Take Your Baked Potato To The Next Level By Topping It With A Frozen Dinner

baked potato with barbecued chicken
baked potato with barbecued chicken - Photokitchen/Getty Images

Baked potatoes are hearty, filling, and nutritious, but also pretty darn boring if eaten on their own. At the bare minimum they require butter, salt, and pepper, but that still leaves them with side dish status. With the addition of a topping or two, however, you can take that not-so-terrific tater and turn it into a fairly tasty main dish. Cheese and chili is a classic baked potato topping, (just ask Wendy's), while an egg baked in a potato, a dish some call an Idaho Sunrise, makes for an out-of-the-box breakfast entree. Pork barbecue, too, tastes great on potatoes, while shrimp lend an air of elegance.

One way to better your baked potato that's extra quick and easy involves nuking a frozen dinner and then using it as a topper. Well, the part where you heat up the topping will be quick since most meals heat up in just minutes. The potato itself will still take time to bake, although you may be able to knock off a few minutes by making Instant Pot "baked" potatoes. You could also bake your potato in an air fryer if you want to keep the crispy skin –- no need for quotes around "baked" here since air "fryers" are really mini convection ovens. Once that potato comes out of the oven or other appliance, though, you can heat up a frozen dinner in the time it takes to cool to the point where you can safely cut it open without scalding yourself.

Read more: Frozen Pizzas, Ranked From Worst To Best

Not All Frozen Dinners Work Equally Well With This, Though

baked potatoes stuffed with beef
baked potatoes stuffed with beef - AS Foodstudio/Shutterstock

Frozen dinners, of course, come in all different varieties, and while some of these make excellent potato toppers, others ... maybe not so much. For starters, by "frozen dinners," what we really mean here is frozen entrees, but those all-in-one meals that come with a pudding cup or a fruit crumble are probably not something you're going to plunk on top of your potato, or at least not in their entirety. There's also the issue that some frozen dinners seem to include potatoes as a significant component, which might make for a pretty redundant filling.

Among the popular frozen entrees that would go great with a potato, no questions asked, include anything consisting primarily of meat and non-starchy vegetables such as teriyaki beef, pot roast, or sweet and sour chicken. If you have an entree where the meat comes in a solid lump, such as Salisbury steak, meatloaf, or chicken nuggets, you may wish to chop it up before adding it to your potato. Other entrees that might be a bit iffy include various pasta or rice dishes unless you're really into carb-loading, and this is true of pot pies, as well. Ultimately, however, it comes down to whatever you think might make a good potato topper. If you want to stick a slice of frozen pizza on there, you go right ahead.

Read the original article on Mashed.