Eila’s Mini Loaded Potato Skins

photo-4-136_featuredwebLooking for a fun, easy-to-eat appetizer to serve to your Super Bowl fans? This week our friend Eila Johnson, The Full Plate Blog, shares a crowd pleasing big game recipe . . . These mini loaded potato skins are hearty enough for the most macho, and can be made healthy enough for those trying to stick to their New Year’s resolutions. “When I serve a baked potato bar as dinner for my family, I set out a bunch of different topping options… with these bit-sized appetizers, I fill some with everything from fresh veggies to bacon. I’ve recreated that colorful array of topping options with these mini potato skins,” says Johnson.
Mini Loaded Potato Skins
(Makes about 40 pieces)

  • 28 oz bag baby Yukon Gold or red potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (divided)
  • 1 cup Stewart’s store-made fresh salsa*
  • ½ cup bacon bits (or crisp cooked and crumbed bacon)
  • ½ cup organic sour cream
  • ¼ cup fresh chives, minced

*Stewart’s own salsa is found by their store-made prepared foods, to the left of the deli counter
Preheat oven to 400°F. Drizzle olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Roll the potatoes around on the sheet so they are lightly covered in oil. Bake the potatoes until just tender, about 20 minutes; flipping halfway so one side doesn’t get too browned. Then cool potatoes completely. {While the potatoes are cooking, you can cook/crumble your bacon, unless you are using bacon bits, which are ready to go.}
Once cool, slice each potato in half lengthwise, and then carefully hollow out each one, using a melon baller or small spoon to remove 2/3 of the flesh, placing it in a medium mixing bowl. {Reserve potato ‘innards’ for another use.}
Sprinkle ¼ cup of the shredded cheese, equally divvied up among all of the potato skins. Next, fill the hollowed skins with Stewart’s Fresh Salsa. Then divide a sprinkling of bacon between each of the skins. And finally, sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of shredded cheddar among the tops of the potato skins.  {Potatoes can be made ahead to this point. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Bring to room temp before baking.}
When ready to serve, return the potatoes to the 400°F oven and bake until the filling heats through and cheese is melted, 7-10 minutes. Serve warm or room temp with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chives.
New Canaan mom, Eila Johnson, writes the full plate blog. The site, which was named to Forbes’ Top 100 Sites for Women, Forbes’ Top 10 Parenting and Homemaking Sites, and was ranked in the Top 5 “Foodie Mom Blogs” on a major parenting site in both 2012 and 2013, teaches busy parents how to make simple, nourishing recipes for their families and friends.
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Featured Recipe – Orange-Infused Delicata Squash with Pistachios

Busy New Canaan mom, Eila Johnson, writes the full plate blog. The site, which was named to Forbes’ 2012 Top 100 Sites for Women, teaches busy parents how to make simple, nourishing recipes for their families and friends.
While she loves traditional stuffing and cranberries, Eila also enjoys bringing a new Thanksgiving side
to the table each year. She recently asked her readers what sort of side dish recipe they most-wanted to see. The responses ran the gamut from recreating one reader’s memory of her mother-in-law’s marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes that had orange juice in them…to another reader’s wish for a
sweet side that didn’t have lots of added sugar or dairy. And another reader said she wanted to make acorn squash, but lamented the lack of space in her oven Thanksgiving Day. So, Eila created this
simple, orange-infused recipe, which makes use of local delicata squash… that can be made on the stovetop. The side dish was a total hit with her young family, and will be included in this year’s family feast… plus, it was so simple and delicious that it will no doubt make appearances at normal Fall/Winter family dinners from time to time too!

Orange-Infused Delicata Squash with Pistachios

(makes 10-12 servings)
2 large delicata squash (about 1 lb. each)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3-4 shallots, halved and thinly sliced
zest of 1-2 large orange(s)
1 ½ cups fresh-squeezed orange juice
salt & pepper, to taste
¼ cup roasted, unsalted pistachios, rough chopped
 A note on ingredients: with the exception of olive oil, salt and pepper, all ingredients are found in Walter Stewart’s produce department. I chose to purchase fresh-squeezed orange juice (also found in the produce department), but you could also purchase a few more oranges and juice them yourself, if you’d like. The pistachios are found in the tubs on the top shelf of the produce department. They come in several varieties, including raw, roasted and roasted/salted. I used roasted/unsalted in this recipe.

  1. Washed the squash well, as you will be leaving the skin on. Then, cut each squash in half lengthwise, and scoop the seeds out using a spoon. Slice each squash, about ¼” thick, crosswise.
  2. In a large skillet or fry pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until softened and beginning to turn golden brown (just a few minutes).
  3. Add the squash, orange juice, orange zest and salt and pepper to the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes until the squash is fork tender, stirring once halfway through. (Fork tender means you can pierce the squash with a regular fork, but before the squash gets too tender—you don’t want it getting mushy!)
  4. Uncover the pan and continue cooking the squash until all of the orange juice is absorbed, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking (about 10-15 minutes more).
  5. Sprinkle pistachios over the squash just before serving. Can be made in advance and warmed in the oven before serving, or served room temp.

Here is the recipe in photos, for those who like a visual. I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as mine does!