1/4 vegetable – 1/4 protein – 1 starch
I recently learned that my daughter’s elementary school invites parents to teach after-school enrichment classes for six weeks, twice a year. I thought this was a super-cool program for the kids and decided to apply to teach a class: Intro to the Culinary Arts. Last week was my first class. Because I didn’t know what skill levels I would be dealing with, I decided to keep it simple, but ultimately sent each of the kids home with a complete dinner for two. We made one of my favorite homemade ranch style salad dressings and twice baked potatoes. The version we made in class was not plan-friendly, but the experience inspired me to try a plan-friendly version later that week.
She shoots. She scores! Plus, I get bonus points for sneaking in a little cottage cheese (which is my least favorite protein). And in this particular recipe, I even liked it.
I also love that I haven’t even gotten started on modifications for this. I’ve been thinking about adding steamed broccoli to the pulp mixture and changing up the herbs. A little roasted garlic would be good, too (or a lot). I feel as though the possibilities are endless and will add some variation of this potato to my regular dinner rotation, either as a main course or a side dish. With only 1/4 portion of protein, you could serve this alongside another lean protein and not impact your weight loss. But even by itself, alongside a salad, this was a darn good dinner!
One last tip–eat the whole thing, even the skin. We’ve become so accustomed to making potatoes in our microwave that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to bite into a crispy oven-baked potato skin. It will remind you of a kettle-cooked potato chip, and it’s well worth the extra effort. If you’re not that patient, just bake the potatoes the night before you eat them. Don’t cut them. Keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to stuff and bake again the next day. This is a great recipe for that leftover restaurant potato, too.
When you try this with variations, please share them with the rest of us. Pretty please? Because I plan to steal some ideas.
- 2 potatoes (russet are best)
- Zero-calorie cooking spray
- 1 tsp. salt, divided
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 oz. fat-free cottage cheese
- 10 green onions, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. fresh basil (or mint, tarragon, etc.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Spray the outside of the potatoes with olive oil cooking spray (or substitute a teaspoon of olive oil divided between the two potatoes) and sprinkle with 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste, rubbing to coat. Place potatoes on a baking sheet, and bake uncovered in preheated oven for 40-60 minutes (depending on size of potato) until potatoes give when squeezed gently. Skin will become crisp.
Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F.
Let potatoes cool for 10-15 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and, using a small spoon, carefully scoop out potato pulp, leaving a 1/4 inch thick shell. Place shells back on baking sheet.
Add potato pulp to the bowl of a food processor. Add remaining salt and pepper to taste along with cottage cheese, egg, green onions, and basil. Process until ingredients are well combined and mixture is smooth. Divide mixture evenly between potato shells. Bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Serve with a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt, if desired.
Makes 4 servings