Awesome Baked Potato Bar
Did you know that September in the USA is National Potato Month? A great way to celebrate this vegetable is with a baked potato bar. In addition, with all the football weekends and many friends and families that will be congregating in our homes, a baked potato bar is just the solution. A Baked Savory and Sweet Potato Bar is quick, easy,and tasty party food. In addition, because everyone makes their own creation with their own choice of toppings, everyone is happy.
My teenage boys have been quoted saying that the potato is the most perfect food. It actually is. I know that carbohydrate conscious diets give this vegetable a hard blow but look what it has packed it in. A medium-size 150 g (5.3 oz) potato with the skin provides 27 mg of vitamin C (45% of the Daily Value (DV)), 620 mg of potassium (18% of DV), 0.2 mg vitamin B6 (10% of DV) and trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc.
The fiber content of a potato with skin (2 g) is equivalent to that of many whole grain breads pasta and cereals. So go ahead and put this vegetable back on your healthy list and make some wise and healthy choices for your toppings. Or, you can go absolutely crazy with all of the tasty toppings you can think of and wash it down with a rootbeer for the teenagers or a beer for the adults and start your diet in the morning. After all, it is the weekend.
I decided to make both regular Idaho baked savory potatoes and sweet potatoes for the football weekend game. Baked potatoes that are baked perfectly have a crunchy skin and a light and fluffy potato in the inside. Great comfort food!
Perfect Baked Potato:
- one Russet Idaho potato or Sweet Potato for each person (Or more if teenagers)
- olive oil for brushing
- sea salt
- aluminum foil (to keep the mess to a minimum)
Step 1: Preheat oven : The higher the temperature and the shorter the baking time the crispier the potato skin
If you have a conventional oven you can cook about 4 potatoes in this time frame frame depending on the ability of your oven. (NOTE: if you are cooking more than 4 potatoes at a time you will need to increase your cooking time by about 15 minutes)
45 minutes at 400 degrees F (204 Celsius)
60 minutes at 350 degrees F (176 Celsius)
90 minutes at 325 degrees F (162 Celsius)
Step 2: Wash and scrub potatoes thoroughly and allow to dry.Step 2: Pierce potato with a fork several times to allow the steam to escape
Step 3: Line your baking pan with aluminum foil to reduce clean up time.
Step 3: Drizzle potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and rub potato to get oil and salt on entire potato.
Step 4: Place in oven and cook for the times above.
Step 5: Potatoes are cooked to perfection when they are tender when pierced with a fork and/or the internal temperature reaches 210 F. You can also test to see if your baked potato is done with a hot pad on you hand, gently squeeze the potato and if it gives easily to your touch they are done to perfection. (You can if you wish, wrap each potato in aluminum foil to reduce mess from steam escaping but then your potatoes are steamed and have a softer exterior)
Now comes the fun part is having numerous selection of topping for your guest to enjoy placing on top of their potato. Now you just need to set up an area in your home or your tailgating picnic area for the potatoes, plates, utensils and all the toppings for the baked potato bar. The sky is the limit. Here are just some of our family and friends favorite combinations.
Baked Savory Potato Topping Ideas:
1) steamed broccoli, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream and chives
2) chili and cheddar cheese
3) melted cheese, salsa, and jalapeno peppers
4) plain with butter and salt and pepper
5) melted cheese and bacon
6) marinated roasted peppers, artichokes and goat cheese with chopped olives and chives
7) sauteed rashers chopped with grated swiss cheese
8) cream cheese, bacon and sauteed onions
9) sauteed ham and melted cheese
10) grilled chicken and guacamole
11) sauteed mushrooms in butter, white wine, parsley, salt and pepper and add a drizzle of cream and serve hot over baked potato.
12) pesto, grilled asparagus, goat cheese and fresh rocket (arugula)
Baked Sweet Potato Topping Ideas:
1) sauteed apples and cinnamon, candied pecans, roasted pumpkin seeds. (Sauteed Apples: peel and slice apples, add 1/2 lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon to taste and sauté until tender) (Candied Pecans: In a small pan place about 1/8 cup granulated sugar and a 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 cup whole pecans and stir gently over low heat until sugar is melted. Remove pecans from pan and place on a dish with waxed paper to cool)
Sauteed Apples/Candied Pecans and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
2)cinnamon sugar, butter and maple syrup
3) marshmallows and candied pecans (Put handful of mini-marshmellows in the sweet potato and put back into the oven on broil for 1-2 minutes just until marshmallows slightly golden brown and bubbly. Remove from oven and top with candied pecans)
4) cooked ground italian sausage and baked beans
5) canned cranberry compote, brie cheese, sprinkled with toasted pine nuts on top
As you can see the sky is the limit for toppings and creativity. Enjoy your weekend and make it a fun one with family and friends and an awesome baked potato bar. Please let us know some of your creative baked potato topping ideas, we would love to hear from you. Take Care!