Potato Skins with Crispy Cheese

When we rolled out of bed this morning the outdoor thermometer told us that it was -1 degrees. Minus 1. Having lived  in Connecticut for a while, I’m always a little shocked when it actually gets cold in January. We’ve had some warm spells and it was looking like we might have another mild winter. But apparently it was not meant to be. I am slightly comforted by the snowman recently built by my six year old.

Today was not a day to serve up the usual crudities after school. Today we are having soup for dinner while sitting as close to the wood stove as possible. Anything other than a warm snack was not an option. So I decided to put some leftover baked potatoes to use.

I’ve posted a  potato skins recipe before. But I’ve since been educated by the likes of America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and Simply Recipes. These are better. They could be made in advance too and the glorious melting of the cheese could be saved for the last minute.

Potato Skins Recipe

This healthy (ha!) baked potato skin recipe is as good as its restaurant counterpart because of the crispy cheese. While your sprinkling the cheese on the potatoes to bake, don’t be sad if a big clump misses a potato. That’s the best part.

4 medium leftover baked potatoes
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups grated cheese such as mozzarella, cheddar, and/or parmesan
Fresh chives, for garnish

Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the majority of the inside of the potato. Set the potato insides aside for another use. Cut the potatoes up into child-sized pieces.

Arrange the potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a pastry brush to douse the potatoes with the melted butter. Bake the potatoes for 10 minutes or until they have browned on the edges. Sprinkle the cheese over the potatoes and bake them for another 5 – 10 minutes or until the cheese is properly melted.

Yield: serves 3-4 as a hearty snack
Prep-time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes

 

Potato Skins

The absence of bacon in these vegetarian potato skins is offset a bit by the flavor of the smoked cheddar.

I’d need a nutritionist to do the math for me to say for sure, but there might be a nice little dose of Iron in this snack. Potatoes and their skins supposedly have a relatively high level of Iron (for a vegetable) and the Vitamin C in the broccoli might be enough to help boost the Iron’s absorption.

When all is said and done though, I just love potato skins. And even though there is broccoli in the mix, my three-year-old does too!

4 medium russet potatoes
1/2 cup grated smoked white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated orange cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon chili powder (or more to taste)
4 broccoli florets, cooked and chopped (about 1/3 cup)
Salt to taste
Sour cream or greek-style yogurt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash and bake the potatoes for 40-60 minutes, depending on their size. When a knife inserted into a potato meets little resistance, they are done. Remove from oven and allow to cool until they are easy to handle. Leave the oven on.

Meanwhile, mix the cheeses, chili powder, and broccoli in a small bowl. Set aside.

Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out the potato’s flesh leaving about 1/4 inch of the flesh attached to the skin. Cut each potato skin into halves or thirds depending on the size  of the potato and your preference. I made them on the smaller side in order to accommodate small hands.

Spread the potato skins out on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the skins. Bake at 400 degrees Farenhiet for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt if desired. Serve with sour cream or greek-style yogurt if desired.

Yield: 22 potato skins
Prep-time: 15 minutes
Bake-time: 50 minutes

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