Some people eat out on their birthday and that’s fine, but I prefer to be in my casual clothes and eat exactly what I want (over the course of the entire day) rather than in a chair all dressed up at a restaurant having to choose from a menu someone else planned.
What I like could vary, depending on my mood, but often the birthday food has something to do with fried chicken. Or anything made with a potato. And, most especially, homemade apple pie the way my mom made it.
I already have the pie in my freezer. So, I am getting ready for my birthday (in a few days) by making baked stuffed potatoes: organic Russets baked to a crisp, the insides removed and mashed with plenty of butter and cream cheese (maybe even a little dairy sour cream), salt and freshly ground black pepper before being stuffed back into the potato skins and baked until the top is crusty.
Please don’t tell me that white potatoes are unhealthy and fattening. I know. The flesh is high on the glycemic index and that’s not good But potato skins contain good supplies of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
And of course I am aware that adding butter and cream cheese adds fat and calories. That’s what makes this recipe so awesome. Besides, I am a big believer that if you eat healthy most of the time — we do — then indulging occasionally is not only good but important for one’s emotional well being.
By the way, if it turns out I don’t eat these baked stuffed potatoes on the day, they freeze well and I know I’m gonna want them sometime soon.
Baked, Stuffed Potatoes
4 Russet type potatoes, scrubbed
2 tablespoons butter
3 ounces cream cheese
4-5 tablespoons milk or dairy sour cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the potatoes, place them in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Prick the potatoes with the tip of a sharp knife. Bake for another 45 minutes or until the knife can easily pierce through the potato. When the potatoes are cooked and cool enough to handle, slice them in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Add the butter and mash it into the potatoes. Add the cream cheese and blend it in thoroughly. Mix in enough of the milk or dairy sour cream to achieve a moist and tender consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture back in equal amounts inside the potato skins. Sprinkle the surface with paprika. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the filled potato skins on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until hot, with the skins crispy.
Makes 4-8 servings