Sunday, June 1, 2008

Twice Baked Potatoes

This one is a family favorite from my husbands side. It has become a favorite on my side of the family too!

Note: This one can easily be halved, but since it takes a while to make and they freeze well, I just make the full recipe.

You'll need:

A good two hours! (Takes an hour roughly to bake the potatoes the first time, so not two hours chained to the kitchen.)

10 pounds russet potatoes
3 pounds bacon(yes, three pounds, you can cut it down if you want, I suggest trying it first then altering as you wish)
4 cups of diced onions
1 four cup package of finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1-8 ounce pack of cream cheese (the little box)
16 ounces of sour cream

One large cookie sheet or two smaller ones, a large mixing bowl, a fork, a soup spoon, wiring cooling racks, electric mixer, a fry pan, cutting board and knife, and I think that is it. Oh, a potato scrubber if you're big on getting the potatoes clean within an inch of its potato life, otherwise just use your hands to scrub them.

How to:
Turn the oven on to 425 degrees. Scrub all the potatoes, takes a bit and tends to tire you out, but just think, its a mini workout! Poke the potatoes with the fork a few times so they don't explode in the oven. Now I normally put the potatoes right on the oven rack but you can use a cookie sheet if you want. Bake the potatoes for an hour.
While they are baking, dice up the onions and put them aside. Heat up the fry pain to cook the bacon. Best idea we've ever come up with, slice up the bacon into chunks before frying it. Saves a lot of effort afterwards. Fry up the bacon, a pound at a time works best. Line a plate with paper towels to drain the bacon as you are down frying it. Drain the fat as needed to not create a boiling pile of fat. With the last batch reserve some of the grease to cook the onions. To make it healthier you can drain all the fat and use olive oil or some other healthier alternative. Cook the onions until they are tender. You cook try to do this while the potatoes are cooling but I find it easier to do right after I get the potatoes in the oven, then once I'm done with the onions I can just walk away from the kitchen till the potatoes are done.
Check the potatoes after the hour, I usually poke a butter knife into the biggest one, if it goes in smoothly, they are done. Transfer them from the oven to the cooling racks for about 20 minutes or so. Take the cream cheese out of the fridge at the same time so it will soften up a bit before its time to mix.
After the potatoes cool a bit, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the meat part, leaving the skin intact making a sort of potato shell I guess. Scoop the potato meat into the mixing bowl. Arrange the potato shells onto the cookie sheets, its best to try to cook them all at once. Add the cream cheese, sour cream and mix well. Try to get it creamy. If you need to, add some more sour cream, some butter or milk to make it creamy. Then mix in the onions, usually okay on low with the mixer, otherwise use a spoon. Then its time for the bacon and cheese. Easiest to do them one at a time. Once you've got the cheese mixed in its time for a taste test. Usually needs pepper and some salt, I go light on the salt because there is plenty from the bacon, my husband knows he'll have to add more when he eats one, but he doesn't mind.
Time to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once you've got it salt and peppered start scooping the mixture into the potato shells. Be generous! Stuff those potato skins! Don't mound them, just stuff them. You will likely have some mixture left over, that is normal, time to treat yourself, stick it in a small bowl, pop it in the microwave and enjoy!. The potatoes once stuffed get put in the oven for about 30 minutes, might take longer, you want the tops to start turning light brown. Then eat!
What to do with the rest of them? Unless you're feeding a heck of a lot of people, you'll have a bunch of potatoes left over. I freeze about half of whats left, glad ware comes in here. The other half I stick in zip bags and put in the fridge. Don't do that until they are cool though. Hot potatoes into the freezer...not so good. You can also freeze or refrigerate any leftover mixture that didn't make it into a potato. Reheating the potatoes, microwave is the quickest but it tends to make the potato skins tougher. I reheat them in the oven, at about 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes. You don't want to brown the tops anymore, just warm them all the way through.
Recipe is from my mom-in-law Doss, side notes are from me though.

Ignoring my slightly dirty stove, this is sort what one looks like. This one is out of the fridge since I made these last week. They are wicked yummy.


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