Unusual stuffed spuds are truly inspired eating

March 19, 1997|By Steven Petusevky | Steven Petusevky,COOKING LIGHT

I'm a big proponent of versatile food. Stuffed potatoes fill that bill -- they mostly serve as a side or appetizer but can also be a substantial main dish. And to top it off, potatoes are a strong nutritional package, full of vitamin C, potassium, fiber and complex carbohydrates. The sweet potato is also rich in beta carotene.

The reason I stopped eating stuffed potatoes a few years ago, though, is because they are traditionally loaded with sour cream, butter and/or melted cheese. Recently, I was dining out with my kids at a theme restaurant where they ordered a "loaded" baked potato. When it was placed in front of my 10-year-old, she politely excavated the spud for about a minute before asking, "Is there a potato under there?" Good question.

I decided it was time to elevate the humble potato. I invited a bunch of people over and made a stuffed-potato buffet. Almost everyone thought the theme was unusual and interesting -- a veritable spud festival.

Mushroom-Swiss stuffed potatoes

Makes 6 servings

6 (8-ounce) baking potatoes

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 cups quartered mushrooms

2 cups ( 1/2 -inch) diced portobello mushrooms

1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom caps

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1 cup skim milk

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap potatoes in foil; bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until tender.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion and garlic; saute 2 minutes. Stir in flour, salt and white pepper. Gradually add milk and sherry, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook 2 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Add cheese; cook 1 minute or until cheese melts, stirring constantly.

Unwrap potatoes. Split open each potato; fluff with a fork. Spoon 1/3 cup mushroom sauce into center of each potato. Place potatoes on a baking sheet; broil 4 minutes or until sauce begins to brown.

Note: Substitute any combination of exotic and domestic mushrooms to measure 5 cups, if desired.

Per servings: 312 calories (21 percent from fat); 7.3 g fat; 13.9 g protein; 49.9 g carbohydrates; 5 g fiber; 18 mg cholesterol; 3.9 mg iron; 286 mg sodium; 271 mg calcium.

Athenian stuffed potatoes

Makes 6 servings

6 (8-ounce) baking potatoes

1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, undrained

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced green bell pepper

1 cup diced red bell pepper

1 cup diced tomato

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons minced kalamata olives

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Wrap potatoes in aluminum foil, and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender.

Drain marinated artichokes in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 tablespoon marinade. Chop artichokes, and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, tomato and garlic, and saute 8 minutes. Add artichokes, reserved marinade, cheese, olives and oregano, and saute 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.

Unwrap potatoes. Split open each potato; fluff pulp with a fork. Spoon 3/4 cup vegetable mixture into center of each potato.

Per serving: 306 calories (22 percent from fat); 7.5 g fat; 10.3 g protein; 52.7 g carbohydrates; 5.9 g fiber; 17 mg cholesterol; 4.6 mg iron; 306 mg sodium; 159 mg calcium.

Cheese-and-corn stuffed potatoes

Makes 4 servings

4 (8-ounce) baking potatoes

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup chopped leek

1 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed and drained

1/2 cup 1 percent low-fat cottage cheese

1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap potatoes in foil; bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until tender.

Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add leek, onion and garlic; saute 4 minutes or until tender. Set aside.

Unwrap potatoes. Split open each potato; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4 -inch-thick shell. Combine potato pulp, onion mixture, corn, and remaining ingredients in a bowl; stir well.

Stuff shells with potato mixture; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Per serving: 301 calories (9 percent from fat); 3 g fat; 12.5 g protein; 58.7 g carbohydrates; 5.9 g fiber; 2 mg cholesterol; 3.8 mg iron; 455 mg sodium; 134 mg calcium.

Pub Date: 3/19/97

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