Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cheap Eats: Baked Potato Night

A staple that I sometimes forget about is the potato.  A great and budget friendly gluten free food.  There are so many ways to fix them.  One thing I decided to do when I put my monthly menu together was to eat more potatoes.  They are cheap and they are simple.  I grew up in Idaho, you would think I would have thought of it by now!  But, alas, I had not.  So, this month I re-instituted the Baked Potato Bar night.  I used to have this meal more regularly in the past, but somehow, I forgot about it.  Don't ask me how.  Anyway, we have  this on the menu only once this month, but in the future it will be on there at least two or three times. 

Often times I forget how versatile the potato is.  I think potato.  I think butter and sour cream.  Well, actually being dairy intolerant as well, I think potato, salt and pepper.  My family thinks the other version.  Especially, Cinnamon who loves, I mean loves, sour cream!  Besides just topping your baked potato with the usual butter and sour cream, try some of these ideas:

Broccoli and Cheese
Chili, onions and Cheese
Ham and Cheese
Loaded: Bacon, Onions, Chives, Cheese

Or even try some of these more elaborate creations:

The Veggie: Grilled Broccoli, Zucchini, Tomatoes, Onions, Green Peppers and Cheese
The Taco:  Hamburger, Olives, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Guacamole, Cheese
Pizza: Pepperoni, Sausage, Mushrooms, Olives, Onions, and Pizza Sauce with Mozzarella Cheese
Chicken Parmesan: Grilled Chicken, Onions, Mushrooms, and Parmesan
Chicken Alfredo:  Chicken, Bacon, Mushrooms, Alfredo Sauce
The Grilled Steak: Steak (sliced thin), Flaked Crab Meat, Grilled Asparagus
The German:  German Sausage, Sauerkraut, Onions

Use your imagination!  Serve with a salad or veggie  for a complete meal.  Simple and delicious.  Tonight we had the Pizza Baked Potato.  It was a hit!  Allspice even had a friend over who thought it was great.

Pizza Baked Potato:

Russet Baking Potatoes (one for each person)
1 Onion chopped
1/2 can of olives ( I just use whole olives and break them into pieces)
Mushrooms (fresh and sliced or canned)
2 cloves of Garlic minced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 can of Tomato Paste
1 can of Tomato Sauce
Pepperoni  (24 slices)
Sausage sliced (I used our venison we had made into GF German Sausages)
Italian Seasonings, Salt, Pepper
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Scrub your potatoes until they are clean.  Dry thoroughly.  Poke each potato with 8-12 deep puncture marks.  This allows the moisture to escape while baking.  Dry again.  Rub potato skins with olive oil.  Coat thoroughly.  Roll in sea salt and desired seasonings.  I used Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb and sea salt. 

Bake on the middle rack of the oven.  I placed a pan on the bottom rack to catch any drippings.  Bake for about an hour.  The more potatoes you have the longer it will take.  I actually cooked the potatoes (I had 6) for 90 minutes or so.  I  turned my heat up for the last 30 minutes to 400 degrees to cook them a bit faster because these potatoes were huge.  The skin should be crisp, but the potato should feel soft.

While your potatoes are baking, shred your cheese and make your pizza topping.

Saute onions and garlic with a little olive oil over medium heat.  Add sausage and heat thoroughly.  Add mushrooms and olives.  Then add tomato paste, tomato sauce and water.  Add Italian seasonings, salt, and pepper to taste.  Toss in your pepperoni.  Let simmer until potatoes are ready.

When your potatoes are done.  Use a fork to perforate the skin lengthwise.  Then press the ends toward the center and the potato should burst open.  Top with your pizza topping and mozzarella cheese.  Enjoy!

We had our pizza baked potatoes with steamed broccoli.  The cost of this meal: $11.91 and it fed four teenagers and two adults.  You could make this even cheaper if you used either sausage or pepperoni instead of both.  I was about to do that myself until Cinnamon scoffed at me and said, "This is a one meal wonder; it has to be loaded!"  So, there you have it.  By the way, the definition of a "one meal wonder" is a dish that can star on its own.  Just in case you were wondering. ;)

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of a pizza baked potato! I'd never thought of that. This is perfect as I've been mourning the fact that I can't have pizza and I'm not willing to spend a fortune on gluten free pizza crust. I'll definitely be making this soon--I even have all the ingredients on hand! Thanks:)


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