Potatoes are underrated. Low calorie and high in fiber, their association with unhealthy preparations and toppings has made them a guilty pleasure. This needn’t be the case.
The subtle flavor of the potato provides a blank canvas that requires few additions. Twice – baked potatoes, my favorite, are a delicious example of how few ingredients are necessary to elevate a potato into something special.
Twice – baked potatoes are my entertaining staple. They are pretty when baked, yet so easy. Most importantly they can be prepared ahead, and warmed up when its time to serve. No holiday would be the same without them. They also perfect for casual summertime entertaining, just put them on the grill as a side for steaks.
Whenever I make them, I try to save one for lunch. Made with skim milk, minimal butter and cheddar cheese, it’s a healthy vegetarian entrée.
This is my mother’s recipe. Her directions for consistency are very specific.
Twice – Baked Potatoes
4 Idaho potatoes
1 cup fat free milk
11/2 tablespoons butter
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Bake potatoes at 425F for 1 hour. Test potatoes with a fork or toothpick to make sure they have softened. Make a slit on the sides of the potato to release the steam. Let cool for 20-30 minutes.
Cut the potatoes in half, cutting around the circumference of the potato. Scoop out the flesh out of each side, being careful not to rip the skin.
Add the potato flesh to a saucepan with the butter. Warm the milk in a microwave for two minutes. Add half the milk to the saucepan. Turn the heat on low and mash the mixture with a potato masher. Retain small chucks of potatoes. Do not mash into a puree. Mix in the cheese. Do not add extra cheese; it will turn the potatoes into glue. Add more milk as needed. The proper consistency is of a flavorful baked potato. Salt to taste. Fill the potato skins with the potato mixture. Sprinkle the potatoes generously with paprika. Bake immediately or refrigerate overnight.
Bake at 350F on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes (or 20 minutes at 400F) until the tops have browned and warmed through, either in the oven or on indirect heat on a grill.
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