Deadlines, exams, haven’t got time to cook? Well don’t neglect your body at a time when you definitely need it to be fully charged. These baked potatoes and the variety of fillings give a whole new meaning to the concept of brain food.

1.    Take your potato, any size you wish. Make sure it is washed and then pierce a few holes in it with a sharp knife. Place it in the microwave for approximately 10-15 minutes to allow the centre to soften. Don’t forget to turn it over half way.

2.    Preheat the oven to around 180/200 degrees C, gas mark 4/6.

3.    Now make your filling – it’s all about time management.

Here a few different fillings, but feel free to opt for the classic cheese and beans, tuna mayonnaise, cottage cheese and chives or coleslaw.

i)    Chilli con carne
This one is ideal to last for two days. You can also have it with rice. Simply fry a clove of garlic and onion in a pan of oil. Brown the minced meat (third of a 700g pack form Tesco or half a 500g pack) in a separate pan, sprinkled with paprika. When the minced meat is brown, drain the fat, and add the vegetables. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes to the pan as well as half a tin of kidney beans, a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes, salt, pepper and a sprinkle of basil. Leave on a really low heat to cook whilst your potato is cooking – or cook, and turn off the heat ready to quickly heat up when the potato is ready. Once the remainder has cooled, you can put it in some tupperware and store for the following day. This makes for an even quicker meal, just ensure that it is properly heated before eating.

ii)    Turkey/chicken chilli
Same as above, but add the chopped pieces of meat to the frying pan, sprinkled with paprika.

iii)    Chicken and avocado
Mix 80ml sour cream in a bowl with some lemon juice and chives. Cut the, chicken (one breast) into small pieces, fry in a pan with lemon juice to flavour then add to the bowl. Cut the avocado into cubes and add to the mixture, stir, season with salt and pepper.

iv)    Roasted Vegetables
Cut up (about a quarter-half) of a red, yellow and green pepper,  one medium red onion, 2 garlic cloves and 1 aubergine (peeled). Put together on a lined tray, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook for 20-30 minutes. If you choose this filling, make it after the potato has been placed in the oven. Mix with cheese (goats or cream cheese) and onion relish or marmalade.

4.    When the Potato feels a bit soft you can place it in the oven. Try not to let it shrivel in the microwave. The potato will need about 45 minutes in the oven, maybe longer if you if it is bigger. You can now use the time to cram in a bit more revision.

5.    When the potato is ready, simply place on a plate and cut a little dent in the top -careful, it will be extremely hot. Then push either side of the potato to make it open. You can mash up the inside of the potato a bit if you wish. Add butter if you wish and then your chosen filling choice. Top with grated cheese and maybe a side salad.

6.    Enjoy as a little revision/essay writing break and watch an episode of your favourite television programme. You will feel so much better after the break and will be ready to continue with your work.

Emma Spencer


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