(March 12, 2 p.m.) Frank Muir, president and chief executive officer of the Eagle-based Idaho Potato Commission, was on a flight to Denver March 10 when the lady sitting next to him reminded him of the merits of a program his organization just started.

“She asked me who I worked for,” Muir said. “When I told her, she reminds me of how to use Idaho potatoes to stretch a menu. She was incredibly excited about it. It made me think, maybe we’re on to something here.”

Using Idaho potatoes as the basis for healthy and cost-effective eating is the crux of a new commission Web resource called “Watching Waistlines and Wallets.” It features a repertoire of recipes that the commission claims cost less than an estimated $3.50 per serving. Recipes are appropriate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The commission launched the initiative in early March.

“One of the things we’ve been trying to do over the last five years,” Muir said, “has been trying to remind consumers of how nutritious potatoes are. But now, we have to remind them how economic they are as well.”

A sampling of recipes and approximate costs include:

  • Breakfast: fruity Idaho potato breakfast squares — $1.10 per serving;

  • Lunch: Idaho potato crusted pizza — $1.50 per serving;

  • Dinner: Hearty and heart-healthy Idaho potato soup/stew — $2 per serving; and

  • Side dish: Low-fat Idaho potato gratin — $1 per serving.

According to the commission, one 5.3-ounce potato contains 110 calories, 45% of the daily recommended Vitamin C, has nearly two times as much potassium as a banana and contains fiber, protein, Vitamin B6 and complex carbohydrates.

“You hear that old phrase, ‘bang for your buck,’” Muir said. “We have to remind consumers that, to get the biggest bang for your quarter, there’s no better commodity than Idaho potatoes.

“Now, more than ever, it’s good to remember that, not only are potatoes good for you, but they’re good for your wallet.”

For the complete list of recipes, photographs and nutritional information, go here.