Weekday dinner inspirations: Chili-Stuffed Potato Skins and more

Mon | Labor of love

Get a head start on coleslaw that'll go perfectly with Labor Day BBQ ribs by buying a prepared version at your market. There is generally enough dressing for another entire bag of shredded cabbage (or broccoli if you prefer). Make it your own with bacon crumbles and bits of blue cheese.

Tues | Get sloppy

We're not talking Joes here, but Chili-Stuffed Potato Skins (recipe below) that are nothing if not sloppy. Make it easy by microwaving the potatoes. Make it even easier by using canned chili, if you'd like.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Change up the standard Nicoise salad by substituting shredded chicken for tuna. On a large platter, lay out soft lettuce leaves (I like butter) and place, artfully of course, piles of chicken, blanched green beans, quartered hard-boiled eggs, halved cherry tomatoes, black olives, and cooked and halved baby red potatoes. Dress with a mustard vinaigrette.

Thurs | Burgermeisters

Open-faced burgers dripping with melted fontina sit tall and pretty on a thick slice of toasted sourdough bread. Saute mushrooms and sliced sweet onions in a bit of olive oil and butter. Serve alongside.

Fri | Flex your mussels

Put Mussels in Tomatoes on the menu if the kids are going to a sleepover tonight or it they're adventurous eaters. In a deep pot with a lid, saute minced garlic and a diced shallot in olive oil for about 3 minutes. Dump in a pound of washed mussels and stir. Add 1/2 cup of white wine and a 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes. Put the lid on and in a matter of minutes, the mussels will open. Dump it all in a big bowl and serve with crusty bread to sop up the delicious broth.

Read Stir Crazy online at www.blogs.tampabay.com/food. Submit your ideas for quick weeknight meals to jkeeler@sptimes.com.

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Chili-Stuffed Potato Skins

4 large baked potatoes (cook in microwave or oven)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 tablespoon minced jarred jalapeno peppers

1 pound lean ground beef

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

14-ounce can refried beans

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1 ½cups shredded cheddar cheese

cup ricotta cheese

½ cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the olive oil, garlic, onion and jalapenos. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and saute until browned, about another 5 minutes.

Add the crushed tomatoes and refried beans, then mix well and reduce heat to low. Bring to a simmer, season with salt and pepper, cover and keep warm.

Carefully cut the cooked potatoes in half lengthwise, then use a spoon to scoop out the insides and place them in a large bowl. Leave about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of potato all around the skin. Arrange the potato skins on a baking sheet. Set aside.

To the bowl of potatoes, add 1 cup of cheddar cheese, the ricotta and milk. Mix well, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Fill the potato skins almost to overflowing with the meat and bean mixture. Carefully spoon a bit of the potato and cheese mixture over the meat. Sprinkle each with some of the remaining cheddar. Bake until the cheese melts and the mashed potato topping just begins to brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Serves 8.

Source: Associated Press

Weekday dinner inspirations: Chili-Stuffed Potato Skins and more 08/26/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 4:30am]

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