I'm always on the lookout for new ways to use up leftovers - especially after the holiday season, which seems to be all about excess. At this time of year, comfort food is always on the menu - warm meals topped with melted cheese, preferably the kind you can curl up on the couch with and eat with a fork.
A double stuffed baked potato makes a good, not too heavy meal - russets are inexpensive, and if you stuff them with whatever leftovers you manage to forage from your fridge, it makes for a cheap meal. It's a great way to use up leftover cooked veggies or bits of meat - chicken, turkey or ham works well, and even chopped roast beef and gravy.
All you do is bake as many potatoes as you like (I always give them a head start for 5 minutes in the microwave first, to get them going on the insides while the oven heats up) and then scoop out the innards and mash them with all the things that make mashed potatoes delicious – butter, salt, pepper, cream. And then whatever else you like – try cold steamed broccoli and Parmesan, or chopped ham and cheddar, or roast beef, peas and gravy. This is a good, inexpensive thing to teach kids (teenagers!) how to make - they can experiment and use their intuition rather than follow a recipe, and a twice-baked potato makes a fine meal whether you live alone or with roommates, especially on a limited grocery budget.
Scoop your dressed up potatoes back into their shells, add some extra cheese for good measure and slide them back into the oven, turning it up to about 400F until the cheese melts and the potatoes heat through. No precise timing required.
Done like dinner!