Originally created 05/11/05

Potato dish is great with grilled meat

Grilling season is in full swing, so the question this time of year isn't what's for dinner, it is often what to serve with your favorite grilled steak or chicken breasts.

Selecting an entree so easily frees me up to focus on side dishes, and when I'm grilling the meat, I often turn to my twice-baked potatoes. In fact, I like them so much I'll often bake extra potatoes with one meal, and then turn them into my twice-baked potatoes after dinner, which I tuck into the freezer for our next night by the grill.

The potatoes are baked in a 425-degree oven for one hour, and then are removed to cool. Almost every cook or chef you meet has an opinion about the best temperature for baking potatoes. At 425 degrees, the potatoes come out light and fluffy with a slightly crisp skin.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, I slice them in half, scoop out the pulp and stir in the remaining ingredients. First, I saut green onions in butter and add the mixture to the potato pulp. Then, I add some reduced-fat sour cream, reduced-fat grated sharp Cheddar cheese and seasonings. The seasonings (paprika, garlic salt and a dash or two of cayenne pepper) are the key to the great flavor of the finished potatoes.

The final baking of the stuffed potato shells can be done right before serving in your oven or toaster oven (which helps keep the kitchen cool). The potatoes can be stuffed and then wrapped in foil and placed in freezer bags to serve another time. Defrost the potatoes in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for an hour or so. Just add more baking time if the potatoes aren't completely thawed.

Served alongside your favorite grilled meat, twice-baked potatoes are sure to become a family favorite. They also make a delicious lunch, served with a tossed salad on the side.

Write to Karin Calloway in care of The Augusta Chronicle Newsroom, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928. Or send e-mail to karin.calloway@comcast.net. You can find previous Quick Cooking recipes through the online archive at augustachronicle.com/karin.

My Twice-Baked Potatoes

2 large baking potatoes1 tablespoons butter or margarine

4 green onions, chopped

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon mild paprika

1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup regular, reduced-fat or fat-free sour cream

1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Wash potatoes and prick them several times with a paring knife or fork. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool until able to handle. Slice potatoes in half and scoop the pulp into a large mixing bowl, leaving 1/4-inch of potato around the edges and reserving the potato shells. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat, add the green onions and saut until wilted. Add to the potato pulp along with the garlic salt, paprika, cayenne and sour cream. Stir well, mashing with a fork or potato masher to break up any large chunks of potato. Stir in cups of the cheese and spread the mixture in the reserved potato shells. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are hot throughout.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 310 calories, 9 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 44 grams carbs, 15 grams protein, 34 milligrams cholesterol, 298 milligrams sodium and 5 grams fiber

Nutritional analysis provided by registered dietician Rachel B. Drew, nutritional education specialist for the Richmond County School Nutrition Program, in conjunction with the Augusta Area Dietetic Association.

Coming next week: Korean barbecue is a good change of pace from the usual steak on the grill, and a side of Asian-flavored sticky noodles is the perfect accompaniment.

See Karin prepare the recipe at noon Tuesday on WJBF-TV (Channel 6).


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