Cottage Pie Baked Potatoes

February 24, 2017 |

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Greetings from the air, friends!!

I’m currently winging my way from Richmond to Minneapolis and not gonna lie, I’m a little nervous about the transition. ‘Twas a balmy 75 and sunny in RVA yesterday, tricking me into thinking it was already spring. I took myself out to a sassy business lunch, sat outside listening to my murder podcast sans sweater, and was gifted a very subtle face tan. Needless to say, it was glorious.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite as glorious in good old Minneapolis. My handy weather app warned me last night to expect serious snow allll weekend—which it did NOT advise me of earlier this week—and I was so distracted by snack pack assembly on Wednesday (priorities!) that I completely forgot to pack a down coat just in case. Or a sweater. Or snow boots. Or fucking socks. (This is why I need an assistant, dammit.)

I’m currently going over the contents of my suitcase in my head and wondering whether wearing two dresses on top of each other could be a hot new look. Perhaps Minneapolins (is that what one calls residents of Minneapolis? no?) will respect my resourcefulness and/or trendsetting? Fingies crossed.

Other genius ideas I have for staying toasty in the Minnesota tundra:

  1. Eat everything in my snack pack right now. A couple extra pounds could act as insulation.
  2. Drink all the beer in Minneapolis, starting this evening at my Lakes and Legends Brewery event. Everyone knows a beer jacket is the best jacket. (Come drink with me, Minneapolins!)
  3. Tie together all the blankets in my Airbnb and don them like a fancy cape.

Feel free to cast your vote or leave other survival suggestions in the comments. I’m currently leaning towards option #3. Capes are so hot right now.

Thinking about the extreme winter conditions I’m about to face is making it very painful to look at pictures of these Cottage Pie Baked Potatoes. Because a piping hot baked potato stuffed with hearty beef and vegetables and topped with melted Gruyère is precisely the type of healthy(ish) comfort food feast I want to warm me up from the inside out, and I can’t have it. At least not tonight.

But YOU can, and you should. You really, really should.

These potatoes are unreal, peeps. Prior to making these bad boys, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had a baked potato, and I forgot just how awesome they are. So fluffy and starchy and satisfying, especially with a little olive oil and Gruyère mashed in. And I’m an absolute sucker for this cottage pie filling that’s spiked with Worcestershire, soy sauce (which gives it an unexpected umami depth), and fresh thyme. Truth be told, I often make the filling on its own and serve it over quinoa or brown rice, or top it with an egg for a sassy desk lunch. It comes together in all of 15 minutes, so it’s an excellent weeknight go-to, and you can easily make a double batch when you have a little extra time on Sunday or Monday to eat throughout the week. (FYI, it freezes well!)

I highly recommend making this recipe as written—it truly is delightful (and Dude Diet approved!)—but as always, you do you. Want to lighten things up a little more? Sub ground chicken or 93% lean ground turkey for the beef. Add a couple handfuls of chopped baby spinach or kale to work in more greens! Play around with different cheeses, or ditch the dairy altogether. And if you’re not a fan of white potatoes, try making these with sweet spuds. I respect your creativity!

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