Summer is here! Well, at least some of the time. On those random hot days, you want to make the most of every minute outside when you get home from work, not spend hours in the kitchen.
Jacket potatoes are the perfect summer meal: healthy, speedy, and light, coming in at around 200 calories (before you put the butter on!).
If it’s too hot or you’re short on time, skip putting the oven on and cook them in the microwave, or get the best of both worlds with McCain Ready Baked Jacket Potatoes – slow baked but finished off in the microwave in just five minutes.
Once they’re piping hot and ready to go, here are some unique recipes that’ll turn the humble jacket potato into your favourite summer meal.
Pro tip: don’t cut the potato open until you’re ready to add the topping. The inside will actually continue cooking for a little while so it’ll be extra fluffy and piping hot once you’re ready to tuck in.
Creamy leek and bacon
If you’re looking for a hot topping with your jacket potato, leek and bacon is a great combination.
Save prep time by buying bacon lardons that are already chopped, rather than rashers.
Chop the top and bottom off the leek, then put it under the tap, allowing water to run through it like a straw to remove any traces of soil before chopping it in to small pieces.
Add your leeks to a frying pan with some butter on a low heat. Once they start to soften, throw in your bacon bits and turn up the heat a little.
After about five minutes, turn the heat right down to a low simmer and add the crème fraîche.
Stir and season generously with salt and pepper, and it’s ready to go.
Super speedy – you’ll only need one pan to prepare this Greek-inspired jacket potato recipe.
While your potato is cooking, grab some halloumi and cut it into slices. They don’t have to be too neat and tidy, but do try and get them roughly the same width so they cook at the same rate.
You’ll only need a little oil in the pan for frying halloumi as it’s a naturally oily cheese. Once it’s in, turn every minute or so until it starts to brown.
With the halloumi on, prepare a Greek salad to finish the dish. You’ll need cucumber, cherry tomatoes and olives. Although feta is a Greek-salad staple, you won’t miss it thanks to the halloumi.
Dice the cucumber into chunks then put it in a bowl with the tomatoes and olives – you want equal amounts of each.
Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and a generous sprinkle of oregano, and serve.
Sausage and Mushroom
Making sausages for dinner? This is the perfect recipe to put on on your meal planner for the night after. Just cook a couple of extra bangers and set them aside for a really quick dinner the next day.
To get started, chop an onion into thin slices – don’t dice it. Gently fry until it turns translucent.
While the onion is cooking, chop the mushroom into small chunks – it’ll give the sauce more texture.
Cut your leftover sausages into chunks the width of a fat £1 coin rather than lengthways.
Add the sausage and mushrooms to the onions and cook for another two minutes, adding a teaspoon of oregano and paprika.
Take a tin of chopped tomatoes and add it to the mix. Crumble in a stock cube and stir. If you have a bottle of red wine open, add a splash for extra depth and character.
The result is a warm, thick tomato sauce with just a hint of warmth that’ll bring out the flavour of the sausages.
No-cook option: tuna salad
This recipe uses a handful of fresh ingredients but also store-cupboard staples – ideal for a low-effort dinner at the end of the week.
In terms of fresh stuff, you’ll need finely chopped spring onions and a diced red pepper.
From the cupboard, grab a small tin of sweetcorn, kidney beans, and tuna – be sure to give the kidney beans a good rinse first.
Mix the spring onion, pepper, and tinned ingredients, and sprinkle generously with a tablespoon of paprika, as well as some salt and pepper.
That’s all there is to it! Crunchy, colourful, and fresh – and minimal effort.
No-cook option: cottage cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and olives
For even less prep but plenty of flavour, these three ingredients make a great low-effort topping for jacket potatoes.
Sun-dried tomatoes can be on the large side, so chop them in half before serving and dab off any extra oil with kitchen paper.
The olives work better when they’re sliced, so keep your chopping board out or look for ready-sliced olives when shopping. Black olives work better with cottage cheese than green.
To serve, dollop a generous amount of cottage cheese on your potato, then sprinkle over the sun-dried tomatoes and olives rather than mixing them in. A pinch of pepper and you’re ready to tuck in.