I love potatoes. Baked, roasted, mashed, fried....whatever! It works for me. My husbands taste for potatoes is a little limited....he's a rice man. I could probably eat potatoes with every meal....hash browns for breakfast, french fries for lunch and what ever other method for dinner and I'd be one happy camper!! Maybe it's a good thing that Dennis isn't a potato fan, and I don't make them nearly as often as I'd like to cuz I'd no doubt be twice my size by now from carb overload...happy but much fatter (hm...that silver lining isn't really working for me but it was worth a try). But...one of his favorite sides is the good ole Twice Baked Potato! Woo hoo!! Too much work to make very often so I save these yummies for special occasions, such as Easter.
Twice Baked Potatoes have become a family tradition for Easter dinner. It's something Dennis's grandmother use to do and since she passed away I continued it. His aunt (bless her for kinda trying) made them for a while on Easter for the family but her heart wasn't into it. She didn't like them, and didn't make them well. I guess I can't blame her really (only sorta)...I mean, if you don't like something, it's hard to make it good, I guess (apparently pride wasn't an issue at all). So one year I offered to take over by explaining that if she didn't even like them or eat them, why go through the hassle, right? Aunt didn't argue (thank God cuz I would've had to argue back and I didn't really want to resort to insults....NO you can't make them anymore cuz they taste like SHIT when you do!!). Not a good way to start a holiday.
So, I thought I'd share one of my favorite ways to eat potatoes with you. The measurements are not exact. You'll have to find what works best for you, how much of what ingredient you like lots of or little of. I think the kind of potato you use will also affect how much liquid you add to make them creamy...so add a bit at a time until you get the desired consistency. I like mine creamy, but by no means overly wet. But, potatoes are pretty forgiving so don't stress over it.
Speaking of stressing over Twice Baked Potatoes.....oh wait...I'll tell you the story afterwards.
So...here are the basic ingredients, per Betty Crocker. I'll let you know what I do differently:
Prepare and bake 4 large potatoes
1/3 to 1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese
4 or more green onions sliced
A couple of tablespoons of sour cream
Don't forget to poke holes in the potatoes with a fork...several times, before you bake them. It's no fun to listen to one explode and then for the next 30 minutes smell all the little bits of splattered potato burn to a crisp until it looks like you have black dirt wads all over the inside of your oven.
While the potatoes are cooking, fry your bacon. I personally bake a whole bunch of smaller potatoes (I don't feel as bad eating 2 or 3 of them when they're small). So, I fry up the whole pound of bacon. I will sometimes chop up the bacon first, makes it easier to fry. I don't always use up all the bacon but with everyone sneaking bits of it every time they walk through the kitchen, I don't have to worry about it going to waste.
Once the potatoes are done, and while they're still hot, cut lengthwise in half and carefully scoop out the inside, leaving a thin shell. I hold the potato in a pot holder with one hand as I scoop out the insides with a large spoon and set them in a lined cookie sheet. hmm... apparently I cooked 10 smaller potatoes. That fed 5 of us with a few leftover for lunch the next day.
Once all the potatoes are scooped out, add your butter. For the amount I cooked, I probably used 1/2 cup or so of butter. I pour the milk in a bit....whipped it and added more until the potatoes were creamy. I added the sour cream, salt and pepper, whipped, and then stirred in about a cup or so of shredded cheddar cheese. hmm...maybe that was closer to 2 cups of cheese (me likes the cheese).
Add your green onions and bacon...stir to combine. Go ahead...taste it. Does it need more salt and pepper? Make sure its how you like it cuz this is how its gonna taste on the table.
Fill each shell with your potato mixture and sprinkle more cheddar cheese on top. Now, you can do all this the day before and just cover it up and stick it in the fridge or you can put it in a 375' oven, uncovered for about 20 - 30 minutes, until the cheese is all melted.
Serve and Enjoy!
Ok...stressing over Twice Baked Potatoes....this might give you some insight on my determination and love for these things. One year I was getting ready to make my taters and I had to run to the store to exchange my rib roast (thats a story for another time). I asked my then 17 yr old daughter to finish frying the bacon for me while I was gone. Well, while I was at the store, on my way out the door (those irritating doors that blow so much air to keep the flies from getting in that you end up with pillow head instantly)...my cell phone rang: "Mom....are you still at the store?" "I'm just leaving, why?" "Well, I kinda burnt the bacon. Can you get some more?" You've got to be kidding me! Back in line I went with another pound of bacon. Then back through the tornado door and headed home. Fried up the bacon and had it off to the side while I whipped up the potatoes in a mega bowl. Dennis decided that it was a good time to empty the dishwasher. I didn't think so, but when someone's helping in the kitchen you learn to keep your mouth shut and deal with it. As he was putting the glasses away in the cupboard off to my left, a glass literally exploded in his hand! WTF? Who does that ever happen to?! He wasn't hurt but my whipped potatoes were in critical condition. Shards of glass all over the place. (the bacon was around the corner, safe and sound...whew)...but after several stunned seconds, it was obvious that the potatoes were not going to survive. Back to the store and the dreaded wind maker door (by now my hair is a total lost cause!)....and back to square one. Needless to say, the Twice Baked Potatoes eventually made it to the table and dinner was served. Way Late but way yummy.