Taco baked potato

Sometimes you have no idea what to make for dinner, and it’s getting late in the day. Lately, that’s happened a lot to me. I work from home and do most of the cooking in our house, so I’m usually planning and cooking, and trying to time things for when my wife gets home from work. Recently I had some ground turkey and didn’t know what to do with it, and had to think something up. We had some nice baking potatoes, and I’m one of those people who does not believe in microwaving potatoes–blech. So I popped two potatoes in the oven, and using some taco mix we had on hand, made taco meat with the ground turkey. And what was born? A combo that I’m surely not the first person to think of–a taco baked potato. This combines two awesome food items and it’s pretty healthy, so long as you’re not counting carbs.

Here is what to do–rinse the potatoes, and pierce them a few times with a fork. Bake at 450 degrees for an hour or so. Meanwhile, with about 15 minutes left on the potato cooking time, make the taco meat according to package directions. Shred some cheddar cheese (or used pre-shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese), and gather taco items such as chopped tomatoes, olives, jalapenos, sour cream and either salsa or taco sauce. You can also add chopped avocado as I did, and/or cilantro. Really, you can use your imagination or anything you have on hand. The only item that goes in tacos that might not be good here would be lettuce, since it would wilt when added to a piping hot potato.

So cut the potatoes in half, mash them a bit and then top with the meat and other toppings. Dinner is served!


Steak and potatoes 101

This was the first entry I did on Grub For Guys a couple years back. And since tomorrow is my birthday, we’re going to have my favorite meal for dinner–a thick, juicy steak. Of course, my wife is making a cake, and that’s good, because I am pretty much clueless when it comes to baking, and because who wants to make their own cake anyway?

Here is the steak and potatoes 101 piece. Enjoy!

Hey guys—whether or not you want to impress your lady (assuming she eats meat), your buddies that are coming over for the big game, or even if you’re just cooking for yourself and are craving steak, I’ve got a simple menu for you and some easy preparation tips.

This also assumes that you know how to operate a basic grill, so if you don’t, you can refer to Bobby Flay’s website for help with that. Then I will help you with the rest!

Here is what you’ll need, assuming two people or one really hungry dude:

2 NY Strip steaks
2 Idaho baking potatoes
1 bunch asparagus
1 red or yellow bell pepper
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

First things first — if you want a good baked potato, use the brown, Idaho type, and don’t ever microwave them. Microwaving a potato is the man-law equivalent of putting orange slices in your beer. So rinse the potatoes, being sure to scrub off those gnarly dirt specks.
Then wipe them off with paper towels, and stick in the oven at 450 degrees for 1 hour, flipping over once at the 30-minute mark.

When you’re at that 30-minute mark, get your grill pre-heated. I like to do the vegetables first, because they cook quickly and you can keep them warm while preparing the steak. For the asparagus (yeah, it makes your pee smell funny, but it tastes damn good off the grill), rinse and break off the rough ends. Sprinkle liberally with olive oil, and a few sprinkles of salt and pepper. Take the bell pepper, cut off the top, then remove the inner membrane and seeds. Cut that in half and sprinkle that with olive oil, salt and pepper as well. Throw these on the grill, being careful not to let asparagus fall through the grates. Depending on how thick the asparagus is, cooking time ranges from 2 minutes to 5 minutes. Once it starts to brown, remove from the grill onto a plate and cover with foil. The bell pepper will take up to 10 minutes, and you’ll want to flip it a few times until charred nicely. Remove that to the plate with the asparagus.

For the steak, I like to use New York strip, and not because I’m from New York. They are sometimes pricey, but almost always tender and tasty. Sprinkle both sides liberally with salt and pepper, and slap them on the grill. Trust me, you don’t need foo-foo marinades for steak either, because the salt and pepper will bring out the natural flavor nicely. Grill to desired doneness, which can be anywhere from 5 minutes for rare to 12 minutes or so for more well done (a meat thermometer is also not a bad investment). If you really want to look like a pro, after flipping the steak a third time, move it at a 45-degree angle for criss-crossing grill marks. Once you flip it over and see you’ve done this properly, pounding your chest is optional.

By the time the steaks are done, your potatoes should also be ready. Put everything on a plate, and bring some butter and sour cream to the table for the potatoes. Steak sauce is optional, but I’m telling you, you won’t need it if you follow this simple steak recipe.
That’s it. Throw in a nice bottle of red wine or a hearty beer, and you’ve got a meal that’s simple and yet restaurant quality.


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