Thursday, March 21, 2013

Twice Baked Potatoes

Since I apparently have some kind of compulsive need to buy enough food to feed an army whenever I have people over for dinner, I naturally end up with a lot of leftovers.  Sometimes I send people home with them, but sometimes I get creative and try to figure out what I can do to "re-vamp" them.  For St. Patrick's Day, I had a baked potato bar, which was a hit.  I made baked potatoes, chili, cheese sauce, etc, and then everyone could make their own.  Super easy and inexpensive.  It would have been even less costly had I bought about half the number of potatoes that I did.  I guess I thought I had more friends than I actually do?  Or the ones that I have have absurd football playing teenage boy appetites?  Either way, I had about 10 potatoes leftover, so I needed to figure out something to do with them.  I had already baked them, so just saving them for later wasn't really an option; nor was something like scalloped potatoes or home fries.  However, twice baked potatoes actually require you to start with a baked potato.  I love them, but one of the reasons that I never make them is because you have to bake the potatoes first, then make the filling, then re-bake (hence the "twice baked") and it ends up taking close to 2 hours. 

As with most potato based meals, you can really customize this to use flavors you love or food that you already have in the house.  The basic process is bake a potato, scoop out the insides, make mashed potatoes with it, stuff it back in the skin, bake again.  For these, I went with my very favorite flavor profile - the one which uses things I have already.  These have broccoli, blue cheese spread, and scallions in them.  I've done them with ham and cheese before and they were super yummy.  You could also do a Mexican style with fajita vegetables and spices, that would be awesome.  Maybe I'll do that next time.

Twice Baked Potatoes























There really isn't a solid "ingredients list" for this.  However, I used the following:
1 cup of milk something (I used half cream leftover from the cupcakes and half 1% milk.  Just use whatever you have/whatever you'd usually use for mashed potatoes)
1 1/2 cups broccoli
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup blue cheese dip
Salt, pepper, garlic powder

First, cut your baked potatoes in half, then scoop out the insides and put them in a giant pot.  To bake a potato, poke some holes in it with a fork and put it into a 375 degree oven for about an hour.  It's done when you squeeze it and it feels mushy. 




























Now, turn the oven on to 360.  Nothing will need to be cooked, you just want to heat them through and crisp up the tops a little bit.  If you're serving these with something else that needs to be in the oven, whatever temperature you're other food cooks at will be fine. 

Heat the pot over medium heat and add in the toppings.


























Mash the potatoes until well combined.  I use a potato masher for this because I like mine a little chunky, but a mixer would be fine as well, especially if you're on team pureed.


























Make sure you taste test these as you go along; since I made approximately 20,348,726,459 pounds of potatoes, they needed significantly more salt and pepper than I had anticipated. 

Now, stuff the mashed potatoes back into the skins.  For whatever reason, I usually end up having more skins than stuffing, so start with the ones that are the most sturdy looking.  That way you'll end up with the best potatoes.


























If you want, put a little bit of cheese on top.  I didn't because I'm lazy and didn't feel like shredding any and they were plenty cheese from the blue cheese dip.  Pop them in the oven until the tops brown and they are warmed through, about 25 min.  Try not to burn the roof of your mouth as you stuff them in.

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