twice baked potatoes

Sunday, December 11, 2011

We're down to the wire folks.

We take possession of our new house in four days. We're not moving in four days, we have to paint first, but things are getting crazy around here.

Things I've learned while packing;

- Cats love boxes.

- Cats HATE tape guns.

- Nesting and packing go quite well together.

- Don't let your pregnant wife pack the boxes with books.

- Husbands think you only need to pack 3 days before you move.

- This infuriates their A type wives.

- You can accumulate a lot of stuff into a small space.

- Especially when you haven't moved in 5 years, gotten married and are about to have a baby.

- One can accumulate a lot of kitchen items. Giant gingerbread man pan anyone? Soup tureen? Angel food cake slicer?

Even though we're enthralled in packing, we still need to eat. I've tried not to buy a whole bunch of food, simply for the reason I don't want to move it. So I've been making dinner from staples and what's left in the fridge.

Russet potatoes + crispy bacon + cheddar cheese = dinner.

Twice baked potatoes. So simple, so delicious, yet I never make them at home. Why? I have no idea. It always seems like something you eat when you go out to a steakhouse, not something to whip up on a Sunday night. You could even pre-make the potatoes, freeze them and then pop them out for the second baking when the need comes.

The filings are infinitely adaptable, cheese, meat, onions, broccoli, you name it, stuff it.

Twice baked potatoes

3 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
4 slices bacon, cooked until crispy
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
salt & pepper to taste

Wrap potatoes tightly in foil, bake at 350 for an hour.

Remove from oven, unwrap from foil and let cool for 15 minutes, leave oven on. Meanwhile, chop the bacon slices into small pieces, add to a medium-sized bowl along with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, cream cheese and the butter. Set aside.

Using a sharp knife, make a lengthwise cut to remove the top 1/4 of each potato. Using a small spoon, gently remove the cooked potato insides and place into the bowl with the cheese and bacon. Make sure not to go all the way into the bottom or sides of the potato, leave about a 1/2-inch of potato along with the skin. It should make a hollow potato boat.  Repeat with each cooked potato.

Place the hollowed out potatoes into a baking dish. Stir and mash together the potato insides along with the cheese and butter until you have a nice, smooth texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the filling back into the hollowed potatoes, packing it down as you go. It will seem like there is more filling than will fit, it's okay to mound it over the top of the potato, just make sure to pack the filling firmly. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling.