Holiday Recipes – November 24: Twice-Baked Potato Skins
It’s not uncommon to find yourself overloaded with baking potatoes around this time of year. Many stores sell big bulk bags ranging from 5 pounds to upwards of 20 pounds in size – that’s a lot of spuds!
While there’s always the traditional mashed potato, you can also create these twice-baked potato skins to either serve as part of a meal, or as appetizers. They can be customized for a variety of tastes, and you can always make them healthier by buying low- or non-fat dairy additives.
Prepare Your Potatoes
Prepping the potatoes is simple. Scrub them clean, prick them a few times with a fork to let the steam out, and sprinkle on a little salt. Bake them in the oven at 400° for about 45 minutes. To test if they’re done, pierce the biggest of the batch with a fork – if it slides in and out easily, it’s ready!
Remove the potatoes and allow them to cool until easily handled. Slice each one lengthwise so you have two halves. Using a spoon (grapefruit spoons work very well), scoop out the middle of each half, leaving about ¼” of the flesh around the edges. Place the scooped flesh into a bowl and set aside.
Mixing Up the Middles
Here’s where you get to be creative – you’re essentially making jazzed-up mashed potatoes at this stage and you can flavor them in several ways. If you want to keep things simple, all you need to do is add a little butter, milk, salt, and pepper and mix until creamy. If you want to just add some simple flavor, garlic and onion powder, or even an all-purpose seasoning will do.
Now to get really creative, start adding in some real “stuff” like:
- bacon bits;
- herbs and sour cream;
- salsa; or
One tasty shortcut you can do is add a few spoonfuls of a flavored cream cheese or cheese spread (whipped works best). Remember if the mixture gets too thick you can thin it out with milk.
Putting the “Twice” in Twice Baked
While you’re perfecting your middle mix, pop the scooped skins under the broiler at 450° for about 4-5 minutes (keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!). After getting your potato middle mixture just right it’s time to stuff. If you want to go ultra-cheese, place a bit of shredded cheese in the potato half first, then fill the rest with your middle mix. You can just put the mix straight into the skin, too, it’s all about how cheesy you want to get!
You can leave them plain as-is (especially if you already mixed cheese into the middle mix) or you can top with more shredded cheese. Stick the filled skins back under the broiler for another 3-4 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.
These can be served just as is, or try mixing in some chives, garlic powder, and pepper with sour cream to top your skins. If you used smaller potatoes, these are perfect little appetizers, and if you had big bakers they’re great as a side dish!