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Pat’s Pantry: Tempting Tater Toppers

 

With just a few ingredients, you can transform baked potatoes into a savory side dish or a complete meal. While the potatoes bake, you can whip one of these pleasing toppings.

 

TANGY CHEESE-TOPPED SPUDS

 

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 hot baked potatoes

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

 

Blend cream cheese and sour cream in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add onion, horseradish, lemon juice, parsley and salt and mix well. Cut an “X” shape in the tip of each potato with a sharp knife. Fluff pulp with a fork. Top potatoes with cream cheese mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Yield: 4 servings.

 

CHICKEN RANCH POTATOES

 

2 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken

1 package (10 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables

salt and pepper to taste

3/4 cup ranch salad dressing

4 hot baked potatoes

 

Place chicken and vegetables in a 2-quart microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring once. Add salt and pepper. Let stand for two minutes. Fold in salad dressing. Cut an “X” in the top of each potato with a sharp knife. Fluff pulp with a fork and top with chicken mixture. Yield: 4 servings.

 

POTATOES WITH CRAB SAUCE

 

1 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1 3-oz. package of cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 pound process American cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 to 4 drops hot pepper sauce

pinch of onion powder

1 (6 oz.) package imitation crabmeat, flaked

4 hot baked potatoes

 

Combine the first seven ingredients in a blender. Cover and process until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. Reduce heat to low and add crabmeat. Cut an “X” in the top of each potato with a sharp knife. Fluff pulp with a fork and top with crab sauce. Yield: 4 servings.

 

IDAHO TACOS

 

1 pound ground beef

1 envelope taco seasoning

4 hot baked potatoes

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup chopped green onions

salsa, optional

 

Brown beef in a skillet and drain. Add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. Cut an “X” in the top of each potato with a sharp knife. Fluff pulp with a fork and top with the taco meat, cheese and onion. Serve with salsa if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

 

FOOD FACTS:

Green pepper may change the flavor of frozen casseroles. Clove, garlic and pepper flavors get stronger when frozen, while sage, onion and salt become milder.

Your fruit salads will look better when you use an egg slicer to make perfect slice of strawberries, kiwi fruit or bananas.

 

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