You can take your pick of toppings with this recipe.

Serves 4


cutting board
cookie sheet
small, sharp knife


4 Russet or Idaho potatoes (about 6 ounces each)


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Wash the potatoes with warm water and scrub them to remove dirt from the skins. Poke holes in the potatoes with a fork.

3. Bake the potatoes for about 1 hour.

4. When they are cooked, carefully remove them from the oven with oven mitts. Place the potatoes on a cutting board and let them sit until they have cooled enough to handle--at least 10 minutes.

5. When cooled, cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Squeeze the potatoes by placing your fingers on either side and pushing in. This should loosen up the insides of the potatoes. Using the fork, lightly mash up the insides and make a well in the center of each potato half. Fill each well with 1/4 cup of any of the following toppings:

Ricotta Cheese and Spices Topping
Mix 2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese with 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley.

Per serving: Calories: 390; Total Fat: 9.7 grams (2.2 teaspoons); Saturated Fat: 6.2 grams; Sodium: 170 milligrams; Cholesterol: 38 milligrams.

Chili and Cheese Topping
Mix 1 1/2 cups vegetarian baked beans with 1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese.

Per serving: Calories: 326; Total Fat: 1.7 grams (0.4 teaspoons); Saturated Fat: 0.9 grams; Sodium: 424 milligrams; Cholesterol: 4 milligrams. (Note: You can cut the sodium in this recipe by using plain canned beans that have been washed with water to remove some of the salt.)

Yogurt and Broccoli Topping
Mix 1 cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt with 1 cup cooked, chopped broccoli and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Per serving: Calories: 263; Total Fat: less than 1 gram; Saturated Fat: 0.2 grams; Sodium: 64 milligrams; Cholesterol: 1 milligram.

A Chili Topping Suggestion

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