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Stuffed Baked Potatoes
By Joan Whetzel
Around my house, baked potato night is a big thing. My husband and I each come from a long line of potato lovers, which has been passed on to our kids - and everybody has their favorite way of making them. It makes baked potato night interesting. Sometimes we try something new, and sometimes we stick with the tried and true. In some cases, it provides a way to use up leftovers.
1. The Basic. This is the traditional baker – butter, cheese, sour cream, bacon bits, and chives.
2. Barbecue bakers make use of leftover barbecue chicken, chopped beef, pulled pork stuffed inside the potato. Add anything else that sounds good, like butter, sour cream, onions or extra barbecue sauce. Another variation on this one, includes adding coleslaw.
3. Tacos Meat and Queso. Leftover taco meat and queso makes a super baked potato with a bit of a kick.
4. Ham and Cheese, who can resist that combo? Pick your favorite cheese, add a little butter and sour cream if you like.
5. Chili and Cheese, yum! Toss in a little chopped onion, and a few Fritos if you’re really daring.
6. Twice Baked. This one calls for baking the potatoes thoroughly and slice them in half the long way. Spoon out the middle whip up the potatoes with some butter and sour cream, spoon the filling back into the potato skins, then top them with cheese and put them under the broiler to melt the cheese. Top them with a little more sour cream, chives and bacon bits. There are, of course, numerous variations on this recipe.
7. Caramelized onions make a great potato filler. Try making an onion dip with French onion soup mix and sour cream to add to it, as sort of a French onion potato.
8. Grilled mushrooms and onions are great on hamburgers or steaks. Why not include these as a baked potato filler?
9. Bacon and egg bakers or ham and egg bakers sound quite good, though I haven’t tried them yet. They could make like a breakfast for supper potato, or just a breakfast baker.
10. Pizza potatoes can be stuffed with anything you’d put on top of a pizza. Start with your favorite pizza sauce. then add veggies, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, pineapple, anchovies, black olives and some mozzarella cheese.
11. Irish baked potatoes. So you made a little more corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day than you needed? Stuff it into a baked potato.
12. Guacamole baker’s are great with a little onion, and sour cream. Better yet, add it that taco meat baker.
13. 2 Cheese, 3 cheese, 4 Cheese bakers. This is a great way to use up the tail ends of those packages of grated cheese combine any of the following flavors: Swiss, cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, Monterrey jack, or pepper jack. Even a little Chile con queso drizzled on top is allowed.
14. The bagel baker is topped with smoked salmon, cream cheese and chives.
15. Roasted veggie bakers make use of veggies in a different way. Chop up some summer squash, zucchini, carrots, onions, green and red bell peppers, green beans, asparagus, or egg plant in any combination that you like. Drizzle them with a little olive oil and sprinkle them with a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven toward the end of the baking time for the potato, then pile them on top of your baker.
16. That little bit of grilled chicken or beef fajita that’s not enough for another dinner for the family, may be just enough for a single baked potato. Top with onions, cheese, sour cream and black olives.
17. Buffalo chicken baked potatoes. Chop up the meat and add it to the potato along with some ranch dressing or ranch dip and a little chopped celery.
18. Curry chicken or shrimp with a little extra curry sauce will spice up any potato.
19. Eggplant parmesan can either add that last slice of leftover eggplant parmesan or can be made by oven roasting some egg plant, chopping it up, then adding it to your baker with some marinara sauce and melted parmesan.
20. Shrimp, crab, lobster can be grilled, sautéed, or steamed then seasoned with herbed butter and wine and added to your baker, top with a little sour cream and you’re good to go.
These are only a few of the ideas I’ve found. There are so many more which I would love to hear about. Feel free to chime in with some of your favorite uses of leftovers or any other unique baked potato stuffer ideas.