Easy Pizza Potatoes — If there’s one thing I’m known for, it’s finding a way to use what I have on hand. I usually have a pretty tight meal plan for the week, but there’s one thing that will trump my planning every time. I can’t stand to let something go to waste. Every time I have to throw something away because of spoilage I think a little piece of me dies. So when I saw some potatoes in the pantry that needed to be eaten the wheels began to turn. I just had a craving all day for pizza, so there was quite an argument going on in my head. I want pizza…but those giant potatoes are just sitting there…I literally stood in the pantry staring at those potatoes for several minutes trying to justify not eating them. Finally the eureka moment hit. Why not combine the two? There’s a barbecue restaurant near our house that serves a barbecue potato that I can’t resist- it’s stuffed with pulled pork and sauce. So this idea made some sense to me. And I’m happy to report that it was a fabulous dinner. Even the kids loved it. I guess it’s true that kids will eat anything with the word pizza in it. The exact same thing could be said of my husband. (He loved it too.) I’m always excited to find a meal that’s effortlessly satisfying like this one. A meal that’s simple to make, easy to love, and frugal to boot. What’s not to like about that? Nothing, that’s what. You can very easily adapt this idea to use your favorite pizza toppings, so have some fun coming up with your favorite combinations. Or just use this as an excuse to use up some ingredients before they go bad. We all liked it so much that you shouldn’t be surprised to see a few more giant potatoes in the recipe index soon.
Easy Pizza Potatoes
4 large Russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
4 all natural chicken sausage links (or pepperoni if you prefer)
1 cup prepared pasta sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
any other pizza toppings of your choice
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place one baking rack in the center of oven, with the other baking rack just below it. Pierce the potatoes in two places using a sharp knife. Place potatoes directly on the middle rack. Place a baking sheet underneath the potatoes on the second rack. Bake for about one hour, or done. The exact baking time will depend on the size of your potatoes. Mine were large. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes until they can be handled safely. Do not turn off oven.
While potatoes cool, heat the sausage according to package directions. (I microwaved mine). Place potatoes into a 11/9 baking dish. Slice each potato down the center and gently push inward from each end to open. Roughly chop each sausage link and add one link to each potato. Spoon 1/4 cup sauce over each potato, then sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Return potatoes to oven and bake another 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve warm.
**To save time you can bake the potatoes the night before then refrigerate. Just re-heat in the oven when ready to serve. I do NOT recommend cooking the potatoes entirely in the microwave for this dish – you will not get the same results as you will in the oven. My oven (which is not fancy at all) has a setting where you can set the timer and the oven will automatically turn on/off at the set time. I use that setting for baked potatoes all the time – set it in the morning, place the potatoes in the oven, and at dinner time you have warm, baked potatoes just waiting for you.
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