I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas or happy whatever holiday you celebrate :)
With the new year coming around the corner, I'm going to go ahead and take a guess that many of you have resolutions on your mind.
I'm going to go ahead and take another guess that many of your resolutions will involve improving your diet and/or fitness.
Am I right?!
Well, you all know I'm not one for drastic changes when it comes to diet and exercise. I try (emphasis on the try) to maintain a level-head about the whole thing.
Even when things get out of control this time of year (they always do), you won't find me punishing myself with a no-sugar-no-carb-no-salt-no-nothing diet or 2-hour long daily gym sessions.
Not me. When things get out of control, I bring it back to the basics.
It's the basic things that get me back to that happy, healthy place where I feel best.
One of the basics which I have shared with you from time to time is the value of a home-cooked meal.
Why the emphasis on home cooking? My philosophy is this - it's cheaper, YOU control the portions, and there are no surprises.
Just remember the first time you looked at the calorie/salt/fat content in your favorite lunch from Panera bread (or look it up now), and you'll know what I mean.
As often as I can, and unless I am on vacation, I will try to keep it to only ONE take-out/restaurant meal a day, tops.
Really, I could probably limit it further, but hey, I'm a busy girl, and life sometimes requires takeout.
Anyway, a home cooked meal isn't always easy for us busy ladies. That's why it's important to be prepared by having some very easy go-to recipes on hand.
One new, delicious, brainless dinner I have been going to a lot lately is "loaded" baked potatoes.
Truth be told, up until about a month ago, I had no clue how to "bake" a potato
With a little creativity and some Goolging, I think I've finally got it figured out.
Want to know my tricks??
Trader Joe's Turkey Chili Baked Potatoes (for 2)
What You'll Need
2 (decent-sized) Russet Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes
1 can of Trader Joe's Turkey Chili with Beans
1 cup of Plain Greek Yogurt (takes the place of sour cream)
Shredded Cheese (your choice)
How You Do It
Step #1: Some like it hot. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
NOTE: If you don't have time for the oven deal (often times I don't!), you can make the potatoes in the microwave. Not sure how? Watch this fun little video! :)
Step #2: Wash your tater tots. The best way is apparently to use a "vegetable brush," but really, who has those? I just put my potatoes in a collander and rinse them with water and kind of scrub with some clean hands.
Dirt be gone.
Step #3: Make them hole-y. You know, I'm not really sure why you have to do this (I guess to let the potatoes breathe?), but what I do know is that this is a MUST DO step.
Pierce your potatoes up good, all over, with a fork.
Step #4: Add some flava. Coat up your spuds with a little Canola oil and a dash-or-two of salt.
I try to do this over the sink in the same collander so that I don't dirty up another dish.
Step #5: Time to start cookin. Place a pan on the middle rack of your oven, then put the potatoes on the directly on the rack above.
The pan will catch any excess oil - keeping things nice and tidy! :)
Step #6: Sit back and relax. Let the potatoes cook for about 1 hour, until the skin on the outside is crisp, but the inside feels soft below.
This should give you plenty of time to...
Step #7: Prep your fixins. My current toppings of choice are TJ's Turkey Chili, a little Greek Yogurt (just like sour cream, I promise!), and some cheese.
I usually heat the chili up in a sauce pan for a little while when the potatoes are just about done.
Step #8: Dress them up. Pierce the potatoes in a line from end-to-end with a fork, then squeeze the ends towards each other to open up the potato, like so.
(And yes, you must use leftover Christmas napkins as pot-holders.)
Then it's time for the fun stuff.
Dress them up...
(Sorry the finished product pictures aren't prettier - I was too hungry to fuss with them!)
So there you go! I hope this easy & delicious recipe becomes a home-cooked staple for you too.
Let me know if you try it :)