Quick Microwaved Stuffed Baked Potatoes for a Cheap Dinner

Quick Microwaved Stuffed Baked Potatoes for a Cheap DinnerBy Wendy Ruopp, Managing Editor of EatingWell

The scene: My kitchen. The time: Tonight, about 30 minutes before everyone melts down from starvation. The options: Join in the meltdown; scrounge around for enough money to order pizza; or do something special with those innocent-looking potatoes in the pantry. I bought them recently, thinking it would be a good idea to have potatoes in the house, just in case. And in this case, I can turn them into Asparagus & Ham Stuffed Potatoes in 30 minutes and turn dinner drama into a satisfying family meal. (At less than $3 per serving, it's cheaper than pizza too.)

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The potatoes are easily cooked in the microwave while you organize the "stuff" to stuff them with: some steamed asparagus (or broccoli or whatever green veg you like), ham and Swiss cheese. A little sour cream makes the mixture, well, creamy and chives add a mild onion flavor and pretty green color. You top the loaded potatoes with a little more cheese and return them briefly to the microwave: who can resist such a tasty package with gooey melted cheese on top?

Asparagus & Ham Stuffed Potatoes
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Makes: 4 servings, 1 potato each
Active time: 30 minutes | Total: 30 minutes

Asparagus adds a touch of spring to this overstuffed ham-and-cheese twice-baked potatoes recipe. Use another vegetable, such as broccoli, if you prefer.

4 medium russet potatoes (about 8 ounces each)
1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup diced ham
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper

1. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork. Microwave on Medium, turning once or twice, until soft, about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add asparagus, cover and steam until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Combine the steamed asparagus with ham, sour cream, 1/2 cup Swiss cheese, 6 tablespoons chives, salt and pepper in a bowl. When the pota toes are cool enough to handle, cut off the top third, then gently scoop out the flesh; add to the bowl with the ham mixture and gently mash together.
4. Place the potato shells in a microwave-safe dish and evenly divide the ham mixture among them. (They will be very well stuffed.) Top each stuffed potato with 2 tablespoons of the remaining cheese. Microwave on High until the filling is hot and the cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes. Garnish with the remaining chives.

Per serving: 386 calories; 13 g fat (8 g sat, 4 g mono); 56 mg cholesterol; 45 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars; 23 g protein; 4 g fiber; 689 mg sodium; 1,196 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Potassium (34% daily value), Vitamin C (32% dv), Calcium (29% dv), Folate (22% dv), Zinc (21% dv), Magnesium (20% dv), Vitamin A (18% dv), Iron (17% dv).

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What's your favorite topping for baked potatoes?

By Wendy Ruopp

Wendy Ruopp has been the managing editor of EatingWell for most of her adult life. Although she writes about food for the Weeknights column of EatingWell Magazine, her husband does the cooking at home.

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