October 23, 2015

Ranch Vegetable Baked Potatoes

Ranch Vegetable Baked Potatoes

When people ask me for the simplest side dish on the planet, I recommend baked potatoes. There is hardly anything easier than baking a potato and slathering it with some butter for a quick bite. Sometimes, I like to take them up a notch and fill them with seasoned vegetables and a little cheese. This way, they can either be a heartier side dish or a small meal on their own. Here is how I do it:

Ranch Vegetable Baked Potato

First I chop up some zucchini, yellow squash, and an onion and season them with a packet of Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix. I’ve mentioned my family’s love for Hidden Valley dressings and this dry mix is hands down my favorite way to season vegetables -it’s not too salty and I love the herbed ranch flavor. Then, I bake the potatoes and roast the vegetables until soft. Once the potatoes are baked, I fill them with the vegetables, top them with cheese, and return them to the oven for a few minutes for the cheese to melt. It is super simple and tastes amazing!

Another wonderful thing about this dish is that it uses vegetables in their entirety. Nothing is peeled or trimmed and the only scraps are the zucchini stems, which are compostable. This is an important thing to note since a lot of times vegetables dishes include so much prep that almost half of the vegetable is thrown out! This creates a lot of food waste, plus you end up throwing away a lot of flavor. If you want to further help reduce food waste, you could use those veggies in your fridge that have lost their crisp by chopping them up and throwing them in the oven, or in this case, on top of a potato.

Ranch Vegetable Baked Potato

I am so pleased that Hidden Valley is addressing the food waste issue with their new campaign, Hidden Valley: Taste Not Waste. They have partnered with food activist and chef Tom Colicchio to help Americans understand the importance of using whole vegetables, even if they looked bruised or misshapen. To join them in their efforts, post a photo of wilted, weird, whole, and (un)wanted veggies with #TasteNotWaste to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, to show how you’re helping reduce food waste at home . Hidden Valley® will donate $1 for each post with the hashtag to Great Nations Eat©, a campaign from Share our Strength® aimed at educating Americans on the food waste issues that contribute to hunger in America.

Ranch Vegetable Baked Potatoes
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Ingredients

  • 4 baking potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large yellow squash, cut into half-moons
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into half-moons
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 envelope Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Rub the baking potatoes all over with olive oil and prick each one several times with a fork. Place the potatoes directly on the baking rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour, or until softened and cooked through. Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes before splitting oven.
  2. While the potatoes are baking add the chopped vegetables to a large zip top freezer bag. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the bag and add the Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix. Close the top of the bag and toss the vegetables until they are evenly coated with the seasoning. Pour the seasoned vegetables into a glass baking dish. Place them in the oven when there is 30 minutes remaining on the timer for the baked potatoes.
  3. When the potatoes have finished baking and the vegetables are completely roasted split the top of each potato and push the ends to create a pocket. Use a fork to mash the inside of the potato a little and create a well about 1 ½-inches deep and 2-inches wide. Scoop the roast vegetables in even amounts into each potato. Sprinkle the tops with even amounts of cheese. Place the potatoes on a baking tray and return to the oven for 5 minutes to allow the cheese to melt.
  4. Once the cheese had melted remove the potatoes from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, or until comfortable to touch. Enjoy..
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(Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hidden Valley as part of our ongoing partnership. The recipe, photographs, and opinions are wholly my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that make The Naptime Chef possible.)