‘Tis the season for side dishes and my Twice-Baked Creamy Ranch Broccoli Potato Bites are little mouthfuls of yumminess, fancy enough for your holiday dinner yet an easy fix to pair with fast weeknight meals. And, as a party appetizer, these personal-sized poppers vanish before you can set down the platter!
Something about a soft and tender baked potato that is so comforting, but often with all the other side dishes can be too filling. Would you believe one of my go-to “carbo loading” meals at a nearby deli (a super-sized spud topped with broccoli cheese soup) inspired these cute little veggie-stuffed mini potatoes? It’s true, read on to get the recipe!The foundation for Twice-Baked Creamy Ranch Broccoli Potato Bites are wholesome, healthy complex carb loaded baby red potatoes, I look for ones no bigger than a ping-pong ball so that they fit nicely into a mini-muffin tin for baking.
Simple roasted broccoli drizzled with olive oil (like that “crack” broccoli my kids actually beg for) is chopped up and mashed into the scooped out potatoes along with other ingredients including a bit of cheese and Ranch dressing (my favorite is the Organic Ranch Dressing from Litehouse Foods). Roasting the broccoli and pre-baking the potatoes may sound like a hassle, but it’s a total no brainer – especially since the two can be cooking up simultaneously on the same baking sheet.
If you’ve ever had a potato skin in a bar or pub, these are waaaaay better – you’re not getting rid of all that delicious soft, pillow-like baked potato flesh. Plus, you get the nutrition boost from some green cruciferous vegetable and are controlling the amount of added cheese and dressing, and thus fat.
In bowl, toss together broccoli, about 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil, sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Spread out on rimmed baking sheet. Toss potatoes in same bowl and drizzle with remaining ½ tablespoon of olive or and sprinkle with remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Mix them around in the bowl to help coat evenly.
Place potatoes on baking sheet alongside broccoli. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, turning with spatula once, or until broccoli turning lightly brown and crispy in some places. If potatoes don’t seem soft to the touch yet, remove broccoli from pan to cool and let potatoes cook an addition 5 to 10 minutes.
Turn oven down to 375 F degrees for use later.
After potatoes have cooled enough to handle, slice each in half crosswise. Using a teaspoon, scoop out most of the flesh from the center, keeping just a bit near the skin to create a “bowl.” Spray mini muffin tin with cooking spray and set each bowl in an opening (there should be 12).
Add scooped out flesh, ½ cup of cheese, ranch dressing, and pepper to bowl and mash together. Finely chop up roasted broccoli and stir into potato mixture. Using a spoon, stuff this mixture back into each potato half, mounting high. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and return to oven (turned down to 375 F degrees) for 10 to 15 minutes, or until cheese bubbling and tops turning lightly golden brown.
Drizzle with additional ranch dressing, if desired, and serve warm.