Salt and pepper to taste
Stuffings of choice, see below
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Scrub potatoes well, pat dry then lightly oil skins. Prick skins in several places. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until tender (may microwave on high for 4-8 minutes – skins will not be as firm making it a little harder to scoop out the flesh leaving skins intact). Cool enough to handle. Split potatoes in half lengthwise or cut top off. Scoop out potato pulp, leaving enough potato around the edges to keep the skin intact.
Mix pulp with salt and pepper to taste and one of the stuffer combination ideas below (use only 1/2 the cheese called for in the stuffer idea). Spoon stuffing back into potato shell, top with remaining cheese. Place in baking dish; cover, if desired, bake 20-30 minutes longer or until heated through. NOTE: Stuffed Spuds may be made ahead and refrigerated 2-3 days. To heat, bake at 3500 F for 45-60 minutes or until heated through. Garnish as desired.
(Ingredients given are per medium baking potato, adjust to fit the size of spud and or the number of servings desired.)
Classic Spud – 1-2 tablespoons sour cream, 2 teaspoons butter, 1/4 cup shredded cheese
Taco Spud – 1/4 cup cooked ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning, 2 tablespoons sour cream, 1/4 cup shredded cheese (serve topped with 1/4 cup salsa)
Lasagna Spud – 2 tablespoons cottage cheese or ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup cooked chopped broccoli, 1/4 cup shredded cheese (serve topped with 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce, heated)
Artichoke Chili Spud – 1 tablespoon canned chopped green chilies, 1 tablespoon chopped artichoke hearts, 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (serve topped with 1/4 cup salsa)
Other Ideas – try substituting one of these for any of the individual ingredients listed above – buttermilk, yogurt, cream, cooked carrots or green beans, spinach, Dijon style mustard, tuna, chopped ham or canned lunchmeat, cream mushroom soup, sautéed chopped onion or garlic
Snipped chives, sliced green onions, fresh parsley, cilantro leaves, paprika, chopped bell pepper