Oven Baked Jacket Potatoes

Delicious, very filling and inexpensive, jacket potatoes are one of my favorite foods and one of the potato recipes I cook quite often. I usually have them in restaurants, but I don’t shy away from cooking them at home, either. Baking the perfect jacket potatoes is not so much of a challenge. All you need is an oven, some tin foil, a fork and, of course, the potato. Other ingredients are optional, so you can make up your own recipe, as you’ll see in a moment. As of the cooking time, if you go for the microwave method, you can expect your meal to be ready in as little as 15 minutes. However, if you prefer the classic oven baking, that would take at least 90 minutes.

I like the jacket potatoes with cheese filling and with mayonnaise on top.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Take two medium-large potatoes. Wash and dry them. Prick them all over with a fork, then wrap them in tin foil. Bake them in the oven for 90 minutes.

Now you can either cut them open and add the fillings of your choice or you can go for the stuffed jacket, which means scooping the insides of the potatoes, mashing them with crumbled cheese and butter, then putting the filling back in jackets. You can also add small cubes of ham or bacon. Sprinkle cheese on top and return to the oven for two minutes more. Serve immediately. Stuffed jacket potatoes are awesome with a topping of mayonnaise or sour cream and with freshly ground pepper.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium-large potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup cheese, grated or crumbled (choose your favorite cheese, all of them are as good)
  • 1/2 cup diced ham or bacon (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream or mayonnaise
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Cheesy Potatoes

Cheesy potatoes are delicious. They make an excellent side dish for dinner. Even better, you can always enjoy the leftovers for next day’s breakfast.

Cheesy potatoes with ground pepper sprinkled on top

Cheesy potatoes with ground pepper sprinkled on top

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled, sliced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup grated goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder

Preparation:
Peel the potatoes. Slice them about 1/2 inch thick.

Grate the cheese over a bowl, then add two eggs and half cup of sour cream. Taste the cheese in order to see if you need to add salt to the food or not.

Preheat the oven at 400F. Oil a baking dish. Put one layer of potatoes in the dish, then pour the egg-cheese mixture over it. Arrange another layer of potato slices on top.

In a small bowl, beat the two remaining eggs, them add the other half cup of sour cream, the thyme and the curry powder. Pour this over the potatoes, covering all of them.

Bake the cheesy potatoes in the oven at medium heat for about 45 minutes. Try them with a fork or a toothpick. If it comes out clean, you’re done. If not, bake them for 10 more minutes, then try them again. This is how the crust should look like when ready:

Cheesy potatoes with a nice, brown crust

Cheesy potatoes with a nice, brown crust

Let the cheesy potatoes cool for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving them.

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Twice Baked Potatoes

Twice baked potatoes are nothing else than stuffed jacket potatoes returned to the oven after the inside has been mixed with various fillings such as cheese, egg or bacon. Not only are these potatoes delicious, they are also festive, therefore they can make a hit at Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner, or at any other celebration.

Ingredients for 6 servings:

  • 3 large baking potatoes (choose healthy ones, with nice skin)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 6 bacon slices
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Clean and dry the potatoes, then bake them for about one hour.

Fry the bacon slices in a skillet for about 2-3 minutes on each side. When they are nicely browned, remove from the pan and drain them on paper towels. Crumble them and set them aside. It’s nicer to first brown, then crumble the bacon, because if you do otherwise, it will retain too much oil.

When the potatoes are baked, remove them from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes, then cut them in halves lengthwise. Scoop the interior carefully in a large bowl, leaving the skin intact. Don’t throw away the skins, we are going to need them later on.

Add sour cream, salt, pepper, butter, half the green onions amount and half the cheese to the bowl with potato flesh. Mix well until the composition gets creamy and uniform. You can use a hand mixer, it’s much faster than the manual way.

Spoon the creamy mixture back into the potato shells. Top with the remaining sour cream, onions and bacon. Return the tray to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Serve hot.

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Goat Cheese Quesadilla

Goat cheese melts very well, therefore it’s a great choice for quesadillas. You can combine it with various fillings such as asparagus, mango, chicken, spinach or even bananas. Quesadillas are perfect as appetizers, breakfast or even dessert, they are easy to prepare and relatively inexpensive. Here’s my favorite goat cheese quesadilla recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 4 flour tortillas (6” diameter)
  • 4 oz soft goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh jalapeno pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:
Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic, cilantro, green onion, salt and pepper and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Set the food aside. Place the tortillas one at a time in the pan and heat them for 2 minutes on each side. It’s nice to do this because heat makes the tortillas crisp, preventing them from becoming soggy when you add the goat cheese.

Assemble the quesadillas as follows: one tortilla, crumbled goat cheese evenly spread on top of it, then the garlic and green onion mixture, then some fresh cilantro. Spread another layer of goat cheese, then cover with the second tortilla.

Heat the grill pan. Cook the assembled quesadilla for about 2-3 minutes, flip it over carefully, then cook it for about 30 seconds on the second side. Repeat with the second one.

Cut in wedges and serve with fresh cilantro and sour cream spread on top.

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Bacon Potato Soup

Warm and comforting, this potato soup recipe is the perfect special treat for winter time.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 thick bacon slices
  • 1 celery root, peeled, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 cup sauerkraut, shredded
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 5-6 potatoes, peeled, diced
  • 1 onion, peeled, chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
  • 1 cube vegetable bouillon
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
Fill a large stock pot with water, bring it to boil, then add the onion, garlic, celery root, beans, potatoes, carrots, vegetable bouillon and sauerkraut. Cover and boil over low to medium heat until vegetables are soft. If you diced them small, 15-20 minutes should be enough. Anyway, try them with a fork after the first 15 minutes and see if it goes in easily. Depending of how salty your sauerkraut was, you may or may not need to add some salt to the soup.

While the soup is boiling, heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet and fry the bacon slices for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Drain the excess oil by setting the bacon slices on paper towels. Dice the bacon and set aside.

When vegetables are soft, add the chopped parsley, bacon and sour cream. Simmer for 5 minutes. Serve hot, with freshly ground black pepper and fresh chopped parsley sprinkled on top.

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Baked Macaroni And Cheese

Baked macaroni cheese right from the oven

Baked macaroni cheese right from the oven

Ingredients:

  • 300 g pasta (spirals, elbow macaroni or any other type of short pasta)
  • 300 g hard feta cheese, grated
  • 100 g Emmental, Gouda or Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 100 g sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk

Directions:

Get 300g (about 10 ounces) macaroni. I used spirals for this recipe, but any other type of short pasta will do.

Spiral pasta

Spiral pasta

You’ll also need a block of feta cheese (at least 100g or about 3-4 ounces weight):

Feta cheese

Feta cheese

Boil the macaroni as per instructions on the pack. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the water to prevent the pasta from sticking. Since we are going to bake it later on, there’s no need to strictly respect the cooking time. Just make sure to, at least, cook it “al dente”. Here’s my cooked pasta, draining over the kitchen sink:

Macaroni boiled "al dente"

Macaroni boiled "al dente"

While waiting for the macaroni to cook, grate the feta cheese in a big bowl.

Grated feta cheese

Grated feta cheese

You want a big bowl because you are going to add the boiled pasta later on. Set aside about 1 tablespoon grated feta.

In the big bowl of grated feta add two eggs and mix everything very well.

Cheese - egg mixture

Cheese - egg mixture

In a separate bowl, beat the two remaining eggs together with the sour cream and the milk.

Drain the macaroni very well and let it chill out.

Meanwhile, put the butter in a Pyrex dish and let it melt on low heat, making sure it spreads evenly on the bottom of the dish.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Add the pasta to the feta cheese-egg mixture and mix it very well with a fork. Spoon the mixture into the Pyrex dish and shape it flat. Pour the egg-sour cream-milk mixture evenly on top, then sprinkle the dish with the remaining grated feta.

Macaroni cheese ready for baking

Macaroni cheese ready for baking

Bake the macaroni cheese on low to medium heat for about 30 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven, sprinkle the grated Emmental cheese on top, then bake it on medium to high temperature for 15-20 more minutes or until you see it getting a nice light brown, crispy crust.

This is how the macaroni and cheese looks when it's done

This is how the macaroni and cheese looks when it's done

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Bacon Potato Soup Recipe

Ingredients for 4-5 servings:

  • 2 large potatoes, diced
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 1 celery root, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 parsnip, diced
  • 4 bacon slices, crispy, freshly cooked, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cups water

Directions:
In a covered pot, boil the onion, potatoes, celery and parsnip in salty water for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Add the carrot and the bacon and continue cooking for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat. Serve hot, topped with sour cream and fresh parsley.

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