Monday, March 22, 2010

Southwestern Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Southwestern Stuffed Baked Potato | Taste As You Go

When I successfully ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon (my first) last November, I honestly thought I'd be done with running for a while. Especially since the winter months were ahead of me and the biggest cause of stress while training (ie. being unemployed) had disappeared after I started my new job just after Christmas. But January rolled around and I knew something was missing. I needed to run.

To get my fix, I signed up registered for the More Magazine/Fitness Magazine Half Marathon in April and immediately tried to think of new ways to incorporate more protein into my diet that didn't necessarily involve eating meat. Although I was receiving a steady paycheck again, I knew that climbing out of the life of an unemployed New Yorker was going to take some time, and I kept myself on a pretty strict budget. The real question was: How was I going to inexpensively incorporate protein into my diet?

I opened the doors of kitchen cabinets and was struck by inspiration. (Actually, I was struck by one of the cabinet doors because I opened it right into my face. Details.)

Russet Potato | Taste As You Go

I had a potato, so I stuck it on a plate, stabbed the hell out of it with a fork (a very cathartic exercise, by the way), and microwaved it until it looked like this:

Baked Russet Potato | Taste As You Go

Then, carefully, because potatoes are really hot after they come out of the microwave, I split the potato, fluffed the flesh with a fork, and drizzled a mixture of extra-virgin olive oil, lime zest, and fajita seasoning over the top.

Southwestern Stuffed Baked Potato | Taste As You Go

Southwestern Stuffed Baked Potato | Taste As You Go

I then stuffed the potato with a mixture of black beans (protein!) and jarred salsa...

Southwestern Stuffed Baked Potato | Taste As You Go

Topped the potato with shredded cheese...

Southwestern Stuffed Baked Potato | Taste As You Go

And placed it under the broiler until the cheese melted. (Hello! Heaven? Is that you calling?)

Honestly, I don't know why I never thought to do this before. I love Southwestern flavors and this baked potato did not disappoint! You can tell by the pictures that the potato will be plenty of food for one meal and it's a fantastic vegetarian option. And the best part? I had all of the ingredients already in my kitchen because I did such a great job stocking my pantry.

Give this recipe a try -- I think you'll love it! So, what do you put on your baked potatoes?


Southwestern Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Prep time: 5-10 minutes | Cook time: 10-15 minutes | Total time: 15-25 minutes | Serves 2 | Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1/3 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup prepared salsa
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest of small lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon fajita seasoning
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Sour cream (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Prick potatoes with a fork 4-5 times per side. Microwave for 5 minutes. Turn the potatoes over and microwave for an additional 4 minutes.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, combine black beans and salsa in a small bowl.
  4. In another small bowl, combine olive oil, lime zest, and fajita seasoning.
  5. Put potatoes on a baking sheet. Cut top of potatoes lengthwise with a knife. With a towel, push ends of the potatoes together to split open. Fluff the cooked potatoes with a fork.
  6. Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the potatoes and stir gently to combine. Spoon the black beans and salsa over the top. Top with shredded cheddar according to personal preference.
  7. Place baking sheet under the broiler until the cheese is bubbling, but not too browned. Top with a dollop of sour cream, if desired, and serve immediately.
Recipe by Michelle Rittler, Taste As You Go

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