Pardon our lack of visual delights. It’s complicated. *SIGH…
There is an organization in our small rural town dedicated to helping people and changing lives. It is South East Nebraska Community Action–or SENCA, for short. One of the programs sponsored by SENCA is an annual Woman of Distinction event, honoring the amazing women of Johnson County, Nebraska.
It is costly to present this affair so to raise funds to defray the costs a Potato Bake was put on so the public could make a freewill offering, have a great meal, and have a really good time.
The SENCA office location was host for the evening. Their Advisory Board, made up of 7 people in the community who are just average folks in the community did the planning, cooking, serving and of course, clean up.
They baked a LOT of potatoes; they set out an array of toppings that were mouth watering and pretty. The offerings included butter, sour cream, grated cheese, broccoli, creamed corn, bacon bits, chopped ham and well seasoned chunks of chicken. Beverages were iced tea and water.
SIDEBAR: Other items were considered but to minimize cost these were omitted: onions, chives, chili, salsa, red/green peppers, chopped lettuce and olives. END SIDEBAR.
The plates were colored to match SENCA‘s theme colors: red and blue; the flatware was delivered to their door by one of the Advisory Board members who happens to be a minister. The kitchen at his church was missing all its flatware that evening! (Every piece is in its proper home this morning!)
The potatoes that did not get consumed were toted to a sister agency in a nearby town. The leftover veg was stowed in the SENCA fridge and some of the meat went into the freezer for use by the SENCA cook. There was not a shred of waste!
I mention all this because it got me thinking how easy it is to make up fixin’s for baked potatoes for a hungry family. The cook might spend an evening or a day off afternoon chopping whatever veggies the family favors and keep them in the fridge til they are needed. Well scrubbed potatoes will cook nicely in the crock pot til it’s time for the evening meal. Various toppings could be set out for each diner to decorate his potato to his own liking and no one would be put upon after a tiring day of work. And the food budget would still be intact!
SIDEBAR: IF you have a dishwasher, loading potatoes into it is a slick and simple way to get a lot of taters clean in a hurry! That’s how the SENCA bunch pre-cooked theirs! When those taters came out of the dishwasher they were checked for spots, oiled and placed on baking sheets to slide into the ovens! END SIDEBAR.
Users of EBT cards from WIC or SNAP might find this idea useful, if not new. If you or someone you know uses food from food commodities or a food pantry, this is just one more way to make life a wee bit easier. Maybe you have things from a food drop or church food pantry…dressing up the humble potato is a wonderful way to add fiber, nutrition, flavor and oomph to what might otherwise be a boring tater!
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