As tough economic times carry over into the new year, the Idaho Potato Commission is working on a couple fronts to promote the affordability of potatoes.

The Eagle, Idaho-based commission is sponsoring a recipe contest and offering a new tool to help foodservice operators calculate potato costs.

The Watching Waistlines & Wallets Recipe Contest, which kicked off Jan. 25 and lasts into March, is offering more than $7,500 in prizes for recipes, including $5,000, for a grand prize winner submitting an original, healthful and affordable recipe, according to a commission news release.

Recipes must use Idaho potatoes as the main ingredient, using fewer than 10 ingredients total. They will be judged on originality and taste, ease of preparation, overall healthfulness and cost to make, according to the release. Participants can submit recipes on the commission’s Web site.

Fitness expert Denise Austin announced the contest with a satellite media tour Jan. 25, and Art Ginsburg, also known as TV personality Mr. Food, will highlight the contest as well, according to the release.

The commission also released a new tool for foodservice operators to quickly calculate cost per serving on orders of potatoes, based on potato size and carton price.

The cardboard tool is free from the commission by emailing with the word “calculator” in the subject line. Up to 50 each are available for operators with multiple locations.

Idaho Potato Commission seeks slimming recipes