Looking for a crowd-pleaser that won’t break your budget? This recipe isn’t rocket science, but it tastes out of this world (sorry, I couldn’t resist that one). Sometimes I want to bring a dish to an event that I absolutely know everyone will like, but after scouring cookbooks and the Internet it usually winds up costing a fortune! Not this time…
Who doesn’t like a baked potato with cheese, bacon and butter? Baked potato “bars” are good and all, but the foil-wrapped potatoes can get messy from trying to squeeze in the toppings. Plus, the toppings always look a little – well, tired. This way, you throw it all together, bake it and ta-da! You have a nice dish for your family or to take with you. Great for picnics, dinners, brunch or stay-home movie night. It is also good as a side dish when grilling – one less thing to tend to when family and friends are over.
It’s extra budget-friendly if you shop sales and get the cheese buy-one get-one free and bacon tends to regularly go on sale depending on the brand. The rest is nominal.
Loaded Baked Potato Casserole
8 Russet baking potatoes
1/2 stick salted butter
1/4c milk (we use 2%)
8oz sour cream (we use reduced fat)
1/2t black pepper (to taste)
1T salt (to taste)
1 pkg center-cut bacon
1 bunch green onions; diced
2c shredded cheddar cheese (Any favorite variety. I used Triple Cheese by Kraft (Vermont white cheddar, sharp cheddar & mild cheddar w/cream cheese added)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bacon on vented baking sheet and bake until done. Drain fat on paper towel.
Peel, halve and boil potatoes until a fork can easily go through them.
Drain and place potatoes in a mixing bowl.
Add butter, milk, sour cream, salt & pepper.
Mix with electric mixer on medium until creamy (no lumps).
Bacon should now be cooled. Using a large kitchen knife, dice bacon on cutting board into bits.
Blend in green onions and bacon with large spoon into the potato mixture.
Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
Spoon potato mixer into the dish and spread evenly.
Top with cheeses and bake @ 350 about 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and it is hot all the way through.
***This dish can be made a day ahead. Simply hold back the cheese, bake the potato mixture COVERED (to keep from drying out) until hot, then add the cheese and bake a few more minutes until it melts.
***For added flare as a dinner side dish, instead of using a baking dish, use individual crocks – fill, top with cheese & bake as directed.
This is what it looks like prior to adding the cheese.