Thursday, August 4, 2011


One of my favorite easy foods is the simple baked potato. Slather one of these gems with butter and sour cream and I am in heaven. You can get a 15 pound bag of these Peruvian descendents at Sam’s for about $8 depending on the time of year. When I have a bag that is getting old ( as can be “seen” by the many eyes starting to grow) I will bake off the whole bag. After eating our fill for dinner, I will let the remaining cool and then cut them in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the guts of the potato, leaving a small amount still in the “boat”. KEEP THE GUTS!! Use the boats for making tater skins- fill with bacon bits, cheese and scallions. Or be creative and come up with your own fillings, like spinach and feta cheese, or artichokes, feta and sun dried tomatoes, or pizza skins-pepperoni, tomato sauce and mozzarella. The boats will freeze very well, stored in a Ziploc bag. Remove as many as you want and fill and bake.

What to do with the guts? Store them in the freezer until you have enough to make a good quantity of mashed potatoes. That’s right- instant, REAL mashed potatoes!! Warm them up in the microwave, mash well or leave them a little lumpy, add butter, S&P, sour cream and maybe a little milk if needed to thin to your desired consistency.

Another idea for using your tater skins is to stuff the boats with the mashed potatoes- twice baked potatoes. Use a piping bag or carefully spoon the prepared mashed potatoes into the skins, shingling the mashed as you pipe it in to create a weave design as you fill the skin. Place on a sheet pan and put in a 350 degree oven until the mashed turns a nice golden brown. Serve and enjoy, just like your favorite steak house makes.

Chef Cheapo, making your dinner better and cheaper.

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