Friday, November 11, 2016

Twice Baked Potatoes

Twice Baked Potatoes. I tell you, they are so simple aren't they? There's no real recipe, it's just a method and you put whatever you want in them I say. Buffalo Chicken? Make your potatoes with blue cheese and them top with shredded chicken in buffalo sauce. Have a favorite mashed potato recipe you want to use? Use it! Bacon? Add it! Sliced jalapenos? Be still my beating heart. Whatever pretty much can work here. I mean within reason. Nothing too wet and soupy right? The filling has to stay in the potato.

So, why then am I blogging this? Because, the other day I walked into my pantry to get a couple potatoes out for dinner. I looked in and a few of my potatoes had gone bad, which of course threatened all the potatoes around it. Sigh. What's a girl to do? Toss the bad ones, scrub the ones that were okay after a vinegar and water bath. Then cook. All. The. Potatoes. To make quick work of that I used my Instant Pot, but you can use your oven or even a microwave if you have one. Just cook them skin on until fork tender.

I prefer Yukon Gold potatoes, they hold their shape well and I like the texture and flavor of them. I also like the thin skin on them. These, I would say are medium to large potatoes? But nothing like the huge Russet baking potatoes.

Once the potatoes were done cooking, I used a cookie scoop to scoop out the insides. Leaving enough intact to give the skins structure so they can hold up to your filling.

I like to season the skins and the insides of each potato before filling. I brush the skins with avocado oil so they can get crisp in the oven and the seasonings have something to make them "stick" to the skins.  I also like to bake these on a pizza stone.

Since I did these spur of the moment, I didn't have bacon made up, fresh chives chopped. No sour cream. But these were still delicious. My oldest had two and asked for some for breakfast, my DH had three! One was plenty filling to me.

I use a potato ricer because I like my potatoes to be lump free. If you prefer a more rustic home style mash, mash them and leave some chunks.

This is a ton, and it's only the first batch I had to do. I placed them on the baking sheet and put them in the freezer so they could freeze solid. Then I transferred them to a food saver bag to store.

Dinner was yummy!

With enough extras for two more meals in the freezer! When life hands you potatoes that are rotting, stuff those babies.

Twice Baked Potatoes

6 medium potatoes, scrubbed clean, I like Yukon Gold
1 cup milk, half and half, or evaporated milk
1/2 stick butter
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt, pepper
2 cups shredded cheese, Colby Jack, Pepper Jack etc

Chives, chopped
Green onions, chopped
Crumbled crispy bacon

  1. To cook the potatoes in the Instant Pot place them on a steaming rack with 1 cup of water underneath. Place the potatoes on the rack and cook them on HIGH PRESSURE for 18 minutes, let the pot naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. 
  2. Alternatively you can bake the potatoes in an oven at 375 degrees F for about an hour. 
  3. Heat butter and add two cloves of garlic. Heat until fragrant.
  4. Add milk to the butter pot and heat until small bubbles form at the rim of the pot. Set aside.
  5. Mix salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika in a small bowl. Set aside.
  6. Slice the potatoes in half, making sure that the halves you end up with can lay stable so you can fill them. 
  7. Using a spoon or cookie scoop, scoop out the potato leaving about 1/8-1/4 inch of the potato with the skin so that the structure holds when re filling.
  8. Turn the potato skins cut side facing down. Brush each potato skin with oil.
  9. Sprinkle each potato skin with the salt, mixture from step 5.
  10. Turn the potatoes over and season the insides.
  11. Use a potato ricer or potato masher to mash the potatoes to a consistency you like.
  12. Stir in 1/2 milk mixture, adding more until your potatoes are the consistency you like. You can discard the garlic loves or mash them into the filling. 
  13. Stir in shredded cheese and any other fillings you like such as bacon crumbles, green onions, chives, a dollop of sour cream.
  14. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  15. Stuff each potato skin with filling.
  16. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes.
  17. Top with more shredded cheese, sprinkle with chives, green onions, bacon, or sour cream. 
* To freeze these, place them on a baking sheet after step 15. Freeze them until solid, and transfer them to a bag. To cook these from the freezer you can thaw them overnight, or place them in a baking dish, cover with foil and cook until heated through. Remove foil to brown the tops.
** A noted about step 12. You may not use all of this milk mixture, you may find you need a splash more of milk, the reason is "medium" potato is really not a good measurement. My medium may be small or large to others.

That's it! So easy, I hope you'll try these. If you already make them, what is your favorite filling?

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