Twice Merrily Baked Potatoes

“Po-Ta-Toes! Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew…” -Samwise Gamgee

OR

Bake them twice with a bunch of other scrumptious ingredients. Plus cheese!

Treat this recipe as less of a list of rules and more as a set of guidelines. The vegetables, seasoning, and cheese used for the filling can all be substituted for different, more favored options.

It is an excellent way to use up leftovers, especially in the event of leftover baked potatoes. The amounts can be altered to accommodate a party of 1 up to a party of infinity! (Well, perhaps not quite that many).

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Ingredients

2 Large Russet Potatoes
1 Green Bell Pepper
½ Cup Diced Vidalia Onion
1 Serrano Pepper
2 Large Garlic Cloves
1 Beef Steak Tomato Diced
9 oz. Fresh Spinach
½ – ¾ Cup Shredded White Cheddar Cheese
½ – ¾ Cup Shredded Fontina Cheese
Butter
Milk, Cream, or Milk Alternative (I used almond milk – not a lot is needed, we just need to add moisture)
Olive Oil
Fine Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Smoked Paprika

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Scrub the potatoes, dry them, and set on a clean sheet pan
  • Bake for 1 hour – 1 hour and 10 minutes, til tender (this is a wonderful opportunity to do a yoga video, ignore some chores, or prep all the other ingredients)
  • Allow the potatoes to cool before handling
  • Slice a sliver lengthwise from the top of the potato
  • Use a spoon to delicately dig the fluffy insides from the center, leaving a potato vehicle

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  • With the filling, have each person portion out a generous scoop (maybe about ½ a cup) into a bowl (there will be left over potato which can be stored in the fridge and used for a future food invention)
  • Mix in a drop of almond milk or milk and a nice pat of butter, set aside
  • Dice the tomato, set aside
  • Dice the green bell pepper (if it is really big you can use just half), dice the onion, mince the garlic and mince the serrano pepper (I left the seeds and ribs in, but remove them if you wish)
  • Pour a couple tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet set to medium high heat
  • Add the bell pepper and sauté for a couple of minutes before adding the onion
  • After a couple more minutes, toss in the garlic and serrano and lower the heat to medium
  • Season with 1 ½ tsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, and 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • Stir and cook for a couple more minutes, then transfer to a small bowl and set aside
  • Drop a touch more olive oil into the pan then add the spinach then sauté til cooked through

Now it is time to assemble! Each person can customize their potato so it contains the portions and ratios that fit their preference. I suggest assembling on the sheet pan.

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Potatoes have been assembled and wait to experience the second baking!
  • Raise the temperature of the oven to 375°F
  • In the bowl of buttered potato filling, add the pepper and onion mixture, tomatoes, spinach, and some of the white cheddar cheese (the Bearded One did not mix his spinach and tomatoes inside the filling, he sandwiched it in between the filling as he layered it in the potato – there is no wrong method!)
  • Pile into the potato shell (I put half of my mixture in, then a layer of fontina cheese, then made a dome with the remaining mixture) and top generously with fontina cheese
  • Place the potato top on the sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil
  • Put the pan on the middle rack and bake for 15 minutes, til the middle is warmed through and the fontina melts down the sides

Enjoy as a complete meal or add a choice of protein if desired! The Bearded One had leftover London broil to finish off and I chose to fry up an egg with a perfectly runny yolk.

Whatever you choose, this comforting meal will double your happiness level and bring about maximum fulfillment.

 

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