Spinach & Artichoke Twice-Baked Potatoes

spinach-artichoke-twice-baked-potatoes

spinach-artichoke-twice-baked-potatoes

Do you have a hard time answering the question, “what’s your favorite food?”  I do.  It changes by the day.  It changes by the time of day.

But, if I really had to think hard and commit to an answer, it would, most likely, be mashed potatoes.  I love mashed potatoes.

Like…I love them.

My Mom made us mashed potatoes almost every Saturday night throughout my entire childhood, and I never, ever got tired of them.  Actually, I still request them every time I’m home.

And, twice-baked potatoes were such a treat.  A baked potato and mashed potatoes all in one?  Yes, please!  For whatever reason, they tended to show themselves only on birthdays and other occasions for specially-requested foods.  So, they still feel like a treat to me.  Traditional twice-bakeds are wonderful, and I’ve started playing with different flavor combinations to ramp them up a bit.  Twice-baked potatoes meet spinach and artichoke dip…  Yes, I think so.

Spinach & Artichoke Twice-Baked Potatoes
 
Author:
Makes: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (9 oz.) bag fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 T. butter, melted
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 4 oz. fontina, grated
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 (6.5-oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pierce clean potatoes with a fork multiple times. Place directly on the oven rack and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until they’re cooked through and the inside is soft. Let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat with the olive oil and let cook until spinach is wilted, about 7-8 minutes. Let cool and then push against a mesh strainer to squeeze out the excess liquid.
  3. When potatoes are cool enough to touch, slice each in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh (leaving enough of a border that the potato halves hold their shape) into a large mixing bowl. Brush the inside of each emptied potato half with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set on a baking sheet.
  4. Add cream cheese, butter, sour cream, ¾ of the fontina, and the ¾ tsp. salt to the potatoes. Mix with a hand mixer until completely smooth. Fold in the spinach and chopped artichokes. Scoop even portions of the potato mixture into the empty potato halves. Sprinkle the tops with shredded parmesan and the remaining fontina.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes until cheese is melted and potatoes are heated through.

 

 

 

Pesto & Red Pepper Pasta Salad

pesto and red pepper pasta salad

pesto and red pepper pasta salad

It’s possible the passing of Labor Day has you thinking you’ve already made your last pasta salad of the summer.  But, wait!  With football season just kicking off tonight, my NFL crystal ball sees a whole lot more pasta salad in my future.

This pesto & red pepper variation is a great one for the upcoming cooler months, too, not only because it uses ingredients that you’re likely to have in your pantry all fall and winter long, but also because this particular recipe is very good served both cold and warm.  So, you can refrigerate it – or not! – depending on whether there’s a slight nip in the air.

Besides varying pasta salads, are there any dishes that you try to adapt from warm weather to cool weather foods?

Pesto & Red Pepper Pasta Salad
 
Author:
Makes: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 lb. rotini
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 ½ T. prepared pesto
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (12 oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained & patted dry
  • 1 (7.5 oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained & juice reserved, artichokes chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place sliced almonds in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 5 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  2. Cook rotini (or your favorite pasta) according to package directions. Drain and place in large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the cream cheese, pesto, sour cream, mayonnaise, 2 roasted red peppers, and 3 T. of the artichoke liquid. Process until smooth. Add the zest and juice of the lemon as well as the salt and pepper. Process until combined.
  4. Dice remaining roasted red peppers.
  5. Combine cooked pasta and the sauce (start with about ⅔ of the sauce and add more as you need it. The pasta will absorb more sauce the longer it sits). Add in roasted almonds, diced roasted red peppers, and chopped artichoke hearts. Stir until everything is coated in sauce. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.