- 4 Idaho or Russet potatoes, each weighing about 8 ounces
- Olive oil
- 4 red bell peppers, seeded and finely julienned
- 1 pound of mushrooms, stemmed and finely sliced
- Pesto, sun dried tomato or black olive paste to taste
- Salt and pepper
- Yogurt or chunk Parmesan cheese - optional
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash the potatoes, prick them and bake for about an hour or until done. (If kids don't like very crunchy exterior, scrub the potatoes clean, wrap them in foil and then bake; they will then steam rather than bake.) Meanwhile, heat olive oil and saute peppers and mushrooms until tender. Remove from heat and stir in pesto, or other paste to taste and season with salt and pepper. When potatoes are done, split them almost all the way to the bottom and squeeze up some of the potato flesh; spoon vegetable topping over and around potatoes. If you did not add pesto or other paste, top with yogurt; if you added pesto or other paste, top with shaved Parmesan.
- Fresh chopped tomatoes, mixed with olive oil and chiffonade of basil
- 2 cups pureed cottage cheese mixed with 1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes or 1 tablespoon prepared pesto
- Bean or meat chili
- Smoked salmon, chives and sour cream
- Twice baked Southwest: scoop out filling from potatoes which are baked, mix with cheddar cheese, sour cream, green chilis or jalapenos and scallions, refill and reheat for 15 minutes or in microwave if you don't mind losing crisp texture of outside skin.
VARIATION FOR ADULTS: Toast bread, top with thin slices of Swiss, Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese and melt slightly in toaster oven. After hamburger mix is done, separate mixture between two skillets. To adults portion add chopped green chilis or minced fresh jalapeno peppers. Can top with sour cream and slivers of red bell pepper.