Baked potatoes are a nutritious and underrated meal! They are cheap, easy to fix, and you can tailor the filling to suit your personal taste. They are great food to feed a crowd. They can also be very quick to make. Now, I know how bad microwaved 'baked' potatoes can be. No crispy skin, limp, insipid and just depressing. No potato deserves such a terrible fate. Luckily, you can have your baked potatoes quick and easy, with just one simple addition to the recipe - the halogen oven.
Halogen ovens are pretty amazing. They are portable, energy efficient, cook foods quicker than conventional ovens, and are extremely cheap to buy. There is almost nothing you can't cook in them. And this is our secret weapon here!
Step 1: Stab the Potatoes
First, wash your potatoes and pat them dry. Then stab them relentlessly with a fork. Okay, so not really relentlessly, but you do need to stab them four or five times each. It's a tiny but vital step - if you don't, your spud will become a grenade, exploding in your oven or microwave when you least expect it. While the results can be tasty, it is a lot of mess to clean up, and most of the potato will go to waste. So do attack your potatoes before cooking!
Step 2: Yes, I Said Microwave Them...
As I mentioned in the introduction, I am not a fan of microwave 'baked' potatoes... but that is how we will cook them. If you have just one baking potato, allow 4-5 mins on high, depending on size of potato and power of microwave. For two potatoes, allow 7-8 mins. I don't recommend cooking more than two at a time in the same microwave. Luckily, the kitchen at our community centre has two microwaves, so I could cook four potatoes at a time!
Step 3: Now, Bake Those Potatoes!
Once they come out of the microwave, your potatoes are cooked. That is, if you like a limp, lifeless imitation of a baked potato, that doesn't even have a crispy skin - can you tell how much I like that crispy skin?! I'm about to crisp these babies up now!
Place the potatoes in the halogen oven and set the oven to high/230C. Allow to brown, this will take around ten minutes. Turn your potatoes at least once during the cooking process. Once the skins are as you like them, they are done!
Step 4: Customise Your Potato!
Now comes the fun part! Customising your potato. Most of us start by slicing and fluffing our potatoes. You can add as much or as little butter as you like, or omit it altogether if you are trying to be healthy. Since this was a super cheesy potato we then added two sorts of cheese, but there are a million and one ways to top a potato!
Our maker crowd loved these potatoes and devoured them in no time! Just as quick as a takeaway - but a lot tastier!