Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Stuffed and Baked, Two Ways

I'm a huge fan of yams and sweet potatoes, and the other night, I was thinking of interesting ways to serve them and incorporate more ingredients into a meal. I love baked potatoes filled with toppings, but I had never made a twice baked potato. I decided to give it a shot. They were a perfect side dish, but what I love the most about this option is that it could easily be turned into a meal and the additions can be mixed and matched to your heart's content. I think a Thanksgiving version with leftover turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce or graving would be amazing, or a Southwestern version with green chiles and black beans. The sky's the limit! 

Next, it was girls' night in, and I wanted to make a hearty and vegetarian appetizer. I saw these mini portobello mushrooms at the market and thought they were adorable (a great reason to cook something) and decided to fill them with some of my favorite things - cheese, tomatoes, garlic, and a little spinach to round it out. Two of these felt like a meal - they were so filling! The portobellos were great for heavy hors d'oeuvres, or you could use smaller mushrooms for a bite size version.

Twice Baked Yams:
(Makes 3 main portions or 6 side portions)

3 medium sized sweet potatoes or yams (I used jewel yams)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 cup + 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
Sprinkle of cayenne pepper, black pepper, and onion powder

Wash your potatoes. Place them on a paper towel lined microwave safe plate and microwave for 15 minutes, turning once, or until potatoes are soft to the touch. Set aside until cool.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet.
In a medium sized pan, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned and cooked through.
In a medium sized bowl, add mushrooms and garlic, cheddar cheese, yogurt, and spices. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut each one lengthwise and gently scoop out the flesh, leaving a little rim in the skin. Repeat with the rest of the potato halves, adding flesh to your bowl. Mix all of the ingredients together with a spoon until fully combined. Add additional spices to taste.
Place potato skins on your baking sheet. Scoop heaping spoonfuls of filling into the skins. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown. 

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms:
(Makes 6 mushrooms)

6 mini portobello mushrooms, washed with stems removed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces herbed goat cheese
1 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 cups spinach, cooked (I used frozen cut leaf spinach)
1 egg
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place your mushrooms open side down on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic and mushroom stems and cook until soft.
In a medium sized bowl, mix garlic and mushroom, sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, spinach, and egg. Season with salt and pepper.
When mushrooms are done in the oven, remove and turn up heat to 400 degrees. Scoop filling into each mushroom, heaping extra on top. Sprinkle Parmesan on mushrooms.
Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and tops are golden brown.



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