Southwestern Potato Skins

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Being gluten-free, potato skins are one of my favorite party foods. But, when they’re just topped with cheese, bacon and maybe some sour cream, that just seems too disgustingly fat-filled. And, some restaurants even deep-fry their skins. According to nutrition reports online, one order of potato skin at a restaurant like Chili’s will provide 1120 calories, 175% of the day’s total allowance for saturated fat, 57% of the day’s allowance for cholesterol and 70% of the total day’s allowance for sodium!!

With potatoes, the most nutrition is found in the skin. The skin’s a good source of fiber, which helps prevent constipation and may reduce the risk of colon cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Fiber also helps you maintain a healthy weight, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Up to age 50, women should have 25 grams of fiber each day and men should have 38 grams. After 50, the amount needed goes down, but most people don’t get anywhere near their recommended amount.

Potatoes, like most fresh vegetables and fruits, are a good source of potassium. Potassium may help lower blood pressure as well as reduce the risk of osteoporosis and it may offset water retention caused by too much sodium. Potato skins also contribute B-vitamins, vitamin C, calcium and other nutrients to the diet. Potato skins are, by themselves, low in saturated fat and cholesterol. The problem with potato skins is really all the toppings and fillings added to them, like sour cream, cheese and bacon.

One of the things that’s especially great about this recipe is that small/medium red potatoes are used instead of the big russets. Each potato skin will provide 1 or 2 bites full of taste and nutrition. Another huge thing we like is that it has more fiber but is still really tasty.

We hope you’ll try this recipe. Instead of using sour cream, we’ve served these stuffed skins with plain nonfat Greek yogurt. That topping adds creaminess and a little fresh bite to the skins. Alternately, you could also top these with a little fresh guacamole, but you would be adding fat. Or, you could blend some salsa into plain nonfat Greek yogurt. Whatever you do, don’t ruin these healthy skins by topping with fat free sour cream. That product has so many additives, it’s a wonder it’s still called sour cream.

potato skins with dip

Southwestern Potato Skins

15 to 20 medium/small red potatoes (2 to 3 inches in diameter) – to make 30 to 40 potato skins

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped peppers

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1/2 cup salsa

1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped

2 cups cooked pinto beans or black beans (if using canned beans, one 15-oz can, drained)

Salt, to taste

5 slices bacon, cooked and finely chopped (optional)

1 cup shredded cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash each potato, dry, pierce with a knife, and rub the skins with olive oil. Place each potato onto the rack in the center of the oven. Bake 30 to 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. Remove the potatoes from the oven when they’re soft and let them cool.

In a large bowl, mix together chopped pepper, onion, salsa, cilantro and beans. Stir in chopped bacon, if desired.

Cut each potato in half. Using a soup spoon or melon baller, scoop the flesh out of the potato, leaving a 1/4″ to 1/2″ edge next to the skin. Save the insides of the potato to make mashed potatoes or use in a soup.

potato skins prep

Fill each potato shell with a heaping scoop of bean/vegetable mixture. Place each filled potato shell onto a baking sheet and top with about 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese. The baking sheet with all those filled potato skins topped with cheese would then be put into an oven preheated to 400 degrees. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the bean mixture is thoroughly heated and the cheese melted.

Serve with one or more of the following optional toppings/dips:  a) Equal parts of plain nonfat Greek yogurt and salsa, b) Plain nonfat Greek yogurt, c) guacamole, and/or d) the ever-popular ranch dressing.

 

Nutrition Information References:

Are Potato Skins Healthy   http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/potato-skins-healthy-3873.html

Calories in Restaurant Potato Skins   http://www.calorieking.com/foods/calories-in-appetizers-loaded-potato-skins-as-served_f-ZmlkPTE5NDQ0Mg.html

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