As I mentioned in this post, Dirk and I are going camping this weekend up the California Coastline, via Highway 101/1. We look forward to this trip for many reasons:
- We need a break from work and responsibilities.
- We love the rugged beaches of the Central and Northern California Coast.
- We love to camp.
- We can’t afford NYC right now.
- We love to eat.
- We like fires. Fire! Fire! Fire!
- Sometimes not showering for a couple days and wearing the same favorite hoodie and silly hat is really fun. And totally acceptable when you are camping.
- Stabbing food with a stick and cooking it over an open flame is cool.
I spent a good part of an hour this afternoon planning out some menus and food lists, and I’m pretty sure we will have lots of yummy treats to fuel our bodies as we burn endless calories sitting in our beach chairs by the fire. So, I thought I might share a recipe or two with you.
These dishes don’t have to wait for camping – they make mighty fine eats under normal eating and cooking conditions. But they work great for camping because a lot of the actual cooking and prep is done before you leave, so you can enjoy great food while you gaze at the glowing embers of your campfire while sipping a beverage of your choice and concurring with your significant other that life indeed, really is, quite lovely.
When I was a little girl, my Grandma would make these tasty potato parcels as a side dish around the holidays. Of course, she used lots of butter, sour cream and whole milk, which made them heavenly. I have tweaked this recipe over the last couple of years to incorporate healthier options, while still ensuring the cheesy, creamy factor of these babies. The recipe below makes 4 stuffed potato halves, but you can easily double (or triple) the recipe.
My Grandma’s Twice Baked Cheese Potatoes
- 2 potatoes, russets work best
- 1/4 cup skim milk
- 2 ounces cheese, about 1 cup grated (I like cheddar and gruyere), use your favorites
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- salt and pepper to taste
Bake potatoes in oven until tender and cooked through. While potatoes are hot, slice horizontally in half, and scoop out the flesh of the potato into a mixing bowl, leaving the skin in tact. Set skins aside.
Mash potatoes with milk, then yogurt. Stir in grated cheese; season with salt and pepper. Place mixture back into potato shells. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.
(At this point, the potatoes can be refrigerated, up to 3 days, or frozen up to 2 months.) Thaw frozen potatoes before proceeding with next baking step.
Arrange stuffed shells in a shallow casserole dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven about 30 minutes (if preparing immediately after stuffing the shells, reduce cooking time to 15 minutes.) Or, for camping purposes, wrap potatoes securely in foil, and heat through on a grill over indirect heat, turning occasionally until hot.