Peels from 4 large russet potatoes

1. Set the oven at 300 degrees. Line 2 to 4 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a colander set over a bowl, toss the sliced beets with salt. Let the beets drain for a least 15 minutes. Squeeze any excess water out of the beets. Lay them out on paper towels and pat them dry.

3. In a bowl, toss the beets with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes or so, or until crispy. Transfer the parchment paper with the beets to a wire rack to cool.

4. In a bowl, toss the kale with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the leaves on 2 baking sheets in a single layer. Bake for 25 minutes, or until crispy. Transfer the parchment paper with the kale to wire racks to cool.

5. In a bowl, toss the potato peels with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them on the baking sheet in a single layer. If any of the peels are significantly longer than the others, tear them in half. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes or so, or until crispy. Transfer the parchment paper with the potato peels to a wire rack to cool.Karoline Boehm Goodnick