I was perusing the latest issue of Cooking Light magazine the other day and saw several recipes with potatoes.  Potatoes are fun, versatile, good for you… and I tend to cook them the same 4 ways all of the time.  One in particular caught my eye – Cajun-Stuffed Potatoes.  I had some andouille sausage in the ‘fridge that needed cooking.  Cajun potatoes was just the side I was looking for.

Of course I changed the recipe around completely, so, while it had its roots in Cooking Light, the end result was what I had at home.  That’s fairly typical of most of my cooking.  I get an idea somewhere and then rework it according to what’s in the ‘fridge or cupboards – or what I’m in the mood for.  With a few notable exceptions, I just don’t follow recipes well.

Here’s the Cooking Light recipe with my changes at the end…

Cooking Light Cajun-Stuffed Potatoes


  • 6 medium Yukon gold or small baking potatoes (about 3 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 pounds frozen cooked crawfish meat, thawed


1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Pierce potatoes with a fork; brush with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bake at 450° for 50 minutes or until tender. Remove potatoes from oven; cool slightly. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, and scoop pulp out of skins, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell. Place pulp in a large bowl; coarsely mash pulp.

3. Preheat broiler to high.

4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 5 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery to pan; sauté for 4 minutes. Add garlic and next 4 ingredients (through red pepper); sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add cheese, butter, and herbs, stirring until smooth.

5. Stir cheese mixture and crawfish into potato pulp. Place 1/2 cup crawfish mixture in each potato shell. Arrange stuffed potatoes on a baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes or until browned.

First thing was I only baked two potatoes, so I adjusted all of the ingredients, accordingly.

I used frozen, pre-cooked langostino in place of the crayfish and a combination of shredded cheddar and parmesan cheeses in place of the reduced fat cream cheese.  I used red bell pepper instead of green, and omitted the onion powder and the oregano.  I used cayenne pepper and only used a dash.  A shot of Tabasco would have been good, in hindsight.

They really came out good!  They were not overpowering in flavor, which was nice.  They were rich and flavorful and complimented the andouille and chicken saute without competing with it.

The lesson, here, is that you don’t need to have every single thing in a recipe or follow one exactly to have a great outcome.

I see a few more variations on a theme in our future…