Sunday, March 8, 2015

Twice Baked and Loaded

I've been craving that ever-so-famous, ooey, gooey spinach artichoke dip lately and decided to combine it with some lovely looking Russet potatoes I have also been craving. This was an experiment because I wasn't sure the two would work well together, and (confession here) I've never made a twice baked potato. So join me while I take you on my Sunday afternoon cooking adventure.

Roasted Garlic, Spinach, and Artichoke Twice Baked Potatoes
serves 4 (1/2 stuffed potato per person)

2 medium to large Russet potatoes scrubbed
3 T butter
2-3 T half and half
pinch or two of kosher salt

Roasted Garlic
1 small head of garlic
1 T olive oil
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

The Dip
4 oz neufchatel cheese (lower fat cream cheese) softened to room temp
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup reduced fat shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup lite sour cream
1/4 cup lite mayonnaise
1/4 cup frozen chopped spinach thawed or defrosted in the microwave, then squeezed dry to remove any liquid
4 whole artichoke hearts (from a can), drained and chopped
1 head of roasted garlic
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp hot sauce

To roast the garlic: Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Place a baking sheet in the oven as it pre heats. Remove some of the outer layers of the garlic skin if they are plentiful. Cut the top off the head of the garlic and place on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Seal the foil and place on pre-heated baking sheet. Roast 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and squeeze the roasted pulp into your mixing bowl (discard the skin).

While garlic is cooling, bake your scrubbed potatoes in the already preheated 400 degree oven for 1 hour. Before baking, I poke my potatoes with a fork to allow steam to escape, although I'm not sure if that is necessary. While potatoes are cooking, make the dip, and that's a pretty simple task. Combine all ingredients with a flexible spatula, taste and see if you need more hot sauce. I stuck with the 1 teaspoon, but was debating whether or not I wanted to add some chopped water chestnuts to the mix for a nice crunch, but opted against that as well.

Remove potatoes from oven and when they are cool enough to handle, slice them in half and carefully hollow out the pulp and place in small mixing bowl. I wasn't as careful as I should have been and ripped one. Lesson here: Next time I will make at least one extra potato. Also, leave about 1/4 inch of potato clinging to the skin. It makes for a sturdier package. Oh, now is a good time to set your oven to 350 degrees, getting ready for the second bake.

In mixing bowl add 3 T softened butter and 2 or 3 T half and half to the potato pulp. I added a pinch of salt as well, just because potatoes love to be salted.

I tried to get my mixture as smooth and silky as possible. Now take your artichoke dip and add it to the luxurious potatoes.

Combine well and fill your potato canoes. Top with a little extra mozzarella cheese and bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Don't you just want to dig into this little bit of decadence? I went right for the middle one with the slightly browned cheese on top.


Paula Todora said...

I have all but the spinach and artichokes-so sad....will pick them up and try this for sure! I wonder if I could just do 1 potato since we do low carb, and I cheat but hubby doesn't?

Linda said...

Of course you can Paula. Everything in the dip is low carb.

Didi Dalaba said...

Totally drool worthy Linda dolly!! Sharing

Linda said...

Thanks for the share Didi, love you. Since I'm all about thinking/dreaming of food, I'm going to make this again revised as a potato casserole. Yes, It's something I have to do, it was just too good not to try it, lol