Fifteen Ways to Turn Your Baked Potato Into an Amazing Complete Meal
------ How to Bake a Potato ------
- Adjust the rack in your oven to the middle position; preheat to 450 degrees F.
- Rinse and scrub each potato under COLD running water, using a stiff brush. Remember, most of the nutrients of the potato are directly under that yummy crisp and salty skin (which you will be eating). You’ll want those guys to be clean.
- Prick each potato 3 or 4 times on top and bottom—this keeps them from exploding in the oven! Place directly on the oven rack
- Bake for 45 minutes. Brush with olive oil (not butter) and bake 10 minutes more. The internal temperature of the potatoes should be 205 degrees F. (Bonus--if you use an instant-read thermometer, not only are you getting an accurate reading of the temperature of the potato, you are also able to tell if the potato is "done" by how easily the probe slides into the potato.
- Don't forget to protect your fingers with a potholder--those are HOT potatoes!
It's Almost Perfect!
Could the baked potato be the world’s most perfect food?
Think about it--one large potato costs less than a dollar. It's an inexpensive, filling, nutritious and easy-to-make food in the college dorm*, a handy dinner for one, or even comfort food for an upset tummy. (Bet you didn't know that).
But that's not all. Multiply the number of potatoes, add a few simple toppings, and you have an easy weeknight dinner for your family. Here are fifteen ideas to inspire you.
*NOTE: Yes I know that dorm potatoes are microwaved, not baked. However, even though a microwaved potato is not perfect, it is better for you than a bag of popcorn.
And Two Very Important Rules
- NEVER EVER wrap your potatoes in foil. If you do you will have steamed, not baked, potatoes.
- AND, always used russet potatoes; Yukon golds, reds, and other "new" potatoes are waxy, not starchy and so will never produce a potato with a crisp outer skin and fluffy interior.
(2) The Nacho
- shredded Colby Jack cheese
- sour cream
- diced avocado
(4) The Julia Child
- one beautiful poached egg
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Fifteen Baked Potato Meal Ideas
(1) The Greek
- diced tomato
- crumbled feta cheese
- minced Kalamata olives
(3) The George W. Bush Special
- steamed broccoli florets
- low-fat Cheddar cheese sauce from Cooking Light Magazine (see below):
- How to Make a Healthier Cheese Sauce | Cooking Light
A from-scratch cheese-and-butter sauce contains a
- Carb Diva's "Un-meaty" Vegetarian Chili
"Meaty" but meatless chili that doesn't rely on soy protein or frozen veggie crumbles. This would be great to have on Super Bowl Sunday.
The Meaty Ones
(5) NFL Special
- grated Cheddar Cheese
- chili (canned or Carb Diva Un-Meaty Vegetarian Chili, see insert to the right))
(6) Messy Potato (topped with Easy Sloppy Joe Mix)
- 1 pound ground turkey (93 percent lean)
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cook turkey in large saute pan over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.
* What is Poutine?
Poutine is a French-Canadian classic that is served across Canada--a hearty dish of french fries, fresh cheese curds, and brown gravy.
(7) Lazy Poutine*
- jar or leftover beef gravy
- cheese curds
(8) The Gobbler
- leftover turkey, chopped
- leftover turkey gravy
(9) The Burger Lover's Potato
- broiled hamburger patty, crumbled
- minced onion
- grated Cheddar cheese
- diced dill pickle
- Pulled Pork Barbecue Recipe : Tyler Florence : Food Network
Tyler Florence's Pulled Pork Barbecue recipe from Food Network starts with a flavorful dry rub that includes paprika, brown sugar and mustard powder.
(10) Summer Fun
- BBQ pulled pork
- cole slaw
Recipe for pulled pork and slaw are to the right.
(11) New York City (amount needed for 1 potato)
- 1/2 cup diced cooked chicken (leftover rotisserie is GREAT for this!)
- 2 teaspoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon (or more) buffalo hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon crumbled bleu cheese
Heat chicken in microwave. Toss with melted butter and buffalo hot sauce. Spoon on top of potato and garnish with crumbled bleu cheese.
Catch of the Day
(12) Dinner in Tuscany
- cooked shrimp
- jarred, homemade, or deli alfredo sauce
- grated Parmesan cheese
(13) The French Café
- Baked or poached salmon
- sour cream
- minced chives
(14) The Deli Special
- smoked salmon
- capers, rinsed and drained
- sour cream
(15) The Tuna Melt
- Two 6 ounce cans water-packed tuna, drained and broken up with a fork
- 2 tablespoons minced celery
- 2 tablespoons minced yellow onion
- 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon whole grain (not yellow or Dijon) mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven broiler and set the oven rack to 5 inches from the heat source. Combine all ingredients except the cheese in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Evenly distribute over 4 baked and split potatoes. Top each with 1/4 cup of the cheese. Broil 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. Watch carefully so that it does not burn.
So, There You Have It
Fifteen ideas for topping a hot baked potato to turn a simple side dish into a hearty meal. Do any of these sound interesting?
It's Your Turn to Vote
Which of these ideas might you try?See results without voting
© 2016 Linda Lum
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