Comfort food alert! These Chicken Pot Pie Baked Potatoes For Two have the components of a pot pie without making a pie crust. Learn how to make baked potatoes in the oven and in the microwave for an easy weeknight dinner for two.
Call me a dork, but I love going on tours to learn more about the place I’m visiting, whether it’s a tour of a recording studio in Memphis, a historical house in Philadelphia, or a tour of how food is made.
Maybe it’s because I still love to learn. Or maybe because it’s an excuse to take photos for fun and not stress about it for work.
If you see someone with a fancy camera taking an almost annoying amount of photos on a tour, either self guided or while the tour guide is talking, that would be me. I see the world in photos, so it’s hard for me to put my camera down when I see something.
The Idaho Potato Commission invited me to experience the Idaho Potato Harvest where it was expected to yield about 12 billion pounds of potatoes this year, roughly one-third of all the potatoes grown in the U.S. I learned about the life cycle of a potato from field to fork and even dug some spuds for you to eat.
As you can imagine, we ate every kind of potato there is – mashed, roasted, baked, fried, potato salad, potato rolls, and even potato chip cookies. You’d think after my trip to Idaho, I’d be tired of potatoes. Nope – I still ate baked potatoes when I got home.
Baked potatoes are a favorite to eat because you can put almost anything on top and call it dinner. It’s a win-win if you’re cooking dinner for two since each potato can be customized for picky eaters.
If I’m eating baked potato as a side, I’ll top mine with butter and sour cream. However, I wanted to turn it into a full meal. One where you don’t need to make a separate side dish because it’s all in one bite.
That’s when I got the idea to make Chicken Pot Pie Baked Potatoes For Two. You cook a homemade pot pie filling with chicken and vegetables then pour it on top of a baked potato. To mimic pie crust, I made a breadcrumb topping to give it some crunch.
Every year, 300,000 acres of Idaho Potatoes are harvested. One truck alone carries roughly 30,000 pounds of freshly-dug potatoes to its destination. Of course they now use machinery to make harvesting much easier and quicker (I can’t even imagine digging all of those by hand; thank goodness for modern technology).
While we were on one of the farms, we walked inside one of the storage barns, which was barely one quarter full of potatoes (I even took a video to show you the mountain of potatoes).
Once potatoes are loaded onto a truck, they are then transported to one of the various potato plants to be cleaned, sorted, and packaged for consumers to buy. The plants all have a similar process – clean the potatoes, sort them by size, and prep them for packaging.
When cutting potatoes, they use technology to remove any bad spots, ensuring you receive only the best to eat. The plants are also very serious about food waste. If any or all of the potato doesn’t make it to packaging, it’s usually turned into cattle feed.
One food safety fact I learned about green potatoes: Potatoes turn green because they are overexposed to light. Although it is considered poisonous to eat the green spots, you would need to consume a lot of green potatoes to feel the effect (as in multiple pounds of green potatoes). It’s safe to remove the green part and still eat the rest of the non-green potato.
Although everyone knows Idaho for their Russet Burbank potatoes (like the ones I used for my baked potatoes), they also grow niche varieties such as golds, reds, fingerlings, and more.
Now that you learned a little more about how Idaho potatoes are harvested, let’s talk about baked potatoes for dinner.
Ideally I enjoy traditional baked potatoes in the oven for their crispy skin and fluffy interior. However, that takes an hour, and not everyone has an hour to cook dinner. I grew up making baked potatoes in the microwave, which is totally acceptable.
How To Make Baked Potatoes
There are two ways you can bake a potato – in the microwave and in the oven.
Microwave Directions: Place the potatoes in a microwave-safe casserole dish. Prick with the tines of a fork then brush each with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Microwave at full power for 5 minutes. Flip and microwave for another 3-5 minutes or until soft. If the middle is still hard, microwave in additional 1 minute bursts until cooked through.
Oven Directions: Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Prick with the tines of a fork then brush each with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake uncovered for 45-60 minutes or until fork tender.