Picante beef or chicken and salsa stuffed baked potatoes

4 servings

  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • Cooking oil (extra virgin olive oil or corn, canola, or safflower oil) as needed
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or uncooked ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • ½ cup chopped peeled onion
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)
  • 1 cup favorite homemade or commercial mild to hot-spiced tomato salsa
  • ½ cup shredded sharp Cheddar or Monterey Jack or American cheese or cheese-blend of choice, divided
  • ¼ cup very thinly sliced or chopped green onion (include some green tops), divided

Lightly brush potatoes with oil of choice (or lightly coat potatoes with non-caloric vegetable cooking spray). Bake potatoes in a preheated moderate oven (375 degrees F.) for 45 minutes or until fork tender. Or, microwave potatoes at HIGH power for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating potatoes ¼ turn after 4 minutes of micro-waving. While potatoes are baking or micro-waving, prepare meat mixture. In a large heavy skillet lightly coated with non-caloric vegetable cooking spray, sauté ground beef chicken or turkey, garlic, and onion over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until meat is lightly browned, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in salsa, mixing well. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired; continue cooking, uncovered, for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
With a sharp knife, cut each baked potato in half lengthwise. With the tines of a fork, mash or chop-up potato pulp in each potato half, but do not take pulp out of the shell. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Evenly divide meat/salsa mixture onto the cut surface of each potato half. Top each with 2 tablespoons shredded cheese of choice and then 1 tablespoon thinly sliced or chopped green onion. Serve immediately garnished as desired.

Variation: After adding cheese to the top of each potato, place stuffed potato halves on a baking sheet and broil, about 4 inches from heat source, for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese has melted. Top each with green onion as previously directed and serve immediately.

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