I am finally feeling back on track after the last crazy few weeks. I’ve unpacked, organized wedding souvenirs, caught up with my DVR (my favorite part) and dove back into cooking and the blog. To list a few, I’ve made pancakes (check the last post!), a veggie lasagna for the week, grilled chicken, fresh smoothies and I have bagel dough resting in the fridge, that I’ll be boiling and baking later today. Ahhhh. Definitely back in my happy place.
On our drive back last week, my husband really wanted to get barbecue for lunch when we were going through Texas. I was indifferent. Barbecue is a lot of red meat that I don’t eat, but there’s usually a good chicken option and, hello, the sides are awesome, so fine by me. What I didn’t expect to find was this glorious creation:
That’s the biggest potato I’ve ever seen, crusted in pepper & spices, stuffed with smoked pulled chicken and topped with a sweet barbecue sauce, cheese, & sour cream from Baker’s Ribs outside of Dallas. I don’t think I have to tell you it was out of this world.
Now I’m home and for some strange reason I’ve been craving cheesy, melty, crispy potatoes this past week. Hmm. My husband suggested something he loves from growing up: twice baked potatoes. So here’s what I came up with!
Yields 4 servings
- 4 medium russet/baking potatoes
- 4 Tbsp melted butter
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup bacon bits
- 1 Tbsp dry minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp dry minced onion
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 1/2 cups shredded jack cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped chives
- salt & pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Clean, pierce and bake to potatoes for 45 minutes to an hour, until tender and cooked throughout. (Optional: use canola oil or spray to coat the potatoes for a crispier skin)
- Let the potatoes cool, cut them in half and carefully scoop out the middles, making a canoe shape. Leave about a quarter inch of potato in the skin. Place the skins on a lined or greased baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- In a bowl, mix the butter, sour cream, bacon, garlic, onion & paprika together. Take the potato that was scooped out and mash it into the sour cream mixture. Really work on getting it smooth and fluffy. Add the cheese, chives and a dash of salt and pepper, and stir until blended.
- Stuff the skins with the potato mixture, piling it high. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, until golden brown. Serve with optional extra sour cream, bacon or chives on top.
I actually made two different potatoes because I didn’t want bacon. I divided up all the ingredients & amounts above into two bowls and only added the bacon to one. Of course you can omit the bacon entirely too if you are a vegetarian. Trust me, it’s still delicious.
If you really work on whipping the potato mixture until it’s smooth and creamy, you will end up with an incredibly fluffy and surprisingly light result. I didn’t use a ton of butter, cream or cheese when you look at it distributed over four potatoes. Using seasonings and a flavorful cheese is a must. I chose a mix of Monterey & cheddar jack.
Obviously these are easy to customize with whatever seasoning & cheeses you like. These are great on their own if you want two, or three, or even four. They are also an impressive side dish to make for a crowd. I’d like to try tiny twice baked potatoes as a party food, that would be amazing! I’m getting so many ideas just writing about it.
I’ll be back after the weekend with a new post. Let me know if you try these, or if you have any other awesome ideas for potato dishes!