Twice-Baked Potatoes

Side dishes are rarely the star of my meals.  I take the time to think about what would work well with an entrée, and what’s in season or on sale, and that’s about all of the thought it gets.  Then I remember twice-baked potatoes and find myself wondering why that can’t just be the whole meal.  Twice-baked potatoes have a reputation for being a lot of work for a little side dish.  In reality, they’re really not hard to make, and if you plan ahead they don’t have to be too time-consuming, either.  The initial baking of the potato is what takes the longest, but you could bake the potatoes ahead of time, microwave them (which isn’t my favorite method but works in a pinch), or baking them in the crock pot.  The directions below involve baking the potato in the oven, but any of the previously mentioned alternative methods will result in a potato suitable for this recipe- just skip to the part where the potatoes are cool enough to handle.  If you aren’t sold on making these yet, it’s cheesy mashed potatoes stuffed in a baked potato skin, I’m not sure what you’re waiting for 🙂 .

Twice-Baked Potatoes

Ingredients:

  •  4 russet potatoes, about 5 oz. each,  scrubbed and dried
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/3 C. sour cream
  • 3/4 C. shredded cheddar
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the potatoes directly on the rack in the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Pierce each potato in a couple of spots with a fork and continue to bake for 30 more minutes until tender when pierced with a fork.

Remove potatoes from the oven, and reduce heat to 375 degrees.

Let potatoes rest until cool enough to handle.

Trim off the top of the potatoes by cutting into the top of the potato and cutting close to the edge the whole way around.  Reserve the tops of the potatoes.

Carefully scoop out most of the potato into a large bowl,  being careful to leave enough potato in the skin so the shells stay together.

Add the potato tops to the scooped-out potato in the bowl (you can leave or remove the skin from the piece of potato as desired).

Mash the scooped-out part of the potato lightly with a fork and add the butter and sour cream, and continue mashing until incorporated and smooth (some lumps are fine).

Stir in all but 1/4 C. of the cheddar cheese.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Season the skins with salt and pepper if desired.

Spoon the mashed potato mixture into the potato shells, mounding it slightly.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the potato filling.

Set the potatoes on a baking sheet, and bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Source:  adapted from Food Network.

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