Fall is in full swing. Which means the air is crisp, we are constantly reminded that the Longhorns still suck and our fridge is stocked with rich, long-cookin’ foods like veggie chili and a batch of Marcella’s bolognese sauce.
Okay, so, imagine this. You do everything right. On Sunday afternoon, you make a big ol’ pot of veggie chili. You immediately set aside half and shamelessly steal Jenny Rosenstrach’s trick to store 3-4 servings of leftovers in freezer bags and freeze them lying flat, so you have an accessible stack of frozen last-minute meal options any day of the week. Then you dish up some veggie chili for dinner and garnish with Fritos because who doesn’t love a Frito pie? And the next day, you have leftovers for lunch, because you enjoyed it so dang much on the first night. On Day 3 you mix it up — after work you dollop a little chili onto chips and top with cheese and treat yourself to homemade chili nachos for dinner. Day 4 is more Frito pie for lunch, but you are losing enthusiasm and even though you’ve had four chili-based meals in a week, you can’t seem to deplete your supply of leftovers.
Enter: the leftovers twice baked potato.
Twice baked potatoes with meat sauce were one of my favorite childhood meals. I would get them at Jason’s Deli, a lunch chain that initially caught my attention because it had free frozen yogurt and chocolate mousee on their salad bar. I would treat myself to a baked potato with a cup of chicken chili, sour cream, “butter product” and a fistful of cornichons off the salad bar (salad tongs were for losers), and then go HAM on a yogurt suicide float. Yes, I would get a cup, fill it with frozen yogurt and then top it off with a little bit of every soda available. Jason’s Deli was my Six Flags. I cannot believe that my parents took me out in public.
This recipe takes me back to the Jason’s Deli of my childhood, sans the embarrassing salad bar behavior and imitation butter (90s food culture was weird). Just bake a couple of potatoes while you’re making your chili on Sunday afternoon, scoop ’em out, mix up the potato insides with some chili or pasta sauce, and then refill the potato skins and top with cheese. Wrap them up in saran wrap and keep them in the fridge, then bake them off when you want to change it up during the week and serve with fresh herbs and a scoop of greek yogurt. They’re delicious and healthy, and a great way to use up those amazing fall leftovers sitting in your fridge.
Chili Twice Baked Potatoes
- 2 russet potatoes
- Olive oil, about a teaspoon
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup chili or stew
- A handful of shredded cheese, for serving
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Rinse and scrub your potatoes.
- Prick the potatoes all over with a fork. I usually do about 20 pricks per potato, which is excessive.
- Rub the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake directly on the oven racks, for about an hour, until soft to the touch.
- Once cool, split the potatoes in half and scoop out the middles into a medium bowl. Mix the potato with the chili and stir until combined.
- Scoop the chili potato mix into the hollowed out potatoes and top with cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and serve hot.