The other morning Parker woke up at 6 am. That's fine, that's fine. Do you feel like I'm talking myself into it being fine? Yeah, so do I. Well, you see, usually it's 7. So, I expect 7. Thus, 6 am feels rude and unnecessary. I go to bed clocking my hours till 7 am. The night before, I knew to expect 8 hours of sleep... but no! Subtract one from that. The child wakes when the child wakes!
So, as I was shuffling downstairs this morning, the wheels in my brain turning slowly--they turn a bit faster once the coffee is drunk but when I came down the coffee wasn't even going despite the fact that the husband was already awake which is a mortal sin, did you know that?--I wondered about dinner. Then I had this momentary, "Dinner? Again? But didn't you just make dinner last night?"
That's the thing about dinner. It comes around every night. Every 24 hours, there you'll find me, back at the drawing board of what to make. Without it, the night just doesn't feel complete, the natives are restless. A dinner at the table, white plates set and all, grounds the evening, grounds the family. The family that prays together stays together? Nah, the family that eats together stays together. That's a lot of responsibility!
Are you feeling the same "dinner again?" sentiments that I'm expressing here? Cause, if so, here's an easy one. I didn't really think of it the first few years of our marriage. I mean, I knew about baked potatoes, but not about so many toppings that you can call it dinner (including, especially, a green vegetable). And I definitely don't think of it (for good reason; who eats heavy meals when it's so hot out?) in the summer months. But once the weather turns, this one gets entered into the rotation. It's so effortless, so duh. Loaded baked potatoes. Add enough good stuff to them, call it a meal, done. And talk about cheap! (Though, I will suggest: organic potatoes. They're one of those highly sprayed crops, plus they're super cheap organic too.) The kids love it too.
Do I need to walk through this? I can't imagine that I do. But, for the sake of the recipe post, let's go. Oven preheated to 425 degrees. Pierce your potatoes a few times, and put them in for an hour (maybe a little more or less depending on the size of your potatoes and how many you're doing).
Then, prep your toppings. Here's the good part. A potato, in my mind, is like a blank canvas. By itself it is so very meh. How my people (the Irish!) subsisted on them alone for so many years, I'll never know. I couldn't be less interested in a potato. But put all of this on top? Mix it all up? Let it all ooze together from the heat of the potato? It becomes a work of art that is oh so delicious. This time I did sharp cheddar cheese, a pound of bacon that I cooked and chopped just before the potatoes came out, and some broccoli that I'd sautéed with some season salt. Oh and butter. Do not forget the butter. Another really great addition would be finely shredded chicken, I think. Though I will say, it's quite filling without it. If you're feeling really fancy and, say, want to Instagram a picture of your finished potato work of art, add the cheese at the last minute and then put it under the broiler for half a minute or so. Bon apetit!
ETA: and plentiful sour cream. but of course!