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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Hidden Veggies

The other day, I made a big pot of minestrone for dinner and I was looking for something to go with it. We had some potatoes in the pantry, lots of leftover veggies in the fridge, plus some cheese leftover from a party. My brain immediately landed on twice-baked potatoes.

I don't know about you, but I think the best part about wedding food is when twice-baked potatoes are one of the sides. And besides weddings or banquets, how often does anyone really eat twice-baked potatoes? I plan on changing that and showing you just how easy they are to make. Even the kids can help! Plus, these potatoes are good for you. Yes, they are GOOD FOR YOU.

White potatoes have a bad reputation, thanks in part to the widespread availability of greasy french fries. On its own, a large white potato has zero grams of fat, zero grams of cholesterol, six grams of protein, six grams of dietary fiber, is a great source of vitamin C and potassium, plus it provides some iron, folate, vitamin B6, and niacin, as well as other vitamins and minerals. Go potatoes!

Thanks to The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine, I am a big believer in hiding veggies whenever possible. Yes, I make a habit of regularly offering fresh fruits and veggies to my kids as well. But sometimes, you just have to make it a covert mission for their own good.

I've also added fat-free, protein-packed Greek yogurt instead of butter or sour cream. Plus the cheese used in these big boats of awesomeness is low-fat. All the calcium and protein you love about cheese...with less guilt. Yay.
So, good-for-you mashed potatoes...cheesy goodness...hidden veggies...all baked into a delicious package. YUM!

Serves 4-6

3 large potatoes, cleaned
1/2 c. leftover or frozen vegetables, thawed and pureed (cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes, and/or onions all work well)
1/2 c. Greek yogurt, plain and fat-free
1 1/2 c. low-fat cheese, shredded or cubed, divided (i.e., a mixture of shredded low-fat cheddar, monterey jack, mozzarella, or provolone; and/or cubed low-fat cream cheese or Laughing Cow cheese)
2 Tbsp. chives or scallions, minced (optional; omit for picky eaters)

1. Preheat oven to 450 F.

2. After scrubbing potatoes, dry and use a fork to pierce potatoes several times. Place directly on top oven rack, and place a baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch any drips. Bake 60 minutes*. Remove potatoes and baking sheet from oven and set aside until potatoes are cool enough to handle.
KIDS CAN HELP: Have kids scrub the potatoes at the sink.

3. Meanwhile, combine pureed veggies, yogurt, and 1 cup of cheese in a large mixing bowl.
KIDS CAN HELP: Help kids measure ingredients into the mixing bowl. Using a large spoon, kids can mix everything together.

4. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to carefully scoop out the flesh into the mixing bowl, leaving a 1/4" shell to help keep the potato skins intact. Use a potato masher to combine everything in the mixing bowl.
KIDS CAN HELP: Kids can carefully mash the mixture together with adult supervision. CAUTION: the potatoes will be hot; keep a close eye on the contents of the bowl and your little one's hands.

5. Set oven to broil on high. Carefully scoop the mashed potato mixture back into the shells, mounding as necessary. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
KIDS CAN HELP: Kids can sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese onto the potatoes.

6. Broil for 5-10 minutes (check often) until cheese is melted and just starting to turn golden brown. Enjoy!

Depending on the types of cheese used, each twice-baked potato half has approximately 224 calories.

*NOTE: If you are in a hurry, pierce the potatoes then place on a microwavable dish and microwave on high 5 minutes. Turn potatoes and microwave 5 more minutes. Use a pot holder to carefully move potatoes to top rack of oven (with baking sheet on bottom rack) and bake at 450 F for 30 minutes.

VARIATION: Try these with sweet potatoes instead of baking potatoes. Delicious!!!

I hope your family enjoys these Twice-Baked Potatoes as much as we do. Let me know if you try them...just Post a Comment. As always, thanks for reading.


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