Day 4!!!! Are we thin yet? If only!!! But if you've been sticking to the plan, you're probably feeling a lot better and lighter even if your pants aren't falling-off-loose yet!! I have to admit that I didn't even really overeat all that much over the holidays, but I did nibble on more desserts and skip a few workouts which always leaves me feeling kind of out of control so it's nice to get back to normalcy and relatively clean eating again!! And speaking of clean eating, this ratatouille-stuffed baked potato, is filling enough to be a main course vegetarian entree and delicious enough to keep you and your tastebuds satisfied, but after you eat this, the only stuffed thing will be the potato! Ha!
To me, baked potatoes are one of the most perfect stress-free foods. All you do is wash a potato, dry it, pierce it a few times to let the stream escape, and toss it into the oven. An hour or so later, you've got yourself an amazing and pretty healthy treat. With this recipe I tried the "salt method", which is to bake the potatoes on a fairly thick layer of kosher salt which you throw away after the potato is fully baked. The salt is supposed to draw out the moisture from the potato, resulting in a lighter fluffier interior. The potatoes I made this way came out delicious but then again, they always do, so I'm not really sure it's worth the salt wastage! Try it yourself and let me know what you think.
And now on to the ratatouille, which I believe has made my husband fall in love with me all over again! Who knew all it took was chopping up and sautéing some veggies in olive oil and a little red wine?!!
Once the potatoes are baked, you simply split them and stuff them generously with the ratatouille. If you like, you can then plop on a dollop of light sour cream and some chopped fresh chives. YUM! So many flavors and textures. And so good for you too! The bland smooth perfection of the baked potato, the tender, slightly tangy mixture of all the veggies and the cooling creaminess of the sour cream. I could seriously eat this every night!!
And I don't know why it's taken me 5 paragraphs to mention it since I can't say the word ratatouille without thinking of the movie, but I couldn't end this post without a little shoutout to that adorable little French rat, Remy, who just wants to be a good cook, sort of like moi! Have a good Thursday and I'll be back tomorrow not only with a Famous Friday entry but a healthy and fabulous tasting little treat for us all as we triumph into the last day of Healthy Week!!!
Ratatouille-Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time for Ratatouille: 20 minutes; Cook Time: 20 minutes; Bake Time for Potatoes: About 1 hour
For the potatoes
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 4 large russet baking potatoes
For the Ratatouille
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large shallots, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small eggplant, cut into small pieces
- 1 zucchini, cut into small pieces
- 1 small red pepper, seeded and chopped into small pieces
- 1 small yellow pepper, seeded and chopped into small pieces
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 3 plum tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
For the Topping
- Light sour cream and fresh chives, chopped (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Pierce the potatoes several times with a for. On a large rimmed baking sheet, spread the salt in a thin layer and place the potatoes on top of the salt, sprinkling a little bit of the salt on top of them as well. Bake for about 1 hour or until tender and fully cooked. Remove from the oven and throw away the salt. Brush off any salt that has stuck to the outside of the potatoes as well.
2. While the potatoes are baking, make the ratatouille. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until tender. Add in the eggplant, zucchini and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes or so, stirring every now and then, until the eggplant is softened. Pour in the wine and add the tomatoes too. Cook for another 8-10 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the tomatoes have broken down and the wine has begun to evaporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat.
3. Cut the potatoes lengthwise and fill with a generous amount of the ratatouille. Top with sour cream and chives if you like and serve immediately.
4. Any leftover ratatouille can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. Also, you could definitely make the ratatouille one day ahead to save time and reheat it slowly while the potatoes are cooking.
Note: Recipe adapted from What's For Dinner? by Curtis Stone. I used more peppers than the recipe originally called for but left out the 1 tablespoon of thinly sliced basil that you could stir in to the ratatouille when it's removed from the heat, if you like. I also omitted the Parmesan cheese as a topping and subbed in light sour cream as a topping rather than low-fat plain yogurt.