I love potatoes. I feel like the word "love" doesn't even adequately explain my complete adoration of the humble vegetable. It doesn't matter how they're served (baked, roasted, boiled, fried), I've yet to come across a potato I didn't like. I've always been particularly fond of potato skins since potato, cheese, bacon, and green onion is a match made in heaven, but I didn't like the fact that the potato flesh goes to waste. Because of that, I started making Twice Baked Potatoes and never looked back.
These potatoes are one of the dishes I make most often for company and they never disappoint (and are always gone by the end of the night). Sometimes I cut the stuffed potatoes in half to make them easier to hold and eat, but more often then not I just leave them whole (like in the picture).
Twice Baked Potatoes
4 large baking potatoes
1/4 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
8 green onions, sliced
8 slices bacon
1 packet of ranch seasoning
1/4 cup of BBQ sauce (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 1 hour. I've heard that you can just microwave the potatoes instead for about three minutes per potato (just check for tenderness), but I haven't done it this way myself. Just make sure to poke holes in the potatoes with a fork so that they don't explode either way.
2. While your potatoes are cooking, cook your bacon until brown and crispy (I usually just throw these on a cooling rack I've placed on a sheet pan and let them cook in the oven with the potatoes for the last 20-30 minutes). Remove to paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
3. When potatoes are done allow them to cool for a little while. (Be careful. The potatoes get very hot.) Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl leaving about 1/4 inch of flesh so the potato maintains it's shape; save skins.
4. Place the potato skins back on the baking tray and toss them back in the oven for ten to fifteen minutes while you prepare the filling. This will ensure your potato skins are firm and slightly crispy.
5. To the potatoes add butter and sour cream. Add about half of your ranch dressing seasoning packet and mix well. Taste the potato mixture to see if you need to add more ranch. Keep repeating until you're happy with the amount of ranch (I usually use one full packet for 8-10 potatoes, but that's just me). Stir in pepper, crumbled bacon, green onions and anything else you want. You can use a hand mixer to get your potatoes really smooth, but I like mine a little chunky and rustic looking. As always do what makes you happy.
6. Remove your potato skins from the oven and spoon a little bit of your favorite BBQ sauce in the bottom of each skin. (The BBQ sauce is totally optional, but I love the little zing it adds.) Fill the potato skins with the potato mixture and top with cheddar cheese.
7. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and wonderful looking.