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recipe
Baked Potato Bar
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SERVES: 4 servings
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Mix and match Middle Eastern-inspired toppings for a baked potato bar that allows kids to explore new flavors and taste combinations. A little bit of sweet, a little bit of savory, and a whole lot of color, this DIY dinner party has something for everyone.

Note: Za’atar is a flavor-packed Middle Eastern dried herb, seed, and spice blend that can be purchased at many grocery stores, specialty markets, and online. To make your own, combine the following ingredients: 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon sumac, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoons dried thyme, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. It will keep in a tightly sealed container for up to 6 months.

Gather Ingredients

Topping Options

Cooking Instructions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400˚. Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork and space them out on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until tender when gently squeezed with an oven mitt, 40 to 60 minutes, depending on size.

Sous Tip:

Kids will have fun (gently) stabbing the potatoes with a fork. Explain that the holes allow the water inside the potatoes to escape (in the form of steam) as they cook. If the potatoes didn’t have any way for the steam to escape, they could explode in the oven!

Step 2

Meanwhile, cook the meat in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through and browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Season the meat with the za’atar and salt and remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the meat to a small bowl and cover to keep warm.

Step 3

Wash and dry the skillet and place it over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the chard stems and garlic, and cook until tender and lightly browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the chard leaves and cook until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the chard to a bowl, and cover to keep warm.

Step 4

Place the remaining toppings of your choice in small bowls and ramekins and place them in the center of the table, along with the bowls of meat and chard. When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and serve at the table. Cut them in half and start topping.

Sous Tip:

This is where kids can have a ton of fun mixing and matching toppings. Don’t worry if their ingredient combinations sound strange (or gross) to you; this is a great way for them to discover what flavors and textures work together.

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