Saturday, December 7, 2013

Deconstructed Baked Broccoli Stuffed Potato (comfort food for a cold snowy night)

I am not a huge potato eater. I despise mashed potatoes (it's a texture thing) and baked potatoes never really did much for me unless they were smothered with cheese and enough stuff that I couldn't actually taste the potato part. But I have learned that is all about how you cook them and since I have had some potatoes sitting on my counter for about a month that are starting to look kind of sad, I decided it was time.

Plus I feel like the potato gets a bad wrap. We have totally abused it in junk food but that doesn't mean the humble potato itself is bad news. It actually has some nutritional value (that is often overlooked) and always eat the skin.

For Thanksgiving this year, I made some pretty awesome polenta crusted potatoes. So I decided to take that recipe and do a spin on the broccoli and cheese stuffed baked potato. (Now this recipe isn't vegan. But you could make a really easy No-Cheese sauce like the one over at Forks Over Knives* to top yours. I was having a mini cheat post cleanse and allowing myself some real cheese.)

The other thing I loved about baking this was that I really didn't have to measure anything. I just used the potatoes I had and added stuff until it looked right. (I know worst recipe to try and follow ever.) The good news is you really can't go wrong. I am going to guess-timate the amounts of what I used but in reality, I just dumped stuff in the bowl. And for the sauce -- well and all my dairy anymore, I always try to use diary that comes from grass fed cows. It tastes better and doesn't seem to give me as many problems as conventional dairy. (And I have become obsessed with avoiding GMO's.)

Here is what I did:

2 cups of chopped potatoes
olive oil
1/4 cup organic polenta
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 TBS basil
garlic powder to taste
Himalayan Salt
& pepper to taste

1 bunch of broccoli chopped into bite size pieces

1 TBS butter
1 TBS whole wheat flour(you can sub this to make it gluten free)
3/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese

Take your chopped potatoes and put them in a bowl. (I chopped mine small -- think hash brown size-- so they would cook faster and get coated in more of the good stuff.) Drizzle with olive oil and stir until all potatoes are coated. Add polenta, nutritional yeast, basil, garlic and salt. Stir to coat. (Add more polenta as needed to coat potatoes.)

In a hot skillet, cook potatoes on medium high heat until almost fork tender. (This took about 20 minutes for me.) Add broccoli and cover allowing the broccoli to steam for a few minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan. Once the butter is melted add the flour and whisk until it makes a paste. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth, whisking the entire time. Continue stirring until the milk bubbles around the sides. Do not allow it to come to a full boil. Add the cheese. Stir until melted. Change heat to low and stir until ready to assemble.

Grab a bowl, add potatoes and broccoli and top with sauce.

Super yummy.

Super hearty.

And clean. Yay!


Here is the recipe for the No-cheese Sauce from Forks over Knives (which is a great documentary and
a really great cook book even if you aren't 100% vegan or vegetarian and are just trying to cut back on your consumption of animal products. Lots of sauces, quick meals and everything I have made has been really tasty.)

No-Cheese Sauce
This sauce is great with a casserole and can be used for recipes like mac and cheese or baked ziti. Best of all, it takes about 5 minutes to put together.
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons toasted cashews
1 tablespoon tahini
1 cup 
nutritional yeast
Sea salt to taste
1. Combine everything in a blender and puree until smooth and creamy.

Happy Eating! 

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