Potato skins — or, as we often call them, tater skins — are a favorite football food often seen on menus in sports bars around town. But have you tried making them at home?
They're often a little on the expensive side in restaurants, particularly if you're ordering a platterful for the whole table. Actually, though, they're one of the most economical finger foods you can serve for the game at home.
Many recipes call for frying them up in a big cast-iron skillet, and I've done that with delicious success. But I've found that baking them works just as well, if not better, and is easier than manhandling a big frying pan and having to attend it as the skins crisp. Baking them also lets you make a dozen potato skins at a time. The second dozen can cook while the first dozen is wolfed down by your guests.
To make things easier on the host, set up a bar with all the toppings — green onions, sour cream and bacon bits — and let people serve themselves.
6 small baking potatoes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup cheddar cheese
3 slices cooked bacon, finely chopped, or 3 tablespoons bacon bits
2 tablespoons green onion or chives, sliced
Sour cream for serving
Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Scrub the potatoes, and poke each potato with a fork 5-6 times. Place them directly on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until tender when poked with a fork.
Remove from the oven, and let cool until the potatoes are easy to handle, then cut them in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell.
In a small bowl, combine melted butter, parsley, seasoned salt and garlic powder. Brush the inside and outside of the potatoes with the butter mixture.
Place potatoes cut side down in a baking dish or 9- by-13-inch pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
Flip potatoes over, and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until slightly browned and crisp.
Fill each potato with cheese. Return to the oven for an additional 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Remove from the oven, top with bacon bits and green onion and serve with sour cream. Or let guests add the bacon and green onions themselves.
Looking for some touchdown-worthy eats that feed a team? Here are some deals to add to your game-day menu:
› Smokey Bones is giving football fans something delicious to enjoy with its limited-edition Fantasy Feast package that feeds up to 12 meat-loving guests for $250. The feast includes six dozen barbecue-infused Jumbo Chicken Wings, three full racks of St. Louis-style ribs, two bulk sides, a dozen pieces of garlic bread and two dozen cinnamon-sugar doughnut holes. The package is available for dine-in only, but that gives you the chance to take advantage of the restaurant's $10 draft beer pitchers for you and a dozen friends. Smokey Bones is at 2225 Gunbarrel Road
› Krispy Krunchy Chicken has a new Tailgate Special that includes 20 pieces of Cajun chicken tenders and five dipping sauces for $30. The special will be available until Oct. 10 at participating locations while supplies last: Discount Tobacco & Grocery, 5104 Taft Highway, Signal Mountain, or in Chattanooga at the Standifer Mini Mart, 8106 Standifer Gap Road, and at Raceway, 3459 Amnicola Highway.