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Published January 26, 2011, 12:00 AM

From the areavoices.com community: Taters are twice as nice

Twice-baked potatoes a healthy part of meal
Potatoes are a pretty versatile vegetable. That’s one of the reasons I really like them.

By: Jeff Tiedeman, INFORUM

Potatoes are a pretty versatile vegetable. That’s one of the reasons I really like them.

My favorite way to have them is mashed. I guess that’s because my mom made that variety a lot when we were growing up. But I have nothing against the other ways to fix potatoes.

I think No. 2 on my list of ways to fix potatoes is baked. And twice-baked ones are among the best.

Here are a few recipes for twice-baked spuds from the U.S. Potato Board. Each one of the variations will supply you with almost half your daily value of vitamin C, more potassium than a banana per serving and only 180 calories. It’s perfect for people who want to get the most out of their meals to help build immunity during cold and flu season.

And it’s easy to adapt the basic recipe to fit your favorite flavor profile or a vegetarian diet using one of the variations.

Quick and Healthy Twice-Baked Potatoes

2 teaspoons heart-healthy butter spread

1 cup chopped onion

4 5- to 6-ounce russet potatoes

1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt

1 teaspoon garlic salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt spread in a medium skillet. Add onion and cook over medium heat in a skillet for 10 to 15 minutes or until soft and lightly browned. While onions are cooking, place potatoes in a medium microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Make a small slit to vent, then microwave on high for 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft when gently squeezed. Let cool slightly, then cut in half and carefully scoop out potato, leaving a 1/4-inch shell. Mash potatoes, then stir in cooked onion, yogurt, garlic salt and pepper. Place potato skins on a baking sheet and fill with mashed potato mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.

Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving (two halves): 180 calories, no cholesterol, 260 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fat, 838 milligram potassium, 37 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 5 grams protein.

Caramelized Onion and Pancetta Twice-Baked Potatoes

Replace the cup of chopped onion with 1 quartered and sliced large onion. Cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in 1/4 cup diced pancetta and cook over medium heat for 5 additional minutes or until onions are soft and golden brown. Add 1/2 cup shredded Gouda cheese, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard and 1 teaspoon dried sage to mashed potato mixture and spoon into potato skins. Bake as directed above.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving (two halves): 250 calories, 20 milligrams cholesterol, 500 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fat (3.5 grams saturated), 851 milligram potassium, 37 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 10 grams protein.

Chipotle Chayote Twice-Baked Potatoes

Cook 1/4 cup each: black beans, fresh or frozen corn and diced chayote or zucchini squash with onions. Stir into mashed potato mixture with 1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded Mexican blend cheese and 1/3 cup chipotle salsa and spoon into potato skins. Bake as directed above and top with avocado slices and chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving (two halves): 250 calories, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 530 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 898 milligram potassium, 43 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 10 grams protein.

Mediterranean Hummus Twice-Baked Potatoes

Stir 1/2 cup prepared hummus, 1/3 cup diced, roasted red bell peppers and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika into mashed potato mixture and spoon into potato skins. Bake as directed above and top with slivered Kalamata olives, if desired.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving (two halves): 240 calories, no cholesterol, 440 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 915 milligram potassium, 43 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 8 grams protein.

Spinach, Cheddar, Bacon and Egg Twice-Baked Potatoes

Stir 1 cup chopped fresh spinach, 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup real bacon pieces into mashed potato mixture and spoon into potato skins. Bake as directed above and top each serving with a fried egg.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving (two halves): 320 calories, 230 milligrams cholesterol, 680 milligrams sodium, 11 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 919 milligram potassium, 39 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 18 grams protein.


Jeff Tiedeman is the food editor for the Grand Forks Herald and writes the Chef Jeff blog at chefjeff.areavoices.com

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