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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thursday Recipe - Twice-Baked Potatoes

I know it's summer and it's hot. But these are so tasty. If you make a big batch ahead of time, you can keep them in the fridge and just microwave them as needed. They'll keep for up to a week. They make a great side dish for summer cookouts, too. You can heat them on the grill to go with steak or burgers or even hot dogs and chicken. Try them sometime. They even work for a main dish.

Twice-Baked Potatoes

12 potatoes, medium to large work best, scrubbed well. DO NOT PEEL
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. chopped green onion
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1 t. onion powder
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. cooked, crumbled bacon (optional)

Heat oven to 400°. Place potatoes on foil lined baking sheet. Bake for about an hour, until potatoes are done. Let cool for at least 1 hour.

Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the center, leaving a shell with the peel. Set the shells back on the baking sheet. Put the potato insides into a mixing bowl. Repeat with all potatoes. You should have 24 shells and a mound of baked potato middles when you finish.

Now the fun begins. Add the sour cream, onions, spices, cheese, and bacon to the potato middles. Mash together until it's a creamy mess. (BTW, these make really delicious mashed potatoes if you want to give up and just eat the shells as potato skins, but if you keep going, you won't regret it.) If it's too stiff, stir in a couple tablespoons of milk. You want a thick mashed potato consistency.

Scoop the mashed potato mix into each shell, mounding it slightly. It should fill all the shells nicely. You can stop and refrigerate them at this point. They'll keep for about a week. Just make sure they are tightly covered. Microwave a few at a time as needed for meals, or stick them on the grill until they're hot, or:

Heat oven to 400°. Bake the filled potatoes for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are hot.

Variations:

Use anything you'd use on loaded mashed potatoes:
diced sweet onion (about 1/2 c. will do)
any variety of cheese, don't stop with cheddar, try parmesan with pepperoni
1 t. of paprika with more sprinkled over the top
1 c. cooked, crumbled sausage or hamburger
1 c. cubed ham
1 c. chopped broccoli

OR fill the shells with thick chili and save the mashed potato insides for another day

Dairy free option: Substitute mayonnaise for the sour cream. Or use 1/2 c. canned coconut milk. Use goat cheese or skip the cheese entirely.