It is officially November. That means the season of ‘the holidays’ has begun. For me, it has historically been a very busy time of year even despite trying to slow down and savor the festivities and fun activities with my family. Another thing that gets to me this time of year is daylight savings coming to an end, why must it get so dark sooooo early?! When it’s dark at 5:30pm, my internal clock tells me it’s time to slow down and I’m ready to go to sleep by 8pm. Last year I swear I went into hibernation from late November to March- sorry to all of my friends in advance this year. To try to reduce the chaos of this time of year, I’m planning to spend a little extra time preparing meals in advance to have ready for those busy nights filled with activities. As you probably know by now, I heavily rely on my slow cooker. I still have a few meals in my freezer for those night filled with dance and swim practice when I am not home to cook but I’m looking forward to testing a few new recipes and seeing everyone in the kitchen Dec. 3rd for my next workshop.
Along with prepping slow cooker meals and freezing them, I have made a few lasagnas (you can check out my favorite recipe here) to be ready to pop into the oven but I also made a few Twice Baked Potatoes. I came across this idea while at a friend’s house for an impromptu BBQ. She pulled out a few pre-made twice baked potatoes and they made a perfect side to an excellent steak. How clever! I thought if it makes a great side dish, let’s use a bigger potato and fill with more ingredients to make it a full meal!... And, why not use a sweet potato?! Everyone jokes about how much I love sweet potatoes. It is true, I do... so I decided for the sake of all the ABC30 viewers out there, let’s use regular potatoes for the segment, but just know you can always replace with sweet potatoes. In fact, a popular dinner 2 times this week was a baked sweet potato filled with Pulled Pork (from the slow cooker), sour cream, cheese, bacon pieces, avocado, and sliced cherry tomatoes.
Twice Baked Potatoes
4 Tb butter
1/2 cup bacon, pre-cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Green onions, sliced for garnish
Preheat oven too 400º
Rub olive oil all over the potato and season with generous amount of salt. Place potatoes on lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 1 hour.
Remove and reduce the temperature to 350º
Slice potatoes in 1/2 length wise and gently scoop out the potato, making sure to leave the shell in tact as a rim to support the filling.
Place the scooped potato in a medium bowl and combine with remaining ingredients.
Lay the hallowed potato skin on baking sheet and spoon in filling mixture. I like to do heaping mounds. Sprinkle on more cheese.
You can wrap and freeze it at this point or continue to prepare by placing them in the oven at 350º for 15-20 additional minutes.
Garnish with sliced green onions.
You can freeze the recipe and add additional toppings, like sour cream and avocado after you cook it to make it even heartier. Spice it up a bit and try a few different varieties.
Of course you can opt for the good ole’ Brocolli and Cheese (cheddar would be good here) topping.
What about a Breakfast potato?! Add in 4 scrambled eggs to the recipe above or substitute in sausage instead of bacon. Why not add in sautéed onions and bell pepper. Garnish it with sliced avocado and a drizzle of hot sauce.
Another of my go to ingredients for easy meal prep is cooked lentils. I epecially love the package from Trader Joe’s. Try mixing in lentils, sun dried tomatoes, a little drizzle of balsamic glaze and goat cheese. Garnish it with sautéed kale. (Add the kale on top during the last 5 minutes of baking to crisp it up a bit.)
Last idea, a Caliente version with salsa, black beans, and chipped cilantro added to the recipe above.
As for my outfit details. This white blouse is a great basic that has a little extra flare. I love it because it elevates my outfit from my usual t-shirt and jeans look. I tend to only wear 2 types of denim, Madewell and Old Navy. Right now Old Navy is having a sale on Denim, so you can snag these for only $21. I love the step hem trend but don’t necessarily want to invest in an expensive pair of jeans with the crazy cut hem. So these offer a great solution. As for my favorite part, the shoes. These simple, pointed heels are only $55 from ASOS. I can already tell they are going to be my winter go to heel offering the perfect alternative to my open toes chunky heels I wore all summer. For almost a year, I wore my favorite monogrammed clutch from Mark & Graham every where I went. So much so that I wore it out. I must have been rebelling against carrying a diaper bag for so long. I am not sure how I surgvived for so long without a purse but I did. This clutch was one of my favorite gifts from last Christmas. It’s on sale at the moment, so you can start crossing off your list (even if it’s a gift for yourself, I won’t tell.)