Stuffed Potatoes with Ham, Thyme, and Gruyere

Potatoes: probably the most versatile food out there. They can be baked, mashed, smashed, chips, fries, and probably many other things that I can’t think of at the moment. The potatoes in tonight’s recipe were none of those, though. These potatoes were stuffed. Stuffed Potatoes with Ham, Thyme, and Gruyere to be exact. I was pretty eager for this recipe because I love basically every ingredient. I had never heard of Gruyere cheese before, but being a cheese lover I wasn’t worried.

Like last week, I had a crazy weekend and just couldn’t bring myself to cook on Sunday. So on Tuesday I set out to Trader Joe’s. This trip made me realize that Trader Joe’s was missing something very important: an over-the-counter deli. It really disappointed me. Trader Joe’s the only grocery store I’ve ever been to that doesn’t have an over-the-counter deli. I was able to pick up almost everything I needed there, but I still had to run to Fairway. The last two ingredients I needed were ham and gruyere; both key components in this recipe.

I zoomed to Fairway because I was in a time crunch; my class was starting in 25 minutes. 25 minutes seems like a decent amount of time to get to class from the store, but add 20 pounds of groceries to the mix and it’s more complicated than you would think. I was very disappointed in Fairway because they didn’t have either of the ingredients I needed! I would’ve gone to Whole Foods but I just didn’t have the time. I hurried home and thankfully I made it to class on time, but just barely.

Fast Forward to Wednesday (today). Wednesday’s are my busiest days but I found the time to go to the Whole Foods. This was probably very irresponsible of me, but before I left I put a sweet potato in the oven, set my timer for 45 minutes and just left. I know…extreme fire hazard, but guess what: nothing burned down! Let’s just not tell my room mates…or my mom. I hurried to Whole Foods and picked up the ham, but even they didn’t have Gruyere! I recalled Trader Joe’s having a Swiss and Gruyere blend and since it was my last resort, I went all the way back down there, just for the right cheese (it’s only 5 blocks, but the long block takes FOREVER to walk). Thankfully, I made it home before the timer for my sweet potato went off. I didn’t burn the dorm down, go me!

A few hours before it was cooking time, Nicolette looked up the recipe on Rachael Ray’s website to find a picture. What she found was the most pitiful food picture I have ever seen. My goal of the night was to at least get a more appetizing picture than that.

Nicolette came over a little after 7, and Courtney skipped her class so we could all cook together. I figured this would be the easiest recipe ever because the potatoes really only had to be nuked in the microwave for 12 minutes then we’d scoop out the insides, combine it with everything, and then broil it. Doesn’t sound too complicated, right?

WRONG. The potatoes would not cook. It took forever for them to even sort of cook. We probably put the potatoes in there for a total of 25 minutes and they were still hard. To pass the time, we sniffed the cheese (yes we are weirdos) and it did not smell appetizing. We were starting to become a bit skeptical about this recipe. Eventually, we became so impatient that we just attempted to spoon the insides out and ended up mutilating the skins, which we were supposed to put the filling back into. Talk about a disaster.

I thought we should just put the filling on a baking sheet and broil it, but Nicolette was determined to get the filling back in the damn skins, and that’s exactly what she did. They were pretty ugly looking, but I sprinkled some extra cheese, placed them under the broiler, and hoped for the best.

Our hopes lifted when the potatoes radiated such a good smell. After 5 minutes in the oven, they were ready to eat… well for the most part they were ready to eat, some sections were still a bit hard but we were so fed up with waiting.

It came time for the moment of truth. 3…2…1. Not too bad. All of the ingredients blended well together to make a delicious potato. The ham was especially good. I was most proud that I reached my goal: getting a better photo than what was pictured on the Rachael Ray website

We all gave this recipe ♥♥♥ (3) hearts. It would’ve received more if the potatoes wouldn’t have been such a pain in the ass to cook. I’m pretty excited to eat the leftovers the rest of this week, though. It’s like my last cheat meal before the pageant next week. For future reference, and if anyone attempts this recipe: bake the potatoes in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Yeah, it won’t be a 30 minute meal anymore, but it’ll be a lot less stressful.

Until next week!

-Mary Honkus

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