Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weeknight Dinner: Quick, Easy, Tasty!

Driving home from work one night and I really didn't have much energy left after a particularly long day at the office.  I really wasn't in the mood to come up with something that would mean stretching my tired mind beyond a few ingredients.  The outcome... a Quick, Easy, Tasty, Baked Potato Dinner.

How can baked potatoes = quick you might ask?  Yeah just the baking process alone takes like an hour.  And a microwaved potato will work in a pinch, but there's just something missing.  That's when it hit me.  Pre heat your oven to 425.  Prep the potatoes like you usually would.  i.e. Wash 'em, poke 'em full of holes, then I like to rub them with some EVOO and give them a few shakes of the House Seasoning (or Salt & Pepper).  Start them cooking in the microwave about 5-7 min while your oven is heating.  Flip them over once during cooking.  Then transfer to the the oven to finish off the job when you prep the rest of your meal.  This way you'll get that nice crispy skin of oven baking.  Plus they can kinda just hang out in there until you are ready for them.

Prep your toppings.  I went with some steamed, roughly chopped broccoli, a rotisserie chicken - the breast meat into bite sized pieces, a quick Béchamel-ish sauce (see below) and some cheddar cheese.  You can really do what ever you want here though.  How about BBQ chicken, beef, or pulled pork, cheddar cheese, sour cream and green onions?  Or maybe some chili, onions and cheddar cheese?  Diced ham, broccoli & nacho cheese?  What ever sounds good to you.  Use your imagination & have fun!  Feeding several people?  You could do a Potato Bar and do a little of everything.

I was pretty pleased with the combo we had.  and even more pleased with how quick dinner was on the table.  So the next time you're looking for a quick no brainer dinner, grab a couple of potatoes and Enjoy!

Béchamel (Basic White Sauce)
2 Tbls butter
2 Tbls flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk

Melt butter over low heat.  Blend 2 tablespoons of flour into the melted butter, add salt.  Cook over low heat, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes. Cooking for this length of time will minimize 'flour' taste.

Slowly add 1 cup of milk, stirring constantly.  Continue cooking slowly until smooth and thickened.

At this point you can season it to suit your tastes.  Add more flavor by seasoning with celery salt, nutmeg, a teaspoon of lemon juice, onion juice, or sherry, or a few tablespoons of chopped chives or parsley.

I added some cream cheese and a splash of white wine. (I know, thus making it no longer a basic white sauce - but it sure made it taste darn good!)


  1. MMM Looks yummy. Now I just have to think of toppings my picky hubby will eat! I LOVE the way you made it but Broccoli would be a no go with him. He so limits my cooking with his pickiness :)

  2. Thanks so very much for stopping by my blog and commenting on my Skull and Crossbone cake!