Since I have been on a recent potato kick, with a small patch freshly planted in my garden, I decided to pick out a few from the grocery store and make Cheesy Stuffed Potato Skins With Broccoli, which I found on page 27 of the Garden-Fresh Cookbook.
The potatoes were easy to prepare, but make sure you leave an hour to bake them. Before you scoop out the potatoes, make sure they are tender enough. My first potato, although it felt ready, was still a bit hard in the center, causing the skin to break almost immediately. Make sure to give the potatoes about 10 minutes to cool in the tin foil before cutting in half lengthwise.
While the potatoes were in the oven with about 20 minutes left to bake, I steamed the broccoli and fried the bacon with a little margarine to keep it from sticking to the pan. For personal taste, I used turkey bacon, which ended up being a great healthy alternative without giving up the bacon flavor! There was just enough grease from the bacon to sauté the onions. All that was left was to shred the cheese and mash all of the ingredients (including the scooped out potato) in one bowl!
I spooned the broccoli/bacon/cheese/potato mixture back into the potato skins and baked them in the oven for 10 minutes at 400°F.
I must say I was incredibly pleased with this dish. It was so delicious! It was a little on the sweeter side, with the onions giving off a caramelized flavor and the salty sweetness of the bacon paired with the cheese. To complement the flavors, I made an arugula salad to go on the side.
For the arugula salad, I made a light dressing of 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and juice from half a lemon served with slices of apple. I like this salad because sharp cheese and sunflower seeds can be added to give it a bit more texture and flavor.
The rain and wind right outside my window didn’t even seem to exist with such a warm dish with delicious and healthy ingredients on my plate!
Cheesy Stuffed Potato Skins With Broccoli (as found on page 27 of The Garden-Fresh Cookbook)
6 medium baking potatoes
4 slices bacon
1 small onion, diced
1/2 head broccoli, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup warm milk
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Scrub the potatoes, then wrap in foil and bake for about 1 hour, or until tender. While they are baking, fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, then remove to drain. Add the onion to the skillet with the bacon drippings and sauté until golden brown. Put the onions into a large bowl. Steam the broccoli for 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender, then chop finely. Remove the potatoes from the oven, take off the foil, and cool slightly. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp and place one-half of it into the bowl with the onion. Save the rest for another meal. Add the milk and pepper and mash. Mix in the pepper jack cheese and ½ cup of the cheddar cheese. Add the broccoli and stir to combine. Crumble the bacon. Add the bacon to the potatoes and stir to combine. Brush the potato skins with melted butter and place on a cookie sheet. Spoon the potato-cheese mixture into the potato skins. Bake at 400°F for about 10 minutes to warm. Remove the sheet from the oven. Set the oven to broil. Sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and broil fro 4 to 7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Makes 12 servings.
Jane received her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts at Western Washington University where she studied Creative Writing. She now lives in the greater Seattle area, where she writes and drinks copious amounts of coffee. When she isn’t writing, cooking, gardening, or taking photos, you can find her at local shows and concerts, or running to prepare for yet another half marathon.