Introduction: Tasty Twice Baked Potatoes
Twice baked potatoes are a delicious side-dish to any meal. Theyre simple to make, all it takes is a little time and some basic ingredients that should be available at any local grocery store.
-2 Russert Baking Potatoes (about 1 lb. each)
-4 Strips of Bacon
-1 Cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
-3/4 Cup of Sour Cream
-1/2 Cup Milk
-Plates, Bowls and Silverware
Step 1: Prepare the Potatoes for Baking
In this step you will be preparing the potatoes for baking. This step not only ensures the potatoes are clean and safe to cook and eat, but also adds to the flavor and texture of the potatoes.
Ingredients needed for this step: Olive Oil,Garlic Salt
The first thing you want to do is give the potatoes a thorough cleaning under running water. Use your hands (or a scrub brush if you have one) to wash off any dirt or anything else that should not be there. When you are finished, dry the potatoes and place them on a plate.
Next, drizzle olive oil over the potatoes, not much olive oil is needed as a little bit goes a long way. Using your fingers, spread the oil all over the potatoes so they are completely coated. The olive oil helps make the skins of the potatoes crispy and delicious.
After the potatoes are completely cover in olive oil, sprikle a dash of garlic salt on each potato. As with the olive oil, a little bit goes a long way so you dont need much. Use your fingers to spread the garlic salt around so it is evenly distributed over the potatoes.
Finally, poke holes in the potatoes using a fork. This step is very important because if the potatoes to not have holes to vent the heat they will explode in the oven. Poke each potato about 3 times.
Step 2: Bake the Potatoes
This step is the "first bake" of the twice baked potatoes. For this step you will need a broiler pan or cookie sheet to bake the potatoes on, either will work just fine.
Begin by adjusting the racks in your oven so that you will be able to place the pan on the middle rack. After that is done, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Once the oven has reached the desired temperature, place your potatoes on the pan and then place the pan on the middle rack of your oven and close the door.
Bake the potatoes for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Once they're done pull the pan out, place it on top of your stove and allow the potatoes to cool for 15 minutes. Turn off the Oven. While the potatoes are cooling, move on to step 3.
Step 3: Cook the Bacon
While you are waiting for the potatoes to cool is a good time to start cooking the bacon. The bacon will be used as a topping for your twice baked potatoes. For this step you will use the range top, a skillet, a plate and a fork.
Ingredient needed for this step: 4 Strips of Bacon
Begin by placing a skillet on the range and heating it to medium heat. Once the skillet is good and hot you can put the bacon on. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side or until the strips are crispy. You want the bacon to be well done so it's crispy enough to crumble into pieces to top your twice baked potatoes.
Once the bacon is nice and crispy, remove the strips from the skillet and place them on a plate to cool. Turn off the range.
Once cooled, crumble bacon into about 1 inch pieces. While waiting for bacon to cool, move on to step 4.
Step 4: Scoop Out the Potatoes
In this step you will be cutting in half and hollowing out the potatoes so you can mix in your other ingredients. This step will require a knife to cut the potatoes, a spoon to scoop with and a bowl to hold the "meat" of the potato (the meat=the inside of a potato).
Begin by cutting the potatoes in half evenly the long way leaving you with 4 halves. Next you want to take your spoon and start to scoop out the middle of each half of potato, being careful not to rip or tear the skin of the potato. Place each scoop in the bowl. Your goal is to "canoe" out each half of potato leaving just the skin and a little bit of potato. (leaving about 1/4 inch of potato on the skin helps avoid the risk of poking a hole or tearing the skin)
Step 5: Mix in the Ingredients
You should now have 4 empty potato skins and a bowl full of potato. In this step you will mix in the remaining ingredients with the potato in the bowl. This step will require a spoon and measuring cups.
Ingredients needed for this step: Bacon (crumbled), Cheese, Sour Cream, Milk, Potato (in bowl)
Start by measuring out your ingredients, you will need:
-1/4 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
-3/4 Cup Sour Cream
-1/2 Cup Milk
-1/2 of the crumbled Bacon
Mix the measured amounts of cheese, sour cream, milk and bacon in with the bowl of potato. Mash and stir with a spoon until the mixture takes on the consistancy of mashed potatoes and the other ingredients (bacon, cheese) are evenly mixed.
Step 6: "Stuff" the Potatoes
The next step is to refill the empty potato skins with the mashed potato mixture and then top the potato halfs.
Ingredients needed for this step: Potato mixture, Cheese, Bacon (crumbled)
When you're filling the skins with the mixture, try to do it as evenly as possible so all the skins are filled to the same level.
After the skins have been refilled with the mixture, top them with the remaining 3/4 cup of cheese and the rest of the crumbled bacon.
Step 7: Bake the Potatoes (again)
Now that you have the potatoes stuffed and topped, move them back to your baking/broiling pan. Once again pre-heat the oven, this time to 375 degrees. When the oven is heated you can go ahead and place your potatoes back on the middle rack and leave them there for about 15 - 20 minutes or until all the cheese is melted and the center is warm. (you may need to take one potato out after 15 minutes, cut it open and see if the center is warm)
When you are confident the potatoes are heated all the way through, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes. Remember to turn off the oven.
Step 8: Enjoy!
Enjoy your potatoes with friends and family. Twice Baked Potatoes are delicious with virtually any entree, especially grilled meats like steaks or pork chops. Twice Baked Potatoes also make great appetizers for big events like Super Bowl parties etc. Finally, feel free to change any or all of the "mix-ins", I used cheese and bacon but mushrooms, chives, onions, or peppers all make great mix-ins, use your imagination. Good luck!