Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tater Skins

Not long after Derek and I first got together, he came home with 'snacks' one night that included a couple of boxes of TGI Friday's Potato Skins.  I was flabbergasted!  They're almost $5 a box and you get like 6 or 8 skimpy little pieces with hardly any toppings.

Flabbergasted, I tell you!

And so I set out to remedy his spendthrift ways...  well, that's another post entirely but I did manage to convert him to my home-made Tater Skins.  Which is very cool because he didn't even know you could make them yourself.  So he was very very surprised at just how much better they taste, too!

In case you didn't know how easy this little treat is to make, here's my step-by-step instructions.

First, you need to bake some potatoes and let them cool.  I just wash them, wrap in foil, pierce with a fork and bake at 350F until they feel 'done.'  Then I set them aside until cool.  (In all honesty, you can go ahead and make Tater Skins while they're still hot.  It will work.  But you'll burn your fingers and they tend to fall apart more.)  Next you want to cut them into pieces.

The beginning cuts are just to make wide slices.  These are Idaho Russet #1s.  I guess they're supposed to be what passes as a baker these days.  That's the hazard of growing up in Idaho's Potato Capitol... you know how big spuds can really get and that the puny little things in the grocery store are a far cry from it!  Anyway, I cut these average-ish sized potatoes into fourths crosswise.

Then I cut each piece in half so I got 8 Tater Skins from each potato.  Yes, they are sticky.  And yes, your fingers will be a nasty feeling mess after just a few.

I used a teaspoon from my silverware drawer to hollow out each piece.  Leave about 1/8" of flesh attached to the skin so you get pieces that look something like this.

The flesh you are scooping out of the middle... is great for potato salad, baked potato soup or to chill overnight and cut up a bit more to make hashbrowns for tomorrow morning's breakfast.  Hashbrowns are the destiny of these beauties!

Arrange in a baking dish.  These are going in the freezer for later so I've set them on foil inside a plastic freezer dish to make it easy to lift out later and set on a baking pan.

I sprinkled with a bit of Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning (use your favorite seasoned salt), a little sprinkle of grated cheese, some bacon bits and more cheese.  I'll fold the foil all in on itself, snap the lid on and freeze.  When Derek is ready to cook them for his snack, he'll just need to pull the foil out and open it up on top of a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350F until heated through and the cheese has just barely started to brown.

Here's the haul I made tonight with approximately $5 worth of ingredients... one heck of a lot more than the 6-8 little chunks from the TGI Friday's box!!

There's a pan for us to munch on tonight and 4 snack boxes for later on.

And here's how they look after baking and right before you pop one in your mouth.  (I ran out of bacon bits... so these just have cheese but you get the idea, I'm sure.)

Mmmm... happy mouth!

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