Today I’m sharing one of my all time, favorite recipes for entertaining.
It’s a favorite for many reasons. Among them….
It’s super easy.
It can be made ahead of time.
It utilizes only fresh ingredients.
A large group can be fed with ease.
Like I said, it is a favorite for entertaining…yet it’s easy enough to make for a weeknight family dinner too. Whether you’re serving two people or twenty, the recipe adapts easily. I normally use 1½ potatoes per person (some people will eat less, but there’s always that one person going back for a third helping!). A standard casserole dish, 9×13, (filled to the brim) can accommodate about 18 potatoes…feeding at least 15 hungry diners.
Potatoes are well loved and eagerly eaten in our household. This Twice Baked Potato does not disappoint. This potato dish extraordinaire starts with oven baked potatoes. The fluffy insides are then seasoned and mashed with cheese. The skins are roughly chopped to line the baking dish. The skins are topped with the mashed potatoes and baked. After removing the dish from the oven, the potatoes are topped with a healthy dose of shredded cheese and crispy bacon. The heat of the potatoes will melt the cheese just right for serving at mealtime. Enjoy!
Twice Baked Potato Casserole
18 medium potatoes (I use russets)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 stick butter, softened
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 – 1 cup of milk (may use less depending on consistency of potatoes)
8 slices of bacon, fried until crispy and crumbled
3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
optional: chopped green onions or chives
Preheat oven to 350°F. Scrub potatoes and pierce each several times with a fork or sharp knife.
Bake the potatoes (directly on the oven rack) for about an hour. Fully cooked potatoes will give slightly when squeezed (use an oven mitt – they’ll be hot).
If baking completed dish immediately after prep, reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
Cool potatoes slightly, until able to handle. Spritz a baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
Cut each potato in half. Scoop out the insides and place in a large mixing bowl. Set the skins aside.
Using an electric mixer, stir (mix on low) slightly until potatoes are broken down a bit, incorporating about 1/2 cup of milk. Add the cream cheese, sour cream, butter, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Taste, and adjust seasoning as needed. Add additional milk (a tablespoon or so at a time) if potato mixture is too thick.
Roughly chop about 1/2 of the potato skins and place in the prepared baking dish. Using a large spoon, place the potato mixture on top of the skins. Smooth and level the potatoes. Cover with foil.
At this point, the potatoes can be baked immediately, or stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours. If refrigerating, allow dish to stand at room temperature about 30 minutes prior to baking and start in a cold oven, set to 325°F. Add about 5 minutes to the bake time below.
Bake about 35 minutes, remove foil and bake about 10 more minutes until the potatoes are completely heated through. Immediately after removing from the oven, top the potatoes with the shredded cheese and crumpled bacon.
Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.
Note: Fewer guests? For every 3 potatoes, use approximately: 1 ounce cream cheese, 2 Tablespoons sour cream, 1 Tablespoon butter, 1/2 clove minced garlic, 2 Tablespoons milk, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar and 1 slice crumbled, cooked bacon.