Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Blue Cheese and Bacon Twice Baked Potatoes

Twice baked potatoes are something that is always on the menu in our house. In fact, it's my go to potato. That is if I am not making mashed. The best part about a twice baked potato is that not only can you make them a day or two ahead of time, but they freeze really well too. I love having quick and easy things to grab from the freezer to cook after a long day of work and school. Trust me, it makes all the difference when the last thing you want to do is be in the kitchen cooking. Which , I know sounds weird coming from me, but it's true. Sometimes you are just dang tired!

My mom first taught me how to make her original twice baked potato years and years ago - russet potatoes filled with cheddar cheese and chives! Then years later, she made another version with red potatoes filled with parmigiana and roasted garlic. Fancy. Both are so amazingly delicious and guests always think they are always so fancy. Let me tell you, they couldn't be easier to make. Trust me. Now, as much as I love my mom's two versions, I am always looking for new ways to spice up potatoes. The captain is a huge potato lover and will pretty much eat them in any form he can get them. Well, not sweet potatoes. Maybe someday I can change his mind, but for now, I will stick to regular potatoes. I knew the captain loved blue cheese, so I had to somehow incorporate that into the potato. At first, I thought it sounded strange, but I figured I'd seen it on menus before, so how weird could it be, right?

I did quite a bit of searching some of my favorite blogs and finally came across a recipe that even made my mouth water - blue cheese and bacon. Who doesn't love bacon, right? Come on now. So, I headed right to the store to get the few things I needed and then I came to the cheese section - who knew there were so many types of blue cheese. I seriously stood there for 15 minutes debating on which one to get. Then, I saw applewood smoked blue cheese. Intriguing, no? I thought so, so I through it in my cart and headed home with all my ingredients. Of course, you don't have to use applewood smoked. Just use whatever blue cheese you like or what your store has in stock. Some people say the smellier the better, but I say, just use what you like. No matter what you use, I know you will love these potatoes. Not only could you serve them with a simple salad, but you could also pair them with a nice grilled steak or chicken breast (and veggies, of course). How good does that sound? I am willing to bet that these blue cheese and bacon potatoes will soon become on your go-to list. They are that good. Have I steered you wrong yet? I don't think so.


mash that filling

look at all that blue cheese!

stuff the potato skins

top with cheddar cheese and bacon!

are you drooling yet?

Blue Cheese and Bacon Twice Baked Potatoes (Gimme Some Oven)

Makes 4-8 Servings

4 medium baking potatoes
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (or more to taste)
1/4 cup milk or buttermilk
4 Tbsp. butter, cut into chunks
3/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
8 pieces bacon cooked crisp and crumbled
grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry potatoes. Prick each potato with a fork (so the steam can escape) and bake for one hour or until potatoes are done. You will know they are done when you can stick a knife in and they are tender. Or, if you are running short on time, prick them with a fork and cook in a microwave until tender.
Remove potatoes and let cool just a bit. Cut an opening on the top and hollow out each potato to make four servings, OR, cut each potato in half to make eight servings. You may want to hold them with a potholder as they will still be hot! Scoop out the insides and place in a bowl. Mash, and add butter, sour cream, blue cheese, milk, salt, pepper, and garlic. Beat with a hand mixer or stir with a wooden spoon until fluffy. Carefully spoon mixture back into potato shells. Place in a baking dish. At this point, you can place in your fridge for cooking later, or freeze for another day.
If baking right away, return to the hot oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove and sprinkle bacon and cheddar cheese over each potato. Bake an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly! If you are baking from the freezer, let the potatoes defrost overnight in the fridge and then cook until warmed through. If cooking straight from the fridge, increase the cooking time to 30 minutes, or until warmed through. You'll know they are ready when the cheese is melted and you can smell them throughout your whole house!

A potato has never tasted so good!

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