Protein Packed Twice Baked Potatoes (Vegetarian)

Protein? Without meat? Krystal, c’mon.

Y’all c’mon. In case you have not noticed a lot less meat is being consumed in my tiny household. A couple months ago I started having an odd aversion to chicken(no, I am not pregnant). I’m very in tune with my body and its cravings and dislikes. When I crave eggs I fry up an egg and eat it. So, when chicken became repulsive and I was still traumatized by seafood – vegetarian became much more dominant in my life, and since Kyle can’t cook his as well. I have been participating in meatless Monday for months now and at least 2 other dishes for any given week are also vegetarian. I have been challenged for new recipes that are unique, tasty, and still have an appropriate amount of protein. I have muscle dystrophy (muscle wasting) I need protein in my diet – it’s not negotiable. On average, I try to stay around 60-75g of protein a day.

Greek Yogurt!

If you have not tried subbing out mayo/sour cream with greek yogurt you are missing out. I swear it is good! AND packed with protein! Now, my secret is to still mix in a tiny amount of sour cream or mayo whichever the recipe called for with the greek yogurt because you will get less of that tang. I promise if you get a good quality greek yogurt and put it in a sauce or dip you may be able to tell the difference but it will not be bad! I used a cup of greek yogurt in these bad boys with just a couple tablespoons of sour cream. Delicious!

I ate these for lunch all week. Each HALF is as follows: 15g protein, 10g fat, 15g carbs.

Ingredients – 4 Servings
2 Large Russet Potatoes
1 Cup Greek Yogurt (I use Fage)
2 TBSP Sour Cream
1 TBSP Butter
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1 1/2 Cup Broccoli – chopped finely
1 Cup Spinach – chopped finely
S&P
Garlic Powder

How To

Line a baking pan with foil. Get your oven set to 450 degrees. Poke holes all around your potatoes and pop in the oven for 25 minutes, take them out coat in olive oil and sea salt and bake in for 20 minutes.
All other ingredients go in a large mixing bowl.
When the potatoes are down let them cool……or don’t like me and burn your fingers off. You’ll want to cut them horizontally and scoop out the filling into your bowl with all the goodies. Give everything a quick mash, stir, and then the filling goes back into the potato skins….add some extra cheese and cook for another 10-15 just so your small broccoli florets cook.

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Healthy, fast, and veggie.

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Guinness Irish Stew

I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to get my husband to talk with an accent. I have offered money, electronics, video games, other things slightly inappropriate and yet….I am left married to a man with a dominant Irish background but no accent. He won’t even throw bottles of whiskey at walls when he is angry. Fraud.

Kyle was born on January 20th – this year his birthday is cursed….I will say no more.

Kyle is also not a fan of Guinness. Impostor.

This Friday last we had an Irish themed day of food. Our morning consisted of potato pancakes with runny eggs. Shots of Jameson and orange juice. Then, the grand finale – Irish Lamb Stew.

Lamb is as common in Europe as ground beef is in America, and lamb is far better for you in most cases. I had only eaten lamb once before (lamb chops) and was not impressed, but the entire day was about tradition and so I ordered lamb shoulder chops from our local butcher. I usually deglaze a pan that browned meat for stew with a red wine, but in place I substituted Guinness. I won’t lie – this was genius. Get it? Guinness is dark, nutty, chocolate and strong – you either love it or hate it. I am a fan and it really added layers and layers of depth to this stew. The beer is not optional it is mandatory….seriously. Just buy a case. I personally think the lamb is a necessity as well, but I don’t know how many people I could convince to give up their precious cow.

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Ingredients

2 1/2lb Lamb shoulder chops
1 Bottle of Guinness
1 Yellow onion roughly chopped
6 Large carrots roughly chopped
3 Gloves of garlic minced
6 Stalks of celery roughly chopped
6 Yukon gold potatoes cut into quarters
6 Cups of good quality beef stock
4 Tablespoons Kerrygold butter

Get down to Business

Get out a cast iron skillet, if you do not own one go out and buy one, and thank me later. On high heat melt your butter and place the chops in the skillet. You want a nice browning to occur on your chops.
While your chunks of meat are browning roughly chop your vegetables and throw them in either a Crockpot or a large soup pan. Pour the stock over all the veggies and place on low-medium heat.
Once you have a nice caramel color on your lamb pieces throw them in the soup pan. Now, with little pieces of lamb like this some might argue it is not necessary to brown your meat beforehand as they are going to simmer away in juices for hours. I don’t brown my meat before hand to seal in moisture -I do not believe in that. I do believe it adds a layer of color and makes for not only a better looking finished product but browning adds a layer of texture as well. So, I brown, and with browning comes deglazing.
Deglazing is a process in which liquid is used to get all the sediments left on the bottom of the pan incorporated into a sauce or gravy. Flavor overload is at the bottom of your pan and you never want to waste that. I used half a bottle of Guinness to deglaze, and drank the rest. Add a few more pats of butter, simmer for a few minutes and add to your soup pan. Done.

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My stew stewed away for about 6 hours. I salt and pepper when I am ready to serve as in the beginning stages every ingredient is just starting to break down, and so I prefer to wait. You do you.

This was a dish that was so easy it is hard to believe it developed such complex flavors. Easy St. Patty’s day dinner, rainy day, or how to use that bottle or two of Guinness in your house.