October 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Warm-Up Twice Baked Potatoes {Webisode #47}

What’s Going on Today: Clear, cold day in Cooperstown during a visit to my parent’s.

Naptime Goals: Bake potatoes and prepare filling. Re-stuff potato skins and save to bake for dinner.

Tonight’s Menu: Turkey (Mom), Green Beans (Mom), Twice-Baked Potatoes (Me).

Parenting Lesson of the Day: Nothing replaces a good day with Mere-mere and Bampa!

My long weekend in Cooperstown was fantastic. We had great fun romping around town with the dogs, picking out pumpkins and bidding farewell to the ducks before they fly south. The weather was so-so, one day it actually snowed, but that didn’t matter. With the cool weather upon us we happily indulged in some cold-weather cooking. One night we had a traditional fall dinner we call our Thanksgiving warm-up. Turkey, potatoes, green beans and stuffing. We didn’t bother with all the fixings like cranberry jelly or soft dinner rolls, but that was fine with me. Truth be told, all I cared about was the potatoes.

My Mom’s twice-baked potatoes have long been a favorite of Uncle Will’s and mine. Crispy potato jackets cradling a cheesy herb filling, they are comfort food at it’s best. In fact, perhaps this is even a little sacrilege to say, we prefer them to the mashed variety. When I finally hit up Mom for the recipe a few years ago she was almost embarrassed to tell me how easy they are. They barely require five ingredients! For me it was just another lesson on how good food doesn’t have to be complicated.

While my daughter took her much-needed afternoon nap Mom and I took care of the turkeys and potatoes, baking them together on the roasting pan. After an hour I removed the potatoes, scooped out the insides and added in all the good stuff. When they’d been re-stuffed and given a light dusting of paprika I covered the dish and left them in the fridge until dinner. As I was filming this my mother reminded me that when she makes these for Thanksgiving she often stuffs them the day before and leaves them in the fridge overnight. It’s one of the ways she stays sane when planning the feast. (She always gives sound advice on Naptime Chef best practices!) I suggest you give this a try yourself, prepare these potatoes the night before you want to eat them and bake them right before dinner. It will be the perfect warm-up for the feast next month!

Recipe

Twice Baked Potatoes

Ingredients

Yukon gold potatoes
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup ranch dressing
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon paprika

Instructions

Kitchen Tool used: OXO Good Grips Potato Ricer! A must for any potato-lovin’ family, this ricer will last a lifetime. Buy it here at my Amazon store!

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. Cut off both ends of each potato. Rub the outside of each potato lightly with olive oil.

3. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour, or until the potato is completely cooked. Remove and allow to cool until comfortable to touch.

4. Slice eac potato in half and scoop out the insides with a spoon. Place the softened potato into a potato ricer and press into mixing bowl. Repeat until all of the potatoes are scooped out and pressed through the ricer.

5. To the mixing bowl add the ranch dressing and mozzarella and stir completely to combine. Then scoop the mixture into the potato jackets, distributing evenly amongst the potatoes. Top each potato with a light dusting of paprika. *At this point potatoes will last for up to a day for needing to be baked.

6. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes to heat through. Serve hot.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

These are a must on our Thanksgiving table but are served at other times during the year, too. We love them with roast chicken or ribs, or sometimes just on their own! Also, the ingredients in these are flexible. Try adding different cheeses or herbs, potatoes are resilient and love being tried with new things!

Naptime Stopwatch

5 minutes to prepare filling, plus baking time(s).

Naptime Reviews

The nursery food feel of these potatoes appeal to children, while adults love the ease with which they can be eaten. I guarantee they’ll be at a hit at your table.