Don’t get me wrong. We’ve had our share of tax victories in the past…receiving refunds that caused us to debate for months afterward about whether we should save it or spend it on an exciting, exotic, when-else-in-life-are-we-going-to-have-this-kind-of-money trip to Peru! And we did eek into our house just weeks before the housing tax credit was set to expire a couple years ago…
But this year? This year looks grim. In fact, we made these Recees bars just to get us through the meeting with our tax-savvy friend Jesse who helped us try to minimize the damage of Eric’s freelance income situation. The bars helped. But it’s still bleak. So, in honor of this Bleak Week…and in recognition of the money we’re about to lose….we made potatoes. Simple, dirt-cheap potatoes. I mean, really…does it get any less expensive than potatoes?
But potatoes as center stage for dinner doesn’t necessarily mean you talk about your waning budget in an Eeyore voice all night. Not these potatoes anyway. Still cheap. Still simple. But dressed up just enough to remind you that good sharp cheddar cheese can cure most any ill. You bake a potato, scoop out its innerds and turn them into cheesy mashed potatoes, then put it all back into the potato skin and bake it into browned-cheesy potato-boats of goodness. So, in light of tax season….and for those of us tightening our proverbial belts…they might may take our money, but they will never take our cheese.
(recipe from my mom)
(yields 2 large servings)
We used gigantic potatoes. Feel free to use smaller baking potatoes that you've got on hand and adjust the baking time accordingly. These can be eaten as a main course on a light dinner night or makes a fun side to any meal.
2 large baking potatoes
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. butter
1/4 tsp. salt
dash of pepper (to taste)
1 c. sharp cheddar, grated
Optional Toppings: sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), chives, bacon bits, green onions)
Preheat oven 350*.
Scrub and dry potatoes. Poke each potato with a fork several times. Place potatoes directly on the rack of your oven, fork holes facing up. Bake the potatoes for 90 minutes to 2 hours...until easily pierced with a fork.
Allow potatoes to cool enough that you can handle them without literally playing hot potato.
Cut an oval circle out of the top of each potato to remove enough skin from the top of the potato that you can scoop its insides out.
(Increase oven heat to 400*).
Scoop out potato innerds. Mix together with the milk, butter, salt, pepper, and cheese. The consistency should be almost like mashed potatoes.
Put the now cheesy potato innderds carefully back inside the potatoes, being careful not to rip the skin. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 400*.
Remove from oven and top with your toppings of choice.