Monday, January 31, 2011

gimme some skin!!

Super Snacks for The Big Game!

Whether you actually watch the football action, or just tune in for the commercials, everyone can agree that the Super Bowl is one of winter's finest foodfests.

What is it about football that encourages such gastronomic indulgence? True, I've been to some major league baseball games where there was tailgating but nothing like football games, or the incredible spreads at home parties everywhere. Fire up some pork chops before the big golf championship? Whip up a giant cauldron of chili for the gymnastics tournament? Not likely but who knows, maybe football's savory spirit will someday infiltrate other sports as well.
While you're cursing the quarterback or laughing at the newest Snickers commercial, feast on a few of these luscious bacon and cheese potato skins. You can bake the potatoes in advance to save time; quickly remove the foil from the potatoes after baking to reduce any "wrinkliness" in the refrigerator later.

If you're using bacon for your skins, I highly recommend the flavor and quality of Applegate uncured "Sunday Bacon." As a card-carrying Team Bacon! member, this product is one of my favorites. You will not believe the hardwood smoke aroma of this bacon! It does not shrink up into shriveled little strips, and there is very little excess grease to pour off. Truly a quality cured meat!

On the Lonesome Road, we generally try to use low-fat dairy products; however, there are some instances when this isn't the best option or doesn't produce the best results. Potato skins are one of those instances; I prefer to use full-fat cheese for its melting qualities and it generally seems to brown better.

When you're ready to assemble the potato skins, cut each baked potato in half and scoop out the insides so there is about 1/4 inch of potato in each shell. Then, the shells will need to "dry out" a bit so that they will be crispy when finished. Sad truth: frying the skins before filling them really does taste better, much like a McDonald's apple pie. However, if you're trying to cut down on a few fat calories you can bake the shells first. I've done this by putting them on a foil-lined pizza pan in a 450 degree Fahrenheit oven for ten minutes face-up, then flip them over and bake another 15 minutes or so. Potatoes will be ready when they no longer stick to the foil when they are face-down.

Now the fun part! The fillings are entirely up to you but I like a classic combination of Cheddar cheese, bacon and green onions or chives.

For a change, try some of these ideas:
  • herbed cream cheese
  • blue cheese
  • chili
  • taco meat
  • chorizo
  • chopped smoked ham
  • Canadian bacon
  • hot or sweet Italian sausage
  • broccoli
  • mushrooms
  • chili pepeprs
  • olives, green or black
  • giardinera
  • black bean and corn salsa with Jack cheese
  • your favorite pizza toppings + marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese
  • fresh spinach, garlic and feta cheese
When your masterpieces have been created, simply broil until the cheese is bubbly.

Depending on the size of the potatoes, plan on at least two skins per person but if the potatoes are small or if I am at the party, do allow more!


Doris Sturm said...

This looks fantastic, Angie...I could live on that stuff - or would love to try it anyway ;-)

Hope you're doing well!

Lonesome Road Studio said...

Hi Doris! Love the avatar! Yes, by nature I'm more of a "grazer" LOL.

T and C Bakery said...

I love these things, they are soooooo good

Lonesome Road Studio said...

Thanks T&C, I'm definitely making a batch for the Super Bowl game, I think I might go with chili, cheese and onions.

HeadpinWear said...

I am impressed, and not quite sure what would be my favorite meal. But, I could definitely say the Chiken Tortilla Soup caught my eye, besides your pics are fabulous!
I am going to add your blog to my site :)
My blog isnt half this exciting, but I would be honored if you followed me. Viewing Blogs like your definitely inspires me as I am trying to get the hang of writing just more then descriptions :)
Take a peek if you have time!


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