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Whip It Up! "Guilty" Pleasures

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So, friends, here is the thing: I am getting married in exactly three months. It is exciting and sort of terrifying, but the reason that I am mentioning this is because, well…even though my dress fits now, I am basically in full-on freakout mode as far as diet and exercise are concerned. As such, there is very little room for actual guilty pleasures (chocolate, cheese, wine…how I miss them!)– I just have to be satisfied with healthful versions of things I usually gorge myself upon, at least for the time being. This led to a Facebook-status APB about healthified guilty-pleasure foods, and a friend-recommended recipe for “healthy” potato skins (disclaimer: I probably could have made this even healthier, but a girl needs some parmesan and real bacon every now and then, right?). The recipe is from some show on Lifetime called “Cook Yourself Thin“– I’ve never seen it and probably never will, but do appreciate their selection of online recipes!

Healthy Potato Skins
Makes 2 servings


Ingredients
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bag baby spinach
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 slices turkey bacon [I used real bacon…but it was center-cut, so there was slightly less fat]
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk [subbed with a nonfat milk/white vingear concoction— a handy kitchen stand-in when you don’t want to buy some ingredient that is totally single-use]
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil [skipped. Probably not necessary, but lube up if you like.]
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Process
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and onto an oven rack. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until fork-tender.

3. Meanwhile, in a deep saute pan heat the olive oil and cook the onion for 2 to 3 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the entire bag of spinach and scallions, cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the spinach has wilted.

[I have to share these pictures because I feel like wilting spinach is just. So. Magical.]

[Right?]

4. In another saute pan cook the turkey bacon until crisp and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. When cooled, chop the bacon into small pieces and reserve.

5. When the sweet potatoes are cooked, let them cool for 5 minutes. Carefully slice each one in half and scoop out inside of potato into a bowl. Add cream cheese, buttermilk, salt and pepper, and mash together until smooth.

6. Using a pastry brush, coat the outside of each potato skin with the vegetable oil. Fill each of the shells with the filling and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Transfer each skin back to the baking sheet and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the skins are crispy. Top with bits of turkey bacon and serve.

[Guess which ones are mine, and which ones are GP’s. Now imagine my face when he asked me what “else” was for dinner. A big plate of shut up, that’s what else!]

Now, the all-important WIU questions:
Was the recipe easy to follow?
Yep! The fact that the potatoes are baking while other prep is going on makes me feel like a kitchen maestro.

Did the dish taste good?
Even GP was satisfied– and this man likes his meat! Meat-scantiness aside, I was really pleased, and didn’t really find the bacon to be that necessary for the overall quality of the dish. It was really filling, and wonderful in the way that sweet potatoes always are (and believe you me, this new “being healthy” thing means that I eat a ton of sweet potatoes).

Would you make it again?
Sure would! I feel like this is a recipe that lends itself to endless variation– in fact, I felt a little silly using a recipe in the first place, as I feel like dressing up a potato is best done free-form. But this case proved me wrong, as it was a great jumping-off point to what I imagine will be numerous versions of this dish.

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About Megan

I read, I write, I drink wine while watching way too much tv. Let's be friends.

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