In some ways I still feel like I’m waiting for this new year to begin. There’s some big stuff going on right now that’s making me feel like 2011 hasn’t entirely let go, part of which includes my PHN rearing its ugly head. The cold temperatures have brought about pain & other symptoms like I haven’t had in months and while I know it’ll subside soon, boy, is it overwhelming!
What’s most frustrating about this sort of thing is that it messes with one’s plans. I had a ton of big ideas to work on in my nano-kitchen this weekend, darnit! Instead, I found myself curled around an ice pack to numb the pain, one cat flanking me on each side, the last one pretending to be a fur hat while we all watched classic movies. Not quite the way I wanted to spend the weekend, but I did appreciate my three nurses and their diligent efforts at purring me back to health.
Regardless of any discomfort, a girl still has to eat. When I’m not feeling 100%, I try to find the simplest possible dinner option that was not another plate of scrambled eggs (which are quite lovely but can get old after repeat servings). Something hearty and filling and… meal-like – but without all the meal-like prep work. And like a sign from on high it hit me: Of course! It would be a baked potato night.
I’ve lauded the baked potato and all its virtues of versatility in past posts, but I’m doing it again anyway: baked potatoes are awesome Lazy Night meals. Except for prepping the ingredients for one’s desired toppings, there’s really not much you have to do but wait for the potato to be cooked. If you lack the patience to bake then in the oven, you can always zap your potatoes in the microwave for a few minutes. You don’t even have to do much in the way of dishes if you plan things right. And they’re cheap – ever-so-blessedly cheap.
This time around I went for a veggie-heavy topping for my baked potato, as opposed to my standard cheese-centric ones. Lately I’ve felt like there haven’t been enough green foods in my daily diet, which is not my usual M.O. There’s always something green on my plate, so when I go without for awhile I just feel out of sorts. I fixed that immediately with some leftover veggies, including bits of broccoli, spinach and peppers. Since I still had some creamy herb sauce from the last time I made my roasted sweet potato pizza, I thought it would be fun to mix it up with said veggies for a sort of primavera-esque topping to my tater. Once I really got going ,I couldn’t stop and in short order, I had a lovely baked potato brimming with tasty vegetables drizzled in a creamy, garlicky sauce.
Bookmark this one for Meatless Mondays or lazy nights when you’re just too swamped to cook up anything more elaborate! Whether you bake them the traditional way or just microwave them, this and a small salad makes for a wonderfully quick, filling and affordable meal. Out of potatoes? No sweat! Pour the veggies on top of pasta, quinoa or rice, and dinner is served. :)
Baked Potatoes Primavera (makes 2 servings; total cost per serving: $2)
I’ve written this recipe for two instead of one, since you’ll undoubtedly end up with more veggie filling than is needed for one potato. If you’re making this solo, don’t halve the recipe (it gets too cumbersome) – instead, save the rest of the topping for another baked potato meal or use it in another recipe.
2 medium baking potatoes
1/2 c broccoli florets
1/4 c sliced carrots
1/3 c red pepper strips
1/3 c sliced mushrooms
1/4 c chopped fresh spinach
2 T chopped onion
3-4 T creamy herb sauce
Small splash of olive oil
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Gently wash the potatoes well and pat dry with a paper towel. Rub the skin with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Pierce the potato several times with a fork, then bake for about 40 minutes or until the potato is cooked all the way through.
2. In the meantime, heat the veggies in a small skillet over medium low heat. Add 2 T of creamy herb sauce, mix well and cook until heated through, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat & set aside.
3. When the potatoes are finished cooking, allow them to cool for a few minutes before handling. Carefully slice each potato lengthwise, then poon the remaining creamy herb sauce into each potato and mash the insides lightly with a fork. Add a generous amount of veggie mixture on top, serve with a nice salad and enjoy!