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story.lead_photo.caption Cheeseburger Potato Skins - Photo by Kelly Brant

I had planned to write this column about my dad, in honor of Father's Day. Instead, I'm writing about another father in my life, my Uncle Ronnie. Uncle Ronnie passed away last week after a brief but vicious illness.

Of all my uncles, Ronnie is the one with whom I had the most in common. We shared a love of cooking, photography and Scotch. Especially Scotch.

He had an awesome sense of humor -- some might even call it a bit warped. The first time I ate rabbit was at his house. On Easter.

Uncle Ronnie was one of a handful of people who could get away with teasing me without making me mad or hurting my feelings. I never once heard him raise his voice or speak unkindly about anyone. And when he was around, you never had an empty glass.

Words are inadequate and impotent in times like these. He loved. He was loved. And he is missed. I think that's as much as most of us can hope for in this life.

These stuffed potato skins are not one of his recipes, but I think he would have liked them.

Cheeseburger Potato Skins

1 (16-ounce) box ready-to-fill potato skins such as Kroger's Naked Potato Skins (see note)

1/2 pound ground beef or ground turkey

2 tablespoons Lawry's Signature Steakhouse marinade OR favorite steak sauce

Salt and ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Pickled jalapeno, diced, optional

Thinly sliced red onion, optional

Diced dill pickles, optional

Thinly sliced green onion tops or fresh chives, optional

Mustard, optional

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Arrange potato skins, cut side up, in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in a medium skillet, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain, if necessary. Stir in marinade and cook a few minutes more.

Season the skins with salt and pepper and place about 1 tablespoon of cheese in each potato skin, then top with the ground beef and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Scatter with the diced pickled jalapeno, if using. Bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

Top with red onion, pickles, green onion and a squiggle of mustard as desired.

Makes about 14 potato skins.

Note: If you can't find ready-to-fill frozen potato skins, it isn't difficult to make your own.

Pierce 6 (2- to 3-inch long) russet potatoes several times with a fork or sharp knife. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake on center oven rack at 400 degrees until the skins are crisp and potatoes are tender all the way through, about 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until cool enough to handle.

Heat broiler.

Slice each potato in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh, leaving about 1/4 inch intact; reserve the flesh for another use. Brush the insides of the potatoes with vegetable oil or melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Turn potatoes over, brush the skin sides with oil or butter, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange potato halves skin-side up on a baking sheet in a single layer and broil until the skins start to crisp, 2 to 3 minutes (keep a close watch so they don't burn). Turn the potato halves over and broil until the top edges just start to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes more.

Nutrition information: Each potato skin (prepared with 85 percent lean beef and without optional garnishes) contains approximately 185 calories, 9 g protein, 13 g fat, 30 g carbohydrate (1 g sugar), 160 mg sodium, 24 mg cholesterol and 5 g fiber.

Food on 06/13/2018

Print Headline: Farewell to a beloved, fun-loving uncle

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