Meat Free Mondays – Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

Me and stuffed potato skins go way back.

We first met back in the ’80s. Reagan was in the White House, girls had big hair and wore torn Flashdance half-sweatshirts, and sports bars everywhere served deep fried potato shells stuffed with cheese, bacon and scallions.

Flash forward to the ’90s, where as a banquet chef I used a piping bag to fill countless potato shells with a mixture of mashed potatoes and parmesan cheese.

In the ’00s, however, the stuffed potato skin waned in popularity, toppled from its sports bar throne by the Buffalo chicken wing. Even the Great American Potato Factory at the mall food court eventually went out of business.

Well, I’m bringing it back! This time as a legitimate vegetarian option.

With more and more people considering the vegetarian lifestyle, chefs are challenged to find tasty, filling and nutritious entrees to meet the growing demand. After all, there are only so many things you can do with lentils!

Loaded twice-baked potatoes fit the bill. They not only look great on the plate, but they  tastes amazing and leave you satisfyingly full.

Potatoes are among the least expensive and most nutritious vegetable you can buy. Make them the centerpeice of your entree and you can start counting the money you are saving.

So break out those sweatshirts (What a Feeling!) and poof up your hair, because everything old is new again

Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

3 medium russet potatoes

1 TBS EVOO

Sea salt, coarse grind

Fresh cracked black pepper

Pan spray

2 TBS unsalted butter

1/3 cup fat-free sour cream

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan

4-5 medium black olives, sliced

2 scallions, sliced

1 medium tomato, seeded and diced

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Rub potatoes with EVOO, lay out on baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse grind sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Bake until done, about 45 minutes. Fully cooked potatoes will easily give when squeezed. Cool. This can be done 1-2 days ahead of time.

2. Preheat oven to 375F. Cut potatoes in half horizontally. Using an ice cream scoop, remove flesh of two potatoes and place in mixing bowl, leaving about 1/4 inch wall all the way around each potato half. Lay potato shells onto baking sheet, spray generously with pan spray, then bake until crisp, about 30 minutes, and remove from oven.

3. Meanwhile, remove the skin from the third potato and crumble into the mixing bowl. Add sour cream, half the shredded cheddar and all but 2 TBS of the parmesan and fold together. Use a tablespoon to fill all four potato halves evenly with the filling. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan and return to oven until heated through, about 25 minutes. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, remaining shredded cheddar, scallions, black olives and diced tomatoes.

These also can be served as an appetizer. Or step into your time machine, set the dial for 1984, add crumbled bacon and throw the whole vegetarian thing out the window.

What are some of your favorite recipes from the ’80s? Share them in the comments section below. And thanks for looking at my blog!

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14 thoughts on “Meat Free Mondays – Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

  1. My girl was amazed the first time I made twice-baked potatoes for her.
    Is there any potato besides the Russet with a skin thick enough to do this?

    And I miss girls wearing those Flashdance sweatshirts.
    Not the big hair tho…

    • I have stuffed tiny red potatoes, but it’s a lot of work for little payoff, at home at least.

      My bro said this blog reminded him of my sister because in the ’80s she went full Flashdance. Haha, I remember that.

  2. Yes to the bacon! No to the big hair! 😉

    Fantastic post, and while I don’t make a point of “meatless” days (if they happen, they happen because I wanted cheese more than I wanted meat…), those look amazing and drool-inducing. My favorites are with cheese and bacon, and then served with sour cream and some chopped chives, the way you could get it in the 90s in Saint Louis at just about any family restaurant! Lovely stuff – thanks for the detailing of how to make the shell crispy and all, I never thought of how it was done before, but now I am tempted to repeat it!

    • In a restaurant, I would just throw them in the deep fryer. But at home, this is a good alternative.

      I also don’t have a piping bag lying around the house, otherwise I would have piped them in a shell border shape.

      Thanks for your comment!

    • I think they really are a good option for people following a vegeterian lifestyle. Potatoes are so rich in nutrients, not to mention versatile. I could have this for dinner a couple times per month and not get bored with it. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Thanks Dan, now I can’t stop singing “What a Feeling” to myself. I love double baked potatoes! These look delicious except for the fact that I do not like olives. I will have to give them a try.

  4. Pingback: South Side Grocery Bargains – Week of Nov. 2-8, 2011 | Budget Cooking Blog

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