Twice Baked Potatoes with Kale

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale

It’s the weekend after Christmas and we’ve been to three parties plus a family get-together this past week.  I’ve eaten so much rich food, appetizers and dips, cheese this and cheese that, not to mention all the desserts,  that I woke up this morning with the urge to eat pie for breakfast.  Is this where the holiday festivities have brought me?

No, no, and no way.  I will not succumb to any more temptation.  I will overcome the gravitational pull to the wrong foods and make wholesome choices once again.  Yet somewhere along this righteous path to eating kale salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I remembered that kale salad tastes absolutely nothing like pie, cheesecake, or chocolate thumbprint cookies, so that was the end of that.

However, my reasoning tells me that there must be a middle ground here.  By Sunday dinnertime I’d found that middle ground; a happy medium between total submersion in butter, cream and chocolate, and the kind of austerity measures that never quite make it past the 24 hour mark.  I give you the twice-baked potato, restuffed with not only the usual sour cream and cheese, but a whole lot of greens.   Greens make everything healthy,  don’t they?  Of course, we all know that!

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The basis for this recipe came from Healthy Eating food blog, but I ended up veering a bit off the recipe, using less cheese (I know, I can’t believe it either) and sour cream, adding a softly cooked onion, and then, although kale was supposed to be the green used, I actually used a combination of baby kale that I had on hand, and some baby spinach.   What that means is that you, too, can take liberties with this recipe:  any green of your choice such as Swiss chard, or all spinach.  For the cheese you could use parmesan, goat cheese or cream cheese instead of the traditional cheddar.  If you’ve got a surplus of scallions, shallots or leeks you could use them where I used a small onion.

I really hope you make these potatoes, because I can’t emphasis loudly enough how much they hit the spot—toasty and a little decadent, but green enough that I didn’t even feel the need to make a salad on the side.  I served this with sautéd asparagus and it was the perfect light dinner to cap off a week of heavy eating.

TWICE-BAKED POTATOES WITH KALE

Yield:  Serves 6 as a side dish,  3 as a hearty main

Ingredients:IMG_8813

  • 3 russet potatoes ( mine were 8 to 9 oz. each)
  • 1 bundle lacinato kale or swiss chard or spinach
  • coarse salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup coarsely grated cheddar,  or 2/3 cup finely grated parmesan, or 1/2 to 2/3 cup cream cheese, or goat cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Cook potatoes the first time.  Gently scrub potatoes but do not peel.  Pierce all over with a fork so steam can escape.  Bake about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced in center with a skewer.  Remove potatoes, but leave oven on.

2.  While potatoes bake, prepare your filling:  Tear kale, chard or spinach leaves from stems.  Plunge into cold water to remove any dirt or grit.  No need to dry them.   Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add greens and a pinch of salt. Cook them in the pan with just the water clinging to the leaves until they wilt and collapse.  Transfer to a colander and when cool enough to handle, wring out any extra moisture in small fistfuls.  On a cutting board, finely chop greens.  You will have about a cup of wrung-out, well chopped greens;  a little more or less won’t matter.

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3.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add butter and oil.  Once both are warm, add onion and reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook until softened, stirring occasionally.  Try not to let it brown.  Add chopped greens into the skillet and warm up with the onion, 1 minute.  Transfer mixture to a bowl.

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4.  Prepare the potatoes:  When potatoes are cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and scoop out all but the last 1/4-inch thickness, so you are leaving a shell inside for stability.

A melon-baller is a good tool for scooping out the potato.

A melon-baller is a good tool for scooping out the potato.

Add potato filling to the bowl with the greens.

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Arrange the potato shells on a baking sheet or shallow baking dish.  Mash potatoes, with onions and greens until smooth.  Stir in sour cream, 3/4 of cheese and more salt and pepper that you think you need.

Potato filling and greens mixed with sour cream and cheese.

Potato filling and greens mixed with sour cream and cheese.

Heap the filling into the potato shells.  Sprinkle with remaining  1/4 of cheese.

Fill potato shells with the filling.

Fill potato shells with the filling.

5.  Bake potatoes a second time:  for 20 to 30 minutes, until bronze and crisp on top.

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A light meal to cap off a week of eating too many rich foods.

A light meal to cap off a week of eating too many rich foods.

 

 

 

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Grilled Steak and Vegetables with Lemon-Herb Butter

Grilled Steak with Vegetables and Lemon Herb Butter

Grilled Steak with Vegetables and Lemon Herb Butter

 

Spring bulbs are blooming, and flowering trees are showing their vivid display.  This is my favorite month of the year.  We can hope for a beautiful weekend for Mother’s Day.  Maybe some of you have taken the grille out of winter storage and are getting ready to use it or maybe you never but it away–like us.  We just cover it for the winter.  Or maybe you live where the grill is in use year round.  In any situation….this recipe will make you want to get grilling.  If that is not a possibility, you can make it totally indoors on the stove. Either way, it will be delicious.IMG_7199

This is a meal that takes only a short time to make it, but is really big on flavor.  It involves making a spicy sauce that bathes the vegetables and steak, then cooking them quickly on fairly high heat so that a browned exterior forms.  The final touch is the lemon-herb butter on the steak.  The recipe recommends using a beef sirloin steak, but what I used were boneless chuck steaks, that were well marbled with fat, so they were extremely tender.  Cooking it to medium-rare also kept it tender, so that it didn’t dry out.  This is definitely  a meal that men will love, even though I’m suggesting it for Mother’s Day, it would also be great for Father’s Day.    Any guy who loves to grill can easily handle making this dish.

GRILLED STEAK AND VEGETABLES WITH LEMON-HERB BUTTER

Yield:   Serves 4

Ingredients:

Have everything ready in advance.

Have everything ready in advance.

 

  • 1  1/2 pounds sirloin steak, about 1-inch thick (or other tender steak of your choice)
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • 2 large zucchini or yellow squash, cut diagonally into 3/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Slice the zucchini on the diagonal for larger slices.

Slice the zucchini on the diagonal for larger slices.

Slice the onion in thick rounds.

Slice the onion in thick rounds.

Directions:

1.  Preheat a grill (or grill pan) to medium high.  Combine the barbecue sauce, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Add steak and vegetables;  toss to coat.  Let stand 5 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, mash the butter with the parsley, lemon zest and a pinch of salt in a small bowl;  set aside.

Get the herb butter ready.

Get the herb butter ready.

3.  Transfer the vegetables to the grill and cook until crisp tender and slightly charred in spots, about 8 minutes.  Set aside to keep warm.   Add the steak to the grill and cook 4 – 5 minutes per side for medium rare; remove to a cutting board and let rest.

Steaks looking wonderful on the grill.

Steaks looking wonderful on the grill.

4.  Cut the steak into 4 pieces.  Top each piece with some of the lemon-herb butter.  Serve with the grilled vegetables.

An outstanding meal; one your family will love.

An outstanding meal; one your family will love.

You will note in my photos that I also served a twice-baked potato with this meal. This was made by first baking the potatoes, then scooping out most of the insides and mashing the potato with some precooked broccoli, a little non-fat Greek yogurt, a drizzle of milk and some cheddar cheese.  Replace all that back into the potato shell and bake again until heated through and the cheese is melted.

Scoop out most of the potato, leaving a shell.

Scoop out most of the potato, leaving a shell.

Mix potato with cooked broccoli, greek yogurt, milk and cheese.

Mix potato with cooked broccoli, greek yogurt, milk and cheese.

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