Mushroom Goat Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes

mushroom and goat cheese twice baked potatoes | sunsets on the side

mushroom and goat cheese twice baked potatoes | sunsets on the side

Have you guys been watching as much Olympics coverage as I have?  Man, I just love the Olympics.  The competition!  The drama!  The outfits!  The network reporters making top athletes cry after medal-winning performances!

Well, not so much on the last thing.

But, the coverage has been a staple in our house for the past week and a half.  I mean, we’re DVR-ing hockey games for pete’s sake.  U-S-A!

The only thing that feels confusing is all the eating I’m doing while watching Olympics.  Is this even right?  Oh, hi…you’re cross-country skiing UP A HILL right now.  And, I’m…eating pizza.

U-S-A?

Oh well.  As it turns out, I’m not above eating twice-baked potatoes while parked on the couch in front of the men’s super-G.  I look at it as sympathy carbing for my country.

Noble.

mushroom and goat cheese twice baked potatoes | sunsets on the side

Mushroom & Goat Cheese Twice-Baked Potatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Makes: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 T. butter, melted
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp. salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • ¼ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 4 oz. fontina, grated
  • 1 T. minced fresh dill
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pierce potatoes with a fork multiple times. Place directly on an 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 onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat with the olive oil and let cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are brown and most of their liquid has evaporated, about 7-8 minutes.
  3. When potatoes are cool enough to touch, slice each in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving enough of a border that the potato halves hold their shape, into a large mixing bowl. Set the potato skins on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Add the goat cheese, butter, milk, salt, and pepper to the potatoes. Mix with a hand mixer until completely smooth. Fold in the mushrooms, fontina, and dill. Scoop even portions of the potato mixture into the empty potato halves.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, sprinkle the tops of the potatoes evenly with parmesan cheese, and then bake an additional 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and potatoes are heated through.

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis.

Scallops & Shrimp over Herbed Rice with Mustard Dill Vinaigrette

scallops shrimp and dill rice with lemon mustard vinaigrette | sunsets on the side

scallops and shrimp over herbed rice with mustard dill vinaigrette | sunsets on the side

I have always been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day.  I mean, what’s not to love about a day designed to celebrate love?

I’m lucky enough to have a lot of great Valentine memories to think back to.  My favorite has to be the year when Scott and I were still long-distance dating and he flew 1,000 miles just to surprise me at my office and take me out for a Valentine’s date.  He called and told me that I needed to go down to the lobby of my building to pick up his delivery for me, and it turned out that he was my delivery.

I’m not sure that one can be topped.  That’s just Scott, though.  Spontaneous, fun-loving, thoughtful, kind.  That long-distance dating thing wasn’t easy, but it sure had its share of high points.

I’m so lucky that he’s my Valentine…

…my Valentine that doesn’t live 1,000 miles away anymore!

When it comes to celebrating these days, though, we almost always stay in.  The crowds are larger here in St. Pete during the winter anyway, and the restaurants are positively spilling over on Valentine’s Day.  So, I usually make us a special dinner in.  And, my guy is a seafood dinner man all the way.

scallops and shrimp | sunsets on the side

This is a great meal for a night in when you want your dinner to feel a little fancy.  It looks and tastes like something you’d order in a restaurant, but it will be much easier on your wallet.  There are three different components to this meal, but all of them are easy, and the seafood cooks in a snap.  It’s a good portion for two (if your appetite is as big as ours), and I guarantee your date will feel spoiled and loved.

scallops and shrimp over herbed rice with mustard dill vinaigrette

scallops and shrimp over herbed rice with mustard dill vinaigrette | sunsets on the side

Scallops & Shrimp over Herbed Rice with Mustard Dill Vinaigrette
 
Author:
Makes: 2-3 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup + 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ T. Dijon mustard
  • 2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 2 T. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 T. minced fresh dill, divided
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided (plus more for seasoning)
  • ½ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper, divided (plus more for seasoning)
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 ¾ cup chicken stock
  • 2 T. chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ lb. shrimp (I used 31-35 count), peeled & deveined
  • ½ lb. scallops (I used 20-30 count)
  • 1 T. unsalted butter
Instructions
  1. For the vinaigrette: Pour ½ cup of the olive oil into a glass measuring cup or small bowl. Add the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, shallot, 1 T. dill, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper. Whisk together vigorously until the vinaigrette combines and thickens.
  2. For the rice: Stir the rice, chicken stock, and remaining salt and pepper together in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and let simmer – stirring occasionally – for 15-20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove the rice from the heat, let it stand for 5 minutes, and then stir in the parsley, remaining dill, and ½ cup of the prepared vinaigrette.
  3. For the seafood: Pat the shrimp and scallops dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and remaining 1 T. olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallops to the hot pan. Sear the first side for 3 minutes, flip, and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side. Remove the scallops with a slotted spoon and place on a plate.
  4. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook the same way (sear the first side for 3 minutes, flip, and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side). Add the scallops and their juices back into the pan with the shrimp, pour in 1 T. of the vinaigrette, and cook for just 1 minute longer to coat the seafood in the sauce.
  5. To serve, place the rice on a plate, top with scallops and shrimp. Garnish with lemon slices and drizzle more vinaigrette on top, if desired.