Stuffed Potatoes

I was so excited last week when I opened up my Farmer’s Market Basket to find a handful of small baking potatoes and a bunch of green onions. I couldn’t think of a more perfect use for both than making stuffed potatoes – twice baked potatoes – potato skins – whatever you want to call them. I need to remember to make these in the fall for tailgates; they’re really more suited for a chilly day when you want something hearty and warm, but they went just perfectly with some grilled chicken and a salad. And, they even held up to be reheated the next day for lunch.

I didn’t make these intending for them to be low-fat or low-carb. Instead, I made them to be delicious. My Olympic distance triathlon is coming up in less than a week (scary), so I plan on pretentiously carb- and protein- loading all week. These were the perfect addition to that plan.

Stuffed Potatoes (based on using 6 small potatoes)

Preheat oven to 400. Thoroughly wash and pat dry some baking potatoes, making sure to scrub the skin of any dirt. You’ll be eating the skin part later, so this is a crucial step. Place potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet, cover with extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper (just a sprinkle of each). Bake until cooked through, about an hour, turning once. Allow potatoes to cool slightly, just enough for you to be able to hold on to them without burning your fingers.

While the potatoes are baking, cook some bacon. Just a couple of slices will work for a small serving; I used 4 slices for my 6 potatoes and that was perfect. Set bacon aside to drain and crumble later. Save bacon drippings for dressing or cooking something else (see my last post for instructions there).

Once potatoes have cooled, slice them lengthwise so that they lay somewhat flat on their sides. With a spoon, gently scrape out the inside cooked flesh, and put the cooked potato innards in a mixing bowl. It’s okay if some of the potato stays in the skin as a border around the edges, but just don’t puncture or destroy the potato skin. Set the empty potato skins back on the baking tray.

To the cooked potatoes in the mixing bowl, add in some diced butter (about half a stick), about 1/3 cup sour cream, handful of shredded cheddar cheese, some diced green onions, a splash of heavy cream or half & half, salt and pepper. Mix/mash together really well with a fork until it takes on the consistency of thick mashed potatoes. Then, scoop the prepared potato mixture back into the skins. Don’t overfill them or try to mash them out so they cover the surface area of the skins exactly; just gently pile in a couple tablespoons of filling, like a little cloud of mashed potato goodness. Repeat until all potato skins are filled and all your mixture is used up.

Then, top the potatoes with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, and crumble the bacon on top. You can add more green onions, too, if you desire. Bake them at 375 for about 7 minutes, just until the cheese is all melted and gooey. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly, and enjoy! Make sure you eat the skin as well as the filling for maximum tastiness; since you oiled & salted the skins, they should be nice and crispy, and also make it easy to pick these little babies up and eat them without a fork and knife.

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