When I was prepping for my first bikini competition, I ate so many sweet potatoes multiple times a day, it’s actually amazing that I still enjoy eating them. The thing is, they are probably my favorite carb.
Growing up, one of my all time favorite side dishes was twice baked potatoes. The cheesy, crisp topping never failed to match any main course my mom or grandma accompanied them with.
Now days, I try to find healthier versions of my childhood favorites. Which is where this recipe came from.
I have done sweet potatoes many ways, but this is one of my favorites by far. And the nice thing is, the whole family munches these down and I don’t feel bad about them getting seconds because these potatoes aren’t overly cheesy, and they are full of protein.
As far as twice baked potatoes go, there is the time consuming method, and the short cut. I usually take the short cut because as a busy stay-at-home mom, who happens to not have a full kitchen at this point in time, the most convenient route is going to be the one I choose.
Route number 1: Spend hours baking the sweet potatoes in the oven before prepping for the “twice baked” portion of the recipe. The number one benefit of this method is the skins of the potatoes get crisp and delicious.
Route number 2: Make multiple stabs into each full potato with a sharp knife, and microwave for about 5 minutes. Flip over and microwave again. If they are large potatoes they will take about 10-12 minutes to get soft enough so that you can hollow them out.
No matter which route you choose, allow the potatoes to cool so that they do not burn you on this next step.
During this time, prepare your meats. I like to add bacon and chicken to these potatoes. The chicken makes it feel like a meal and the bacon adds a little extra flavor. You could use turkey bacon as well. I used Applegate, uncured “Sunday Bacon”. After bacon is cooked, I set aside on a paper towel to drip any extra grease off.
Using the same pan, I remove the majority of the bacon grease and toss in chicken breast that has been cut into cube size bites. To spice things up, I added chili poweder, garlic, and black pepper with a pinch of salt. While this is cooking I return to the potatoes.
Cut into half and hollow out the insides. Scoop the soft potato into a big bowl, and set skins/halves aside.
Inside the bowl add a couple heaping scoops of cottage cheese, or ricotta. I have a hard time finding organic cottage cheese, so these potatoes in particular were made with ricotta. I prefer cottage cheese because of the protein and the taste is slightly more tangy than the ricotta.
Crumble the bacon into bits and add to the potato mixture.
Spoon the potatoes mixture back into the potatoes skins and top with a light sprinkle of cheddar (or your favorite cheese).
**You actually don’t need to add any cheese, the ricotta makes the potatoes super creamy as is**
After the chicken if fully cooked, scoop big spoonfuls over each potato half.
Broil the whole pan until the cheese and chicken is slightly crisp and golden.
Serve with a salad full of veggies and you have yourself a healthy family meal!