Twice Baked Potatoes are one of my families "special" treats! However they can be a really cool freezer side dish or meal! I particularly like this recipe because it can be prepared ahead of time for as many or a few as you need. And IF you have extras they can be wrapped, frozen and reheated for a later meal!
Now this is one of those recipe that I watched a cooking show on how to make our favorite comfort foods healthier but still taste the same! And this is actually one of those recipes that can be altered in that manner and they still taste great!!! I have long since altered the recipe to suit my families taste and budget....so it is similar to the original...but has some of the good stuff added back in!
Twice Baked Potatoes
Now I normally use the 'regular' sized potatoes for this dish because we eat them as a side...however if you are using it as a meal use the larger bakers or plan on cutting the larger potatoes in half and counting as two portions!
You will need:
Jelly Roll pan or Cookie Sheet
# of potatoes (1 per person)
Thoroughly wash and scrub all potatoes. Dry with a paper towel. Puncture potatoes with a fork or knife a couple of times and bake uncovered in a 350 or 400 degree oven until soft. You want them uncovered so that the skins get a little on the crispy side! I have also rubbed mine with oil and kosher salt for added flavor.
Remove from oven and allow to cool until you can easily handle without burning yourself.
Place shells back onto baking sheet. I normally line mine with foil and spray with oil to make the clean up process faster. And it's okay if they are a little crowded...won't hurt them a bit!
This is where I am gonna tell you what I put in and any variations that I have used in the past.....but you put what YOU and your family like into the pot....this recipe is really about the process not the ingredients.
The first thing I do is add plenty of salt and pepper! This dish can be totally ruined if you don't season properly! Bland is not a good thing here! You want a really good combination of flavors!
Now this recipe was made for about 15 people...so I have some big amounts of the following ingredients....if you are only making for a family of 4...adjust accordingly!
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk (and this can actually replace your butter altogether...for a more low fat version...omit the butter)
1 cup sour cream (I was out when I made this so I used plain yogurt and not one person....especially my overly "I don't eat yogurt!" Daddy couldn't tell the difference...snicker snicker!)
1 cup of grated cheese (flavor of your choice here....sharp cheddar makes a really good addition...but all I had was mild cheddar)
3 or 4 slices of crisp bacon, crumbled (adjust this to taste as well! I have also been know to use turkey bacon (again Daddy never knew) or those soft bacon bits when I forgot to make my bacon ahead of time)
Mix all these ingredients with the potato insides. It should be kinda goopey! You don't want it too dry (just add a little extra buttermilk or sour cream) or to soupy.....it need to hold it shape. To avoid it being to goopey/soupy I add the buttermilk a little at a time toward the end of my mixing.
Okay....at this point you can do one of several things.
1. You can wrap these in plastic wrap separately, place in Ziploc freezer bag...and freeze. When you get ready to serve them, merely take out the desired number of potatoes, thaw, top with grated cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
2. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate over night. Set out on counter about 30 minutes before topping with grated cheese and baking at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
3. Immediately top with grated cheese and bake in a 350 degree over for 25 to 30 minutes while snacking on your left over filling and beating the kids off with a wooden spoon!
Regardless of the option you choose....
I made these for Mother's Day....and as I was determined to do as little cooking as possible that day I made mine on Saturday and all I had to do Sunday was let them come to room temp. and bake!!!
Praying that you have a blessed week!