My Bookworm turned eight last week. Where did the time go?! It feels like I just had her and here she is, fully formed into a little person. That’s what every parent ever says, right? It felt like something I should say too but really, it’s been quite an adventure with the girl who made me a mom. And I’m sure you’re curious about what I got her for her birthday. Fittingly, we gave her Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, after a lot of pleading and explaining to us that she was old enough to understand what was going on in the fourth book. And how could I say no to that, really? Because she and I share the same geeky love for all things Hogwarts and the wizarding world. My goodness, the grin on her face = parenting win!
What tickled me was The Bookworm’s request for her birthday dinner: hotdogs, corn, and “those cheesy potatoes you [mom] make.” Translation: twice baked potatoes with sriracha cream sauce. And in my house, where potato is king of all vegetables, they go like..well…hotcakes. So, I, feeling my supermom senses tingling, sprung to action to fulfill my bookworm’s request and make twice baked potatoes.
These twice baked potatoes are full of flavor, creamy without being calorically disastrous , tangy from the (surprise) addition of reduced-fat sour cream and oh so cheesy. They look like you should gain five pounds just by looking at them, but looks can be quite deceiving because these guys are only a fraction of the calories found in baked potatoes loaded with cream, butter, and bacon. Indeed, a happy (and welcome) surprise!
Let’s go back to the basics before we pull too far ahead into the making of this magnificent (and easy) side dish. Behold, the glorious baking potato! It’s so spudly!
So, the quick and dirty on baking potatoes- baking potatoes are starchier than other potatoes and have an incredible ability to absorb liquids, resulting in a creamy, smooth finish. Which makes them perfect for things like… creamy mashed potatoes and baked potatoes. Or TWICE baked potatoes. And did I mention, they make the perfect side to my homestyle game-day chili? I’m picturing twice baked potatoes drenched in my cocoa-infused chili. Comfort food to the max on this cold, snowy day.
I’ve always been an oven kinda girl but I’ve heard from people who swear by microwaved potatoes. For me, oven-baking doesn’t take that long- all you do is put them in the oven and let them bake while you go catch up on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, instead of folding laundry. Procrastination FTW!
Plus I’ve got the secret for perfectly crispy potato skins. After you hollow out the cooked potato flesh, brush the outside of the skins with olive oil and put them back in the oven for a few minutes. And voila, perfectly crispy and delicious potato skins. And these baked potato skins also end up holding up better once they’re re-filled with creamy, tangy, velvety, mashed potatoes topped with cheesy goodness. You’ll wonder why you never made potatoes this way before.
The sauce is the pixie dust to these twice baked potatoes. It’s a magical spicy, tangy sauce that’s so addictive you’re going to find excuses for why it’s perfectly acceptable to just drink it straight from the blender jar. I kept dipping my finger into the jar to make sure the sauce was perfect. Like 100+ times. Even though I knew it was perfect- it’s.that.good. Seriously guys, this magic sauce is super duper addictive and so multifunctional that I used it on a bazillion things the next day. Down to making poached eggs on a whole wheat muffin with sauteed spinach just so I could pour on this sauce. Yes, I am that person who makes a full meal around a sauce. I haven’t even told you the best part yet.
This sauce is made from fat free greek yogurt. Did I ever tell you about my love for all things greek yogurt? It’s the perfect substitute for butter, cream, milk, and/or mayo. You guys, no one can tell the difference between full fat and fat-free greek yogurt. And if they tell you they can, they’re lying. It’s so thick and packed with so much protein that it’s impossible to cut through the texture to differentiate between fat and non-fat! I use it in my skinny HOMEMADE caesar salad dressing, this sriracha cream sauce, and last weekend I made a pepperoni pizza dip with it which was devoured by a group of 6 people in a matter of minutes. So making a yummy sauce without having to use lots of oil and mayo or butter is very possible. Cream sauce lovers who don’t want to buy bigger pant sizes, rejoice!
- scrub the potatoes really well before baking them, especially if you get them from a farmer’s market or CSA share like I do. They will usually have some dirt embedded in the skin somewhere and few things are worse than biting into a potato, only to get a mouth full of grit. YUCK!
- it helps to prick the potatoes with a fork, to allow the center to cook evenly. You don’t have to go crazy, about 4- 7 pricks are plenty.
- you can turn this side dish into a meal by adding some protein: like mixing this southwest chicken skillet into the potatoes and stuffing the potatoes for a gluten-free meal.
- 4 large unpeeled baking potatoes, scrubbed and cleaned
- 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
- 1/2 cup milk, heated to just below boiling point (I used 2%)*
- 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus 1/3 cup for topping
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2–3 stalks green onions, finely chopped
- FOR SRIRACHA CREAM SAUCE
- 2 tbsp sriracha
- 1/3 cup nonfat greek yogurt
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp water
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- BAKE THE POTATOES: place cleaned potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until potatoes are cooked. The potatoes will cave if you squeeze the sides, gently or a fork will pierce through easily. If the center is raw, place back in the oven and continue to cook, checking every 10 minutes until done. Once done set aside to cool.
- When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, using a sharp knife, cut the potatoes in half, lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Leave 1/4 inch of potato flesh on the skins, so they hold up better.
- Rub the hollowed out potato skins with olive oil, place on baking sheet skin side down, and return to oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, until the skin is crispy.
- In the bowl with the potato flesh, add sour cream, salt, pepper, paprika and 2/3 cup shredded cheese. Using a potato masher, mash all the ingredients together, slowly pouring in hot milk, until it reaches desired consistency (you may not use all of the milk).
- Remove the potato skins from the oven and fill with potato and cheese mixture. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup cheese evenly over filled potatoes. Return potatoes to oven and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, until the cheese is completely melted.
- MAKE THE SRIRACHA SAUCE: combine yogurt, sriracha, salt, paprika, garlic, oil, and water into a blender and puree on high speed, until fully blended.
- SERVE: garnish the baked potatoes with sriracha cream sauce and chopped green onions. Serve hot.
*for creamier and richer potatoes, use whole milk.