Wednesday, July 18, 2012

broccoli and cheddar twice baked potatoes

i was in folsom last weekend, dogsitting for some sweet friends, and as i was trying to figure out what i wanted for dinner the first night there, i remembered- they now have a whole foods! yah, yah, "whole paycheck" and all that jazz, but i can't help myself, i love that place.

i cruised on over to whole foods and perused the massive cold case of prepared foods (quinoa salads, fried organic chicken, cold pasta dishes and crab cakes galore) and saw some tasty looking twice baked potatoes. twice baked potatoes are a pretty no nonsense, no frills meal, but i was intrigued by the fact that it looked like the green bits poking out of the fluffy tater parts, were broccoli. that made this a healthy dinner choice, right? (smile and nod, people)

i bought 2 halves of that stuffed potato and some vegan kale waldorf salad (see, healthy!) and called it dinner.

i was so sad that when dinner time rolled around and i heated it up, ready to dig in to something delicious, i found that it was just meh. the potato didn't have enough salt or pepper in it, there were bits of barely softened onion that were awkward and i was just basically disappointed. i knew that once i got home from dog sitting that i would re-create those potatoes and i knew i could do better.

and i did.

broccoli + sharp cheddar twice baked potatoes

4 medium sized russet potatoes, washed and dried
olive oil
s + p
1 cup (1 1/2 if u want it really cheesy) packed, grated sharp cheddar
2-3* heads of broccoli, washed and trimmed into florets
1/2 cup plain yogurt
4T parm-reggiano
1/2 cup warmed milk
handful of fresh chives or scallions, sliced up small (optional)

preheat oven to 375

poke about  5-6 holes in the potatoes with a small knife, rub generously with olive oil and rub with salt. bake, on a baking sheet, for about 45-55 minutes until a knife slides in and out easily when pierced.

when the potatoes are done cooking, let them cool so you can handle them without burning your fingerprints off.

while they are cooling, steam broccoli for 6-7 minutes and drain.

cut the taters in half and gently scoop out the filling into a large bowl, being careful not to scoop too much out of them or to break the skin, you need a little flesh still in there to help it hold its shape.

add the broccoli, cheeses, yogurt, warm milk, salt and pepper to the potato flesh in the bowl. smash the broccoli with a potato masher to break them up. get out your handy-dandy handheld mixer and whip until nice and smooth and fluffy. taste and season with more yogurt, s + p (if needed) and more milk if it is too thick looking. add the chives or scallions and mix em in.

scoop into potato skins, lightly dust the top with more parm-reg  and bake for 15 minutes at 375 and then broil until the tops have crispy looking dark brown spots here and there, this takes just a few minutes.

*i say 2-3 heads of broccoli because i did 2 but i'm pretty sure the potato mixture would be even better (and more veg packed!) with 3 heads of broccoli. i also think some zucchini and yellow squash (in addition to or instead of the broccoli), diced small and sauteed for 8 minutes, would be delightful in these spuds.

these freeze beautifully, just set them on a plate and place in the freezer for a cpl hours. once they are frozen, wrap individually with plastic wrap and pop into a freezer bag.

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