Apologies for the blogging hiatus! Sometimes, despite my best intentions school gets in the way of life. It starts with a final that I spend too much time studying for, and then when it’s all done, I sleep all weekend.  It happens.

But I’m all caught up now, on studying and sleep, so back to food! Today’s topic, in light of the Super Bowl (which aside from the commercials, I can’t even feign a small interest in) a classic sporting event appetizer: bacon-“cheddar” potato skins.

10 small-medium potatoes (already baked or microwaved)

Margarine, salt, and pepper for potatoes

½ small onion chopped small

¼ cup flour (GF ok too!)

¼ cup margarine

1 can lite coconut milk

2 tbsp white wine (optional)

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp dried or 2 tbsp fresh chopped chives

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

8 slices bacon, fried and crumbled (or cooked broccoli chopped small for vegetarian option!)

I was about to post this recipe, when I realized we hadn’t yet talked about nutritional yeast! Whew, that was a close one!

It’s really not as scary-gross as it sounds. It’s simply yeast that has been deactivated (as in, you can’t use it to make bread anymore).

Although used primarily for it’s flavor, nutritional yeast actually is quite nutritious.  Just two tablespoons contains 8 grams of protein, more than a days worth of B vitamins, plus a whole lot more.

Personally, even I’m not ready to use it in large doses, but anything less than a tablespoon gives a subtle cheddar hint to dairy-free “cheese” recipes, so don’t skip it here! You can find it in the bins at whole foods along with the grains and nuts, which means for less than twenty cents (really!) you can buy enough to try it for less than twenty cents.

Ok, sales pitch over, here are the directions:

Preheat oven to 450.  Cut potatoes in half, scrape out insides and place into bowl and set aside for another use (see below!).  Place halves on to foil lined pan, coat inside with margarine, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Start sauce.  Heat margarine in medium sized pan.  Add onions and sauté until browned.  Add flour, stirring continuously until slightly browned.  Add coconut milk and whisk vigorously until smooth.  Stir in remaining ingredients and let cook a few minutes until thick.

Spoon cheese sauce into potatoes.  You may not need it all (but save for below, I did!). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese sauce has browned. Serve hot out of the oven, but careful not to burn the roof of your mouth!

Bonus recipe: bacon-“cheddar” smashed potatoes

Smash potatoes with butter, salt, and pepper.  Stir in all the remaining cheese sauce.  Eat while you’re waiting for the potato skins to cook, or save for later, it’s up to you!

Enjoy your dairy-free appetizer with a relish!

And remember, it’s always better to tell your friends the weirdo secret ingredients after they’ve taken a big bite. Mostly because the shock-value is priceless: “nutritional WHAT?!”, but also people are much more receptive to new ingredients in a food they can’t stop gobbling up.

Your sneaky dairy-free blogger,