Shoestring Meals - I really should be on the Food Network

Friday night is pizza night at our house. Some times I make the pizza, I have a fantastic pizza crust recipe that I'll share in another post, but most of the time we buy a take and bake. Last Friday buying a pizza was not in the budget and I didn't have the ingredients on hand to make my own. If we lived in town, I might have fudged on the budget and bought a pie anyway but since we live far enough out of town to make a quick pizza run impractical I was forced to say, "Well what's in the cupboard?" The philosophy behind pizza night is that it's a simple, yummy dinner that everyone enjoys and it can be eaten with our fingers as we watch a movie together. What could I find that would still fit that criteria?
Here is how my thought process went:
Looking in the cupboard I saw that I had potatoes - we all like potatoes - so I pulled those out. Hmmmm, what could I do with potatoes? Baked Potatoes are good but sound boring, certainly not a substitute for Pizza. I wondered if we had cheese - cheese is good with potatoes, we all like cheese - so I head to the fridge to look for cheese. Yes! we have cheese and we have bacon. Now the wheels are turning.....what else is in the fridge? I found some green onions and bacon ceasar dressing. I placed everything on the counter and looked at my ingredients thinking that What's in DeeAnn's Cupboard should be a show on the Food Network, I could be the star. Light bulb. How about Twice Baked Potatoes? My family loves them and we can eat them with our hands as we watch our movie.

Here is the recipe for Terrific Twice Baked Potatoes and how I worked in the ingredients on hand to make them extra yummy.

Twice-Baked Potaoes:
4 medium sized potatoes
1 cup shredded medium or sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 milk
1/2 cup sour cream (I didn't have sour cream so I substituted the bacon caesar dressing)
3 Tbs butter
salt, pepper, onion powder or garlic powder
4 strips of cooked bacon 2 green onions

1.Preheat oven to 450. Wash and prick potatoes. Bake them for 1 hour or until the insides are soft. To make the cooking faster start by cooking the potatoes in the microwave on high until slightly soft, about 10 min. Then transfer to the oven to finish them off. When the potatoes are finished baking, change the oven temp to 350.
2. Take the potatoes out of the oven and allow to cool. When they are easy to handle, slice sideways and spoon out the flesh into another bowl. Leave about 1/4 inch of flesh in the skins. Arrange the shells skin side down on a baking sheet and brush them with 1 tbls of melted butter or olive oil then return them to the oven for about 15 min.
3. While the shells are in the oven - finely chop the bacon and onions or, better yet, take them for a quick spin in the food processor. Then mix together the potato flesh, cheese milk, sour cream(bacon caesar dressing), rest of the butter, salt, pepper and onion or garlic powder (leave out the onion or garlic if using the dressing) and bacon/onion. I use my mixer but a hand held potato masher also works.
4. Remove the skins from the oven and spoon the potato mixture into each skin. Return the stuffed potatoes to the oven and bake until they start to brown up. Let cool a little before you serve them.

The Twice Baked Potatoes were a hit. I even got a, "These are just like the potato skins at the restaurant.", compliment. Maybe I should turn pizza night into potato night......nah.
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Gayle said...

Twice Baked Potatoes are way too much work for every Friday night, but they sure are yummy! Thanks for sharing your recipe. It is better than the one I had.

Another quick Friday night treat if we don't get pizza is nachos.

We almost always have tortilla chips and cheese on hand, so each person gets a plate of tortilla chips, puts on cheese and anything else handy that sounds good to them (cooked chopped chicken, hamberger, black olives, onion, black beans, ?). Then each plate goes in the microwave for a minute and we are ready to head downstairs for the movie!

Anonymous said...

You are a genius!!! Thanks for the recipe and yes, you could be on the Food Network!!!!!!

Janelle said...

You're making me very hungry...and I would totally watch the show on Food Network. : )