Appetizers, Recipes

Broccoli Stuffed Loaded Potato Skins with Avocado Cream

It’s January! For many people, that means a [re]commitment to healthy eating. Sticking with a healthy diet can be hard. Since I am all for moderation of all things, instead of strict denial, I like to find healthier versions of my favorite treats. These potato skins are a prime example.

Broccoli Stuffed Loaded Potato Skins | thepajamachef.com

The regular version is loaded up with tons of cheese, sour cream, and bacon. This version, à la Ellie Krieger, features broccoli, Canadian bacon, avocado, and cheese. The perfect substitute! And perhaps, even better than the original?

Broccoli Stuffed Loaded Potato Skins | thepajamachef.com

While I love the usual loaded potato skins [and ate my fair share in college], this version with broccoli and avocado is just fabulous. They’re more filling and more of a meal-appetizer than an appetizer-appetizer. Make sense? I had forgotten just how good Canadian bacon was… salty and a little more gourmet than regular bacon. Gourmet may be a bit of an overstep, but I love its juicy, smoky sweetness. It pairs SO well with that avocado cream, which MIGHT be my new favorite thing! It’s like guac, but creamy and with just a hint of lime. The only change I might make to this dish would be to chop the broccoli up a little more after steaming it, but that’s just a minor thing.

Broccoli Stuffed Loaded Potato Skins | thepajamachef.com

This app is perfect for a football party, or just a casual night at home in your cozy slippers. 🙂 Enjoy!

two years ago: Perfect Black Beans 
three years ago: Triple Chocolate Oat Cookies

Broccoli Stuffed Loaded Potato Skins with Avocado Cream [from Comfort Food Fix by Ellie Krieger]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 4 small russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets [4 ounces]
  • 2 ounces Canadian bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated

for avocado cream

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 scallions, chopped [green and white parts separated]
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pierce potatoes with a fork 8-10 times each, then wrap in paper towels and microwave until fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle, then cut in half lengthwise.

Scoop out all but an 1/8 inch of the potato flesh, reserving for another use. Brush the inside and outside of the potatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place skin-side down on a baking sheet and cook until crispy and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, making the filling. Steam the broccoli until crisp-tender. Add the Canadian bacon to a skillet set over medium-high heat and saute until crisp, about 4 minutes. Divide the broccoli and cheese equally amongst the potatoes

Lower oven temperature to 400 degrees and return potatoes to oven, baking for about 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

To make the avocado cream, place all ingredients except green scallions in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, top potato skins with Canadian bacon, avocado cream, and green scallions.

Time: 45 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings.

Quinoa, Recipes, Sides, Vegetables

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

How many new foods have you tried because you read about them on a blog? For me, it’s probably been a lot–namely a lot of veggies I didn’t grow up eating and/or didn’t know how to prepare, cheeses, grains, etc. I’ve never really been a picky eater, but reading blogs and cookbooks certainly have revealed gaps in my foodie education. Since I’ve been reading blogs, one of my favorite new foods has been butternut squash. Sure, it’s a pain to cut, but it’s just. so. tasty! And it makes this quinoa–one of my favorite foods ever, btw–an essential dish for your fall cooking season. Period.

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad | thepajamachef.com

One of my favorite ways to enjoy butternut squash is roasted and tossed in a salad, particularly this quinoa salad. I made this several times last winter and just never got around to sharing it here, so I was so happy when I realized this week that it was finally butternut squash season again! What makes this salad so good is the always delightful pairing of sweet and spicy seasonings, some strong cheese, and some salty meat. Molasses! Lime juice! Feta! Canadian bacon! All the good things, huh?! 🙂

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad | thepajamachef.com

One of the key flavors here in this nutty salad is the molasses. It does a double duty as a marinade for the roasted squash, and as a dressing for the salad itself. Molasses is totally underrated, but it lends such rich flavor and subtle sweetness to this dish. It’s such a great fall flavor that I want to play with more! In the meantime, enjoy it on this fabulous side dish or light lunch. I can’t wait to make this many more times this fall and winter, and hope you try it out too! 🙂

one year ago: Carnitas
two years ago: Thai Seared Shrimp with Tomato, Basil, & Coconut
three years ago: Apple City Barbecue Sauce

Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups broth [chicken or vegetable, as desired]
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped and soaked in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes then drained and thoroughly dried
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup canadian bacon, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and cut a large butternut squash into 1 inch cubes. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, molasses, chili powder, lime juice, and a generous amount of black pepper. Add cubed butternut squash, then toss to coat. Spread in a single layer on two large rimmed baking sheets, then bake for 30 minutes or until fork-tender.

Meanwhile, cook quinoa in broth according to package directions. Stir in soaked and dried red onion, molasses, lime juice, crumbled feta, and chopped canadian bacon. Fold in cubed butternut squash, then season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!

Time: 45 minutes.

Yield: 4-5 servings.

Linked up with: What’s Cookin’ Wednesday.