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~ Fully-Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes -- Three Ways ~

6a0120a8551282970b01bb0859700c970d 2A twice baked potato is exactly what the name implies:  It's a potato that gets baked in the oven twice.  After the first bake, the potato is sliced in half and the light, fluffy soft-center is carefully scooped out, leaving the shell/the potato skin undamaged. The cooked center is then mashed, mashed-potato-style, with butter, salt, pepper and/or various seasonings or seasoning blends, and, creamy options like sour cream, yogurt and/or cream cheese.  Then the fun begins:

Add-ins, absolutely anything you want, usually family-friendly favorites (like the combination of bits of crispy chopped bacon and blanched chopped broccoli topped with shredded cheddar cheese in photo above), get folded in.  The flavor-packed potato mixture is scooped back into the the potato skins and baked a second time, which makes the skin crispy and melts the cheese on top -- they're the Rolls Royce of the baked-potato world -- it's twice-baked potato perfection.

From a method standpoint, the way I make them is not the quickest, but, that does't mean it's tedious.  I simply don't take short cuts, which are a definite compromise.  For example:  The microwave, while not a no-no, is not ideal (I want crispy, not soft steamed, potato skins), I use real-deal bacon (not store-bought bacon bits), and, my broccoli is freshly chopped (not frozen and thawed).  I have no exact recipe, but here's my estimated formula:  the mashed centers from 3-4 large Russet potatoes + 3-4 cups of add-ins, then sprinkle the tops of all with additional  cheese.

Tip from Mel:  I've tasted a lot of creative versions of twice-baked potatoes in my lifetime and the best combinations always contain some type of cooked meat or porcine, a vegetable or three, and, grated cheese.  Great twice-baked potatoes are not pot-luck or a place to throw your leftovers -- they are usually very-well conceived.  That said, I've never tasted a lo-calorie version of a twice-baked potato that had a purpose.  Who in the world counts calories when eating these?

Try my Classic Broccoli & Cheddar Twice-Baked Potatoes:

6a0120a8551282970b0240a49bb3c2200bOr, my Twice-Baked Fully-Loaded Taco Taters:

6a0120a8551282970b022ad3a014be200dAnd My Twice-Baked Fully-Loaded Texican Sweet Potatoes:

6a0120a8551282970b0240a44e037e200c"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022)


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