Since we started on the carb-cutting journey, my body has adjusted to a lower volume of foods I used to devour. I am happy to say that the increase in fruits and vegetables — particularly leafy greens — in my diet has really helped my diet get back on track, and I feel satisfied after every meal.
That doesn’t mean I don’t indulge in carby foods sometimes, particularly after a long run. My body demands a mix of protein and carbs to get itself back in balance. Who am I to argue with myself?
Lately, I’ve been gravitating toward baked potatoes. They’ve always been a favorite food, and I find a good-sized potato after a run hits the spot. Baked potatoes also have a super power: they’re awesome plain with a bit of butter and salt; they’re awesome with a wide variety of toppings. Basically, baked potatoes are just awesome!
Here’s a few ideas for amping up your baked potatoes any time (if I’m baking them, I make a few extra because they’re also good for weekday lunches when I’m feeling lazy). I’m going to skip the traditional sour cream, cheese, bacon bits option because, well, it’s already a classic!
- California Style: Diced or sliced avocados, radish sprouts, diced turkey (optional), Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, diced cucumber, and whole grains like buckwheat.
- Chicken Curry Potatoes: If you’re making a curry for dinner, it’s also a natural topping for baked potatoes. As you can see from the photo, I sometimes embellish with sour cream and cheese.
- Chile Verde: Leftover chile verde (chicken or pork) goes perfectly with baked potatoes. Basically any sort of braised stew-type dish is great with baked potatoes.
- Chili Potatoes: Yeah, it’s obvious. And delicious.
- Pepperoni Pizza Potato: If you have a great tomato sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese, you have a perfect potato mix. Kids will love it as well. Just let the cheese melt under a broiler before serving to increase the gooey goodness of this potato dish.
- Prosciutto and Burrata: Burrata is a soft, creamy cheese. Prosciutto is salty and addictive. Of course, they go well with potatoes. No burrata to be found in your local market? Try brie instead.
- Pulled Pork and Coleslaw: Ditch the sandwich and stuff a potato (there’s a motto!). Make the coleslaw extra-tangy to complement the potato. If you’re a barbecue sauce, person, add that to the mix. Chicken also works well here.
- Spinach, Ricotta, and Bacon Crumbles: Stir some drained chopped spinach (frozen is fine) into some ricotta, season to taste (I like a good amount of black pepper), and top your potato with the mixture and some bacon crumbles. If you’re a vegetarian, omit the bacon, skip the bacon and top with toasted gluten-free bread crumbs.
- Creamed Spinach Potatoes: I love to make creamed spinach with coconut milk. Since I always have too much, leftovers are repurposed in many ways, including as a baked potato topping. Bonus points if you have time to make little fried onions to add texture and flavor.
- Steak Potatoes: Stir fry sliced steak (leftover is fine), caramelized onions, mushrooms, and peppers together. Top your potato with the steak mixture and bit of mozzarella or provolone cheese. Pass under the broiler until the cheese melts. Eat.
Tip of the Week
Don’t limit your potatoes to russets. Baked sweet potatoes are also great with a variety of toppings.
Menu of the Week
Yeah, baked potatoes are bit too obvious here, aren’t they? Instead, let’s plan to serve those later in the week. This menu features something delicious to top those potatoes: chili!
I love making chili in the slow cooker. Just walking into my house after a long day and smelling chili in the air is enough to make me relax. Plus, chili is a flexible food. It can be prepared just about any way that makes you happy. I’m a meat and beans person, by the way, but whatever way you love chili, that’s all good.
I serve little gorditas or pupusas or something similar on the side. Cornbread is also traditional, but it’s a pain to make during the week, and since I only eat a small amount, it’s not worth the expense for my household. It doesn’t take much time to mix together little corn cakes, and I can control the quantity so I don’t have a lot of leftovers there…and likewise with the chili, because I want LOTS of extra.