I keep thinking I’m going to get back to watching Orange is the New Black every day, but we’re in the new season and it’s just not practical. Nothing has been canceled yet. (And none of the shows I like so far are on the chopping block.) My writing group met on Sunday, and while I was out from 6pm to 10pm, my DVR recorded 8.5 hours of programming. (I catch the east coast HBO and Showtime.) And then last night was a Doctor Who screening/networking event, so basically in the last two days I have watched John Oliver and Sleepy Hollow.
So instead, let’s talk about food. I’ve been trying to eat more fresh food lately, but even when I’m not I try to keep the frozen dinners to once a day. But I hate to cook. I do all kinds of crafts: I knit and crochet and make jewelry and sew. It makes me CRAZY that this causes people to assume I like to cook. I have friends who are foodies, and it’s always fun to eat at their houses. A good friend, Sarah Jane Mitchell, has a blog that combines dating stories with recipes (you can find a link over there on the right or also right here if you’re too lazy to move the mouse that much). Roxane Gay posts a lot of comfort food recipes along with the stories of why she needs comfort at that particular moment (she finds baking soothing). I happened to discover Budget Bytes the same week I was hosting my writing group and got very excited about it. I was kneading the dough for the strawberry white chocolate scones when I suddenly remembered I hate this. I finished making them, but it was not worth the effort for me.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t need to eat and serve food. So, if you’re similarly inclined, I’ll post a few lazy writer recipes. They won’t impress anyone, but they’ll keep you from starving. First up, the one that I use as the punchline when I say, “My idea of a recipe is…”
DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN MAKE A BAKED POTATO IN THE MICROWAVE?
You will need:
A russet potato
A vegetable scrubber
The potato can be a little tricky, because the ones they sell individually tend to be huge and the ones in the 10-lb bags are tiny. I find the farmers’ market near my work on Wednesdays has nice medium-sized ones, but it’s up to you to find what works best for your appetite.
Scrub the potato with your vegetable scrubber. Scrub it well, or you’ll end up with “potato butt” in the morning and that’s not fun. (They sell pre-scrubbed potatoes in the store, but why? They’re $2 each. EACH. Potatoes are dirt-cheap. Pun not intended.)
Use a metal fork to poke holes in the potato. I’ll pick two spots (on the same side) and get that fork as far in as I can and still be able to get it out. This is what keeps the potato from exploding, so don’t be afraid to get in there. Then, you know, take the fork out. It’s metal.
Wrap the potato in a wet paper towel. If you have one of those select-a-size rolls, I find one… selection? What do you call half of a square? A rectangle, I guess, although that doesn’t narrow it down when it comes to paper towels. Anyway, until the first perforation is usually enough.
Put the potato in the microwave with the holes you poked on the top. (So you have to keep track after you wrap it up in the paper towel, but that’s not as hard as it sounds.) Now, the other tricky part: figure out how long your microwave needs. It depends on how powerful your microwave is and how big the potato is. The standard is 8 minutes for a big potato, but you can experiment. A potato that’s overcooked will be a little leathery at the ends, and one that’s undercooked will be hard and raw in the middle. Neither is dangerous to you, so you might need to eat a couple of raw or leathery potatoes until you get the hang of it.
Leave the potato in the microwave for a couple minutes after it’s finished. You know how on frozen dinners they all say, “leave for two minutes” and you’re like, no! I also didn’t stir halfway through because it’s not necessary! It’s finished and other people need the microwave! It turns out they’re not saying that because the tray gets hot, but because the chicken keeps cooking even when the microwave is done. Potatoes are the same. Leave them for a couple minutes to let them finish cooking.
Unwrap the potato, cut it open, and add your fixin’s. I like sharp cheddar, sour cream, and sometimes bacon pieces (you can find it in the condiments section). If I’m out of sour cream I’ll use plain yogurt and it’s just as good (but not with bacon).
Can be prepared during one commercial break and finished during the next.
Cheap! So cheap!
Potatoes are vegetables, so this is really healthy! Right? Right?!?
Like, all carbs. I don’t believe in cutting out any one food group completely, but it’s still bad to overload. Which is especially bad when it’s….
Really easy to get into the habit of making every day.
SHOULD I SERVE THIS TO OTHERS:
If you have friends who are gluten free and/or vegetarian, you can’t go wrong with a baked potato bar.