Family Foodie: Time for some big game skins

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I have always loved big game Sunday. It used to be strictly for the food, the friends, the excitement and atmosphere, the halftime show, and the commercials but things have changed this year. In the fall, my 7-year-old played flag football and fell IN LOVE. At first I was hesitant to sign him up because I have never really understood football and it can be so dangerous for tackle players, but I figured I’d let him give it a try since there would be no actual tackling. Something sort of amazing happened. Smack dab in my middle age, as I watched my very own child play, I started to understand the rules and get excited for games. Then he started wanting to watch pro games on TV and I got even a little more into it. Cut to about 4 months later and now the whole house is invested. So, with a whole new reason to be excited, I am planning for big game LIII!

I always make regional favorites of the competing team’s cities. So once again this year, because this will be the Pats 5th appearance in 10 years, we’ll be having some lobster rolls in honor of the Patriots. For the Rams, we’ll probably have some street tacos as a nod to the amazing food truck culture in L.A. and while I’m looking forward to both of these choices, for me, the piece de resistance is the potato skins. No game day would be complete in my house without potato skins. They are a crowd pleaser AND they also partner so nicely with my dorky love of keeping everything in theme. Football=Pigskin=Skins. Cute right?

Years ago, I tore a page out of a popular food magazine as inspiration for the team theme potatoes that would become part of our game day spread. That page is now time worn and stained from game day prep, but revered as paramount to the celebration. I tweak the recipes ever so slightly based on the tastes of my house but never stray too far. The basic recipe remains the same with varying topping depending on who is playing. That is, until this year. The Patriots skins have become second hat to my household with the sheer number of times in recent years I’ve purchased the apple butter, hillbilly bacon, and maple syrup to prepare them, but when the article was written, the Rams were still in St. Louis, so the skins were the Lou’s own famous toasted ravioli. So, what to do for the team now that they’re in L.A.? Much like cashew chicken is to Springfield, the French dip is to L.A. Many claim to have invented the sandwich but few argue that it was born there. French dip potato skins it is!

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Have a super game day on the 3rd and enjoy whatever part of the game is your favorite.

Team Potato Skins

Makes 16 potato skins

  • 4 large potatoes
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

Bake potatoes directly on the oven rack at 350 degrees until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool. Quarter lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving about a ¼ inch shell. Brush both sides with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Bake, skin-side up, at 450 degrees until crisp, about 15 minutes. Add your favorite team toppings. For cheesy skins, flip the baked shells over before topping, sprinkle with 1 cup grated cheddar cheese and bake an extra 5 minutes.

L.A. Rams French Dip Potato Skins

Roast beef, Swiss or provolone cheese, and sautéed onions on regular skins.

New England Patriots Maple-Bacon Potato Skins

Apple butter, hillbilly bacon, and maple syrup on cheesy skins.

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