Southwestern Twice Baked PotatoThe holiday season is always busy with parties, get-togethers, celebrating and just getting ready, no matter which version of the holiday you celebrate. So I thought that I would share not only a fast and easy recipe but one that is cost effective as well. It also has the advantage of being easily sized to the amount of people you have around at the moment, making it a perfect recipe for the holidays.

Southwestern Twice Baked PotatoTwice baked potatoes are easy to make and you can make a completely balanced meal out of them by adding more than just butter, cheese and sour cream to them. Potatoes have received such a bad rap of the years as being unhealthy when in fact it’s what you add to them or how you cook them that actually makes them bad for you, not the potato itself. There are in fact loaded with vitamins and minerals and plenty of healthy fiber if you leave the skins on. Today I’m sharing my Southwestern version of twice baked with you but don’t be afraid to go outside the box and use your own favorite flavors. In fact, I often make up mine using the leftovers in the fridge, which was part of the inspiration for this particular recipe.

Southwestern Twice Baked PotatoDon’t microwave your potatoes! Microwaving does not dry them out enough to make the potato fluffy and yummy. Instead, it just makes a gummy mess! And making real baked potatoes only takes about an hour in the oven with little to no fuss. You just wash them, coat in a little olive oil and sea salt if you like, or just toss them in plain to a 350° F oven. Set the timer for 60 minutes and walk away (unless of course you are using small potatoes, then adjust the time accordingly). I make up a batch of them about once a week because I can then use them for twice baked or hashes or just a normal baked potato.

Southwestern Twice Baked PotatoRussets or Idaho potatoes make the best baked potatoes especially for twice baked potatoes but you can also bake up the other varieties as well. You’ll just get different texture profiles and sometimes a surprise about how they handle when you use the others, it just all depends on the variety of potato used, so don’t be afraid to experiment. I like to use ones that are around 6 to 8 ounces because they are the perfect serving size instead of using the giant ones. By using smaller ones, portion control is so much easier.

Southwestern Twice Baked PotatoAlso when you make up twice bakes, the more stuff you add will also mean that you have leftover potato mix at the end. Use it in potato cakes, casseroles, pergories or just eat it. Whatever you do, DON’T throw it away! No need to waste the yummy filling you just made. Also don’t be afraid to make extra potatoes for a quick meal later because these guys warm back up nicely. Have fun with your twice baked potatoes and use them to create fast, easy and yummy meals for you and your family all year-long.

Southwestern Twice Baked Potatoes

4- 6 to 8 oz. baked russet potatoes (bake in 350°F oven for about an hour or until a fork or toothpick tests done)

1 cup black beans

1/2 cup canned tomatoes, drained

1 cup frozen corn

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup sliced leeks

1/4 green chilies, chopped

2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. chili powder

Sprinkle of chipotle powder

3/4 cup skim milk

3 Tbsp. butter

1/2 cup Fat-free Greek yogurt

1/2 cup Colby Jack cheese, shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

More cilantro, chives or scallions and Greek yogurt for topping

Slice about 1/2″ of potato of the top long direction of your potato. Using a spoon, scoop out the insides, leaving a thin layer of potato against the skin (don’t punch through the skin). Set potato shells aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks and cook until soft. Add green chilies, tomatoes and corn and cook for about 5 more minutes or until corn is cooked. Add the rest of the ingredients except the cheese, mixing well to form a creamy mixture. Add more milk if necessary, depending on the size of your potatoes.

Turn oven on broil and place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Refill the potato shells with your Southwest mix and then top with cheese, placing the potatoes on a large baking sheet. Put into the oven until the cheese on top is bubbly and browning. By placing the rack in the middle of the oven, it allows the potato mix and shell to reheat before the cheese is browned. Remove and serve topped with more cilantro, chives or scallions and yogurt.

Makes 4 servings.

More Twice Baked Ideas:

Buffalo Twice Baked Potatoes from the Seaside Baker

Twice Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheese from the Picky Eater

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Gruyère from the Live-In Kitchen

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Pecan Crumble Topping from Spicy Spoonful

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