You can find 1000+ of my kitchen-tested recipes using the Recipes tab, watch nearly 100 of my Kitchen Encounters/WHVL-TV segments using the TV Videos tab, join the discussion about all of my creations using the Facebook tab, or Email your questions and comments directly to me--none go unanswered. Have fun!


~ Twice-Baked Fully-Loaded Texican Sweet Potatoes ~

IMG_0277In my food world, as far as I'm concerned, anything a Russet potato can do, a sweet potato can do better. Put a baked sweet potato on my plate and I require little else.  Truth told, on occasion, I microwave-bake one just for me, to eat in place of dinner -- a pat or three of butter, a grind or two of sea salt and peppercorn blend, tick-tock, I'm fed.  I love sweet potatoes, and, when it comes to baked potatoes, I will always choose a creamy sweet potato over a fluffy Russet potato.

For me, as recent as three decades ago, sweet potatoes were reserved for Thanksgiving dinner. We had three boys and during the '80's and into the '90's, the Russet ruled the roost.  If Joe was grilling steaks for dinner, my twice-fried French-fries or twice-baked potatoes, loaded with bacon, cheddar and broccoli, were our family's favorite side dishes.  That said, when Joe was traveling, every now and then I'd make the kids twice-baked taco taters, loaded with cheddar, American-style ground-beef taco meat topped with sour cream and salsa, for dinner. 

Making twice-baked potatoes is a method, not an exact recipe.

6a0120a8551282970b01bb08596ffe970dA twice baked potato is exactly what the name implies:  It's a potato that gets baked in the oven twice.  After the first bake, the potato is sliced in half and the light, fluffy soft-center is carefully scooped out, leaving the shell/the potato skin undamaged. The cooked center is then mashed, mashed-potato-style, with butter, salt, pepper and/or various seasonings and creamy options like sour cream, yogurt and/or cream cheese.  Then the fun begins:

6a0120a8551282970b022ad3a014be200dAdd-ins, absolutely anything you want, usually family-friendly favorites (like the combination of bits of crispy chopped bacon and blanched chopped broccoli topped with shredded cheddar cheese in photo above), get folded in.  The flavor-packed potato mixture is scooped back into the the potato skins and baked a second time, which makes the skin crispy and melts the cheese on top -- they're the Rolls Royce of the baked-potato world.  For me, anything a Russet potato can do, a sweet potato can do better, except for one thing:

When baking or twice-baking sweet potatoes, because the tough sweet potato skin is a less than desirable eating experience, there is no reason to take the time to roast them in the oven -- the microwave does it in half the time.  That said, the reverse is true for Russets -- when oven-roasted correctly, they emerge with a crispy, edible skin, which the microwave cannot achieve.

An inconvenient truth:  A sweet potato is not a yam.

IMG_8026A bit about sweet potatoes:  Sweet potatoes were first introduced to North America when Columbus brought them over from the island of St. Thomas, where this large edible root (which belongs to the morning-glory family) is native to the tropical regions of the Americas.  There are many varieties of sweet potato, but the two most widely grown commercially are a pale sweet potato and a dark-skinned variety Americans erroneously call "yam" (the true yam is not even related to the sweet potato).  The pale potato has a thin, light yellow skin and pale yellow flesh. Its flavor is not sweet, and, after being cooked, the pale sweet potato is dry and crumbly, similar to that of a Russet potato. The darker variety (pictured above) has a thicker, dark-orange skin and vivid-orange, sweet flesh.  When cooked it has a very sweet flavor and a creamy texture. The dark-skinned, orange-colored variety is the only kind I use in my recipes.

IMG_5635When buying sweet potatoes, choose plump, firm even-sized ones with no cracks. Like regular potatoes they should never be stored in the refrigerator, but do need to be stored in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place. If the temperature is above 60 degrees, they'll begin to sprout, get woody and/or shriveled.  Cooked sweet potatoes, if stored in the refrigerator, last about a week.  Like regular potatoes, sweet potates are always eaten cooked, never raw.

My recipe = cheese on the bottom & top of the filling.

Great twice-baked potatoes or twice-baked sweet potatoes are not pot-luck or a place to throw your leftovers -- they are usually very-well conceived.  I've tasted a lot of creative versions and the best combinations always contain some type of cooked meat, poultry or porcine, a vegetable or two, and, grated cheese.  That said, I've never tasted a low-calorie or low-fat version of a twice-baked potato that had a purpose.  Who in the world counts calories when eating these?

IMG_0224For 6-8 twice-baked fully-loaded sweet potatoes:

6-8  large 15-16-ounce sweet potatoes

6-8  ounces finely-shredded Mexican cheese blend

6-8  ounces queso blanco or queso fresco cheese, minced or crumbled

4  cups chorizo sausage filling, prepared as directed below:

IMG_0191For 4 cups chorizo sausage filling:

3/4-1  pound Mexican-chorizo sausage

3/4-1  cup thinly-sliced scallions, white and light-green parts only

1/2-3/4  cup minced, fresh cilantro

3/4-1  cup rinsed and well-drained black beans (half a 15-ounce can)

3/4-1  cup well-drained sweet corn kernels (half a 15-ounce can)

IMG_0270For the accompaniments (about 1 tablespoon each per potato) and final garnish:

1/2  cup Mexican crema or sour cream

1/2  cup avocado crema or guacamole

1/2  cup pico de gallo or salsa fresca

minced cilantro leaves or thinly-sliced scallion tops, for garnish

IMG_0226 IMG_0226 IMG_0226~Step 1.  To microwave-bake sweet potatoes, use the tines of a fork to prick the skin of their tops in several (5-6) spots.  Arrange potatoes, side-by-side on a microwave-safe plate and cook, as per the instruction booklet of your microwave.  My GE Advantium oven bakes four potatoes at a time, according to size and weight (small, medium or large).  Today's potatoes should be done in 18 1/2 minutes.  If they are not, I will finish cook them on express (high) in 1 1/2-2 minute increments until they are.  

IMG_0194 IMG_0194 IMG_0194 IMG_0194 IMG_0194 IMG_0194 IMG_0194 IMG_0194~Step 2.  To make the chorizo sausage filling, place sausage in a 10" nonstick skillet and use a nonstick spatula to break it up into rough pieces.  Add the scallions and cilantro.  Adjust heat under skillet to medium- medium-high and gently sauté until sausage is just cooked through, 5-6 minutes, continuing to use the spatula to break sausage up into small bits and pieces as it cooks. Add and stir in the black beans and corn, and continue to cook, 1 more minute.  Remove from heat and transfer chorizo sausage filling to a paper-towel-lined plate to thoroughly drain.

IMG_0234 IMG_0234 IMG_0234 IMG_0234 IMG_0234 IMG_0234~Step 3.  Remove potatoes from microwave and set aside 5-10 minutes to cool slightly.  At a slight angle, vertical-slice the left and right ends down to within 1/4" of bottom of potato.  Horizontal-slice through the middle of the potato down to within 1/4" of bottom.  Use a fork to loosen and fluff the tender interior.  Using your fingertips, sprinkle 3-4 tablespoons of Mexican cheese blend into the cavity, followed by a generous 1/2 cup of the sausage filling, followed by about 2 tablespoons of the queso fresco cheese.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and return to microwave to express cook 30-60 seconds.  Serve immediately.

Serve ASAP (w/guacamole, crema & salsa fresca): 

IMG_0304Don't wait or hesitate -- Stick a fork in it & dig in:

IMG_0322Twice-Baked Fully-Loaded Texican Sweet Potatoes:  Recipe yields 6-8 large, hearty, main-course, what's-for-dinner servings.

Special Equipment List:  fork; cutting board; chef's knife; 10" nonstick skillet w/lid; nonstick spatula; paper towels; spoon

6a0120a8551282970b022ad3c11477200bCook's Note:  Sweet potatoes are a fantastic substitution for Russets in potato- or baked-potato- soup too. That said, when it comes to sweet potato soup, think "savory soup" not "sweet dessert" and season accordingly. Sweet potato soup needs no sugar, brown sugar or honey -- sweet potatoes are full of flavor, texture and are naturally sweet. When served as a savory starter to a meal -- no cinnamon or nutmeg please.  Herbes de Provence, cracked black pepper and a kiss of fresh rosemary does it all.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment