Black ‘n’ Blue Cheese Burger Stuffed Baked Potato

Do you remember those divided plates you used to have when you were a kid?  They had cartoons in each section like this one from Sesame Street…

I may have to buy this... I love it.

I may have to buy this… I love it.

To this day, this is how I prefer to eat my food.  Divided.  Separated.  Nothing touching.

What I’ve realized is that you are either the type of person who likes messy meals, the kind where you can smush all their food together, “it all goes down the same tube, of course”… OR … you like your food separated.  You like to experience each flavor on its own before even considering mixing them together.  If you’re that person, you know you’re looking at that Sesame Street plate and thinking about getting one just like I am.

With all of that being said, I believe I have one exception:  I love a good stuffed baked potato.  The baked potato is the perfect vessel for any type of food smush.  It just tastes so good when you put loads of toppings on there and get it all mashed together with the insides.

It’s totally not like me, but for you, baked potato, I will make this exception.

My latest stuffed baked potato creation was inspired by one of my favorite burgers:  the Black & Blue.  Spicy Blackened seasoning combined with Creamy Blue Cheese is just heavenly.

Black ‘n’ Blue Cheese Burger Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients: 

2 Russet or other Baking Potatoes

8 oz Lean Ground Beef (I used 90/10)

2 Tablespoons (divided) Blackened Seasoning*

1/2 Onion, sliced thin

1 Jalapeno, cut in half and then into thin slices

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1-2 oz or 1/2 cup Blue Cheese Crumbles

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil Mayo

1 Tablespoon Fat Free Sour Cream

1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder

1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder

Garnish:  2 Tablespoons Butter Substitute, Freeze Dried (or fresh) Chives

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Scrub your potatoes under cold water and then pat them dry.  You can rub them with a little olive oil and sea salt if you’d like.  Cut a line down the middle using a sharp knife so the potato doesn’t burst while it’s cooking.  Place directly on the oven rack (you can place foil on the rack below to prevent mess) and cook for about 45 min.  You can tell the potato is done when you squeeze the middle of the potato.  It will give in very easily when it’s done cooking.

2.  Meanwhile, caramelize your onions and jalapeno.  Melt the 1T of butter and olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and jalapeno strips.  Cook over medium or medium low, stirring occasionally until they become caramelized.  

3.  Take the ground beef and if it’s frozen, scrape into pieces with two forks in a large pan over medium heat.  If it’s raw, chop while it’s cooking in the pan.  Once the meat is chopped, add the blackened seasoning.  Start with 1T and stir into the beef.  Once the beef is cooked through (no longer pink), taste a piece and add more blackened seasoning to your liking.  

4.  Combine the Blue Cheese, Mayo, Sour Cream, Garlic Powder, and Onion Powder in a small bowl.  Stir and set aside in the refrigerator.  

5.  Assemble the Stuffed Potato:  Open the potato by squeezing on both ends (wearing an oven mit!)  You can add a dab of butter or butter substitute onto the potato.  Add half of the ground beef, then half the onion mixture, and a big dollop of the blue cheese sauce.  Top with chives if you’d like.  

*You can use store-bought or try this homemade recipe.  I made it for another dish a month ago and put the rest in a ziplock which is what I used

photo 1 (27)

photo 2 (30)

Told ya it was smush!  MMM!!

Told ya it was smush! MMM!!

This is definitely one recipe I can get behind mixing everything together.  It was so good and really messy.  I served these colossal potatoes with some fresh broccoli to make me feel a little healthier.  Adding green to something unhealthy totally erases calories.  Duh.

Check out these other fab Stuffed Baked Potatoes too!  … they’re kinda my thing.

 

French Onion Soup

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Where has the week gone?  I’ve been crazy with birthdays, dinners, Phillies, and working out like crazy.  Let me also mention that this Saturday morning, I took Dave to an emergency root canal!  Ouch.  Dave is a man’s man and a hockey player, so it is normal for him to ignore pain… any pain apparently.  He had been having terrible tooth pain for weeks, ignoring it and deciding to deal with it, as any “man” should… well this weekend the pain became unbearable and it turns out he needed a root canal.  😦

The only thing Dave wants to eat for a while now is soup!  Although it’s been 80-90 degrees, which is ridiculous for April in Philly, I couldn’t be happier to have an excuse to make some more soups.

Since the soup-making was for Dave… I of COURSE just HAD to make him his all-time favorite soup:  French Onion.  I typically steer away from this stuff, because let’s face it… it’s deadly.  The croutons… the CHEESE… it’s a nightmare for dieters, because it’s just so darn good!  Well I was certainly not going to deny Dave of his favorite soup because of some silly little diet… so here we have it:  my version of French Onion Soup.

French Onion Soup

Recipe from:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Serves 3 (or 4!)
Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Large Sweet Onions
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
4 Cups Beef Broth
Pinch Dried Thyme
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 Cups French Bread, sliced into cubes
1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan-Reggiano Cheese
6 Slices (2 per cup) Reduced-Fat Sargento Swiss Cheese
Directions:
1.  Slice the onion first in half, and then in thin vertical slices making 1/2 rings.  Slice them as thinly as possible, but be careful!
2.  Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Add onions and saute over medium-high heat for 5-8 minutes or until tender.  Add sugar, salt, pepper and mix.  Saute, stirring often over medium heat for about 20 minutes.  Increase heat to medium-high and saute another 5-10 minutes until onion turns golden brown.
3.  Meanwhile, prepare your broiler.  Cover a baking sheet with foil and spread the bread cubes evenly.  Broil on the top rack of your oven for 1 minute, then flip each piece and broil for another minute.  Watch this, it WILL BURN!
4.  Stir in beef broth, vinegar, worcestershire sauce, and thyme.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium.  Stirring occasionally, simmer for 10-15 minutes.  For better flavor, if you have the time… simmer for 1-2 hours covered.  I did not do this and it turned out perfectly!
5.  Place 3-4 oven-safe bowls or ramekins in a baking dish or jelly-roll pan.  Fill 3/4 of the way with soup.  Add 5-6 hunks of the toasted bread, then the Parmesan cheese, then finally the Swiss slices.  Carefully place them in the oven and broil for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and just starting to brown.  I repeat… watch this, it WILL BURN!
Enjoy but be careful, it will be really hot!

I was very proud of my onion-slicing abilities. Or you can use a food processor. lol.

Homemade "croutons"... so easy. What a nice touch.

Say CHEESE! Loved using my new Ramekins!

The Finished Product! Please excuse the papertowels... these babies were hot hot hot!

Ours turned out fabulous!  What a nice treat.  I was able to sneak some reduced-fat cheese in there so this recipe isn’t as terrible as one you’d get in a restaurant.  I also was in a rush so I didn’t let the soup cook together for as long as it should, but it still turned out delish.

The only thing I’d change, is per Dave’s request:  use less bread since it soaks up all the soup.