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The first time I had these heavenly potatoes was at my dear friend (and excellent cook) Ronda’s home, back in the late 1980s. Ronda and I both worked Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at The Pub (may it rest in peace). One of us would bartend while the other cooked and waited tables, and then we would change roles the following weekend. After work, we would have a couple of beers to unwind and often head across the street to her and Dickie’s townhome, where we made dinner and then settled in for a long night of poker with a cast of other Pub regulars (may many of them RIP as well, heavy sigh).
Anyway, we often grilled steaks and Ronda would make these awesome stuffed potatoes that I immediately became hooked on and have been a part of my culinary life ever since. I’ve tweaked her recipe a bit over the years, mainly because I never wrote it down, but these are by far one of my favorite comfort foods, EVER! Potatoes, cheese, bacon — need I say more?
I usually make several of these at a time to freeze and enjoy later. You would never guess they have been frozen previously, and will thank yourself for making these in advance, wishing you had made more! For those of you who love to save time in the long run, I’ve included freezing and reheating directions at the end of this post.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 2 large russet potatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 6 slices thick-sliced bacon
- ½ cup sour cream (I use light)
- ¼ cup fat-free half-and-half
- ½ cup butter, softened (not pictured – oops!)
- 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (save 1/3 cup to top potatoes)
- 4 green onions, both white and green parts, sliced thin (save ¼ cup for garnish)
- Seasoned salt, to taste
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place potatoes on a baking sheet, prick them several times with a fork, and brush with the oil. Bake for 1 hour or until fork tender. Allow them to cool for a bit.
While the potatoes are baking, prepare the bacon (bake it, fry it, or zap it in the microwave – your choice.) Just make sure it’s nice and crispy and that you drain it on paper towels. Crumble it once it has cooled.
Cut the potatoes in half length-wise. Carefully scoop out the pulp and place in a large bowl, making sure you leave the skins intact. I like to leave at least 1/8” of the pulp in the skin if possible (more possible for me now than in the 80s, lol.)
Add the butter to the potato pulp and mash until mixed.
Stir in the half-and-half, sour cream, cheese, bacon, and green onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the mixture into the potato skins. Overstuff if you want, in fact I encourage you to do so!
For the potatoes you plan on cooking immediately, top with the remaining cheese and place on a baking sheet (line it with aluminum foil for easy clean up.)
Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes or so, until the potatoes are heated throughout and the cheese on top has melted and started to get bubbly. Just look at that awesome gooey cheesy goodness!
Garnish with the green onions and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
For the potatoes you plan to freeze, wrap them in aluminum foil and place them in a plastic bag (I use small bags with one potato half in each, but feel free to use a larger bag as needed). Make sure you label and date the bags before placing them in the freezer.
When you are ready to reheat, there is no need to let them thaw first. Just preheat the oven (or toaster oven, especially just for one or two) to 350 F, unwrap the potatoes and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 45 minutes, remove from oven and top with shredded cheddar cheese (you’ll need extra for this step than what is listed in the ingredients), return to the oven and bake until cheese has melted. Garnish with green onions if desired.
Thanks, Ronda, for yet another awesome recipe!!!!!!!
Eat, drink and be merry!
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