From our Food Goddess, TaMara:
I think potatoes are one of my favorite foods. So many things you can do with them. I’ve covered a lot of recipes for potatoes over the years, but there always seems to be more. Tonight I wanted to cover a simple recipe, but one that is oh so good. Time consuming, but you can make part of it ahead of time and assemble before the final baking.
For some less laborious baked potatoes, let’s start with some easier, foolproof recipes:
Quick and easy baked potatoes, instructions here. I love these because by splitting the potato you get a nice crispy roasted flavor.
And if you missed it, this week’s Dinner Menu – Beef and Pepper Subs with Walnut Pear Salad, can be found here.
What’s on the weekend agenda? Any fun pre-Halloween plans like corn mazes or pumpkin hay rides? Hit the comments, and don’t forget to share your favorite potato (or other) recipes. And what do you think, should we tackle pumpkin recipes next week?
Tonight I’m featuring two recipes:
Twice Baked Potatoes
(pictured at the top of the post)
These potatoes are packed full and could be a complete meal with a nice salad. You can bake the potatoes a day ahead, refrigerate them and then prep quickly before dinner.
5 large baking potatoes, washed and scrubbed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 ounces bacon, chopped
3 green onions, chopped (reserve 2 tbsps of chopped greens for garnish)
4 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz shredded Jack cheese
8 oz sour cream
4 tbsp butter, at room temperature
Additional Ideas to make a meal: Fresh chopped broccoli, diced mushrooms to mix in
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Rub the potatoes with the olive oil and salt. Place in the oven, pierce each with a fork and bake until fork-tender, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let the potatoes sit until cool enough to handle (or refrigerate for preparation the next day)
Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp and the fat is rendered, 5 to 6 minutes. Add chopped onions and cook until tender-crisp, 1-2 minutes. Drain bacon and onions on paper towels.
Cut ONE potato in half and scoop out completely. Place the pulp in a large bowl.
Cut the top quarter from each of the remaining FOUR potatoes and using a spoon, scoop the pulp from the potatoes into the bowl, leaving a 1/4-inch layer of pulp on the skin. Season the inside of the shells with salt and pepper and place the potato shells on the baking sheet.
Using a handheld masher, mash the potato pulp until smooth. Add 2 oz of each cheese, the sour cream, butter, bacon, cooked onions, salt, pepper and mix well with a fork. Spoon the potato mixture back into the potato shells, top with the remaining cheese and bake at 400 degrees until hot and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with remaining onion greens.
All those leftover potato tops can be used in soup or other recipe.
How about changing things up with the next recipe?
Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
4 sweet potatoes, washed scrubbed
4 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp butter, room temperature
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Pierce potatoes with a fork and place sweet potatoes on sheet tray and bake for 1 hour or until soft. Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle (again you can make a day ahead and refrigerate at this point).
Cut the top quarter from each of the potatoes and using a spoon, scoop the pulp from the potatoes into the bowl, leaving a 1/4-inch layer of pulp on the skin. Season the inside of the shells with salt and brown sugar and place the potato shells on the baking sheet.
In another bowl, add brown sugar, butter and cream cheese and the all of the spices and mash with a fork or rubber spatula. Add the butter and cream cheese mixture to the sweet potato flesh and mash completely. Add the filling back to the potato skins and place on a half sheet tray. Sprinkle tops with brown sugar and chopped pecans. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.