Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Recipe Round-Up: Twice Baked Potatoes

This recipe is a huge time saver. If you make these potatoes you will not only love the taste but you will love the convenience of a side dish that can be heated up in as little as 1-2 minutes in the microwave or baked in the oven while the rest of dinner bakes. It doesn't take that much work to make twice baked potatoes but it does take some time to bake them once, scoop them out and then re-bake them for dinner. In order to have an easy side dish that I can pull out for dinner whenever I want and to save time and money, I bake a large batch of these potatoes when I purchase a 10 lb bag of potatoes for about $2-3. For my small family, I generally bake about 10-12 potatoes. This yields 20-24 potato halves which will feed us for 6-8 meals. If we have guests, it's easy to pull out a few extra for them as well.

I used to make the twice baked potatoes on The Pioneer Woman's blog. They were really good but then I stumbled across this recipe on a great food blog called "Our Best Bites." Their recipe for Stuffed Bleu Cheese Potatoes was amazing! The following recipe is an adaption of the one on Our Best Bites but I made a few changes that I'll share. The original recipe can be found here. I was going to use the blue cheese in this recipe but when I went to the store, the Gorgonzola was a better deal so I used it instead and they turned out delicious!! I will definitely be switching my twice baked potatoes recipe to the following one! They are worth every calorie! I resized the recipe for a larger batch of 10-12 potatoes. 

Twice Baked Potatoes
10-12 medium baking potatoes
1 ½ cups sour cream
3-4 oz (Approx. 1 cup) crumbled Gorgonzola or Bleu Cheese
1/2-3/4 cup milk or buttermilk (I found the 3/4 cup to be just a little too much)
1 stick real butter, cut into chunks
1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt or regular salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 ½ tsp garlic powder
1 bag of crumbled bacon bits from the salad section (super easy!) or 1 lb bacon pieces, cooked crisp and crumbled
Grated cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry potatoes. Poke with holes with a knife or fork so they don't explode in your oven. Rub them lightly with a bit of shortening or vegetable oil (helps crisp the skin) and place directly on oven rack, or a cookie sheet. Bake for one hour or until potatoes are done.
2. Remove potatoes and let cool. I often let them sit out until they're fully cool just because I get busy doing other things. You can also cut them while they're still warm but be careful because it's hard working with them if they're too hot. Cut each potato in half to make 20-24 servings. Hold them with a potholder if they're too hot.
3. Scoop out the insides and place in a mixing bowl. I like to do this part in my Kitchenaid mixer to save me time and whip the potatoes smoother for me. However, you can also mash them by hand. Add butter, sour cream, gargonzola OR bleu cheese, bacon, milk, salt, pepper, and garlic. Adjust ingredients to taste. Carefully spoon mixture back into potato shells and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
4. At this point, you can either continue to rebake some of them for dinner* or you can freeze all of them on a cookie sheet. 
5. Once they're frozen, place into Ziplock bags and label. Freeze until ready to eat.
6. To cook, either microwave for 1-2 minutes per potato half or place in a baking dish and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until heated through. *If you start with the potatoes that aren't frozen, they'll only take about 10-12 minutes to bake.

Original recipe found here:
Do you have any make-ahead side dishes that freeze well? 

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